Rajkot’s Vinayak Offset to invest in next phase in FY 2022-23

Sluggish market plus Covid-19 delay monocarton investments

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Hemang Shah, managing director of Vinayak Offset
Hemang Shah, managing director of Vinayak Offset

Rajkot-based Vinayak Offset plans to embark on a new multi-crore capital expenditure cycle for its packaging division in the 2022-23 financial year, Hemang Shah, managing director of Vinayak Offset, told Packaging South Asia. Planning to expand its carton printing for several years, it was delayed earlier by sluggish market conditions and then by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns over the past 17 months.

“We wanted to go in for the new expansion phase in the 2019-20 financial year, but due to sluggish market conditions, we then decided to postpone all investment plans. Then in 2020-21, we were hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues till today. There has been a good recovery in the 2021-22 financial year, but we want the market conditions to stabilize before deciding on any investments. So we hope to decide in the next financial year,” Shah said.

Vinayak Offset is among the leading print houses in the city of Rajkot in Gujarat in Western India. It is currently active in commercial printing and packaging, but it had significant plans for expansion in packaging printing, converting, and finishing. 

The commercial printing segment prints catalogs and brochures for customers in the real estate and ceramic tile sectors. Vinayak also prints leaflets, posters, folders, and visual aids. In the carton packaging segment, the company mainly services customers in the FMCG industry.

Shah had planned to buy a 7-color offset press. In the converting department, the company was looking to add a folder-gluer and an autoplaten die-cutter. At present, Vinayak Offset operates two offset presses – a Heidelberg and a Komori

Moreover, it was the first printer in India to buy a fully loaded Komori LSX 629, a 6-color UV press with coater, in 2016. The two multicolor presses are running at Vinayak’s plant at Lohanagar, Rajkot’s printing hub. The company also has a second plant outside the city that houses its finishing equipment.

Vinayak’s commercial print down, packaging robust 

According to Shah, the pandemic has had a severe impact on Vinayak’s commercial printing operations. At present, the company’s packaging division is the one doing the heavy lifting.

“The pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns have badly hit our commercial printing division. The business is down close to 90% compared with the pre-pandemic time. In addition, the real estate industry, which is one of our biggest consumers, has been under a major slowdown. This has had a big impact on our volumes,” he says.

According to him, the recovery in the commercial printing segment will be prolonged as the upcycle in real estate is neither imminent nor expected soon. Adding to the woes of the commercial print segment, it is still not clear when the schools will reopen fully.

Vinayak’s packaging printing division has recovered in recent months and is growing at a healthy pace. Shah forecasts that the industry will be back on track if the current recovery rate carries on for another six months.

At present, the company’s packaging division converts about 300-400 tons of paper and paperboard each month. “If the recovery continues and a third wave does not hit us, we expect our volumes in packaging printing to rise significantly. We hope to start converting about 800 to 1,000 tons every month by the end of the current financial year,” Shah 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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