Companies

Paper sector outlook positive, says Kasi Viswanathan

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on January 17, 2018 Published on August 23, 2016

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Price of paper likely to firm up

In spite of a number of headwinds, the paper sector outlook in the country is positive and the prices are likely to firm up during the course of the year. The market has been growing steadily at 5-7 per cent annually, according to KS Kasi Viswanathan, Managing Director of Seshasayee Paper and Boards Ltd.

During an interaction with the paper industry veteran on the sidelines of a CII meet on energy conservation, Viswanathan, who is also the Chairman of CII Papertech 2016, said the paper industry has been facing difficulties due to paper products getting imported following duty reduction and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

“The current duty structure has been favourable to importers and the industry has represented to the Government to bring about changes. There is tremendous pressure on domestic companies due to imported material,” he explained.

The performance of the paper sector in the country varies depending upon the segment be it newsprint, speciality paper and packaging material. Most segments are growing. Over the years, it was predicted that the demand for paper will come down due to computerisation and paperless offices. However, India being a large under-penetrated country, the usage of paper and paper products in schools, educational institutions and government offices and corporate entities would continue to help the sector grow by more than 5-6 per cent per annum.

Referring to the difficulties faced in the sector, he said most of the large and medium-sized paper companies/mills have managed to secure their raw material through various sustainability initiatives. However, a number of agro-based small units have faced closure due to raw material issues and also competition.

The usage of waste paper as a material for production of paper has been gradually growing over the years. It has gone up from about 33 per cent to about 55 per cent. There are indications that this is likely to go up to 65 per cent over the next few years. While paper recycling has its own issues, but if properly managed, would secure the raw material requirement, he said.

The domestic paper consumption is about 13 million tonnes annually and there are indications that this number is likely to steadily go up over the next few years. The growth will particularly come from tissue and packaging industry, the latter driven by various segments, including e-commerce.

On Seshasayee business, the Managing Director said, “The company’s focus is on consolidation of its business following an acquisition of a mill in South. We have a capacity of 1.80 lakh tonnes per annum and are working at 100 per cent capacity utilisation.”

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Published on August 23, 2016
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