Sudhakaran AT: Empowering The Indian Automobile Industry Through Financial Expertise | CEOInsights Vendor
Sudhakaran AT: Empowering The Indian Automobile Industry Through Financial Expertise

Sudhakaran AT: Empowering The Indian Automobile Industry Through Financial Expertise

Sudhakaran AT ,CFO

Sudhakaran AT


The Indian automobile industry is one of the largest industries in the world, contributing significantly to the country's economic growth. The industry has shown remarkable growth in recent years, with growing demand for advanced technology and innovative products in the market. As the Group CFO of Prabha Automotive Engineers, Sudhakaran A T plays a crucial role in empowering the Indian automobile sector.

His expertise in cost management and financial planning has enabled the company to manage tight cost lines and meet all its financial obligations. With his strong understanding of manufacturing and retail operations, Sudhakaran AT has helped Prabha Automotive Engineers become a successful and stable auto ancillary with a legacy of over 50 years of customer satisfaction.

Sudhakaran's vision for the company includes consolidation through the merger of group entities and the acquisition of companies with proprietary products, which will further strengthen the company's position in the market and contribute to the growth of the Indian automobile industry. Let’s learn more from him.

Can you provide a brief overview of your professional background and experiences? What motivates you on a daily basis?
I am a Commerce graduate from Madras Christian College and an Associate member of the Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India. My initial 14 years of career were spent at MRF, where I handled manufacturing accounting and costing in a multi-plant environment. After that, I spent 15 years at Zuari Industries. as CFO of Gautier India and Indian Furniture Products, where I gained a strong understanding of manufacturing and retail operations.

Gautier India was a pioneer in organized retailing in India which later changed its name to Style Spa Furniture. During the last 8 years, I have been the Group CFO at Prabha, managing a tight cost line and all the challenges of a typical auto ancillary where pricing is not under our control.
My motivation is our MD, who is a technologist and an industry veteran, and the objectives he sets.

How would you describe Prabha Automotive Engineers as an organization, and where does it stand in the market currently?
Prabha Automotive Engineers is a successful and stable auto ancillary with a legacy of over 50 years of customer satisfaction. Large OEMs such as Ashok Leyland, Daimler, Yamaha, and Isuzu consider Prabha a one-stop shop for all new developments, tooling, and bulk production of components and bodies for commercial vehicles. Prabha is a market leader in high-volume stamping and assembly operations and the manufacture of load bodies for medium and heavy vehicles, LCVs, and tippers. Its tool room is among the top ten in the country, with customers like Toyota, Honda, Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, and Maruti, among others.

With his strong understanding of manufacturing & retail operations, Sudhakaran A T has helped Prabha Automotive Engineers in setting a legacy of over 50 years of customer satisfaction

Can you provide information about your primary products and the additional benefits that your customers can anticipate from them?
Our primary offerings include cabins for the medium and heavy commercial vehicle (MHCV) segments, defense products, load bodies for light commercial vehicles (LCV) and tippers, fuel tanks, and high-volume stamping and assembly.

We offer our customers a comprehensive suite of services, including new vehicle body design, tool development, component stamping, and assembly, as well as CED coating, powder coating, and laser cutting capabilities, all available under one roof. Another benefit that our customers can expect is the flexibility of choosing from our 12 manufacturing locations across the country.

As Group CFO, how do you determine the profitability of an Investment of the company?
The payback method is used, which looks at the number of years it takes to pay off the investment. In the automobile industry, investment horizons range from three to four years for OK designs and longer for others.

Productivity improvement is also a key factor, especially since auto ancillaries rely on labor. Any investment should aim to eliminate or reduce labor content.

What are your future aspirations or goals for the company?
The group is merging its three entities to create a larger organization, and the NCLT process is underway. The company is looking to acquire companies that manufacture proprietary products, as it currently does not have any of its own. The goal is to eventually have its own products as well and the company may acquire other companies that are interested in partnering with them. Prabha created an Electric vehicle two years back which started manufacturing E-Carts – both Passenger and Load Carriers. Though we are selling in small numbers now, we are optimistic about manifold growth in this segment over the next 3 years. We are looking for collaborators in this segment.

What specific roles and responsibilities will you have in this endeavor?
The focus will be on ensuring higher profitability through product-based company acquisitions, as well as managing funding and capital infusion options, such as going public. These challenges will need to be addressed over the next two to three years.

Can you discuss some of the most difficult obstacles you have faced during your journey so far? How did you overcome it?
The pandemic was an incredibly difficult challenge in terms of maintaining liquidity and meeting our obligations to employees and suppliers, regardless of our cash flow situation. However, our conservative investment policy, coupled with adequate reserves, ensured that we did not default on payments to employees or banking obligations, even during the peak of the pandemic.

What is your future direction?
Our future direction includes consolidating our group entities through a merger to form a larger, single entity, as well as acquiring companies that are of the right size and have proprietary products.

Sudhakaran AT, CFO, Prabha Automotive Engineers
Sudhakaran is a highly experienced Chief Financial Officer at Prabha Automotive Engineers, an automotive parts company based in Chennai, India. He has an extensive background in finance, having graduated in Commerce from Madras Christian College and attained Associate membership of the Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India.

Trending Stories