Business Opportunity in Turmeric Processing

Business Opportunity in Turmeric Processing

Turmeric (botanical name-Curcuma Longa), one of the most important spice crops in India, is used to colour and flavour the food products.The yellow pigmented fraction of Turmeric (Curcumin,)is used as a colourant in food products and also as an anti-inflammatory agent in medicinal formulations.

India is the largest Turmeric producer in the world, with an annual production of nearly 10 lakh tonnes, accounting for nearly 80 per cent of world’s production. In India, Telangana is one of the largest producers of Turmeric, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Maharashtra (see picture 1).

In FY 17, India produced 10.51 Lakh tonnes[1] of Turmeric, of which nearly 1.1 lakh tonnes valued at Rs. 1200 crores was exported. Additionally, India exported Turmeric based oleo resins and Turmeric oil, valued at around Rs. 400 crores.

 

 

Turmeric processing technology

Turmeric can be processed into two products Turmeric powder and Turmeric extracts including oleo resins and Turmeric oils.Turmeric oleo resins/oils are extracted through solvent extraction of turmeric powder. The solvent extraction plant can process a variety of spices including Capsicum, Pepper, Amla, Marigold etc. A plant of a capacity of 500 kg per day requires land of 20,000 square ft. and power load of 60 HP.

Since the extracts (oleo resins) are used in food preparation/pharmaceuticals and largely cater to exports, the oleo resin extraction operations have to be compliant with the USFDA, and European food safety guidelines. The companies that manufacture extracts usually obtain certifications such as HCAAP, Kosher, and Halal.

Key Players

Turmeric powder

The Turmeric power manufacturing is mostly done by micro enterprises and there are a number of players in each region. Additionally, most large spice powder manufacturers such as MDH spices, Everest Spices, Aachi Masala also sell turmeric powder.

Turmeric oleoresins and oils

This segment has a number of large players as well as SMEs.  The large companies extract oils from a number of spices and their products are targeted at export market. (See table 1). These are mostly based in Kerala, due to easy availability of spices. In addition to these large players, there are a number of SMEs that are spread across spice growing states such as Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat etc.

Table 1: Spice Extract manufacturers in Kerala
S. No.Company NameProduct RangeLocation
1.SynthiteValue added spice extracts and natural spice powderKolenchery, Kerala
2.Universal OleoresinsSpice Oils, Spice Oleoresins, natural coloursKochi, Kerala
3.Arjuna Natural ExtractsFormulations based on spice extractsAluva, Kerala
4.VD flavoursEssential oils from spicesKochi, Kerala
5.Plant LipidsSpice oils and oleoresinsKochi, Kerala
6.Kancor IngredientsOleo Resins, Essential Oils & Isolates, Mint, Menthol & Isolates, Floral Extracts, Speciality Ingredients, Organic Ingredients.Ernakulam, Kerala,
7.Plant Lipids.Spices and other Essential Oils.Kochi, Kerala
Source : FineTrain research

Key consumers of oleoresins in the domestic market include FMCG companies such as Hindustan Lever, Godrej, Colgate Pamolive, herbal products manufacturers such as Ayur Herbals, Dabur, Himalayan Drug Company, cosmetics product manufacturers such as Garnier Laboratories and pharmaceutical companies such as Dr. Reddys, Cipla etc.

Profitability and return on investment

The capital investment required for a Turmeric powder unit would be under Rs. 50 lakhs for a capacity of up to 2 tonnes per day. Since there is limited value addition in the powder manufacturing process and the manufacturer has to pay large commissions to distributors and retailers, the operating margins of such manufacturers would be thin and profitability would depend on their ability to sell large volumes.

