Indian masterbatch producers are increasingly looking beyond their home country, as the market slows its pace in the wake of policy changes to curb plastic waste piling up all over Indian cities.
Mumbai-based Welset Plast Extrusions Pvt. Ltd. is no exception to that international push, opening a sales office in Spain to focus on the European market. It sees its presence at K 2019 as helping with that.
"We have opened a sales office in ... Barcelona about six months ago in order to market our products in Europe. We are supplying to Europe but in small quantity and hope to increase our visibility and client base there," said Managing Director Arvind Mehta.
It's the company's second overseas sales office. It opened one in Boston about five years ago, he said.
Currently, it exports 40 percent of its production to Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
The company has also delayed a planned expansion at its factory in Silvassa, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Mumbai, originally planned for this fiscal year, to the next fiscal year. Indian fiscal years end March 31.
Mehta said the delay was partly related to the company selling its vinyl compounding business to Japan's Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. in August 2018.
"The modalities were completed only by March this year, which delayed our planned expansion at the Silvassa site," he said.
The company said it sold that business to focus on its masterbatch and polyethylene and polypropylene compounding businesses.
As well, he said the delay was tied to plastic waste policies from the Indian government.
"The downturn in India's market with new policy initiatives introduced by the current dispensation regarding curbing the usage of plastic creates a slowdown in the domestic market, which also held us from embarking on an expansion and delayed it by a year," Mehta said.
He said the company anticipates the market will stabilize in India next year, but it's also pushing ahead with plans to boost exports.
"We believe the scenario would be much clearer by that time as policies would always take time to stabilize," Mehta said. "Moreover, our focus is more on the export market as the objective is to increase the overseas shipments from the current 40 percent to 60 percent with the proposed expansion."
Welset plans to almost double the masterbatch capacity from the current 25,000 metric tons per year to 45,000 tonnes by the end of the next fiscal year.
"Increasing demand from sectors like electronics, automobile, infrastructure and agriculture drives us to double the masterbatch capacity in the domestic market," he said. "Demand from the packaging side dropped due to increasing environmental concerns, but other sectors continue to grow."
Welset also plans to boost PP compounding capacity by 10 percent to meet demand in the automobile and furniture markets.
Currently, the Silvassa site covers 60,000 square feet but will be 100,000 square feet after the expansion.
Welset is investing about 250 million Indian rupees (3.2 million euros) in the capacity hike, adding three lines in Silvassa. It will also add oxobiodegradable masterbatch to its portfolio with the proposed expansion.
Currently, its range of masterbatches includes black, white, color, additives and filler.
Welset Plast Extrusions