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Expansion strategy of India's masterbatch leader

Source:International Plastics News for     Date:2021-06-17
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Alok Masterbatches has ambitious expansion plan in the pipeline in the Southern part of India, where the Delhi-headquartered company operates a site in the Ranipet (Tamil Nadu). The plan involves building a ‘Mini Industrial Complex’ at its Southern Site.

 

Alok builds world-class manufacturing and R&D based; and operates five sites in India and one joint venture in South America. The company has one site each in the districts of Bhiwadi (Rajasthan), Ranipet (Tamil Nadu) and Delhi and two in Silvassa (Capital of Dadra and Nagar Haveli). While the lone overseas plant it operates is located in the South American country of Paraguay.

 

Vikram Singh Bhadauria, Managing Director of Alok Masterbatches Pvt Ltd, is a polymer engineering graduate from University of Mysore and holds a master’s degree in Plastics Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, USA. An avid mountaineer who scaled summits of Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Kiliminjaro and Mt. Blanc, he won accolades to his credit like the prestigious ‘Golden Peacock Eco-Innovation Award’ and has been twice accorded the ‘National Award’ for Innovation in the fields of agricultural and electrical applications.  Mr. Bhadauria holds top positions in apex plastics bodies like Regional Chairman, for Plastics Exports Promotion Council (PLEXCONCIL) and advises the Commerce and Industry Ministry on trade and policy matters. He is also an active member of the Society of Plastics Engineers and the American Chemical Society.  In an exclusive interaction with the International Plastic News for Asia, Mr. Bhadauria discusses Alok Masterbatches’ expansion plans in the Indian and overseas markets.


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Mr. Vikram Singh Bhadauria, Managing Director, Alok Masterbatches Pvt Ltd

 

Alok Masterbatches expanded the Silvassa site couple of years ago, please elaborate.

Mr. Bhadauria: We have successfully completed major expansion at the Silvassa sites a couple of years ago in 2018. The two plants have the capacity to produce 60,000 MTPA of masterbatches annually and additional 70,000 MTPA capacity pushing the cumulative capacity to 130,000 MTPA at Silvassa now.

 

What are expansion plans down South of India, where Ranipet site is already operational from the last seven years?

Mr. Bhadauria: We are now planning to set-up a ‘Mini-industrial Complex’ in our Vellore site based at Ranipet (in the Southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu). The Tamil Nadu government allotted additional land of 12 acres in 2019. Additional 6-9 acres land will be added to the project in the next few years. Currently, the Ranipet plant can produce about 25,000 MTPA of masterbatches annually. 


What new product range would likely be added at Mini Industrial Complex?

Mr. Bhadauria: We are planning to expand our Ranipet based site as a full-spectrum plant. Currently, the plant is focusing on manufacturing complete range of masterbatches and with the planned expansion, Vellore will start producing compounds also, which are having application into the manufacturing of automotive, white goods, furniture etc. As part of reducing carbon footprint, the site would also generate its own power.


Is there any plan to further hike the masterbatch capacity of the Vellore site?

Mr. Bhadauria: Yes, the masterbatch capacity would be raised by four-times to 100,000 MTPA annually during the upcoming expansion at the Ranipet site. Additional capacity of 75,000 MTPA would be installed to the site on the completion of first phase of expansion.


What kind of investment is earmarked for the expansion?

Mr. Bhadauria: The project would be completed in a phased manner and in the Phase 1 around INR 120 crore would likely to be invested in the project which includes acquiring additional land. The project would be developed in subsequent years as the outbreak of Covid-19 holds the expansion last year. We hope to move forward once the conditions are conducive enough in the near future. 


Which overseas markets are targeted by the mini-industrial complex? 

Mr. Bhadauria: The Vellore expansion would cater to ASEAN economies besides the regional grouping of South Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. There is huge potential in ASEAN as well as in regional SAARC grouping, where countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are among the fastest growing economies in the region.


Is there any plan to further raise the production capacity at your South American venture also?

Mr. Bhadauria: We were also planning additional capacity at the joint venture manufacturing facility operating under the name - Carmenta, Capiatá and located in the middle of Paraguay. But pandemic forced us to take a pause and hold the expansion plan for the time-being till the coronavirus is controlled. The venture kicked-off in 2012 and has the capacity to produce 6,000 MTPA of entire range of masterbatches.


We had plans to add 3 lines for colour and one line for black masterbatches. Now we are waiting for this tumultuous phase to end and let the conditions stabilise to become conducive for further expansion.  