Capital investment in Turmeric extraction capacity of 500 kg per day could be up to Rs. 2 crores. The profitability would depend on the spread between the oleo resin and Turmeric price and the yield of the extraction process.  A tonne of turmeric can yield anywhere 4-5% of extracts. Assuming that a tonne of turmeric yields 40 kgs of Curcumin (95%) and 30 litres of oil, the gross margin calculation is as under

Table 2. Turmeric Oleoresin Processing: Profitability
kgsPrice (Rs/kg)Value (Rs.)
Turmeric10009393,000
Solvents46,500
Total Raw material cost1,39,500
Oleo Resin4044981,79,920
Oil301003,000
Total revenue1,82,920
Spread (Oleoresin-Turmeric)43,420
Spread (%)24

Note: The prices of Turmeric and its Oleo resin are based on export data of 2017 provided by DGFT

The overall profitability and return on investment would depend on the producer’s ability to secure regular orders. Further, any value addition to the products by developing formulations based on the extracts can improve revenues as well as profitability.

Why Turmeric processing may be an attractive opportunity

Demand for Turmeric extracts is growing rapidly in foreign and domestic market. For example, India’s Turmeric extract exports have tripled over the past three years from Rs. 150 crores in FY 15 to Rs. 500 crores[2] in FY 18.

The infrastructure availability (cold storage, common infrastructure for grading and sorting of agri products) for food processing industry is improving as government is providing incentives for development of food parks/spice parks etc.  Further, food processing units are also being given incentives in the form of capital subsidies to set up and expand their businesses.

[1] Source: report on state wise/spice wise production by Spice Board Of India

[2]  DGFT data base: http://commerce-app.gov.in/eidb/ecomq.asp

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Business Opportunity: Cold Storage

Cold storages are large refrigerated warehouses, commonly used for storing fruits, vegetables, processed meat, frozen foods and pharmaceuticals. Cold storages serve as an important link between farm produce and final consumer. The demand for cold storage services has been rising due to a growth in food and related industries.   There are over 7000 cold storages in India with a total capacity of 32 million metric tonnes, distributed across the country. A regional break up of cold storages across the country is given below.

Table 1: Cold storages in India

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 Source: National centre for cold chain development

Business models

Cold storages typically have two business models

  1. Food and Agri products storage: Cold storage stores items such as fruits, dairy, meat etc, which are required all through the year. The cold storage needs to be located close to the end customers and should preferably own some delivery infrastructure as well.
  2.  Off season products storage: Cold storage stores products such as chillies, potatoes, seeds for meeting the demand in off season. The cold storage needs to be located close to the source /originator of products. Majority of cold storages in India fall in this category.

A thorough analysis of market, key customers and business model is essential before starting a cold storage.

Machinery and profitability

The cold storage equipment has two important components: machinery and insulation panels. The machinery comprises compressors, evaporative condenser and motors. The walls of the cold storage chambers are fabricated with insulation panels, made of polyurethane.

Many of the cold storage machinery suppliers take up turnkey contracts and offer services to do civil work, install machinery and provide insulation. The cost of cold storage depends on a number of factors such as

  1. Capacity of the cold storage and the number of rooms/chambers in the cold storage
  2. Type of goods stored, typically divided into two categories: Plus temperature storage for vegetable/fruits/seeds and minus temperature for frozen products. The cold storages that offer facilities to keep frozen product would cost higher as compared to the plus temperature cold storage.

The key operational costs include electricity charges and manpower cost. Since both these are costs are somewhat fixed in nature ( electricity bill and manpower charges do not decrease/decrease in line with  increase/decrease in business volumes) the profitability of cold storage depends on its capacity utilization (ability to use its space optimally).

Budget

The cost of setting up a cold storage of around 5000 metric tonne would be close to Rs. 4 crores, excluding land cost. One would need around 1 acre of land to set up a cold storage of 5000 mt.

The subsidy for financing the cold storage  is available under the scheme from Scheme for Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana

The  subsidy is calculated based on the cost norms that are provided in the scheme. For example the cost norm for single chamber cold storage are Rs. 8000 per tonne and the subsidy is capped at  35% of project cost. The project cost includes cost of machinery and technical civil work.

