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Innovation is Our Way of Life

By Kruti Bharadva,

Added 10 March 2021

An insightful look at how a manufacturer of polymer additives sailed through the pandemic and how innovation and R&D is always part of their vision

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HPL Additives Limited is one of the leading manufacturers of Polymer Additives in India with global presence in 50+ countries. The organisation was the first Indian polymer additives manufacturer to get ISO9001; ISO14001 and OHSAS 18001 accreditation. It manufactures chemicals which are added to the base polymer to improve processability, prolong life span, and/or achieve the desired physical or chemical properties in the final product. Below is an interview with Umesh Anand, Managing Director, HPL Additives Ltd. 

 

Tell us about the various product categories that HPL Additives has presence in.

 HPL Additives started as Chemical Blowing Agent manufacturer in India and organically diversified into Antioxidants, Azo-initiators and other speciality chemicals in five decades of journey. The organisation’s expertise lies in developing and manufacturing polymer additives and speciality chemicals especially for the plastics & rubber industry and the pharmaceutical intermediates sector.

 Our three state-of-the-art manufacturing plants located in North India help us to offer a wide range of products to various industries. All our plants have dedicated lines with multiple purpose capabilities. We have recently added Oxo-Biodegradable Additives (OBA - a licensed technology for Indian market only) to our existing range of products.

 

Tell us about HPL Additives’ manufacturing capabilities and its overall manufacturing footprint.

 HPL Additives has four manufacturing sites in India – three in Haryana which are dedicated to manufacturing polymer additives and one plant in Punjab dedicated to manufacturing of Industrial Chemicals. All the manufacturing sites have state-of-the-art DCS/PLC controlled manufacturing facility with glass lined & stainless steel reactors enabling on-line process control during production without manual intervention while providing flexibility for the product & process change.

 Except for HIGREN OBA, all our products have been researched, developed and scaled-up in-house. This has been possible because of the organisation’s continuous focus on the polymer additives market, identifying and anticipating customer needs and using R&D competency as an enabler.

 We make it a point to invest regularly in R&D to create new products, adopt new applications, strengthen processes, develop new markets and enhance existing market share. Our R&D labs possess the capability to carry out any application tests.

 Quality plays an important role in the manufacturing of polymer additives and our Quality Control labs are equipped with world-class equipment.

 The fact that HPL Additives has been bestowed with numerous awards of recognition for its research and manufacturing capabilities speaks volumes about the organization.

 

The COVID-19 outbreak has been one of the biggest disrupters seen by the human race. How has it impacted HPL Additives and how have you been dealing with the same?

 The COVID-19 pandemic has unprecedentedly affected the global economy at once within a span of few weeks and the impact has been harsh. It’s ramifications are evident in human health, social and economic aspects of the life. Global disruptions due to state mandated lockdowns reduced individual remunerations & earnings, social interaction and mobility. It also led to businesses downsizing, closure of factories and unemployment. The cataclysmic impact of the pandemic is still being felt by both large and smaller business houses alike. 

 This, as we see, is now unfolding into volatile raw materials prices, rise in all commodity prices, higher labour and energy costs combined with difficulties in arranging exports logistics.

 The organisation now looks to delicately balance the “resource- stripped” business opportunities in the markets that have recently opened up and the rising costs on the other hand. The businesses would need to do more than just streamline resources or slash costs. 

 On a positive note, plastics demonstrated its value in the healthcare industry through a wide spectrum of application areas in the battle against COVID-19 and has helped people understand the importance of single-use plastics. As we have been saying for many years now, the problem is the disposal and irresponsible use of plastics and not the plastics itself. Safety and cost-effectiveness were always the strong points for plastics in comparison to other alternatives, but now we have ways for safe disposal of plastics today by oxo-biodegrading them. HPL Additives has taken the lead in this respect in India and has launched its HIGRENTM OBA range of oxo-biodegradable additives for various applications.

 

What kind of business numbers are you looking at for the ongoing fiscal in terms of turnover and growth?

 We expect that the need for sanitizing, disinfection and mitigating the risk of contracting / spreading of infections (not just COVID-19) will fuel the growth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) & medical instruments industry in specific and the plastics industry in general thus allowing impetus to polymer and polymer additives market.

 The proactive efforts and measures taken by the government as well as corporates   have strengthened the expectations of positive growth. The key economic and business indicators have instilled the expectations of a sustainable rebound in FY 2021-22.

 As per the current trend from July 2020 onwards, our top and bottom lines have gone to pre-COVID levels and hopefully, we will achieve the turnover and profitability mark of the previous financial year, i.e. 2019-20. In face of estimated 8-9 per cent contraction of national GDP and still struggling developing economies, this would be a remarkable achievement.  

 

What would be your market share in India in these respective segments?

 HPL Additives has a large presence in the India market across all market segments (polymer additives and speciality chemicals) and it would be safe to say that the market share ranges from 40 per cent to 80 per cent depending upon the product and product categories.

 

Give us an overview of your exports business.

 On an average, 50 per cent of the organisation’s turnover comes through exports to Europe and Americas. Our vast distribution network across India & abroad, branch offices in India, USA & China support our business interests at home and 50+ countries across the globe. For smooth and seamless distribution, HPL Additives has two warehouses – One in Antwerp, Belgium and the second in New Jersey, USA.

 We have been recognised for our export performances by various government authorities over the years, some of which have been listed below:

  • Two Star Export House Certificate issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Department of Commerce, Government of India for excelling in export performance
  • Haryana State Certificate Of Merit For Outstanding Export Performance by Industries & Commerce department, Government of Haryana, India in recognition of outstanding performance in exports
  • Export performance awards by Basic Chemicals & Cosmetics Export Promotion Council (CHEMEXCIL) Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India

 

How important is sustainability for HPL Additives?

 The focus has been on investing towards building world-class facilities and ensuring sustainability in all aspects of operations and business and not just the continuity of business or financials.

 For us at HPL Additives, sustainability means to contribute significantly to pay back to the society and the environment, and not just being a manufacturer with financial success. We do it by contributing to the fields of education and employment, healthcare and resource preservation.

 HPL Additives is a participating member in the chemical industries’ “Together for Sustainability” (TFS) initiative. TFS goal is to establish a uniform global programme for the responsible procurement of goods and services in the chemical industry, to achieve transparency in relation to sustainability performance throughout the supply chain. The organisation also adheres to EcoVadis assessments too.

 

Tell us something about your focus on innovation.

 Innovation is the way of life for all of us at HPL Additives. Besides being a manufacturer of additives, we would like to expand our footprint in R&D. We are in the process of evaluating newer opportunities, i.e. setting up an independent arm for pure research and applied research across various fields. This Innovation Centre will be set up to undertake Contract Research, kind of R&D BPO for domestic and international markets. Needless to say, it would continue to be the backbone of our growth as well.

"We make it a point to invest regularly in R&D to create new products, adopt new applications, strengthen processes, develop new markets and enhance existing market share"

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