MUMBAI, INDIA — With forecasts expecting plastics production to double in India, masterbatch producers are also expanding their capacity.
That increase will feed the new demand from home as well as export markets in Africa and the Middle East. The arrival of international players in India is also pushing the domestic producers to look at opportunities abroad.
One trend of the expansion is that many masterbatch producers attending Plastivision India 2013 in Mumbai in December said they are moving toward production in the western state of Gujarat.
Prayag Polytech is doubling its masterbatch making capacity as well as building new manufacturing facility in Gujarat. The company's mother plant in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, has production capacity to manufacture 35,000 metric tons of white, black and color masterbatches.
"We are doubling the capacity to 70,000 tons annually of Bhiwadi plant by the first quarter of 2014," said spokesman Nikhil Aggarwal. It exports 80 per cent of its production to go to the global market.
In Gujarat, Prayag already has 30 acres in Dahej for a plant it expects to be operational by the end of the year.
"We are expanding very fast in the global market in last five years, and expansion would meet the growing demand. Moreover, we are in the midst of developing a distributor network in some more international markets in the next few months," Aggarwal said.
The company is likely to open 10 more international markets soon, he said, adding that the weakening value of the rupee should not hurt its global plans. India still can be very cost competitive.
At the same time, Prayag's Bhiwadi plant runs on the latest twin extruder technology, Aggarwal said, so it is efficient.
Varanasi-based JJ Plastalloy Pvt. Ltd. already has two plants with combined production capacity of 42,000 metric tons annually and is building third plant in Dahej, which would likely begin production in the middle of 2014.
"Dahej is emerging as one of the major hubs of plastics industry in India, and we have to be there to cater to the market efficiently, moreover, it costs us a lot in transportation to (ship to) Gujarat now," said Manager Amit Kr Srivastava.
The new plant initially would have 12,000 metric tons of capacity, and take advantage of the deep water sea port in Dahej to cater to the Middle East market.
Mumbai's Rajiv Plastics Ltd. has added two new lines worth another 5,000 metric tons of capacity annually, which improves deliveries for domestic and export use, said Managing Director Manish Minocha. It has added two new lines for smaller lots, while the bigger lines would focus on bigger lots. It has two plants in Silvasa & Pune.
Rajiv Plastics also is looking to Gujarat for a bigger plant within the next two years.
"We will phase out the Silvasa plant and shift it to a much bigger facility in Gujarat by adding another 5,000 (metric tons) capacity," Minoch said.
The firm exports around 45 percent of its production to 55 countries.
Meanwhile, a smaller Mumbai-based player, Bankim Plast, is also doubling capacity at its plant in Daman to 1,000 metric tons from 600.
About 80 percent of that production is exported, said Director Avnish Karia.
"Multi-national companies have increased competition in the domestic market," he said. "The foreign companies give long term credits. We could not offer such credits, so it is forcing us to look for options in the export market."
Jai Corp. Ltd., also of Mumbai, is hiking capacity at its Daman facility from 1,500 metric tons to 2,500 in the next two months, said Anup K. Deb, general manager.
A key filler maker, meanwhile, is traveling all the way to Malaysia to build a unit to make calcium carbonate used as a filler in masterbatch production. The upcoming Malaysian plant for Vimal Microns Ltd. will ship calcium carbonate to Dahej.
Vimal already has 14 plants in India, but believes Malaysia offers the best raw material, said Hemal Madhu, general manager of marketing.