The Meghna Group has set its footprints in the international plastic raw material market, with an export worth Tk150 crore in just three months of launching its petrochemical factory, the first of its kind in the country.
"Aside from exporting, we have sold plastic raw materials worth Tk150 crore in the local market within this period," Suman Bhowmik, senior deputy general manager of Meghna Group of Industries, told The Business Standard (TBS).
He said there is a huge demand for plastic raw materials in the country, which previously depended totally on imports, and in the international market.
"The demand for PET resin in the country is two lakh tonnes per annum, while we have a production capacity of one lakh tonnes," he said.
"PVC resin production has just started in the country. Some of our products have already been sold and used for manufacturing plastic pipes. Demand for PVC resin in the country is above four lakh tonnes per year while we have a production capacity of 1.5 lakh tonnes," he added.
The local business conglomerate invested $400 million to set up the plant in Meghna Economic Zone (MEZ) in Sonargaon, Narayanganj. Construction of the petrochemical plant on an area of 97,205.491 square metre in MEZ took about five years.
The Meghna Group started producing Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) resin on 14 September and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) resin three months ago.
PVC is used in a variety of applications in the building and construction, health care, electronics, automobile and other sectors, in products ranging from piping and siding, blood bags and tubing, to wire and cable insulation, windshield system components and more.
PET is used in fibres for clothing, containers for liquids and foods, and thermoforming for manufacturing, and in combination with glass fibre for engineering resins.
Apart from selling products in the local market, the company has already exported PET resin to India, Italy and Dubai, said sources at the company.
The plant is equipped to produce three different grades of PVC resin: K57 – used for Injection moulded fittings, K67 – used for rigid PVC pipes, profiles and films, and K70 – used for packaging films, calendered films, and cables.
Suman Bhowmik said, "This is the largest investment in the private sector here. Our factory employs about 1,900 people."
"The Barmag Huitong Technology used by Meghna PET produces better quality PET compared to other Technologies. Also, Meghna PET uses a liquid heating system and vapor in production which results in low heat consumption. High class technology and Solid state Polycondensation plant from UOP-SINCO, Italy makes Meghna PET the best in the market," Said Suman Bhowmik.
The Meghna Group's petrochemical factory has not been using its full capacity for production, said sources at the company.
Suman Bhowmik said, "The PET Resin plant is operating at 90% capacity. There is an order of 500 tonnes of PVC resin from India. Soon we will go to our maximum production."
Plastic consumption increasing
According to Bangladesh Plastics Market Outlook 2019-2025, published by the Business Wire, factors such as low-cost manufacturing, sustainability, large scale availability of raw material, and durability are driving the Bangladesh plastic market at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8%.
The current per capita plastic consumption in Bangladesh is 7 kg per year as compared to around 23 kg per year in India and over 100 kg per year in other developed countries like the US and Singapore. Hence there exists a huge potential in this market which is poised to grow to $6.5 Billion by 2024-25, said report.
Shamim Ahmed, president of Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association, told TBS, "We need many types of raw materials. We are heavily dependent on imports for PET Resin and PVC resin. I have bought PVC Resin at $1,150-$1,200 per tonne as its price fluctuates in the international market.
"If this raw material is produced in the country it will benefit our business heavily. We will be able to manufacture and export various products made with these locally produced raw materials. It is the opening of a new horizon for the country."
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) Executive Chairman Shaikh Yusuf Harun told TBS, "The Meghna Group has opened its petrochemicals plant, which is its biggest project. The raw materials produced here will advance other industries in the country."