HPPL strengthens labelling business by acquiring Ajanta Packaging

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Mumbai-based packaging major Huhtamaki PPL has strengthened its labelling business by entering a business transfer agreement for acquisition of the business of Ajanta Packaging as a slump sale, at an enterprise valuation of Rs 100.3 crore, on a cash-free, debt-free basis.

Ajanta Packaging, promoted by Sudhir and Chandan Khanna, is one of the pioneers and largest privately-owned pressure-sensitive label manufacturers in India, having state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Daman and Baddi. The transaction is expected to be closed at the end of April 2018. The business will become part of the flexible packaging business segment.

This is HPPL’s second major acquisition in the labelling segment after Webtech, which it acquired in 2012. In the five years since HPPL acquired Webtech, the labelling division has seen a robust growth. HPPL is now very strong in pressure-sensitive label for the pharmaceutical industry. Currently, HPPL’s labelling division has five plants across India at Hyderabad, Sikkim, Bengaluru, Parvanu and Mahape. It now has a capacity of 3 million square meters per month. HPPL’s labelling business has also been working on new offering such as multilayer labels, braille, tactile, security and anti-counterfeiting solutions, among others.

HPPL is always open to taking the inorganic route for growth, HPPL chairman Suresh Gupta told Packaging South Asia late last year. Gupta said that the speed at which the industry is changing, one needs to always keep up. “If that can be done by acquiring a company, it achieves the purpose,” Gupta said.

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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