JK Paper’s new paperboard plant in Gujarat adds 170,000 tons

JK’s corrugated liner plant in Ludhiana in Q2 of FY 22-23

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The first reel of paperboard at the JK Paper's new machine at Songadh. Photo PSA

JK Paper is on course in its paperboard and corrugated liner capacity expansion plants in the country. Its new paperboard plant in Songadh in Gujarat began production in the second half of 2021 on a new and modern paper machine. For its corrugation liners and corrugated board plant JK was allotted 17-acres of land at a cost of around Rs 40 crore in the  Hi-Tech Valley at Ludhiana in Punjab in August 2021. The company’s existing plants are in Raigarh in Orissa and in Songadh in Gujarat.

The paperboard for packaging machines in Songadh has a rated capacity of 170,000 metric tons annually and has been built for Rs 1450 crore or approximately US$ 195.3 million. The company has said it expects to reach 60% capacity in the first four to six months of production and thereafter to reach full capacity. On television, the company’s president and director AS Mehta has suggested that “there is always some hidden capacity and the machine is capable of producing more than 170,000 metric tons.” 

The company’s overall paper and board capacity has gone up 625,000 metric tons annually. The new paperboard machine is safely expected to add anywhere from Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,600 crore annually to JK Paper’s turnover depending on raw material and sale prices for the high-quality packaging board that it can produce. It is also planned to export from 15 to 20% of the paperboard produced on the new machine in Songadh.

The company’s consolidated revenue in October to December, Q3 of FY 2021-22 at Rs 1,023 which was its highest ever in a quarter, indicates that the company may be headed for its highest annual revenues. With revenues of Rs 2,600 crore in the first three quarters, the revenue figure should be approximately Rs 3,600 crore for the full FY 2021-22. 

Meanwhile, the JK Group’s new unit in Punjab will initially procure waste paper and supply finished goods, which is corrugated packaging paper also known as unbleached liner, and possibly corrugated boards to industries in Punjab and the neighboring states to make corrugated board and cartons. By strengthening the waste paper industry ecosystem in the state, it will help Punjab achieve some of its sustainability goals. 

The project will help local manufacturers in sourcing their packaging materials and it is hoped that a large proportion of the plant’s production will be consumed in the state, enhancing its GST revenue collection. JK Paper’s plans were to construct its plant and go into production within a year which means it could be commissioned in Q2 of the 2022-23 financial year.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.

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