Profitability in the past 12 months
As a trader, the past 12 months have been a mixed bag. On the one hand, there has been a steady rise in prices in the market. On the other, customers have reduced volumes or have changed usage pattern. The volatility in global markets and the exchange rate fluctuations have also affected profitability.
Paper grades, weights, sizes
There has been a conscious move towards lower grammage and smaller sizes to help reduce the cost on per printed book. So, in future, standard gsm and standard sizes may not move that well from warehouses. We have also seen increased demand in disposable products market due to the implementation of plastic ban in many states. So, demand for grades for carry bags, cups, etc, have increased.
We work with customers to optimise their gsm and sizes and grades for different projects. In packaging, many customers have started using lower gsm of higher quality products, resulting in lower cost and better end product. We try to spend a lot of time with customers’ sales teams in educating them about various grades and applications.
Chinese ban on imports
The ban was a dominant factor in all market actions, such as the rise in pulp prices, increase in waste-based products like newsprint, Kraft, grey board, increased exports from India and so on. In 2019, we expect the market to stabilise and expect it to function in a much more orderly manner.
DGAD’s anti-dumping duty
It doesn’t affect the printing and converting community directly, as the anti-dumping duty is only on copier paper. By fixing a base price, the government has tried to create a level playing field for both imports and domestic players.
We are promoting a range of cellulose-based packaging film which has multiple applications in packaging.
Paper recycling in India
Though our waste collection rate is low compared to the global level, a lot of paper companies and big converters like Tetrapak are taking initiatives to increase waste collection. I believe with the growth in modern and organised trade, waste collection rates will improve.
Paper Day plan for 2019
Our chairman Satyapal Gupta has been one of the guiding forces behind the Paper Day initiative. We actively take part in all Paper Day activities in various regional offices. We also organise awareness meets with our customers and at schools. We are still drawing up the plans for 2019, but we hope this will be an even bigger event this year.
Paper appreciation drive in India
I believe the younger generation needs to be made aware about the importance of paper and its benefits. Paper appreciation courses or fun with paper kind of activities will really help build a positive image about the industry.
Paper prices in 2019
Prices should remain stable in 2019. We may see some increase in the second quarter after the massive reductions in many grades in the first quarter.
Value addition in the face of price rise
We have taken initiatives to add value for our customers. This includes gsm substitution with a move to lower gsm, encouraging use of bulk packed paper, which reduces wastage and increases production efficiency. We also work closely with our customers to optimise their purchase timing and help them secure long-term contracts with suppliers to insulate them from price variances.
We use barcodes for all incoming and outgoing stock. As of now, only our internal sales team can track the details.
Technical team to share paper gyan
We do undertake regular trainings for our sales team so they can help educate customers about right grain direction, right usage of adhesives, common printing defects, etc.
We also organise courses for our customers to increase their knowledge about paper and its properties.
Paper shortage before elections
I believe Lok Sabha elections will definitely bring a spurt in demand and will help the mills tide over the off season. This quarter has seen very subdued demand, so I don’t believe there will be any major shortage in most of the grades.