The Indian economy and packaging growth


The Indian economy has had a good run of GDP growth for the last fiveyears, that is, since the 2003-04 financial year. The packaging industry wasready for this growth and it has prospered in these years as well as addedconsiderable capacity. In the flexible packaging industry, major players suchas Jindal Polyfilms, Cosmo Films, Polyplex and Uflex have not only addedcapacity to manufacture films and laminates but have also become global playersby setting up manufacturing capacity outside the country. Jindal Polyfilm acquired the French company Rexor in France 2003, while the recently inaugurated Uflex plant in Dubai, as well as its plant under construction in Mexico are organic expansions. So are the Polyplex plants in Turkey and Thailand.
Altogether, Europe imports 100,000 tons of BOPET films each year, andsixty per cent of this is from Indian companies in spite of the anti-dumpingand anti-subsidy duties that are applied against them. This is because theIndian companies import the latest premium lines and are able to achieve 110per cent capacity utilisation and lowest cost status. Nevertheless, thevolatile increases in the price of imported oil over the last nine months havecreated an inflationary situation and enormous cost pressures on the entirepackaging industry and the flexible packaging industry in particular. It ishoped that the very recent downturn oil prices will continue and perhaps bringoil closer to the US$ 100 mark.

Capacity creation andthe prospects for 09-10 and 10-11
In these last fiveyears considerable forward-looking capacity has been created. Apart from thenew Uflex plant in Dubai, its Mexican plant under construction should be readyfor commissioning in the first quarter of 2009. The first of Jindal Polyfilms’two new Dornier lines were to be commissioned in June and the second inDecember 2008. Cosmo Films plans to more than double its annual BOPP filmcapacity to 136,000 tons by financial year 2010-11 and one line has already beenordered. There has also been a slight pick-up in investments in blown filmlines and high-speed wide web flexo presses – one can expect more than three tobe installed in each of the coming years.