The last one year has been an exciting one for PET solutions provider Petainer Innopac Packaging, a joint venture between Petainer UK Holdings Ltd. and Innopac Containers Pvt. Ltd. In December 2015, the company inaugurated its first manufacturing facility in India at the northern Mumbai suburb of Bhiwandi. Since the beginning of the operations, Petainer has managed to acquire a stellar list of customers from across the country. At the Bhiwandi plant, which is spread across 27,000 sq. ft, Petainer employs blow molding equipment from Sidel to manufacture the 20-liter bulk water cooler jars with the brand namepetainer Cooler, using preforms produced from Petainer’s manufacturing sites in Europe. The plant also has a fully equipped on-site design studio, laboratory services and warehousing.
“We have gone through a vigorous process and managed to acquire some leading brand owners as our customers. We are also in talks with other brands and hope to service them soon,” says Atit Bhatia, managing director, Petainer Innopac Packaging.
Currently, the full capacity of the plant is about 1.4 lakh 20-liter jars per month while it is operating at about 50% of that capacity. The jars are supplied to leading mineral water brands such as Bisleri, Bailey, Kingfisher, SAB Miller, and Sabol, to name a few.
As a new entrant into the PET packaging segment, Petainer is competing with some big and established players. However, Bhatia believes, Petainer is offering a solution which is superior to competition on several parameters. He says that jars offered by Petainer have a life span more than double of that made by others, which can double the number of trips to and from the packing plant. This makes them highly cost-efficient over their lifetime. They are far more robust, scratch proof and transparent and can be washed at a temperature of 63 degree Celsius, which helps in destroying all kinds of micro-organisms. “All these factors can help customers save as much as 30-40% when compared with solutions offered by other players in the market,” argues Bhatia.
The road ahead
Talking about the expansion of operations in India, Bhatia says that adding another blow molding line would be considered only when capacity utilization reaches around 60-70% of overall capacity at Mumbai plant. Manufacturing of preforms in India can also be considered but nothing is sure yet. In the meantime, the company is doing aggressive marketing in India and has set up sales offices in Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. “The Indian market is huge and we would like to sell to all but demand for our solution is currently from top tier brand owners or second tier ones who want to compete with leading brand owners. We want to first make further inroads into the market before we embark on any major expansion,” he says.
Since the company is supplying to customers across India from the Mumbai plant, would it not make sense to manufacture at other parts of India as well? Answering this Bhatia says that it always makes sense to be closer to your customer but there must be volumes to justify that investment. “We could have a dedicated line for a specific customer; we could have a plant in North India or South India. But there should be volumes, which will eventually determine where we set up our next plant,” Bhatia emphasizes.