Thimmaiah Napanda: “We are investing heavily on capex to expand our capacity”

Prior to his appointment as the managing director and CEO of Manjushree Technopack, Thimmaiah Napanda was from the automobile industry for 30 years. He says, “The automotive industry is cyclical and goes through a difficult market condition every four to five years; I have seen such cycles in the past and have led my companies through them successfully.” While speaking to Abhay Avadhani of WhatPackaging?, he says, “The packaging industry is going through difficult times due to inflation and volatility.”

24 Feb 2023 | By Abhay Avadhani

Thimmaiah Napanda - The packaging industry is going through difficult times due to inflation and volatility

Abhay Avadhani (AA): What is the update on the facility in Silvassa which was to boost production by 20,000 TPA capacity?
Thimmaiah Napanda (TN):
As of now, we have 24 factories spread across India. We are in the process of consolidating a few and building new green field facilities in newer locations. Our Bidadi factory is world class. Now we have set a target to increase the level of the rest of the factories. We want to be the benchmark in the industry in the coming years.

AA: Manjushree Technopack (MTL) purchased a majority share in Amritsar-headquartered firm, National Plastics and then there was the recent acquisition of Classy Kontainers (CK). What next?
TN:
Both our pumps and dispensing, and CK business units are doing well. We are continuing our effort to identify strategic fit companies which will enhance our value and also can provide end-to-end solutions to our customers.

AA: In 2022, you acquired Hitesh Plastics based in Jalgaon in Maharashtra. Was this a synergistic acquisition to provide caps and closures in MTL’s product suite for the beverages segment?
TN:
Yes, every acquisition we do is strategic in nature. Also, it will provide synergy and complement our existing business. We are very excited about our caps and closure business (erstwhile Hitesh Plastics), you will see more traction which is related to this business in the coming years.

AA: How do you identify the companies to acquire?
TN:
All our acquisitions are driven by our overall strategy of the company. The key themes are strategic fit, complementing the existing business, entering new segments. Ultimately it has to provide value to our stakeholders – customers, employees and shareholders.

AA: Currently, Advent holds about 77% in the company. Going forward, what is the master plan for the rigid plastic packaging industry in India?
TN:
Advent owns more than 95% in MTL. We are the largest in the industry and have very high aspirations and we will drive towards exceeding that aspiration.

AA: What is Manjushree Technopack’s plan for 2023?
TN:
We are continuing our growth trajectory both through organic and inorganic routes. We have engaged McKinsey to help us develop a fiveyear strategy and execution, and the outlook is looking promising. We are also investing heavily on capex to expand our capacity and footprint.

AA: You were onboarded during the toughest time that the industry has seen. How did you cope?
TN:
At Manjushree, we are into multiple products and multiple segments and hence, able to overall manage and grow. I was very sceptical before joining and took a lot of time to make the decision, as everything is new to me - market, industry and ownership pattern. However, after eight months into the job, I can say that I made the right decision and thoroughly enjoyed the job. I get excited about the opportunity and challenges and am happy to state that there is plenty for me here. I wish I had four additional hours in a day.

AA: You have been in manufacturing while executing green field projects.
TN:
We have the ability to invest in innovation, circular economy, speed to market and provide end-to-end solutions to the customers. We are now offering the entire design to supply solutions to our customers, where they can just give us the requirement and we will do everything - designing packaging solutions, rapid prototyping, piloting, sample batch, mould design and development, start production and ramp up.

AA: Any learnings which you can share with the WhatPackaging? readers?
TN:
We have strategic tie-ups with established and reputed mould-making companies and equipment suppliers for various technologies. That is helping us to reduce the time to market and also provide the highest level of quality and performance.

AA: Any specific challenges that you have encountered with the Indian packaging industry?
TN:
The rigid packaging industry is very challenging. The industry is fragmented and has a low entry barrier and hence, you see many companies supporting the industry. As a big corporation, we have a different cost structure to provide overall value to the customer and are challenged by small proprietor-run companies. They are very efficient in their cost and challenge us all the time. However, they have limited capability to scale up and provide value to the customer in the long run. I feel the industry will consolidate over the next few years and we are well-positioned to serve our customers and provide value in the long run.

AA: How do initiatives such as Born Again, provide an avenue for brands and manufacturers to source a consistent supply of high-quality recycled PP and HDPE plastic?
TN:
Born Again is a registered trademark of MTL and was launched exclusively to drive sustainability initiatives under a brand, responsibly. We believe, putting best of our efforts and initiatives “to join hands with upstream and downstream partners to make plastics to “Born Again” brand will bring assurance and commitment externally and internally, upstream, and downstream in this evolving circular business model that is evolving.

AA: Manjushree inaugurated a recycling plant in Bidadi Industrial Area in 2020. What is the update today?
TN:
The plant was launched in 2020, at the peak of the pandemic. After getting control of complete situation from pandemic, team has done an excellent job in developing process, good quality resins, make models and best practices using inhouse technical, material and R&D capabilities and developed PCR resin grades for paint pail industry, lubricant oil industry, laundry care industry, and personal care industry. We have supplied more than 1500MT of PCR resins commercially for a few brand owners. And growth continues. We have developed and qualified PCR HDPE grades for lubes, laundry care and personal segments and PP PCR Grades for paints and lube pails. We are preparing our business systems both on conversion side and PCR resin making side to face 2024-25 EPR regulation.

AA: Manjushree intended to set up multiple recycling plants across India over the next two years with a total capacity of close to 20,000 MT. What’s the update?
TN:
Yes, expanding our recycling footprint is one of the strategy initiatives and we are executing this plan.

AA: The 2021 EPR guidelines are stringent. In this sense, what are Manjushree’s sustainability targets?
TN:
Expanding on post-consumer resins for MTL sustainability targets and to help brand owners meet their sustainability targets is one of our priorities.

MTL won two prisms at the PrintWeek Awards
Message to the plastic packaging industry:
Together we need to make the industry environmentally sustainable and hence build a circular economy by reusing every plastic being produced. We are putting lots of emphasis to this initiative. If you see, we are one of the very few companies who have our own recycling unit. We collect waste (PCR) from the market, convert into granules and use in the container produced by us. We offer end to end solutions to our customers in the circular economy of plastic.

Circular economy: Manjushree under “Born Again” brand name has launched postconsumer resins under circular economy model and supplying to key brand owners. Manjushree, with decades long experience in packaging innovation and conversion, has vertically integrated postconsumer resins production and supply capability and built a circular economy model. Unique presence on both sides of the circle places Manjushree in a strong position as a preferred one stop source for packaging innovation to conversion to post-consumer resins to complete circular model.

Major challenges to transition towards circular economy: The circular change is still not clear as it is in the industry at the rate of change to EPR regulation to be active in 2024-25. One and a half years to create, launch and implement this change is not enough. MTL is closely observing evolving EPR regulations and being an important stakeholder with the brand owner bringing the change in the market without jeopardising the reputation of MTL and brand owners. Controlled feedstock sourcing requires additional value addition in feedstock. Driving product and commercial excellence is one of the challenges. With the packaging conversion and PCR resin experience and market reputation, we are closely observing the changes and ensuring measures to drive value to all stakeholders.

Latest Poll

The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

Results

The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

Shortcomings in EPR policy

 

21.05%

Inadequate infrastructure

 

10.53%

Shortage of recycling firms

 

21.05%

Lack of consumer awareness

 

47.37%

Total Votes : 19

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