Indian packaging firm eyes African market

India's leading flexible packaging company UFLEX is all set to make ambitious forays into Africa with its state-of-the-art plant in Egypt starting production this month. "We have set up a manufacturing unit in Egypt for producing flexible packaging material such as polyester films which would help us to cater to African countries more efficiently. We see Africa emerging as a big market," Ashok Chaturvedi, chairman and managing director of UFLEX, told IANS at the company's Dubai plant. In the first phase commencing this month, UFLEX's manufacturing facility in Egypt would produce 35,000 tonnes per annum (TPA) of Biaxally-oriented Poly Propylene (BOPP) film. "The second phase of the project is expected to be operational by the third quarter of the financial year 2011-12," Chaturvedi said. "Altogether in both the phases we are investing US$135 million in this facility," he added. UFLEX already has three manufacturing units in India. The company has overseas manufacturing facilities in Dubai and Mexico. It is also enhancing the production capacity at the Mexico plant. "With the completion of the second phase of the Egyptian unit by December 2011 and that of the Mexico project by June 2011, UFLEX is expecting the share of its international revenues to increase from the current 43 percent to 60 percent by the year 2013," Chaturvedi said. "Our Egyptian facility would mainly cater to Africa, Southern Europe and countries which are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)." "The overseas production facilities have high quality of power supply which results in higher productivity and lower per unit cost of production. The lower tax regime also benefits," he added. "Also we are setting up overseas facilities in countries with trade pacts as they allow access to large and profitable markets," Chaturvedi said. At present the company has annual revenues of more than Rs.30 billion ($646 million) and is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange in India.

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