Udaipur’s Miraj Multicolour sees minimal impact of second lockdown

Leading carton converter sees a quick exit from the second lockdown

Miraj Multicolour
Miraj Multicolour diversified in the first wave of the pandemic and is better positioned to bounce back from the second wave

Udaipur-based carton printing and converting company Miraj Multicolour has not seen any major disruptions in its operations due to the second wave of COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdowns, said KG Sharma, director, Miraj Multicolour. The Rajasthan government imposed certain restrictions around the middle of April to stop the spread of the virus. 

“The second wave of the pandemic and the resultant lockdown have not impacted our operations. Firstly, the lockdown this time is not as strict as that we saw last year. Secondly, our company has a diversified customer base, so if some customers in one industry are impacted, others make up for the shortfall,” Sharma says.

Miraj was severely impacted during the lockdown imposed in March last year, and the company took a bit of a hit in April and May. Sharma says that during the first lockdown, the company mainly was printing and converting ice cream cartons. Due to the strict lockdown last year, demand for ice creams saw a significant fall. 

“We learnt a very important lesson during the first lockdown that the company should not be overly dependent on one set of industries. That is when we decided that we will diversify our customer base. And that has helped us during the current lockdown,” Sharma says. 

KG Sharma, director, Miraj Multicolour
KG Sharma, director, Miraj Multicolour

The company acquired customers in many new segments, such as FMCG, personal care, and engineering. As a result, Miraj witnessed robust growth in the FMCG segment. Its presence in the FMCG and personal care segments was negligible until before last year’s lockdown, but now these verticals are doing very well.

The company has also followed strict safety protocols and has not seen any instances of infection among its workforce. “We developed a very elaborate system and have followed it strictly, and that is why our workforce is safe,” Sharma adds. 

Impressive growth and expansion of Miraj Multicolour

Madan Paliwal founded Miraj Multicolour as a book printing and stationery item manufacturing company in 2001. It migrated to the packaging printing and converting business in 2011 and has since expanded quickly and aggressively. The packaging business, which is growing rapidly, is now the Group’s primary focus area. The company’s state-of-the-art carton production plant is the first such packaging plant in the region and one of the first in Rajasthan. It processes 2,000 tons of paper and paperboard every month and supplies various types of cartons to customers across the country.

After commissioning a brand-new Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 102 7-color plus coater UV combi offset press in July 2019, Miraj Multicolour strengthened its converting department for monocartons and corrugated cartons with a Bobst diecutter and a Bobst folder gluer. The company recently added a new Bobst Novacut 106 E 3.0 die cutter and a new Bobst Ambition 106 A2 folder gluer with a collection table and an attachment for making corrugated boxes.

For corrugated and litho laminated cartons, Miraj has added and commissioned a Zhongke flute laminator, a Zhongke stripping machine, and a stripping machine from Suba Solutions. These installations took place in the past two months in the last quarter of the 2020 calendar year.

Currently, Miraj operates three Heidelberg offset presses, five die cutters and folder gluers, and two flute laminators. 

Further expansion in 2021-2022 

According to Sharma, Miraj is planning further additions to its manufacturing arsenal in the current 2021-2022 financial year. 

“Our company has seen consistent growth in the last few years despite the pandemic. We witnessed a drop in business in the first half of last financial year, but those losses were made in the second half as cases declined and the economy opened. We are very bullish about the current year as we see the second wave ebbing soon. Vaccination drive is also likely to quicken from July onward. Keeping this in mind, we will be bringing in one more printing and converting line this year,” Sharma concludes. 

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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