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Business opportunity: Flexible Packaging

Flexible packaging refers to packaging that can take various shapes and forms. Most commonly used flexible packaging products include chips packets, milk packets, shampoo and medicine sachets and different types of pouches.

Flexible packaging is a large industry world over, with a size of over $ 200 bn[1]. The Indian market contributes over $ 5 bn and is growing in double digits. The key end user industries are food products, beverages, personal products and pharmaceuticals (see pic-1).

Picture 1: Indian Flexible Packaging Market

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  1. * Others includes pharmaceuticals.
  2. Source: Investor presentation of Uflex

 What is the Technology?

The technology related innovations in flexible packaging industry have focused on increasing the shelf life and safety of the packaged product and protecting it from counterfeiting.

Flexible packaging is made of layers of polymers (LDPE, BOPP, BOPET, CPP), aluminium foil, paper and other material. The topmost layer (most commonly BOPP or BOPET) is printed. The printed layer is laminated along with other packaging material, and then slit into different sheets. These sheets are converted into different forms as per the client requirements. The choice of material depends on the end use; for example in food applications where the shelf life has to be extended, different types of polyethylene and poly propylene films are used.

The printing technology varies depending on the material to be printed, and has been explained in the figure below.

Picture 2: Printing technology

capture1

How is the Competitive Landscape?

The industry has two types of players, large players who manufacture packaging films as well as packaging products and SMES who mostly purchase the films and convert it into packaging products. Further, some of the SMEs are manufacturers of machinery or inks.

Table 1: Flexible packaging-competitive landscape

capture

What are the Prerequisites to start a Flexible Packaging Industry?

The must haves would include a strong technical team that can meet client’s quality expectations, create innovative products and minimize wastage.  Other requirements include land/area (minimum 5000 sqft for Rotogravure printing) and a budget of Rs. 5 crs upwards.

How can we help you?

We can help you start a flexible packaging business through a number of services including business viability assessment, market landscaping and expert consultation.

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[1] Source for international and domestic market size is Uflex investor presentation -November 2016

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Business Opportunity – Dairy Products

The Indian dairy industry[1] estimated to be Rs 80,000 Crores and is growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 7%. The growing demand for milk and milk based products is also reflected in increasing per capital availability of milk, which has grown from 225 gms/ day in the year 2007 to 307 gms/day in the year 2015 [2]

Opportunities for small enterprises:
Overview:

The sector can be broadly be divided into two categories, packaged liquid milk and milk based value added products (see below)

capture2
On the other hand, value added products such as flavoured milk, cheese, ghee etc offer an attractive opportunity for small enterprises as they can be started with relatively lower capital (Rs. 50 lakh onwards) and have higher profitability vis a vis packaged milk.The packaged liquid milk segment is mostly dominated by large dairies such as Amul, Heritage, Vijaya, etc. as it requires access to large number of dairy farmers, infrastructure to transport milk and sizable distribution network.

Opportunities:

Flavoured milk:Flavoured milk is one of the fastest growing dairy sectors in the market, because of its popularity among children and teenagers. The milk comes in various flavours such as chocolate and fruits, thus combining goodness of milk with taste. Flavoured milk market size in the year 2015 was at Rs. 2,466 crores and it is expected to grow at CAGR 28 percent.

Organic milk: Organic milk comes from cows that have been grazed on pasture that has no chemical fertilisers, pesticides or agrochemicals.   Increasing awareness about consumption of chemicals and pesticides through milk is contributing to the demand for organic milk.

Though being at a very nascent stage, this sector has seen some action recently with the entry of number of dairy farms in Pune and Mumbai focussing exclusively on organic milk. Further, established dairies such as Parag Dairy have also entered this segment with their brand “Pride of Cows”.

Value added dairy products: Nearly 55% of the milk produced in India is used for manufacturing value added dairy products[3]. More details on value added products are available in the table below.[i]

  capture3

How can we help?

