Mulk Giving Aluminum Composite Panels Their Day in the Indian Sun

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The business of Aluminum Composite Panels (ACP) is about a decade old in India, but it is one of the fastest growing business segments, seeing an average annual growth of 50 percent, according to one estimate.

Research company Frost & Sullivan has estimated that the domestic aluminum composite panel market in India was growing by as much as 25 percent year-on-year.

ACPs are made by sandwiching a polyethylene core of two aluminum skins and treated with high-quality adhesives. The surface is then coated with rich resins or polyester paints. These panels are used to cover or clad the exterior of a building, commercial or residential, including in malls and airports.

There are many advantages to using them: ACPs are lightweight, flexible, quick to install, and the buildings that fit them do not need major annual maintenance by way of repainting or crack filling.

Both India and China need these in large numbers because of their respective infrastructure booms. Where there’s a spurt in infrastructure, there’s bound to be the construction of buildings, and where new buildings are being made, there’s demand for installing ACPs.

Perhaps keeping this in mind, the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based diversified conglomerate Mulk Holdings has commissioned a US $10 million plant in India’s commercial capital of Mumbai for making Alubond USA Composite Panels. (The company owns the US-based Alubond USA brand.)

A report in the Deccan Herald said the plant will be spread over a 10-acre plot and shall host a state-of-the-art Alubond USA Composite Panels manufacturing facility that will primarily serve the growing Indian construction market. When complete, the plant should create over 2,000 jobs, and a production capacity of 1 million square meters of these panels.

Mulk Holdings has said the Mumbai plant was part of its overall investment in seven such plants across Asia, Europe and Africa, with an outlay of $210 million. It had already commissioned its European manufacturing plant in November 2012.

Reports quoted the Mulk’s chairman as saying his company’s latest venture in India reflected the company’s strong commitment to the growing Indian market where Alubond USA composite panels would fill a major gap and meet the growing demand for such products. The projects are expected to consolidate Alubond’s global position as the world’s largest aluminum composite panel brand.

Mulk Holdings had earlier formed a joint venture with Enpar Group in India – Mulk Enpar – to expand its Indian operations. Mulk Enpar plans to invest over $81.7 million in a diversified expansion program, which will result in the creation of a group of six companies strategically located in India, Sri Lanka, Europe and the UAE.

Mulk Holdings is a $762 million company with diversified business interests in manufacturing aluminum composite panels, solar panels and the development of solar power plants.

Sohrab Darabshaw contributes an Indian perspective to MetalMiner.

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