Indian packaging firm sets up U.S. unit

Thursday, 28 August 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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NOW YORK: An Indian specialty packaging company listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange has set up a $25-million laminated tube manufacturing unit in the U.S.

Essel Propack's plant in Danville, Virginia, is its first in the U.S. and the 17th worldwide. It will supply tubes to Proctor and Gamble's facilities in the U.S. and Canada.

At a press conference at the consulate general of India, Ashok Goel, vice chairman of Essel Propoack, said the company has a 30 percent global market share in laminated tubes and that the target was to take it up to 50 percent by 2005.

"The factory in Danville is our first in the U.S., but not the last. We see a potential for sizeable growth in the North American market," Goel told IANS on the sidelines of the conference.

"Out of 97 people at the Danville facility, 94 are American citizens."

Consul General Pramathesh Rath said: "We have seen Indian companies in sectors such as IT and financial services establish offices in the U.S. But this is for the first time that a real Indian manufacturer is setting up operations.

"It is encouraging to note that Indian manufacturers have begun to take their first cautious steps overseas, particularly the U.S."

The Essel Group that has interests in communications, media, tourism, real estate and trading, among other sectors, promoted Essel Propack in 1984. Apart from India, it has units in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Germany, Egypt, Nepal, China, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

Essel Propack's first overseas operations were in 1993 in Egypt, followed by a wholly owned subsidiary in China in 1997.

In 2000, the company acquired the tube manufacturing operations of Propack AG, a Swiss multinational, to become the world's largest laminated tube company.

Essel now has a manufacturing capacity of 3.5 billion tubes per annum and its net sales stood at 4.67 billion (about $100 million) last year. The company's products are used by dental care, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, food and household products industries.

Source: IANS
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