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[1]  As per the report by Alvarez and Marsal (https://www.alvarezandmarsal.com/) The branded market for dairy products is estimated to be Rs. 80,000 crores. The data for the market size of value added products has also been sourced from the same report.

[2] NDDB.co.in

[i] Report by Alvarez and Marsal

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Business opportunities in Telangana

The State of Telangana is the 12th largest economy with a GSDP of around Rs. 4.68 lakh crores[1] and a growth rate of 9.2% during 2015-16. Telangana includes 10 districts, with its capital in Hyderabad. Telangana is land locked with its neighbouring States of AP, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

Telangana is home to large industries in IT/ITES, pharma, engineering goods and defence. The industrial activity is currently concentrated in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Medak Districts, these three districts contribute to almost 50 per cent of the State GDP. Medak and Ranga Reddy are also the fastest growing districts.

The opportunities in Telangana can be broadly divided into a few sectors; agro based industries, textiles, chemicals, engineering, and pharmaceuticals. The district wise opportunities are described below.

Business profile of districts of Telangana

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Upcoming opportunities

Small enterprises can become a part of the vendor network /ancillary to the large industries that are planned in and around Telangana. The figure below describes the projects across various industries that are currently being planned. These include a number of bulk drugs intermediate and API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) units,   food park by ITC, an LED bulb unit by Syska labs, Soft drink bottling plant by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd, and Mobile handset manufacturing facility by Micromax informatics Ltd.   A detailed list of upcoming projects is available upon request.

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Source : Projects Today

How can we help

  • FineTrain enables entrepreneurs to assess and understand new business opportunities. Our services include market research, business feasibility studies and assistance in obtaining project funding.
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[1] Source: GSDP at constant prices, Socio Economic Outlook, Telagana, 2016

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How to decide if you should stay put in your business

You have built a successful business and are looking for growth opportunities.  You can either invest in your existing business or consider new ventures. The following five parameters may help you decide if your business is attractive enough for you to put in additional resources.

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Market size:  If you want to grow fast, the market has to be big enough for you to sell your goods to large volume of customers.  Sometimes, you may discover that your market is too small to be worth pursuing.

Say you are providing an online platform to hire domestic help in a particular city. The city has 10 lakh households, of which 10% or 1 lakh households are your target customers. If you can convert 10% of that eventually, you can get 10,000 customers.  Assuming you earn a commission of Rs. 1000 per customer, your revenue could be at best Rs.1 crore and profit perhaps 10 lakh.  That may be too small, but if you are able to replicate the same model in other cities, the business may be worth pursuing.

Customer acquisition cost and customer life time value: Customer acquisition cost refers to costs incurred in obtaining new clients. These include salaries of marketing staff, advertising spend and discounts offered.

Say, to attract 1000 customers, you spend Rs. 50,000 in advertising, deploy one sales manager at a monthly salary of Rs. 30,000 and offer discounts worth Rs. 10,000. Your customer acquisition expense then is 90,000 or Rs. 900 per customer.  Your revenue per customer should be at least 4-5 times the acquisition cost for your business to be profitable. However, revenue can be spread over 5-10 years of your engagement with the customers and need not be from just one transaction. So, the more repeat customers you have, the customer life time value would be higher and so would be your profitability.

Fixed versus variable costs: Businesses have two types of costs: fixed costs and variable costs. While fixed costs such as rents, salaries, and interest do not change with the increase or decrease in sales volumes, variable costs such as raw material, transport charges vary with the number of units produced or sold.

Higher fixed costs implies that it would take you a long time before you can start making profits, but profits would grow sharply once you achieve critical mass (breakeven point).

Get to know your fixed and variable costs and breakeven point. If you have already achieved the critical mass, it’s time to stay put and enjoy better profitability.

Operating profits: Refers to profits that remain after meeting all operating costs (i.e., all above mentioned costs except interest, depreciation). If your operating profitability is declining, you would need to conduct a thorough diagnostic assessment of your business.