 

Carmenta is our first masterbatch venture in the land-locked South American country, manufacturing and marketing colour masterbatches, additives and fillers. The site also houses a centre for colour development and testing for different applications to offer customised solutions to our clients in South America.


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Alok Masterbatches is implementing an ambitious 

expansion plan to boost its masterbatch output.

 

 

What are the export targets in 2021 considering ongoing challenges posed by pandemic globally?

Mr. Bhadauria: We are exporting about 20,000 tonnes in 2020 despite challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic and targeting to double the exports to 40,000 tonnes in the ongoing fiscal. We primarily exports to North America, Africa and Europe.


Europe is going to be a focused market in 2021, but it’s a tough market to get into as regulatory norms are extremely stringent and product safety standards are high in terms of toxicity and REACH compliance. Only few Indian companies could meet those tough and high standards. But we have in-house knowledge-based product development systems in place to meet specific market requirements in order to navigate through Europe’s stringent regulatory norms.  Today, Alok is considered as India’s leading masterbatch producer with client-base spread across 40 countries. 

 

AITC opened in 2015 in New Delhi, and is engaged in collaborative projects, what new projects are in the pipeline?

Mr. Bhadauria: We have launched an innovation hub for the plastics industry to bring customers, suppliers and academia on a common platform at Alok Technology Incubation Centre (AITC), which is focusing on developing and co-creating solutions that are safe, affordable and sustainable.

 

AITC, based at the corporate headquarter in New Delhi, was set-up with a seed investment of INR 50 million with an objective to combine the power of chemistry with technology to make plastics. The state-of-the-art facility is installed with a wide array of testing equipment to create customised and need-based specialty solutions.

 

Does Alok forge foreign alliances for introducing new products and technology or also innovating in-house? 

Mr. Bhadauria: Innovation is a continuous process at Alok Masterbatches as the objective of launching ATIC is to mentor young engineers and provide a platform to academia involved with plastics education to interact and work with the industry. We engage young researchers from the country’s premier technology institute like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to commercialise technologies that will help provide affordable and bio-degradable sanitary health products to millions of women in rural India.

 

We also form key tech alliances to bring new technology in the country. In order to co-create innovative future ready solutions, we have forged strategic alliances with ExxonMobil, Microban and OCSiAL. We are developing a series of high performance mineral reinforced enhancer masterbatches for the raffia industry in collaboration with ExxonMobil, USA. In partnership with Microban, ATIC developed antimicrobial masterbatches, which make day-to-day use products such as water tanks and food packaging materials, safer and microbial degradation proof. We are also developing carbon nanotube solutions for the Indian plastics industry with OCSiAl, a leading Russian nanotechnology company. The solutions being worked at the ATIC range from property enhancement for structural plastics as well as barrier properties for packaging films.

 

What new products are in the pipeline for the domestic market?

Mr. Bhadauria: During the K Show 2019, we announced our strategic alliance with Microban USA, the global leader in antimicrobial and odour control technologies, for developing antimicrobial solutions for the Indian plastics industry. We are now keen to introduce masterbatches with antimicrobial properties in the Indian market. The range finds wide application in water tanks, food packaging material, toys to hospital flooring, public transport etc. We termed it as ‘sanitizer of plastic products.’

 

What are the future growth prospects of the India’s masterbatch industry and the  challenges it faces?

Mr. Bhadauria: Future is good for companies that operates on fundamentals like transparency, product integrity and fiscal prudence. The industry is linked with polymer sector, which is projected to grow with the government investment in areas like transportation, infrastructure, agriculture, water storage etc. Masterbatch industry is growing at 8% annually and projected to grow 10% in the ongoing fiscal depending on how the virus spread tamed considering launching of the vaccination in India. 

 

One of the biggest challenges faced by the industry is the continuing shortage of basic raw material like polymer, titanium dioxide, carbon black etc. The situation worsens due to the supply chain disruption and the market would likely to take another quarter or even more to stabilise. Prices of some specific raw material are almost tripled. Raw material shortage is not India specific but a global phenomenon. Even after surge in prices, their availability is not guaranteed.  

 

Alok Masterbatches Pvt. Ltd.

C-65/1, Okhla Industrial Area,

Phase-2, New Delhi - 110020. India

Tel: +91-11-41612244/ 47; +91-11-41610333/ 34

E-mail: info@alokindustries.com

Website:  www.alokmasterbatches.com


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