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.

 

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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