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The Indian paint industry
    *      The Indian paint industry is a Rs 49 billion sector.
    *      The demand for paints is relatively price-elastic but is linked to the industrial and economical growth.
    *      The per capita consumption of paints in India is very low at 0.5 kg per annum if compared with 4 kgs in the South East Asian nations and 22 kgs in developed countries. The global average per capita consumption is 15 kg.
    *      In India the organised sector controls 70 percent of the total market with the remaining 30 percent being in the hands of nearly 2000 small-scale units.
    *      In India the industrial paint segment accounts for 30 percent of the paint market while the decorative paint segment accounts for 70 per cent of paints sold in India.
    *      In most developed countries, the ratio of decorative paints vis-Ã -vis industrial paints is around 50:50.
    *      All the industry majors have a vast dealership network and are required to maintain high inventory levels.
    *      most of the paint leaders have technical tie-ups with global paint leaders.

Sector comments

Paint is a mixture of four elements - solvents, binders, pigments and additives. Solvents give the paint a liquid flow while the binder binds it to the surface. Pigments impart colour and opacity to the paint and the additives give it special resistance properties.

Sector trends

The recession in the construction and automobile sector had thrown in shades of grey across the Industry spectrum, but the revival in these sectors is cause for cheer for the paint industry as well. The balance sheets of the industry majors are now painted with bright colours.

Sector specifics

On product lines, paints can be differentiated into decorative or architectural paints and industrial paints. While the former caters to the housing sector, the automotive segment is a major consumer of the latter. Decorative paints can further be classified into premium, medium and distemper segments. Premium decorative paints are acrylic emulsions used mostly in the metros. The medium range consists of enamels, popular in smaller cities and towns. Distempers are economy products demanded in the suburban and rural markets. Nearly 20 per cent of all decorative paints sold in India are distempers and it is here that the unorganised sector has dominance. Industrial paints include powder coatings, high performance coating and automotive and marine paints. But two-thirds of the industrial paints produced in the country are automotive paints.

Market profile

The leaders in the organised paint industry are Asian Paints (India) Ltd. (APIL), Goodlass Nerolac Paints Ltd. (GNPL), Berger Paints, Jenson & Nicholson Ltd. (J&N) and ICI (India) Ltd.

Asian paints is the industry leader with an overall market share of 33 per cent in the organised paint market. It has the largest distribution network among the players and its aggressive marketing has earned it strong brand equity. The Berger Group and ICI share the second slot in the industry with market shares of 17 per cent each. GNPL has a market share of 15 percent in the organised sector.

The market can be further split into decorative paints and industrial paints. The demand for decorative paints is highly price-sensitive and also cyclical. Monsoon is a slack season while the peak business period is Diwali festival time, when most people repaint their houses. The industrial paints segment, on the other hand, is a high volume-low margin business. In the decorative segment, it is the distribution network that counts while in the industrial segment the deciding factor are technological superiority and tie-up with automobile manufacturers for assured business.

APIL dominates the decorative segment with a 38 per cent market share. The company has more than 15,000 retail outlets and its brands Tractor, Apcolite, Utsav, Apex and Ace are entrenched in the market. GNPL, the number-two in the decorative segment, with a 14 per cent market share too, has now increased its distribution network to 10,700 outlets to compete with APIL effectively. Berger and ICI have 9 per cent and 8 per cent shares respectively in this segment followed by J&N and Shalimar with 1 and 6 per cent shares.

The share of industrial paints in the total paint consumption of the nation is very low compared to global standards. It accounts for 30 per cent of the paint market with 70 per cent of paints sold in India for decorative purposes. In most developed countries, the ratio of decorative paints vis-Ã -vis industrial paints is around 50:50. But, with the decorative segment bottoming out, companies are increasingly focussing on industrial paints. The future for industrial paints is bright. In the next few years, its share would go up to 50 per cent, in line with the global trend.

