With Indian flexible packaging demand set to triple between 2002 and 2010, it is an absolute must for the nation's plastic film manufacturers to add capacity.
By 2010, flexible packaging in this nation of 1 billion-plus people will consume about 6.6 billion pounds of product, according to the Plastindia Foundation trade group. Three film firms interviewed at Plastindia 2006, held Feb. 9-14 in New Delhi, are set to meet that challenge.
Cosmo Films Ltd. already is a leader in the Indian processing market, ranking as the country's largest biaxially oriented polypropylene film producer, with about 150 million pounds of annual capacity. The New Delhi-based firm now is studying a plan that would bring on another 65 million pounds of capacity in 2008, according to business development executive Pradeep Masalkar.
The new capacity would be needed to handle growth in packaging for snack foods and textiles, as well as for laminations, Masalkar said. The firm sells three- and five-layer BOPP packaging film - as well as heat-sealable films, synthetic paper and thermal laminating films - under the Cosmophane and Cosmotherm brand names.
Cosmo already added almost 50 million pounds of capacity between 2002 and 2005. The 25-year-old, publicly held company posted sales of about $90 million in the fiscal year ended in March 2005 - a jump of about 23 percent from the prior year. Cosmo operates plants in the Indian states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
On the export front, Cosmo has been selling BOPP film into the United States for more than 20 years. Exports made up about 35 percent of total sales in its most recent fiscal year.
Cosmo's global sales growth rate has been about 10 percent in its current fiscal year, Masalkar said. In India that rate has been 20 percent, and Masalkar said it's ``realistic'' for that kind of growth to continue for the near future.
In Daman, India, Glory Polyfilms Ltd. added a seven-layer film line in 2005, doubling its annual capacity to more than 30 million pounds, General Manager Ashok Parmar said.
The 25-year-old company based in Mumbai, India, operates three plants and five extrusion lines in Daman, making multilayer PE and nylon films, mostly for food packaging. Glory also does printing, laminating and pouch production.
Glory employs 100 and expects to add 30 jobs by the end of 2007, Parmar said. The firm recently began selling film for toothpaste and cosmetics packaging into export markets.
Also adding capacity is Specialty Polyfilms India Pvt. Ltd., a polyethylene film maker based in Aurangabad, India.
The 14-year-old firm is installing a new extrusion line this year, which will double the company's annual capacity to almost 500,000 pounds, according to business development executive Anwar Haidary.
Specialty makes industrial and stretch wrap for yarn, textile and paper, and will add a masking-tape product this year, Haidary said. Exports now make up about 10 percent of Specialty's annual sales, but the 27-employee firm hopes to do more such business in Europe, the United States, the Persian Gulf and Australia. Specialty will send its first exports to the United Kingdom in 2006.
``The rate and success of market potential will determine when we introduce new products,'' Haidary said. ``But we're very optimistic about the Indian market.''