Return on capital employed: Operating profit alone is not enough; return has to be analysed in the context of the capital that is deployed in your business.  For instance, if your average annual operating profit is around Rs. 25 lakh and the total capital deployed in the business is Rs. 5 crore, then your return on the capital is only 5%. This kind of return can also be generated by simply putting your money in a fixed deposit.

How can we help?

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source: livemint.com

Business opportunity: Waste Management

Indian cities are crumbling under waste, India generates almost 130 million tonnes of waste per day of which only 12 % is being processed and treated[1].

Hence, lies the opportunity for entrants in waste management services, where the service provider can tie up with the waste generators to manage their waste by treating/processing it on site. This opportunity exists in number of sectors including food waste, poultry waste, agri waste, and dairy farm waste. This blog focuses on managing food waste.

What is the opportunity? 

The business opportunity is to offer waste management services to the large food waste generators, such as hotels, big institutions with canteen facility, hospitals, and engineering colleges by setting up a biogas plant in their premises. The kitchen waste can be converted to either biogas or electricity, which can be consumed by the user.

This service would also be useful to large apartment complexes (with 1000 flats or more) and schools that offer meal to their students.

As can be seen below, biogas plant is an attractive investment for its buyer, he can recover his investment in four years.
Further, the use is entitled to a subsidy[2] of Rs. 40,000 per KWH of power generated or 40% of the project cost. After accounting for subsidy, the payback period would only be three years.

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How does one start biogas plant manufacturing unit

In order to offer Biogas plant fabrication service, one needs to have detailed understanding of the processes involved in manufacturing, selling, installing and operating of the Bio-gas plant. There are Biogas Development & Training Centres set up by respective state governments, which impart training in operations of biogas plant.

Typically, most of the companies who are in the business have at least one member who is a micro-biologist/ bio-technologist with a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

The capital requirements are not large, as it is a skill intensive business. One does not need to set up a manufacturing unit, the plant is typically fabricated at the client site and client pays up to 50 per cent of the price in advance.  The cost of fabrication of a (up to 2 tonne per day) plant usually is less than15 lakhs. Assuming that one starts with one order, the capital required for setting up this business would be within 20 lakhs.

Challenges

  • Waste management is a new concept in India, and people are not used to paying to manage their waste. It can take several meetings/follow ups to convince a customer about utility of investing in waste management. However this issue will be eased with stricter environment laws going forward.

 

  • The waste for the plant needs to be homogeneous, requiring the waste to be segregated into organic and inorganic waste at source. The segregation of waste can be challenging for a housing apartment complex, where residents are not used to segregating their waste.

 

  • The biogas produced in the plant has to be used the very same day as transporting and bottling it is not viable. Hence, biogas as a cooking option is feasible only for institutions that have one large kitchen (hotel/ hospitals) and not apartment complexes.

 

 How can we help?

FineTrain enables entrepreneurs to assess and understand new business opportunities. Our services include market research, business feasibility studies and business diagnostics – we can help you in understand the market, competitive landscape, subsidies and government schemes available for waste management opportunities. We also offer support in executing your ideas by connecting you with sector experts and professionals.

 

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[1] Source: Status report (2001-13)Pollution control board.

[2] The subsidy is available only for plants which convert the gas into electricity and the calculation is based on the KWH of the electricity generated. The subsidy is calculated as Rs 40,000 / KWH (kilo watt hour) or the 40% of the total cost of plant construction whichever is less.

[3]Picture Source: Livemint.com

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Business Opportunity in Andhra Pradesh: Aquaculture and allied industries

Aquaculture:

Aquaculture refers to commercial farming of seafood such as fish, prawns and crabs. The produce is either sold fresh or in processed form in domestic and export market.  Aqua animals found in India can be divided into two categories: marine animals such as shrimps and crabs and inland fresh water fish including Rohu, Catla, Mrigala, Grass Carp.

