‘Advent of Asia Pulp and Paper will bring more competitiveness in the domestic industry’: Vadiraj Kulkarni, CE, ITC - PSPD

- Paper Import Monitoring System (PIMS) is largely helping the paper industry

The Pulp and Paper Times recently met Mr Vadiraj Kulkarni, Divisional Chief Executive, ITC Ltd. (PSPD). We discussed the various insights into the Indian paper industry, demand growth, future demand prospects of writing and priting paper, PIMS & SUP-Ban. Here are his views:

January 2023 | The Pulp and Paper Times:

Q: Asia Pulp and Paper is setting up a massive paper-making infrastructure in Maharashtra (INDIA). What impact do you see from this new mega capacity of 1.2 million tonnes per annum? Will the market dynamics be under pressure? What impact do you calculate on the market?

One, India is a growth story. So India is going to grow in terms of consumption, including paper, packaging, tissue and all kinds of paper products. So one way, whenever a known foreign players have come into India, the domestic industry gets worried about what will happen to us and how the market share will change, et cetera. But I think it's also good because it will bring you more competitiveness in the domestic industry, and I hope that the new players also invest in plantations and creating suitable employment and with sustainable kind of practices. It will make the industry very vibrant and competitive.

Q: As the writing & printing paper manufacturing companies are already facing the demand crisis, a massive capacity is introduced to the market. How do you see the market condition in the next five years?

See, the demand crisis is temporary. Even if it is so in some paper segments, we are not seeing much demand contraction. And, we are looking at any of these new investments will take around four to five years to actualize. Consumption will grow, the demand will increase, and India is also an opportunity to export to many countries. So whatever investments we have made in the industry have done in India, I don't think will go wasted.

Q: What pricing scenario do you see in particular?

We will not comment.

Q: There is a recession prediction in 2023. So how would you see this recession?

See, whenever there is a recession; it will impact the entire globe. But, based on a lot of economics, India may not go through such a recessionary impact and India is quite resilient. So to that extent, even if India faces some headwinds, it will be minor, and we will spring back.

Q: Any new addition to ITC's product portfolio or anything?

Yeah, we are focused a lot on plastic substitution products. We already have a huge list of portfolio products and we're going to scale them up in the coming years.

Q: Do you think that Single Use Plastic (SUP) ban has benefited the paper industry? Because most of the players are not satisfied with the outcome of SUP.

Yeah, it will take time. See, these are very disruptive changes. The way enforcement happens in some countries, enforcement may not be so effective here (India) today. So I think it is beyond the regulations. I also think a lot of end users, consumers, and customers, if they are also committed to this action, will probably change happen, but we believe that change will happen. It will take longer.

Q: Last year, the Government of India implemented the Paper Import Monitoring System (PIMS) to check on imports. Some of the Paper Trader Association is saying that it is undoubtedly a curb on the import and is not providing a fair level playing field to traders.

I think it is (PIMS) largely helping the industry, and as association, IPMA has been asking this for a long time. So we are happy that it has been implemented

Web Title: ‘Advent of Asia Pulp and Paper will bring more competitiveness in the domestic industry’

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