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Interview with Ajay Sardana

Ajay Sardana
Ajay Sardana
VP - Market Intelligence, Liaison & Sustainability

Fibre-neutral taxation policy is needed
Viscose staple fibre (VSF) is a growing industry in India, and has immense potential for manufacturers. Ajay Sardana, VP (Market Intelligence, Liaison & Sustainability) of Grasim Industries, one of the leading names in India for VSF, talks about the industry, its strengths and challenges with Fibre2Fashion.com.

What is the size of the VSF industry in India? What is its growth rate?

The demand for VSF was 340 KT in India in 2015, and it has grown at a CAGR of 13 per cent during the period 2013-2015. Going forward, it is expected to grow at a similar rate, owing to the business development efforts and branding. Last year, we launched the fabric brand Liva and also created a Liva Accredited Partner Forum (LAPF) for the value chain.

What products are currently being offered by Grasim?

In India, Grasim produces international quality fibres from all types of VSF. It offers spun-dyed, modal, micro-modal and excel (Lyocell) fibres along with grey fibres. We have started delivering fibre from our latest state-of-the-art plant commissioned in Vilayat, Gujarat.

What are the challenges facing the VSF industry? What governmental measures can help overcome them?

One of the major challenges currently faced is the highly-skewed preference for cotton in India, and the unfavourable taxation structure against manmade fibres. A fibre-neutral taxation policy is needed across all fibres to promote the growth of the manmade textiles industry to attract investments in the value chain. The current excise duty rate on manmade fibres is 12.5 per cent and needs to be gradually reduced to bring it in line with the duty on cotton fibres (nil). We hope that with the GST this anomaly will be addressed suitably.

What are the newest applications of VSF in the Indian apparel sector?

Comfortable clothing (activewear, yoga wear) trend is increasing, which will contribute to the higher demand for VSF. Apart from this, VSF is finding newer applications in denim, bed linen and furnishings.

What latest technologies are being integrated into VSF production?

The latest technologies include production of modal, micro-modal and lyocell fibres. We are producing the modal and micro-modal fibres in our newly commissioned plant in Vilayat. Lyocell (Excel) is offered from our Nagda plant.

What is the budget allocated to R&D?

R&D is the key focus area, and we are coming up with newer innovations or applications periodically as it is an ongoing process. We are focussed on pushing the value up and moving from just VSF to more specialty products. One can keep adding capacity, but we want more bang for the buck. Research is being carried out at Taloja centre, Mumbai, and the company invested Rs 150 crore in R&D last year.

Please share some of your latest research findings.

The latest research findings are as below: 1. VSF and its derivatives have clear advantage over other fibres in softer and fashionable products. 2. Consumer awareness on clean and green environment is increasing, which will drive demand for sustainable apparel and will result in relatively higher growth of VSF. 3. Major international brands and retailers have confirmed greater usage of VSF in their collections, and going forward this trend is likely to continue due to superior comfort, fashion values of VSF and its sustainability appeal. 4. India is increasingly being seen as a sourcing destination for VSF-based woven and knitted fabrics or garments due to improvement in competitiveness on quality and cost. 5. Among major staple fibres, VSF will have better growth due to perfect fit for the higher growing categories like womenswear and kidswear. 6. The growing demand for casual, fashionable and comfortable wear will lead to higher growth of VSF. Better sustainability credentials will spur growth.
Published on: 17/06/2016

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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