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Huhtamaki expands in India

Amar Chhajed has been promoted to president of Huhtamaki PPL’s labeling businesses in India

Indian pressure-sensitive label manufacturer Webtech Labels has merged with Huhtamaki PPL. 

After divesting a 51 percent share in Webtech Labels in 2012, Webtech promoters merged their company into Huhtamaki PPL by exchanging their 49 percent stake with a share in Huhtamaki PPL in April 2017. ‘Now Webtech runs as a division of Huhtamaki PPL in India,’ says Amar Chhajed, who has been promoted to president of Huhtamaki PPL’s labeling businesses in India.

Since 2017, Huhtamaki’s entire labeling portfolio – which includes shrink sleeves, wraparound labels, in-mold labels and cut-form labels – were consolidated along with the pressure-sensitive labels business under the leadership of Chhajed. 

Huhtamaki also acquired 100 percent stakes in a major flexible packaging manufacturer, Positive Packaging, whose Indian business was merged with Huhtamaki PPL in April 2017. With this acquisition, Huhtamaki gained access to all operations of Positive Packaging in India, the Middle East and Africa. 

In the fast-growing Indian market, Huhatmaki PPL opened a new plant in Guwahati in March 2017 where it manufactures flexible packaging. Sensing the potential in the north eastern market, the company also inaugurated its new pressure-sensitive label manufacturing unit in Sikkim to cater to the region. Spread across an area of 20,000 sq ft (1,860 sqm), this plant houses the latest Omet iFlex press that was bought at Labelexpo India 2016. The company now runs five dedicated pressure-sensitive label manufacturing plants in the country with one each in Baddi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Sikkim. The company primarily manufactures pressure-sensitive labels only in India. 

‘A lot of effort and investment goes into setting up a new plant. It certainly helps that we have a very good team that strives to succeed in the business. With five plants, the idea is to be close to the customer. Huhtamaki PPL has a key interest to develop and grow the labeling business in India and expand the reach of its products in the global market,’ says Chhajed. The company is focusing on markets where it can deliver value-added labels within the shortest lead times. 

It produces more than 20 million sqm of pressure-sensitive labels on more than 20 UV flexo presses from Bobst, Gallus, Mark Andy and Omet as well as three digital label printing presses from HP Indigo and Xeikon.

Talking of digital technology, Chhajed says, ‘Digital has a very important role to play but the market is still evolving. Consumers may be ready but brand owners are yet not fully aligned with the capabilities of what digital printing can do for their brands. 

Many of the digital presses in the country are not being utilized to their full capacity. We have to work towards marketing digital. We all need to “think digital”. Brand owners will be willing to pay the price once they understand the value creation possibilities with digital printing technology.’