Apollo Tyres Ltd. (ATL), is aiming to lower its capital expenditure during the current fiscal while it focusses on ‘sweating’ the assets, and deleveraging the balance sheet, said a top official.“We are towards the end of our current capex cycle,” said Neeraj Kanwar, vice chairman and MD, during an analysts’ call. “Going forward, the focus would be on sweating the assets and deleveraging the balance sheet,” he added. In the next 2-3 years, ATL would aim to get return-on-capital-employed levels to double digits, he said. As of March, it was 5.3%. For the first half, ATL’s capex was ₹600 crore. ATL had earlier planned capex of about ₹1,500 crore in FY21 while FY22 was to have seen lower capex. Those plans got swapped due to the COVID situation, he said.Asserting that the third quarter had been bullish so far, he said ATL hit record sales numbers in all categories of tyres, including farm, motorcycle radial, passenger car and truck and bus tyres. Currently, its plants in India were operating at 85%-90% utilisation and the inventory level had declined to 21 days, from 31 days. “We wanted the current year to be tighter on cash since things looked quite bleak as we began the year,” said Gaurav Kumar, CFO, adding that net debt — ₹6,000 crore in March — had been reduced to ₹4,600 crore by the end of September.