The current Indian market[1] for sea food is estimated to be 10.07 million tonnes, valued at over INR 1 lakh crore, growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% in volume. The processed fish segment (although only 12% of the total market now) is growing at a CAGR of 10% in terms of volume and over 25% in terms of value.

The growth of the aqua industry has spurred the growth of a large number of supporting industries such as manufacturing fish feed and equipment/products for catching and processing fish.

Why Andhra Pradesh?

Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer and exporter of seafood (see Table 1) in the country.  Aquaculture is an attractive opportunity in coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh such as Srikakulam, Vizianagaram,Visakhapatnam, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore and East and West Godavari.

Table 1: Major fish producing states in India (2014-2015) 

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Source: National Fisheries Development Board

What are the Opportunities offered by allied industries?

These include opportunities related to manufacturing products and equipment used in farming and processing of sea animals.

 

Table 2: Aqua culture and allied industries

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What is the Government support available to this industry?

There are a number of incentives available to entrepreneurs in this sector, including schemes from National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Department of Fisheries (Andhra Pradesh) and Department of industries (Andhra Pradesh). These are of two forms:

  1. Farmers are given subsidy to purchase equipment such as Aerators that mechanize the farming
  2. Entrepreneurs are offered incentives to set up manufacturing facilities/processing facilities. For example, as part of Fisheries Policy of Andhra Pradesh, entrepreneurs are offered interest subvention/subsidy of 6% on the loan taken for setting up the unit for ice processing plants and feed manufacturing units.

For more information on these subsidy schemes, please click this links:

http://www.ap.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/31102015AHF_MS30.pdf

http://nfdb.gov.in/pdf/GL.pdf

How can we help?

FineTrain enables entrepreneurs to assess and understand new business opportunities. Our services include market research, business feasibility studies and business diagnostics – we can help you in understanding the feasibility and viability of aquaculture and related opportunities and suitable government schemes. We also offer support in executing your ideas by connecting you with sector experts and professionals.

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[1]  Market size has been estimated  by assuming production at 10.9 million tonnes  (as per data from National Fisheries Development Board)  and a price of 100 INR per kg

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Biodiesel manufacturing –Very risky proposition for small businesses

Why are small businesses interested in Biodiesel?

Improving profitability and deregulation of diesel prices (the subsidy on diesel prices was removed in 2015 and diesel price has been linked to its international price) is fuelling the interest of small businesses in biodiesel. Currently, the small manufacturers of biodiesel are able to make profit margins of over 10%, provided they are able to source raw materials efficiently. Their profitability has somewhat improved due to a reduction in input palm oil imported prices following GOI’s directive to waive import duty on crude palm stearin.

The biodiesel industry has two type of players, large refineries with a capacity of 50-500 tpd (tonnes per day) or more and small players with lower economies of scale who manufacture 5-10 tonnes per day.The large corporations supply bio diesel to Oil Marketing Companies (such as HPCL,BPCL) and bulk customers such as Indian Railways. Smaller players sell their biodiesel to farmers (as fuel for their tractors), and local industries where inherent customer credit risk is high. Their product typically gets sold at a discount of Rs. 3-4 from the retail price of diesel.

Given the policy incentives and government push to promote greener fuels, lot of small businesses have started manufacturing biodiesel. But the moot question is- is this sustainable? We believe that these businesses are not equipped to manage the risks inherent in biodiesel manufacturing, arising out of lack of any linkage between biodiesel prices and its feedstock palm oil prices.

What is the risk?

Selling price of biodiesel is not linked to its raw material price

The selling price of biodiesel is linked to the retail price of diesel, and it varies depending on international prices of crude oil and duty structure. However cost of manufacturing biodiesel is linked to palm oil, a vegetable oil, prices of which is not dependent on crude oil. Thus biodiesel manufacturers inadvertently take on input commodity price risk, which they neither understand nor have capability to manage.. Also, unlike large corporates who can diversify their risks across different businesses/products, small businesses often only have only one revenue stream, thus have limited risk appetite and are impacted by concentrated business risk profile.

