India is strategically important market: Eddie Wang, Senior Vice President, Asia South, Borouge

  • June 25, 2023

What new products you are launching in the Indian market?   

Our products are focused on several segments, mainly packaging, sustainability, and circularity. For example, we have a mono-material solution for packaging that enhances recyclability. The other part of our business is mainly focused on infrastructure, including pipelines and NEG which is the cable transporting the electricity. We have a lot of products to support the water safety programme, automotive, medical, and agriculture. We built 900 greenhouses in Jaipur, Rajasthan to help farmers enjoy better crop efficiency, water conservation, and farming efficiency. 

You look after the South Asian market. What are your India plans for 2023? 

India is clearly one of the most strategic markets for us. We are a Middle-East and Asia Pacific market company and we are currently among top five Polyolefins providers in the market. 

The South Asian market is leading the growth engine of the world Polyolefins market and within this market, India is the hottest spot. After meeting all sets of people including our customers, we have seen a lot of positive outlook. Our customers and stakeholders in the recycling industry are positive about the growth story. These include a few key drivers of growth among which the number one is headroom of the consumer. 

India over the last several years accumulated the growing consumption power of the middle class. This can grow only further. Another factor is the huge focus by the government on infrastructure, as witnessed in the recent budget. In this category, we have quality product offerings in gas, water, and energy projects. In downstream sub-segments, we have found whether it is consumer or B2B industry customer perspective, the requirement for premium grade is growing strongly. Going by our innovation capacity and commitment to sustainability, this will be our strength to serve the Indian market better. 

There are a lot of manufacturers in India which focus on Polypropylene and Polyethylene. How are you cooperating or competing with them considering there is a shortage? 

Rightly so, India is a net import market for Polyolefins. This requires joint growth from both domestic and international suppliers for the market to grow and support ‘Make In India’ vision for downstream segments. We as a company have a unique geographical advantage as our location in UAE is relatively not a long supply line. We can quickly address the customer needs due to a robust supply chain. 

The Indian government’s ongoing efforts on transparency and reducing tariffs are helping in not only opening up opportunities for us but also increasing trade opportunities for both countries. In the longer run, the Indian market must open up more for the international upstream players. It will help in opening the access to upstream technologies, not only for the polyolefin industry but also the downstream segments to be more robust. 

The company's fourth plant is coming up in Ruwais which will add a cumulative capacity of 6.4 million tonnes per year by 2025? How do you see the new facility helping India?  

Growth is the key story of Borouge in investment terms. In the past 21 years, we have been revamping our capacity from Borouge 1, Borouge 2, Borouge 3, and potentially Borouge 4. Last year with the successful launch of PP5, we boosted the capacity by 5 million tonnes and on top of that, it will be Borouge 4, going forward. This has supported our ambitions in the Indian market and also because of the proximity of the supply chain and also because of both the quality and volume requirements in the Indian market. This market will, therefore, be a highly strategically important market for us. 

Will you be setting up your 5th factory in India?  

Currently, our capacity will have very good agility and a robust supply chain to service. In the longer run, we do believe that the Indian market will open upstream to international players and open up opportunities and access to new technologies. This can also be very much in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Make in India’. If you have higher technological access to differentiated products, it will help the downstream industry regardless whether it is for domestic utilization or exports. 

You talked about infra, energy, and agriculture but not about mobility and pharma. Aren’t you interested in these two segments?  

Yes, we are very much into mobility and pharma. Our PPE product range is very much focused on syringes, and pouches for medical packaging needs. For mobility, we don’t have a local manufacturing facility but we do have OEMs to supply specifically the bumpers, interior design panels, etc. 

You talked about sustainability and circularity. What's Borouge focus? 

The circularity and sustainability form the core part of our strategy. This lies in two parts: innovation and recycling. If we look at the enabler of the circular economy on the plastic side, we talk about reducing, re-use, and recycling. On the product design side, it requires a lot of investment and innovation to provide recyclable products. 

We spend a lot of our innovation pipeline into design for recyclability. It is not only about the product itself but also the process. Then, the second part is the recycling. When the material is recyclable, we need to find ways to not allow the materials to leak into the environment but to create a full circle. We are polyolefin experts but don’t have expertise in waste management. We need to sit with the waste management experts. In the last couple of years, we have already signed twelve agreements including two in India. The collaboration with brand owners and machine equipment for packaging designs or the other applications. 

This year you are completing 20 years of India presence. Any major plans this year?  

We have a very strong team in our headquarters in Mumbai and also the Sales & Marketing teams are developing business across India. At the same time, we are not only taking care of the business development side but we are also gearing up for developing deep innovation capacities that fit the Indian market. We have a long way ahead here in India. 

Apart from the business development office in India are you looking at setting up an R&D centre? 

Over the longer run, it could be an option but in the short term we have an innovation centre in UAE that is in close proximity to our production side. We believe that this centre can serve all the needs of the Indian market. 

What is the contribution of South Asia to the overall revenue of the company? Is this the biggest region in terms of revenue?  

We are very strong in all the regions we are present currently. If one looks at the growth potential, we can clearly see a few mega trends for South East Asia, South Asia regions. Given the potential, many experts have migrated from other parts of the world into South East Asia and also India. The domestic demand is early in India and there is a rising infrastructure demand not only in quantity but also quality, making it one of the fastest growing in the entire region. We are very excited to be a part of this growth.