Reliance Can Industries Limited – a key player in the local plastic can-making sector for paints and lubricant manufacturers – is going to establish its second production unit at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar next year.
The business expansion will ramp up Reliance's production to 2.10 crore pieces of cans by late-2024 from current 70 lakh pieces, according to top company officials.
"Alongside paints and lubricant jars, the new factory will manufacture packaging items for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and ice creams," Ekramul Hoque, managing director of Reliance Can Industries, told The Business Standard.
He pointed to Reliance's plan on strengthening the foothold abroad for the business expansion.
Reliance Can Industries – whose client portfolio includes Asian Paints, Berger Paints, Kansai Nerolac Paints, Moonstar Paints and Reckitt Benckiser – was established in 1994 in Chattogram's Kalurghat area. The company's initial capital was Tk8 lakh, as it used to make metal cans for paints and lubricant producers.
The can-maker shifted to plastic items in 2000, as the company's annual turnover is around Tk60 crore on an average in recent years.
Ekramul Hoque said their old client Berger Paints recommended the plastic switchover, which now meets with 10%-15% annual growth.
Reliance now employs 250 workers at its Kalurghat factory. The new plant at Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar will generate at least 500 jobs.
According to the company, the size of the local plastic can market is around Tk500 crore including Reliance's 15% market share. The backward linkage manufacturer plans to take it to 27% by the end of 2024.
Narayan Chandra Dey, secretary general of the Bangladesh Plastic Good Manufacturers and Exporters Association, appreciates the new investment by Reliance as he said the local industrial hunger for plastic is on a gradual rise.
A strong return from the brink of collapse
Reliance experienced a turbulent business weather and neared an almost production collapse in 2013 after the company's founder AKM Enayet Ullha was diagnosed with cancer.
Enayet Ullha's son Ekramul Hoque then just returned home after obtaining his bar-at-law degree from London. In the wake of the emergence, Ekramul had to shelve his passion for law to lead the family business.
"It was simply challenging. I had to rebuild the customer relationship, hire industrial experts, overhaul industrial infrastructure and emphasise production quality," Ekramul Hoque told The Business Standard.
When Ekramul took charge, the company's monthly sales were around Tk1 crore. He gradually increased it to Tk5 crore. The production line used to take one minute to complete a product, which has been reduced to only 28 seconds now.
"Yes, I regret not being able to practise even after studying law. But if I opted for my passion, the family business would have been in trouble. So, I sacrificed it and took business as a vow. Now my dreams revolve around the sector," Ekramul Hoque commented.