Biodiesel price movement is difficult to predict

For someone in the .business of manufacturing biodiesel, understanding drivers of diesel including international price movement of diesel and government policy on excise duty is critical. As can be seen in the table, excise duties, taxes contribute up to almost 50 per cent of diesel price.

Build-up of diesel prices

table

What else can go wrong?

Further, one needs to be able to anticipate the trend in palm oil price also, as a fall in diesel prices coupled with increase in palm oil prices can erode the profitability of biodiesel operations.

Given so many domestic and international variables that impact the biodiesel business, it would be difficult for a small business to manage the inherent risk, and therefore it may be advisable for them to not enter biodiesel manufacturing.

About FineTrain

FineTrain (www.finetrain.com), an advisory firm for small businesses. FineTrain provides independent, comprehensive and real time information on new business opportunities.

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Business Opportunities in Medical Textiles (Meditech)

Meditech products are textile products such as bandages, wound dressings, hospital linen, surgery material etc that are used in medical services. The market is estimated to be around Rs. 4000 crores1, growing at 8-9 percent annually. Meditech is a very attractive opportunity in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh (AP) as they have flourishing health care industries and access to cotton (AP-Telangana combined are third largest in the country). AP already has a Textile policy and Telangana is in the process of launching its new Textile policy.

Meditech Products

Meditech products can be broadly divided into four categories (see picture 1), the first two categories account for more than 70 per cent in value. Key products include surgical dressings, medical sutures, sanitary napkins and baby diapers.
Picture 1: Meditech products

These products can be woven or non-woven. Woven products such as bandages, dressing material are made of natural cotton and other fibres. Non-woven fabrics are made mostly from poly propylene, which is bound together through chemicals process. The examples of non-woven products include sanitary napkin, diapers, and surgical masks. The market for non-woven disposable products is growing faster as compared to woven products due to their higher resistance towards infection (as they are single use items) and ease of use.

Business opportunities

There are two categories of players: integrated manufacturers and convertors. Integrated manufacturers weave the fabric and then convert it into medical product, whereas convertors buy the fabric and make medical textile products from the same. Most small businesses operate as convertors. Below table shows some of the opportunities for small businesses in the Meditech area.
Table 1: Business opportunity-Medical disposables

Surgical gownFace MaskSanitary napkinDiapers
Machine (Price Rs. Lakhs)1025150175
Capacity (Pieces per day)50030001500010000
Manufacturing cost per piece (Rs.)50-700.501.55
Investment required25-30 lakhs35-40 lakhs3-4 croresmore than 5 crores

Source: A presentation by South India Textile Research Association (SITRA)

Challenges

Marketing the product remains the biggest challenge, as most of these products have to be marketed directly to the hospitals. Each hospital has its own set of standards in terms of the colour, shape, size of medical disposable. Further, the working capital cycle can be fairly long with hospital taking as much as 3 to 6 months to make payments. For some of the products such as diapers, sanitary napkins that are sold in retail market, one has to compete with established multinationals such as Procter and Gamble, (P&G), Kimberly Clark.

The Road ahead

The rising number of hospitals, awareness for health and hygiene, increasing disposable incomes and favourable government policies are key drivers for the industry. The existing level of penetration for medical disposables remains very low, (for example only 12%2 of Indian women use sanitary napkins) offering immense opportunities for new entrants. Also heavy advertising by large companies has increased awareness of such products among rural area as well. The key would be in making the products affordable to large number of people. The success would depend on understanding the market, product innovation and differentiation and ability to tide over long working capital cycle.

How can we help you

FineTrain assists entrepreneurs in converting local opportunities into viable businesses. We provide independent, comprehensive and real time information that helps entrepreneurs

  • Understand locally available business opportunities
  • Assess viability of new business ventures
  • Smoothen project execution
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