In an interview, Naveen Kumar Bhatia, Advisor, Premium Coatings & Chemicals (P) Ltd with Chemical Today Magazine discusses the advancement in coatings for the decorative and industrial segments in the country.

By Debarati Das

Trends and market potential for coatings industry in India.

One of the most recent and prominent trends suggest that water-based products are gaining market share over solvent-based products in the decorative segment. The market share by value of water-based products is estimated to be around 60 percent compared to solvent-based at 40 percent. This scenario used to be the other way around 5 to 6 years earlier.

The market potential for the coatings industry is estimated to be around Rs 50,000 crore this year, till the end of March. The decorative market is estimated to be around Rs 38,000 crore, while the industrial market is approximately Rs 12,000 crore. Since the last 5 years, the CAGR is showing somewhat steady growth, at around 12 percent. This growth is expected to continue in the coming few years.

Historically construction and automotive segments are driving the growth of the coatings industry and this trend is likely to continue. Within the construction segment, exterior emulsions have shown comparatively higher growth in the recent past.

Raw material requirements and factor affecting the coatings market.

There are four key ingredients in the paints; ie, resins, pigments, additives and solvents. For decorative paints, some of the pigments mainly titanium dioxide and few additives are imported. The same scenario holds true for industrial paints and additionally, some specialized resins are also procured from other countries. Overall imports are quite substantial and the prices vary based on international crude oil/petroleum prices. Also, US dollar rates and demand-supply gap too, play important roles.

Company expansion plans and focus areas for growth.

In the near future, we would like to stabilize and consolidate the production in our manufacturing facilities. The company’s focus would be on wood and glass segments, which are likely to grow at a faster rate.

In terms of R&D and innovation, we mainly concentrate on speciality coatings, which are used on metals (ferrous and nonferrous), concrete/ cemented surfaces, wood, plastics and glass substrates. The main focus is on areas where conventional paints do not provide good adhesion and desired properties or required service life. The company has also developed in-mould coatings for steering wheels, which is an import substitute.

Further, we manufacture a range of polyurethane coatings, suited for a wide variety of substrates. The coatings not only add aesthetics to the coated products, they also provide the enhanced service life.

Challenges faced by the coatings manufacturers.

Coating users always look for cost effective, environment friendly and durable coatings. Due to open markets, coating users are aware of global market trends and expect similar products from Indian manufacturers. This has resulted in upgradation of technology in all related functions and has made market quite competitive.

The environment friendly products are mainly (i) water-based (ii) lead/heavy metal free and (iii) low VOC. Most of the organized companies have taken this step to convert products to the above categories mainly in the decorative segment. In the industrial sector, the progress is comparatively slow due to technical and commercial reasons.

For MSMEs, it is a major challenge to compete with organized players as the procurement cost and manufacturing losses vary substantially with the scale of operation. MSMEs also face difficulties in accessing and adopting the latest technology for product up-gradation and manufacturing processes. The organized sector’s main challenge is to compete technically and commercially with overseas players.