In this interview with IPF, Nikunj Dhanuka elaborates on the market dynamics of phthalic anhydride industry and growth plans of his company.
What is the current Indian industrial structure with regards to the production and consumption of phthalic anhydride (PAN)?
Total demand for phthalic anhydride in India is approximately 350,000 metric tonne (MT). IG Petrochemicals Ltd is the leading player in this industry with production capacity of 1,69,110 MT, with exports accounting for 30,000 MT. Other players include Thirumalai Chemicals, Asian Paints (mostly for captive consumption), Schenectady Chemicals (erstwhile Herdelia Chemicals), etc. Imports have been rising continuously in the last 3 years – growing from 35,400 MT in FY15 to 85,000 MT in FY17.
What are the different industries that IGPL caters to?
We are the largest producer of PAN in India having annual capacity of 1,69,110 MT. PAN has wide range of applications. Some of the goods where these chemicals are used, include PVC and plasticisers (used in making plastic and polyols), unsaturated polyester resins (used for manufacture of fiberglass - reinforced plastic for the automobile sector, construction, marine and transportation industries); paints & coatings, copper pthalocyanine (used for making inks and photovoltaic cells), personal & home care products, shoes, wires & cables, pipes, hoses, packaging (boxes, containers, packaging films & packaging materials), medical & surgical equipment, and textile dyes.
The company is equipped with one of the largest manufacturing capacities at a single location, how does this benefit the customer?
We are located at Taloja in Maharashtra. More than 80-85% of the demand for PAN comes from Northern and Western parts of India. This helps us reduce our logistics cost and we are able to supply faster to the end consumer. Our source of raw material, orthoxylene (OX), is Reliance which is also very nearly to our manufacturing capacities. We are the lowest cost producers of PAN across the globe.
What are the challenges involved in the production of PAN? How does IGPL overcome them?
IGPL has been in the phthalic anhydride industry for the last 25 years and have expertise knowledge of the manufacture of PAN. We have not faced any problems while producing PAN during this period.
How does IGPL makes sure that the process involved to produc PAN is eco- friendly?
As a company, we have given due importance to the environment from beginning and have always reengineered our process to reduce the wastes. The company has processes where we treat the wastewater and recover few chemicals from it and sell in the market. After recovering all the chemicals, the water which is left can be reused again for our production process.
Is the company also catering to the export market?
Yes, we do have customer base in India as we all outside. The company has the ability to cater to local as well as international market. Phthalic anhydride is used for all the products as mentioned above. PAN is required by Indian as well as international markets. IGPL started as a EOU in 1992 (catering upto 90% of the Middle East market) and converted into DTA in 2009. Today 20% is exported to Middle East
What have been IGPL’s recent achievements in terms of customer satisfaction and R&D?
Our recovery processes are better than others. We have become the lowest cost producer of PAN in the world. A primary goal of IGPL is to achieve the highest standards of quality in our business unit’s practices and operations without compromise. Quality performance is one of the cornerstones of our company’s culture and is considered a personal responsibility of all employees.
IGPL is an ISO accredited company - ISO 9001:2008 (Quality Management Systems) and ISO 14001:2004 (Environment Management System). IGPL’s management is fully committed to the quality policy through active participation in quality improvement activities.
How does the company relate to ‘Make in India’ initiative and what are its future plans?
We have acquired the maleic anhydride plant from Mysore Petrochemicals Ltd as slum sale with effect from April 1, 2017. We may add some capacity by de-bottlenecking the existing plant. With the Make in India initiative, we can become very competitive in the quality as well as the pricing so that we need not depend on cheap imports.