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With Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Cindrella Thawani on Face2Face interview, Aloke Lohia speaks about their expansion plans and various technicalities of polyester.

Synopsis:

IVL has operations in PTA, PET and Polyester with 24 plants and over 6,646 employees spread across North America, Europe and Asia.

Aloke Lohia is the Group CEO of Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL). He has lived in Thailand for over 20 years during this time, and has built IVL as the world’s leading global polyester value chain company.

In February 2010, he delisted Indorama Polymers, which he started in 1995, besides, listed its larger parent company Indorama Ventures successfully on the stock exchange of Thailand as well as it is part of the FTSE SET large cap index.

Mr. Lohia completed his education from Delhi University and is married to Suchitra who runs the packaging arm of IVL.

Excerpts:
What makes polyester live in demand? Which significant things are striving to it?
Polyester fibre is always in demand as it is the most competitive material for the textile industry manufacturing not only apparel, but also home furnishings and a myriad other applications in industries such as hygiene, automotive etc.

Moreover, it is the most affordable form of packaging and the material of choice for various packaging applications such as beverages, water and a number of food products.

PET has steadily been taking away market share away from glass and aluminium as it is not only lower in cost and but is also a more sustainable alternate due to much lower consumption of energy and water in its manufacturing process as well as easy recyclability.
In which regions do you see the potential demand of PTA, PET, globally?
Its consumption is more in the developed markets such as N. America, Europe and Japan, but the developing world is fast catching up.

In the PET resins business we have seen that labour costs play an insignificant role in the total cost of ownership as compared to logitistics costs and trade barriers, therefore even production remains robust even in the developed world.

We follow a philosophy of being close to our customers and need to be in those areas of the emerging world where our customers are growing their business so as to serve them competitively and better.

This is the reason why we entered in China, Indonesia and even Nigeria.

Indonesia is particularly exciting for our fibre business as it enjoys lower energy and labour costs than many other Asian nations and has a large population with an attractive rate of economic growth, unlike PET the polyester fibres business is more sensitive to labour costs.

On the other side of the globe, we are finding our entry into Mexico rewarding, as it not only has a rapidly developing economy but offers us low cost entry into Latin American markets thanks to its numerous FTAs.

Nigeria is our first move into the African continent and we see sound potential for growing our business as the local economy grows.

For Indorama Ventures, the western markets of N. America and the European Union remain extremely important as they will continue to provide consistent demand and even growing demand for PET and its feedstock PTA as those markets are obviously accustomed to the product and view it as a part of their daily necessities.

Which modern applications are buoyant on the prospects of the polyester business? Please explain.
Packaging is an area where PET has proven particularly adept at taking market share away from competing materials such as glass aluminium as well as other plastics.

With new applications and materials being developed and commercialised by Indorama Ventures, we are able to increase the shelf life of fresh juices by slowing the ingress of oxygen and recently very successfully launched a grade of PET resin, which can be extrusion blow molded.

This is where a PET bottle can be blown with a handle built into the body of the bottle made of the same material
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Published on : 06 Jun 2012
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