Rendezvous with Mr. L. N. Bangur - Papermart
Interviews Paper People

Rendezvous with Mr. L. N. Bangur

Mr. Laxmi Niwas Bangur’s lucid philosophy “foresighted vision accompanied with innovative ideas” has been the guiding force for Andhra Pradesh Paper Mills to take strides to the next level of accomplishments.
LN BangurMr. L.N. Bangur, the Chairman of The Andhra Pradesh Paper Mills Ltd. (APPM) has been honored by the prestigious paper industry International Hall of Fame award by TAPPI. And with his diligent efforts got his mill rated as the second greenest mill in India by the Government of India.
Here is presenting the excerpts of the interaction with Mr. Bangur, throwing light on his views about the changing paradigm of the Indian paper industry followed by his ambitious and novel plans of going green which has been an integral part of his charisma.
APPM is a ‘technologically driven environ-mentally conscious company’ and we have led the way time and again within the Indian paper industry across diverse areas such as farm forestry, pulp & paper technology adoption, R&D and treatment of manufacturing by  products”
Since 1985 as a board member till 2009 as a chairman, how has been your journey so far?
The journey, so far has been very insightful. During my long association with APPM, I have seen frequent up’s and down’s within the Indian paper industry in general and within different product portfolios in particular. This has made the journey even more interesting and challenging from the management point of view.
What kind of transitions have you noticed in the industry in terms of business environment, technologies, government policies, products etc?
In terms of the business environment, it has become quite challenging as besides imports, many new players have entered the pulp and paper sector within India and simultaneously many smaller players have increased their capacities in the recent years. Although globally the paper capacity is increasing at a compound annual growth rate of around 2%, geographically, Asia and particularly India & China are registering very high demand growth in this sector. At a growth estimate of 8-9% we should be able to hit the demand scenario of 20 million tons by the end of the coming decade from the current 10 million tons.
The other three aspects i.e. Technology within the industry, Government policy for the industry and the product offerings by the industry are all moving hand in hand. In India the environmental legislations are becoming stringent and the introduction of the CREP norms have made most of the players within the industry to go for technology upgradation. With the introduction of world class technology both in the field of pulp & paper, customers are benefitting as major players including APPM have upgraded their respective product portfolios as there has been significant advancements in the printing technologies too over the last decade.
APPM has championed the art of being Green. How this idea originated and how did you manage it?
We at APPM believe that a good environment paves way for a good business and in keeping with this belief; we have been able to strike a balance between the raw material security and the environmental accountability by adopting a unique and an ambitious farm forestry program. Since 1989, we have ensured sustained renewal of natural resources and have protected the ecological balance around us by raising the pulpwood plantations in more than 100,000 hectares of degraded lands across Coastal Andhra Pradesh. In our efforts to increase the green cover while securing sustained raw material availability for our operations, every year we distribute over 90 million saplings to the farmers at subsidized rates, which is double our raw material requirement at the current production capacity. APPM has cumulatively dis-tributed more than 600 million saplings to over 36,000 farmers till date. Today 100% of the wood sourced by us comes from our own farmer-friendly farm forestry efforts as we are driven by our goal to plant two trees for each one that we utilize.
How you foresight the future of the Indian paper Market & industry as a whole in the next 5-10 years?
I feel that the future of the Indian paper industry is very bright. As I had mentioned earlier, that a very significant part of the predicted global demand expansion will be coming across Asia and particularly to India & China. So growth will be witnessed in all segments within the Indian paper industry. With the growth however, the industry has to become more responsible in the way it deals with its customers, environment and the various other stakeholders which I am sure that all the major players are currently looking upto.
Being positioned among the top paper companies in India how it feels & what’s ahead does APPM will offer to the industry?
With the completion of our project worth Rs. 635 crores for modernization, expansion and up-gradation of pulping and paper making facilities, APPM today is the proud owner of the India’s largest continuous design fibreline with a capacity to produce 1,82,000 tons of pulp per annum. All our products manufactured at the unit APPM are produced from Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) pulp.
Our second project worth Rs 291 crores will include commissioning of PM6 at the unit APPM and with that in Q4 of FY 2009-10 we will further add 67,000 tons to our writing and printing paper capacity which will enhance the value proposition for our products and services.
Research and Development is an integral part for our future growth as it occupies a prime position in all our business plans. APPM with its in-house R&D efforts has developed a new technology called Colour Freeze, which brings about a qualitative improvement in the printed image meeting the challenges by improving printability and optimizing on other technical parameters.
What do you think has been your best business decision so far?
I personally feel that my best business decision was proactively investing in our farm forestry efforts over the last two decades. Although it was quite a challenging task in the initial stages but, today we are reaping the rewards of the same. Besides the environmental and the social benefits that such an initiative brings. Today, we are very well placed when it comes to the raw material security, which I think is going to be the key differentiator while going forward in the Indian pulp and paper industry.
Throw some light highlighting your organizations philosophy with regard to your values, principles, vision & mission?
APPM is a “technologically driven environmentally conscious company” and we have led our way time and again within the Indian paper industry across diverse areas such as farm forestry, pulp and paper technology adoption, R&D and treatment of by-products. Our vision is to emerge as the preferred choice for repeat purchases for the increasing number of satisfied customers by providing them with the competitive value. We work towards the achievement of the same by following a result oriented style of management w here in we encourage meritocracy and try and improve on all parameters of operations every year.
As has been in the past, APPM shall continue to take meaningful strides in a host of areas for the benefit of all our stakeholders as we power ahead to be the most admired pulp & paper manufacturer in India. 
Personal Information:
Name: Lakshmi Niwas Bangur
Age: 60 years
Education: B.Com from St Xaviers, Kolkata
Career: Managing Director and Chairman of APPM, Maharaja Shree Umaid Mills Ltd and PK Tea besides a host of different investment Companies
Interest: Playing golf, practicing yoga, reading books and travelling