APP at Paperex 2017

APP at Paperex 2017
Suresh Kilam

Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), the largest paper and pulp producer in the world, is an Indonesian company with significant presence in Indonesia, China, Western Europe and North America. The 40-year-old company deals in writing and printing paper, packaging boards and tissues. APP participated in Paperex 2017 with a motive to interact with customers, understand their needs in a better way, cater to their demands with existing solutions, and offer a glimpse of new products that will be launched by the company in the near future.

“Paperex is an excellent platform for knowledge sharing. Many prominent names are present at the event and one won’t get a better chance to interact with industry giants. Generally, none of us get a chance to interact with each other and share information,” said Suresh Kilam, executive director, Sinar Mas Group, Indonesia and China..

The company doesn’t have a manufacturing unit in India yet. It used to have one in Bhigwan near Pune, Maharashtra, which APP later sold to Ballarpur Industries Limited in 2001. Currently, APP only exports paper out of the above countries where they have manufacturing units. It also sells pulp as a raw material to the industry.

“My estimate is that the demand for paper in India in the next 7-10 years will double. India is a dynamic market. The current demand lies at 11.5 million tons, which will surely go up to the 24-25 million ton mark. However, there is a crunch in availability of raw material,” Kilam added.

Raw materials for the paper industry are classified into two types—virgin fiber, which is used for manufacturing writing and printing paper, and OCC paper (also known as waste paper) used for packaging products. India lacks these raw materials and hence will have to depend upon imports from other countries.

China currently has around 3000 paper mills out of which 10 prominent ones control 80% of the market share. In the coming days, India might also witness the same with a handful of players enjoying 80-90% of the market share. The overall production of writing and printing paper is declining by 1.8% annually.

“Ten years down the line, the writing and printing paper industry in Western Europe and North America is most likely to shut down,” said Kilam. The Indian paper industry is growing by 7-8% annually, of which the writing and printing paper segment is witnessing a lopped growth of only 3%.

Most of the upcoming innovations, according to the spokesperson, is going to happen in the paper packaging segment or tissue manufacturing segment. Going forward, APP has plans to set up a corrugation plant in India. The company feels that the packaging industry in India has a good potential and hence it looks forward to being a part of the Indian packaging industry. APP has already identified a few locations for its upcoming corrugation plant and is looking forward to set up a paper mill in India in the next 3-4 years.  

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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