Having tested the waters in India for a decade, German bioplastics specialist FKuR has now finally taken the plunge. The company has established a joint venture with its erstwhile distributor in the region, SKYi Innovations LLP, to launch local production of its portfolio of biodegradable and partially bio-based plastics.
The new SKYi FKuR Biopolymers Pvt Ltd joint venture, founded at the end of 2019, is located at a special industrial zone in Chakan, in the Pune district of the state of Maharashtra, which is already home to over 2000 large and small companies. The new plant was recently taken into operation and produces a selected range of FKuR’s Bio-Flex flexible, fully biodegradable or compostable bioplastics. The main applications are flexible films, including agricultural, household and hygiene, as well as thermoformed and injection moulded products.
The plant features a modern compounding line that runs on three shift, creating jobs for up to 40 people in the first expansion period. A testing laboratory, equipped with a small blown film line along with other equipment, ensures the qualities of the incoming raw materials and the end products are monitored according to German standards.
As Sachin Jain, managing Ddrector of SKYi Innovations LLP one of the four directors of the JV, pointed out: “SKYi FKuR Biopolymers combines German technology with Indian agility and entrepreneurial spirit. Together, we will bring advanced 'Made in India' solutions to the market and offer our customers excellent service with high flexibility and short lead times."
The strategic decision to explore the potential of India was taken in 2012, said Patrick Zimmermann, member of the executive board of FKuR Group, after the company first participated at Plastindia 2012. “It was clear to us that the Indian continent is a strategically important bridgehead and a hub for our products in Asia and Africa as well,” he said.
Another member of the FKuR Group executive team, Carmen Michels, who is also one of the JV's directors, noted that the demand for compostable plastics was growing in these regions, ‘with a focus on packaging and catering applications, as well as agribusiness’. “Compostable plastics can make a positive contribution to waste management in India, as setting up organic recycling is infinitely easier and less costly compared to other disposal options such as mechanical recycling or thermal recovery,” she said.
SKYi FKuR Biopolymers will supply both local demand and produce materials for distribution to neighbouring regions, making it the first dedicated manufacturer of compostable biopolymer compounds in India. Target markets include Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, as well as in Middle Eastern countries such as Dubai, Oman and Qatar.