J K Pater Ltd, among India's lagest paper mills, now plans to develop tree plantations in Myanmar to ensure regular and sustainable supply of wood pulp, a major raw material for making paper. In an interaction with media here, Harsh Pati Singhania, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the company said, "To ensure supply of raw material, we have started on a pilot basis developing a plantation in Myanmar and after seeing results we will develop that on a larger scale." He also said that going ahead the company would look at developing plantations in other countries as well.
J K Paper, as its spokesperson said, is the first company to develop plantations outside India. In India companies are not permitted to develop plantations, but J K Paper has been helping farmers in developing plantations and last year gave 8 crore seedlings to farmers to grow trees which supplies them wood pulp. Paper companies enter in to buyback arrangement with farmers but that is not legally enforceable.
Earlier Ballarpur paper through its holding company had acquired Sabah Forest Industries in Malaysia, which had its plantations but last year it exited that venture.
Meanwhile according to Singhania, paper mills have represented the Government to allow them to grow trees for procuring wood pulp in a desert area.
He said that paper companies have now achieved a turnaround as costs have come down, though competition from import has continued and pricing of paper has to be competitive to landed cost of paper. J K has also started outsourcing paper to sell under its own brand but share of such paper is not big. He declined to give revenue and profit growth for the year but said, "We hope to continue growth."