Uflex forays into flexible liquid packaging with Rs 5.8-bn Sanand plant

With the patent period for flexible liquid packaging ending, Indian packaging major Uflex Limited has commissioned its first liquid packaging facility at Sanand for an investment of Rs 5.8 billion.     

With an annual production capacity of seven billion packs from Sanand, Uflex has commenced talks with major soft drink, juice and other FMCG players for supply. Already, Delhi-based Bankey Bihari Foods' Fresca brand of juices has started using the holographic packaging from this month. 

Apparently, leading global packaging player Tetra Pak held the patent, which expired recently, paving the way for Uflex to foray into the segment.   

"We already package powder, semi-liquid (viscous), solids, semi-solids but not liquids so far. With Sanand, we have ventured into flexible liquid packaging. We waited for patent period to get over and this was the right time to enter. However, we have also brought in innovation in form of asepto holographic packaging," said Ashwani Kumar Sharma, president & CEO (new business initiatives), Uflex Ltd. 

While the overall capacity at the Sanand facility is that of seven billion packs per annum, the company can currently produce 3.5 billion. To achieve full capacity utilisation of seven billion packs per annum, the company intends to add one more printing line in the near future.  

According to Sharma, Uflex is counting on the rapidly growing Indian liquid packaging market, estimated at 10-11 billion packs per annum. 

"We have already begun talks with major soft drinks, juice and other FMCG players. We also have 25 customers in liquid flexible packaging but the lots are small. We have also started getting export orders," said Sharma.

Having commissioned the plant recently, in the next 12 months, Uflex is looking at producing two billion packs from Sanand. "At peak capacity of seven billion packs per annum, the flexible liquid packaging business should cross Rs 20 billion and we hope to close it in less than 4 years," Sharma added.

With a topline of Rs 6.5 billion, Uflex has manufacturing facilities of packaging films in India, Dubai, Mexico, Egypt, Poland and USA, at a current capacity of 337,000 tonnes per annum (TPA). It has facilities of packaging products at multiple locations in India at 100,000 TPA capacity.     

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