While paper demand is strong, India’s largest paper manufacturer weakens

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While Indian offset printing paper together with liner, coated stock and paperboard is in robust demand, India’s erstwhile largest producer is weakening. Lenders have taken control of BILT under debt restructuring in May 2017, converting their loans into a 51% stake. Meanwhile, the parent group of BILT , Avantha Power and Infrastructure is at the National Company Law Tribunal over debt default. There are various ideas about the group’s losses in its various businesses and ambitions.

Commercial offset printers and book printing exporters have been crying out for offset paper while prices have risen enormously in the past three years. Capacities have been added by mills such as JK Paper, Century, ITC, Emami and TNPL. International Paper, which bought AP Paper several years ago, has also managed to make that company profitable. While it is true that most of the investments are for value-added paperboard, Asian companies are also investing in new mills in the country. The perennial complaint that India is a fiber-short country has also been proven to be erroneous by mills that have assisted plantations with saplings and have been able to create sustainable fiber resources. BILT is unfortunately a perennial sad and dissappointing story for Indian printers.

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Naresh Khanna
Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.

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