Read exclusive interview of mr. Ankur Bindal, director of Bindals Paper Mills Ltd.India conducted by The Pulp and Paper Times.
Bindals Paper Mills Ltd., Exclusive interview of Ankur Bindal, Featured interview
Depend Largely on Internal Source of Raw Material – A Mantra to Succeed
Bindals Papers Mills Limited is part of the highly dynamic and rapidly growing Bindal Group whose annual revenues exceed Rs.10 Billion(US $ 200 Million). The Group has adiversified Business Portfolio in Manufacturing of Packaging grades of paper and paperboards, tissue papers, iron & steel, besides trading of commodities the Group enjoys a strong Leadership position in the Kraft/ Linerboard segment.
In this perspective Bindals' identified a significant Investment opportunity in the high end Printing and Writing Paper sector by setting up a modern Greenfield plant in Muzaffarnagar ,UP with a manufacturing capacity of 1,00,000 TPY. This isexpected to generate incremental revenues(for the group) of over Rs.4000 million or around US$80 Million per year. More importantly, the Group will participate in the fast growing High Bright SS Maplitho Paper (uncoated woodfree paper)and Branded Copier Paper(cut-size) segments, making it a one-stop-shop paper group, enabling customers to source the widest range of papers and boards. Exclusively talking to The Pulp and Paper Times, Mr.Ankur Bindal shares his expertise of mill operation in current market condition.
Q Bindals Papers has launched its A4 Copier paper recently.How was the market feedback you have received? How best you have positionedyour A4 Copier paper in the market in view of bulk import at cheaper prices in India?
A Bindals Papers had launched its A4 Copier paper way back inJan 2013 in the brand name “Fineprints”. The response has been very positiveand from initial start up sales of around 1000 tpm, current sales has reachedaround 5500 tpm. In fact we have much more demand and we have added up somemore conversion facility and likely to achieve bigger volumes in times to come.
Bindal brand is most sought after and its reach is extended to not only all the corners of our country but also well accepted in international markets. In North India which is our focus market, we are giving tough competition to Mills making Copier paper out of Agro. Presently the cheap imports have largely affected the markets closer to coastal belt. We are comparatively at an advantage, being away from port.
Q Expanding your product range or adding Niche product in the product portfolio can give additional premium to the company. Is there any scope of new product introduction in future?
A Our current focus is on A4 Copier paper as we see ample scope in this product itself. We have such huge market in this part of the country and are hence making adequate cutting arrangements to feed the market.We intend to take other value added products as well once we achieve the levels we have planned for A4 Copier.
Q Recent hike in paper raw materials and dollar appreciation have put the paper mills in Maharashtra and Gujarat on the verge of closure.What impact of this price hike see in northern region?
A.Paper mills are highly capital intensive and largely face scarcity of raw material and price hike time to time, thus putting tremendous pressure for its survival. Thus such things make it very difficult to make the ends meet. We have also cut down on imported fibre and dependent largely on our internal sources for raw-material to sustain dollar impact. We have worked very hard on machine efficiency, system efficiency and tried to optimize productivity.
A Since we are producing paper out of Agro which is used only in India (virgin fibre) and largely dependent on raw material sources surrounding our plant, it is not an immediate threat to us. However, big mills in India are largely dependent on wood pulp. In times to come these mills will have to gear up and think of alternatives and the cost impact for meeting the ends. I am sure they are well aware of it and would be preparing themselves to take up such challenges.
Q For fast growth, the interest of investors is very important. Are you planning to list your company in the share market?
A. We do not have any immediate plans. However, we are likely to do so in times to come.
Q Are you planning for any kind of expansion or up-gradation in future?
A.It's an ongoing process. As a group, we are already producing various packaging grades of Kraft, Duplex, MG Tissue apart from Wtg./Ptg. & Copier paper. Our current group production is around 450000 tpa. We are also into trading of various papers and intend to enhance our business of marketing by tying up with Indian as well as International mills.
In last few years we have invested at Bindals substantiallyby adding Chemical recovery boiler, better pollution control, increasing ourmachine speed, machine efficiency etc.
Q Adopting the process technologies can increase the profitability of the company. What are the various sections in paper makingprocess do you see which are needed to be explored and optimized for better process output at lower cost?
A. Definitely process technologies can increase the profitability of the company. Raw material yield and how to increase ash in paper are the areas which has to be explored, as it has major impact an cost of paper. Power and steam consumption also plays an important role in cost of paper. One can explore for best available technologies to achieve least operating cost in terms of both power and steam.
Q What impacts of digital economy do you evaluate over cash economy?
A.It's obviously a good option as it will ease the manner of operating business in future. However the adaptability may take quite some time as any such changes is not easily absorbed in our country.
Q Many paper mills are having high production cost and many have low production cost. What reason do you see behind this situation? Is there any way by which paper mills can reduce their cost of production through doing some collective efforts?
A. As stated earlier, paper mills are highly capital intensive, be it raw material, chemicals, power and energy cost, water consumption etc. Equipments for pollution controls to safeguard environment(both air and water) is also mandatory. Logistic cost is also very critical and plays vital role. To add to this the cost of financing is also very high.
Adequate pre planning as such for all this is very crucial before installing a plant. Mills need to plan their product mix and optimize production with better machine efficiency,adapting to changes with improved technology, replacing obsolete and old machines.
Q Recently Maharashtra High Court has halted the use of virgin fibre in production of school text book, the reason behind is that virgin paper production is threat to the environment? What are your views in this context? Does paper industry fail to represent its green side to the Govt?
A. Both Wood pulp and Agro pulp are virgin fibre. The agro pulp is however environment friendly and sees no objection or threat. Wood pulp producers are promoting for farm foresteries, thus helping environment by encouraging farmers to plant more and more trees.
Paper industry has made various representation to the Govtin the past and understand laws have been enacted for proper usage of resourcesand to safeguard the environment. Somehow it is right in a sense that paperindustry fails to represent its green side to the government.