IWP to invest Rs 20 crore in Jammu and Kashmir plant

Yamunanagar: Farmers bring their produce to the relocated Timber Market on first day of its operation in Mandoli village of Haryana’s Yamunanagar on April 26, 2017. (Photo: IANS)

Kolkata, Nov 18 (IANS) Indian Wood Products, the largest manufacture of branded Katha (Catechu) in India, as part of its growth strategy, has decided to invest Rs 20 crore in its greenfield premium manufacturing unit in Jammu and Kashmir, a top company official said on Monday.

The state-of-the-art plant began trial production in the second quarter of 2019-20.

The company, listed in the Bombay Stock Exchange, is celebrating its centenary this year.

The market of Katha – a vital ingredient of pan masala – in India is worth approximately Rs 2,000 crore, which is dominated by the unorganised sector, with IWP having a 35 per cent market share in the organised segment, company Director Bharat Mohta said here.

“As per market research study, the size of the retail market for paan or betel leaf is estimated to be around Rs 850 crore for UP only. Considering this, the overall pan India retail marker can be estimated at around Rs 3,000 crores,” said Mohta.

With the implementation of GST and e-Way Bill, the unorganised Katha sector is expected to shrink rapidly in the coming years. By ramping up commercial production in the fourth quarter of 2019-20, the company expects to increase its overall premium Katha production by 50 per cent.

“This would enable the company to corner an overall 20 per cent marketshare in India in the next five years,” he said.

“The biggest advantage for the Jammu unit is access to raw material (timber) at most competitive prices… The company is investing Rs 20 crore for the plant,” he said.

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