Christo George (51), was a fresh engineering graduate when he founded Hykon India Limited in 1991 in Thrissur, Kerala. It was a college project to create an inverter that inspired him to manufacture them. Christo had already decided to start a business after finishing his studies, and wanted to become a technocrat.
His company Hykon India manufactures power electronic products like UPS, inverters, servo stabilisers, and solar products like solar water heaters and solar lights. It also provides medical and business transcriptions. Hykon India recently diversified into manufacturing Lithium Ferro phosphate (LiFePO4) battery packs for electric vehicles.
Initially, separate companies were established for different product segments, resulting in the formation of four different entities- Hykon Electronic Systems, Hykon Power Electronics, Hykon Solar Energy and Hykon India. Last year, all these companies were merged together to form one single entity Hykon India.
The company was started in 1991 with just five employees. To date, around 12 crores have been invested in the business. Under Christo, the company had an annual turnover of Rs 68 crore in the last financial year. It now employs more than 450 people directly and around 1,000 people indirectly in the southern states. Christo’s wife Catherine is the managing director of the company.
Christo says, “The market for some segment is shrinking while it’s still growing for others. The company’s main market is all over South India, and also in the Western and Central India to a certain extent.” The company has three segments of sales – project sales, direct customer sales - B2C and channel sales through dealers and distributors, and B2B for expansion of their customer base.
The motto of the company is ‘Powering the Nation’ and continuing a business of value creation for its customers and stakeholders. It boasts of providing after sales services not only for originally manufactured products, but also for products by other companies. It has a fully dedicated team of after-sales professionals and also a full-fledged 24x7 call centre at the head office to meet customers queries and ensure complete customer satisfaction.
For Christo, limited availability of latest technology is a major bottleneck for growth. He says, “We have to constantly update and upgrade the products, for which we have a DSIR approved R&D set up. But this is not enough as we are competing with different MNCs who have more resources than us, and we are not in a position to get the latest machinery at the earliest.”
“The government operated R&D centres should develop technology as per the real needs and requirements of SMEs in a stipulated time period so that it helps them in their growth and diversification,” he adds.
Christo claims that there is no actual benefit of the MSME Act; it is all on paper. He wants the Ministry of MSMEs to take initiatives to ensure that the real benefits reach entrepreneurs and businessmen free of cost.
Christo aims to make Hykon India a part of the Fortune 500 club by the year 2022-23. The company is also venturing into the EV segment, which he expects to grow exponentially every year.
Advising people who want to make a mark in the same sector, he says, “One should start at a small level first to gain proper experience and then invest in bigger projects later.”
(This story is published in partnership with the MSMEs Ministry to showcase success stories of SMEs)