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Shree Rama Newsprint: Growing by blunting the adverse market conditions under true leadership

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Find the exclusive interview of Mr.Siddharth Chowdhary, Whole-Time Director at Shree Rama Newsprint Limited based on ongoing rebuild at their plant.

Shree Rama Newsprint: Growing by Blunting the Adverse Market Conditions Under True Leadership

Shree Rama Newsprint is India’s largest private-sector Newsprint and Printing & Writing Paper manufacturing Company at a single location in India. Set up with an equity of Rs. 233 crores (US $50 million) and spread over 450 acres of land in Village Barbhodhan, Gujarat, the Company is managed by a professional Board of Directors with a vast experience in related fields. The Pulp and Paper Times got the opportunity to interact with Mr.Siddharth Chowdhary (in the above photo), Whole-Time Director at Shree Rama Newsprint Limited. Here are the excerpts of his face to face conversation: 

“Shree Rama successfully implemented this change of newsprint to writing & printing paper in a span of 30 days, which is a recorded history in Indian Paper Industry” 

Q. Please share the details of your upcoming Expansion Plan?

We were one of the largest newsprint paper mill of India till today and we have decided to shift from Newsprint to Writing and Printing (W & P) paper and it has been one month that we have shifted already one machine and the second machine we are going to shift after the shutdown in the last quarter of FY 19-20. So our target is to become one of the prominent players in W&P paper in the western part of India and we like to cater to the export market as well because Rama newsprint is only 20 km far from the port. Post expansion our capacity would be 600 tonnes approximately per day. I think this will be one of the largest recycle based paper mills among a few large players in India. 

Q: You have converted your whole production capacity from newsprint to writing and printing paper. What difficulty did you see in the market, which compels you to shift from newsprint to W&P?

The compulsion is that the newsprint industry is a dying industry; the price fluctuation in the industry has been so much that Rama Newsprint or newsprint players in India also have suffered huge losses in past, even after the imposing of ten percent import duty by the Government, price is still not viable so we opted to shift our focus on W&P and this is our compulsion. But more than the compulsion, we are very happy to be a recognized player in the W&P market which is a fairly larger market and variety of customers for exports also. We want to really export Rama’s paper to various countries like Africa and the Middle East. We are not restricting ourselves to any GSM range. We want to be a customized player. We will manufacture paper from 48 to 90 GSM with brightness level 75 to 90. In future, we are planning to come up with our own A4 size paper and our target is to build a good brand image in the ‘copier segment’.

Q: What is your export market Target?

We will be exporting approximately 50 percent of our production because there has been a great demand in overseas markets. Buyers have liked our quality in the lower GSM also. Our aim for export include textbook markets as well, being a recycled based mill, I think we are also promoting the recycle culture which is being asked by a few customers from Europe and America that they really want a recycled paper for their market and they are ready to pay a premium for the recycled paper so this is a motivation for us to be green and this is why our logo has changed to new one.

Q:  Are you planning to set up any new plant anywhere in India?

I think this is fairly a large project and we are basically situated at Gujarat which is the best location possible in India. We will expand in the future in Rama itself because we have 230 acres of land in the premises and we have just utilized 30% of our land so this has enough capacity to become one of the largest mills in the western part. 

Q: Packaging & Tissue Paper segments are growing very well, are you planning to come into these segments also in coming time?

As a group, we are very keen to invest in manufacturing facilities and we are a fairly large player in starch also so we will be keen to invest again into Shree Rama and bring up new product lines in future but our primary target for next six Months is to stabilize and focus on writing and printing segment. We will surely look at the different grades of paper like packaging and tissue or something else.

Q: There has been an anti-dumping duty levied on the copier paper if anybody imports the paper in A4 sheet from below the benchmark price that is 855 USD /MT set up by the Government, Is this duty proving beneficial for the paper industry?

It is beneficial for the paper industry because after 70 years of Independence if we are not able to produce enough commodities like paper, I think the government is into the right steps forcing the Indian paper manufacturers to grow up with their quality. 

Q: Cheap imports are also creating hurdles for writing & printing paper manufacturers. The industry has been continuously requesting the government to impose a duty, now you are expanding, don’t you think in the future, you may face the competition from International paper suppliers?

I don’t think so because if the international paper prices are falling so are the pulp price is falling down so we are becoming a part of the global economy. Yes, we will ask the government to protect the interest of Indian paper mills as they are giving jobs to thousands of people and we want to support the initiative of the make-in-India program. 

Q : How much investment you are going to invest in this machine rebuild? We are close to an investment value of 150 crores for the entire rebuild. Currently, we have already undergone the rebuild process and our first aim is to ensure the good quality of W&P paper from low GSM to the highest one. We are procuring different components that are necessary for a rebuild from the reputed supplier like Voith and Globe. 

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