Leading paper manufacturers look to acquire SPM

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Leading paper manufacturers look to acquire SPM

Leading paper companies are interested in acquiring Telengana-based Sirpur Paper Mills, which is currently undergoing insolvency proceedings at the Hyderabad bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). SPM is currently owned by Ranjan Kumar Poddar and Devashish Poddar who took over management from the CK Birla group in 1994, which purchased the company in 1950. Said to be in the fray are paper manufacturers who in the main are enjoying some buoyancy in the domestic paper market. According to the financial press, these include the ITC Group’s paper division, JK Paper, West Coast Paper Mills and the Kohinoor Group.

The deadline for receiving expressions of interest ended in December, and the deadline for binding bids is later this month. So far none of the companies said to be interested have answered queries by the financial press as to their interest.

The last available revenue figures for Sirpur that are available on the Moneycontrol website are for the financial year ending 31 March 2014, which show a revenue of Rs. 430.59 crore with a loss of Rs. 90.98 crore. The company which increased its annual capacity to 138,300 tons is said to have 3,000 employees. The mill shut operations in 2014 after reporting a loss in successive quarters, for which the management blamed rising raw material costs. Apparently, the Telangana government has assured that all necessary efforts would be undertaken to revive the ailing company.

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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