There is considerable expansion, horizontal diversification, and new investment coming into the Indian packaging industry. This is not restricted to flexible packaging only where several large investments in biaxial, blown, and cast film lines have been added in recent months along with some of the aluminium foil lines and aseptic liquid packaging commissioned in the past year. There are new investments and greenfield paperboard packaging plants along with horizontal growth and diversification taking place across corrugated, litho-laminated, and monocartons.
Among the furious activity, the acquisition of a strategic stake in Rich Printers PL by Ansa Folding Carton (AFC) was announced in early January 2024. Both companies are headquartered in Mumbai and the investment by Ansa Folding Carton values Rich Printers at an enterprise value of Rs 117 crore. Neither the investment nor details of the stake have been revealed thus far.
Ansa Folding Carton is a new company incorporated in April 2023, with no financial data to show on the Registrar of Companies website. However, the same owners have another company APRN Enterprises PL that was formerly known as Ansapack PL whose last available ROC figures for 31 March 2022 show a total revenue of Rs 149.50 crore and an EBITDA of Rs 14.19 crore and a net profit of Rs 1.09 crore. Rich Printers PL’s ROC figures are up to date as of 31 March 2023 and show a total revenue of Rs 67.40 crore; an EBITDA of Rs. 5.83 crore; and, a net profit of Rs 0.25 crore.
Gautam Agarwal, managing director of AFC, states, “We have been actively pursuing deals for several months, and we will continue to do so. Inorganic growth is crucial for organizational expansion, and it aligns with our vision for the future. At the same time, we will also remain focused on the organic way of growth,” Agarwal told Packaging South Asia that the company is open to more acquisitions if the opportunity arises.
The combined entity will operate five paper conversion manufacturing plants in India, potentially making it one of the significant pharmaceutical folding carton producers in the country with plants in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, and Sikkim.
The acquisition seeks to position AFC as a major player in the pharmaceutical folding carton segment. “Rich was a great fit for AFC. They bring not just assets and technology but a culture of integrity. With 90% of our business in the pharma packaging segment, the alignment with Rich was a strategic move that we carefully evaluated and embraced,” Agarwal stated.
Capacity addition and industry consolidation
Ansa Folding Carton is committed to doubling its size in the years to come. The company says it derives about 15-20% of its business from the overseas market and hopes to increase this share in the coming years. “Our capital expenditure plans are already underway. The combined entity will have a conversion capacity of 40,000 tons by the end of the next fiscal year – FY2025,” said Agarwal, suggesting that this would be a 40-45% increase from the current capacity. He also said that expansion to South India would be the company’s next move.
Reflecting on the broader packaging industry, Agarwal foresees further consolidation. He believes the industry, particularly the paper-based packaging segment, will witness smaller companies merging into larger entities,
“The paper-based packaging space is still fragmented with a large number of companies below the Rs 300-400-crore turnover mark. I believe these smaller companies will continue to fold into larger firms, to create bigger companies. So, we have to mature as an industry. The good thing is that we have witnessed good momentum on this front in the last 24 to 36 months, and if this momentum continues, consolidation will also continue. Capital will find good players, and money [investment] would not be a problem,” Agarwal said.
This is an updated version of an early story about this stake acquisition and consolidation in the Indian packaging industry.