ITC is betting big on the paper industry with major expansions lined up for next five years to double its existing production base supported by extensive farm forestry and waste paper collection initiatives to ensure consistent raw material supply. Recently there were movement at ITC – PSPD wherein Mr. Pradeep Dhobale, CEO of ITC – PSPD was promoted as the Executive Director of ITC conglo-merate and Mr. Sanjay K Singh took the charge as CEO of ITC’s PSPD division. We present here their views on the future.
Paper Mart: Climbing up the ladder from CEO of ITC PSPD to the Executive Director what add on does it gets on the platter in terms of roles & responsibilities, outlook for the business, accountability etc.
Pradeep Dhobale: As Executive Director, in charge of Paperboards, Paper and Packaging, my role will bemore strategic. Growth — organic as well as inorganic, will be at the top on my agenda. My role will be to provide strategic direction to the business teams and allocation of resources within the overall parameters laid down by the Board of Directors. I have set goal to our businesses to grow at least twice the rate of growth of Indian industry in the categories we operate in, within a given time frame. Notwithstanding the global anxieties and some domestic setbacks, paper and packaging will witness a trend line growth higher than India’s GDP growth. This augurs well for our businesses in this field. Plans are afoot to reach the million tonnes target in three to five year time frame. The key is to achieve the growth while creating value on all three bottom line parameters, namely economic, environmental and social. As Executive Director in charge of Finance function for ITC, I will have to strike a balance between aggressive growth and ensuring benchmark return on capital employed.
Paper Mart: The plans have been carved out for the Rs. 3000 crores investment. Kindly highlight the key focus areas of the investment?
Pradeep Dhobale: You are referring to only one strategic investment of our plan, namely, the 300,000 TPA pulp and paper project. The actual plans could be more aggressive. While consolidating our position in packaging paperboards segment with another 100,000 TPA board machine, we would like to substantially increase our footprint in writing and printing segment. Having crossed 110,000 hectares of plantations which is more than ten times our annual harvest, we continue to aggressively develop agro forestry in Andhra Pradesh as well as neighbouring states to be in preparedness for our major expansion. Significant investments are also in pipeline to take advantage of opportunities in carton and flexible packaging segments.
Paper Mart: Climbing up the ladder from COO to the CEO what add on does it get on the platter in terms of roles & responsibilities, outlook for the business etc.?
Sanjay K Singh: I was given the responsibility of Chief Operating Officer (COO) in the month of September, 2010, and by the time I could settle down, Itook charge as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the month of December, 2010.
In my earlier position one always looked for support from the Chief Executive Officer on major decisions. Now as CEO many colleagues look to me for the final decision, though each one of them are Specialists in their own field and can give ideas on the business, but somebody has to take the final decision.
The role and responsibility of the CEO is quite large. The biggest added responsibility is of taking care of customers, colleagues in the organization, and other associates working for the organization. One needs to take them along to meet the organizational goals, and address their needs and aspirations.
As CEO, the growth of the business has to be addressed by me, and I have to continuously be on the look out for new business opportunities that evolve in the ever changing business environment. Competition is tough and continuously increasing. I have to keep the existing business profitable, and make resources available for growth. One has to strike a balance between present and future.
Paper Mart: With this evolution and change how do you conceptualize the growth path for the ITC PSPD?
Sanjay K Singh: The growth strategy for Paperboards & Specialty Papers Division (PSPD) continues as before. ITC will continue to invest in the Pulp & Paper Industry. We plan to double our production capacity in the next five years. We are looking at organic/ inorganic growth. The growth has to be environmentally sustainable, and accompanied with proper financial returns. We have four productions sites, and we are looking at starting a new site to meet our objective of doubling our capacity in the next five years.
There is acute shortage of fibrous raw material in the country. We have to manage this before we embark on our growth strategy. For our future needs of wood for the expansion of pulp mill, we are continuously increasing the area under plantation. We continue to work with farmers to plant additional 10000 hectares per year.
On the waste paper front, we are continuously working to increase the collection of waste paper through the ‘WOW’ (Wealth out of Waste) programme. We are making steady progress and we intend to be self sufficient in the next two years for our requirement of waste paper through the WOW Programme.