US packaging firm to invest $184 mn in Gujarat

Washington, Jan 14 (IANS) MeadWestvaco Corporation (MWV), a Fortune 500 US packaging firm, plans to invest $184 million (Rs.10 billion) over a period of three to five years in the packaging and paperboard industry in India.

The Richmond, Virginia, based company announced Monday it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat government for the investment that includes the purchase of Vapi-based Ruby Macons Ltd.

Additional plans include significantly expanding current production at the facility with the installation of a new paper machine that will manufacture new paperboard products and grades.

The investment and expansion plan is already underway and should yield significant increases in production starting 2013, the company said in a media release.

"India is a very important market for MWV, and we are pleased to grow our presence with our acquisition and expansion in Gujarat," said MWV chairman and chief executive officer John Luke, Jr..

"We see significant opportunities for higher quality and more innovative packaging solutions in corrugated or industrial markets, as well as many consumer categories such as food, beverage, healthcare and personal care - largely due to the emergence of modern retail and a fast-growing middle class in India."

Through the investment announced Monday, Luke said MWV was committing to develop globally competitive products that best suit India's needs - and to bringing the highest standards for environmental and social responsibility to its local operations.

"We are thankful to Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other members of his government for their continued support, and we applaud his persistent efforts focused on developing Gujarat," Luke said.

In November, MWV announced the acquisition of Ruby Macons Limited, the market leader in corrugated packaging materials in India, as part of the company's profitable growth strategy, including its emphasis on growth in emerging markets.

This investment will expand MWV's presence in industrial and agricultural packaging in India, which already includes a converting facility in Pune making rigid, humidity-resistant corrugated packaging for fresh fruits and vegetables, consumer goods, household appliances and pharmaceuticals, the company said.

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