GNPL dominates the industrial paints segment with 41 per cent market share. It has a lion's share of 70 per cent in the OEM passenger car segment, 40 per cent share of two wheeler OEM market and 20 per cent of commercial vehicle OEM market. It supplies 70 per cent of the paint requirement of Maruti, India's largest passenger car manufacturer, besides supplying to other customers like Telco, Toyota, Hindustan Motors, Hero Honda, TVS-Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, Ford India, PAL Peugeot and Bajaj Auto. GNPL also controls 20 per cent of the consumer durables segment with clients like Whirlpool and Godrej GE. The company is also venturing into new areas like painting of plastic, coil coatings and cans. APIL, the leader in decorative paints, ranks a poor second after Goodlass Nerolac in the industrial segment with a 15 per cent market share. But with its joint venture Asian-PPG Industries, the company is aggressively targeting the automobile sector. It has now emerged as a 100 per cent OEM supplier to Daewoo, Hyundai, Ford and General Motors and is all set to ride on the automobile boom. Berger and ICI are the other players in the sector with 10 per cent and 9 per cent shares respectively. Shalimar too, has an 8 per cent share.

Price sensitivity factors

Various factors that have influenced the pricing of paints are summarised below:

    *      The industry is raw-material intensive. Of the 300 odd raw materials, nearly half of them are imported petroleum products. Thus, any deficit in global oil reserves affects the bottomline of the players.
    *      The major raw materials titanium dioxide, phthalic anhydride and peutarithrithol constitute 50 per cent of the total cost. Besides, this, there are other raw materials such as castor, linseed and soybean oils, turpentine. The raw materials cost sums up to a whopping 70 per cent. Any increase in the prices of these raw materials could adversely affect paint prices.

    *      Most of the paint majors have to import nearly 30 per cent of their raw material requirements thus changes in import policies can affect the industry.
    *      The prices of packing materials such as HDPE, BOPP and tinplate have reduced considerably. However, the decision of the Central Government to ban import of tinplate waste could lead to a spurt in the prices of the tinplate in the near future.

Technology collaboration

All the paint majors have tie-ups with global paint leaders for technical know-how. Asian Paints has formed a JV with PPG Industries Inc to service the automotive OEMs.

Berger has a series of tie-ups for various purposes. It has a technical tie-up with Herbets Gmbh of Germany in addition to its joint venture with Becker Industrifag. With the agreement with Herbets coming to an end in 2001, Berger has now allied with the Japanese major Nippon Paints to boost its OEM turnover since the Indian roads are being flooded with Japanese automobiles. It also has an agreement with Orica Australia Pvt. Ltd. to produce new generation protective coatings. The company also has tie-ups with Valspar Corp and Teodur BV for manufacturing heavy duty and powder coatings.

Incidentally, ICI makes paints with the technical support of Herbets, which has been recently acquired by by E I Du Pont de Nemours of the US. Interestingly, Du Pont, which is a leader in automotive coatings in the US, has a technical tie-up with Goodlass Nerolac for the manufacture of sophisticated coatings for the automotive sector. Goodlass also has technical collaborations with Ashland Chemcials Inc, USA, a leader in the petrochemical industry, Nihon Tokushu Toryo Co and Oshima Kogyo Co Ltd, Japan.

Overseas expansion

If the global Goliaths are foraying into the Indian paints market aggressively, the Indian paint companies are also spreading their wings. Asian Paint exports its paints to over 15 countries. It also has joint ventures in Fiji, Tonga, Nepal, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Australia, Oman and Mauritius. In October 1999 it acquired 76 per cent equity stake in Delmege Gorsyth & Co (Paints) Ltd, the second largest paint company in Sri Lanka with a 12 per cent market share in Sri Lanka's Paint Industry. Within a short span of just five years, the company has emerged as the number one player in these markets.


The industrial paints are slated to grow at an annual rate of 10 to 12 per cent per annum for the next few years. The industrial paint manufacturers would benefit from the burst in the passenger car sales. The two-wheeler industry has also registered a good show in the current year. The commercial vehicles segment, a star performer last year with 33 per cent growth, is expected to average a growth of only 15 per cent this year. However, the raising titanium dioxide prices and the negligible growth in agriculture this year, will play spoilsport. Considering the past trend, the paint industry is expected to show at least twice the growth of Indian GDP in the ensuing years. The reduction of excise duties from a high of 40 per cent to 16 per cent in the last five years, has made the numerous small-scale units unviable, as they no longer have a price advantage over the organised sector. This has helped the organised paint Industry a lot. The industry is in a consolidation phase and only those Indian paint companies with a strong technical alliance, better distribution network and an ability to compete in the global markets would emerge victorious in the paint war.

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