Bhalachandra Nikumb of Kodak India on the Covid-19 pandemic

Newspapers recovering, commercial slow and cartons moderate to good

Kodak India
Bhalachandra Nikumb, managing director, Kodak India

Indian Printer and Publisher asked Kodak India’s managing director, Bhalachandra Nikumb a few questions about the company’s challenges and views of the pandemic and its effect on the print industry.

Indian Printer and Publisher – How has Kodak fared during the pandemic in India in offset plates, inkjet and software?

Bhalachandra Nikumb – India went under nationwide lockdown beginning on 25 March 2020. Kodak India started operations from 1st April onwards to serve its newspaper and offset packaging customers that were classified under the category of essential services. Since April, we have seen our business growing gradually on a month over month basis. During Q4 we expect business to be in the range of 75-80% pre-Covid-19 level.

IPP In offset plates how is the consumption in a. newspapers; b. commercial and book presses; and, c. in the carton packaging industry?

Bhalachandra Nikumb – Newspaper [offset plate] consumption was badly affected initially because of lower circulation and pagination but now we can see the recovery due to the ongoing festival season. As far as the commercial and book presses, the overall consumption consumption in this category is very low and we expect recovery in the coming months. In the carton packaging industry the consumption in this category is moderate to good, and it is expected to continue to grow. Our Kodak Sonora Process Free Plates, continue to do well in this segment.

IPPWhat is the overall outlook for the year? Calendar or FY?

Bhalachandra Nikumb – Because of the prolonged lockdown, Kodak’s 2020 business was badly affected versus 2019. We are optimistic on the revival of the business for 2021. n

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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