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 Ceramics makers on expansion mode

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Ceramics makers on expansion mode Empty
PostSubject: Ceramics makers on expansion mode   Ceramics makers on expansion mode EmptyTue Jun 15, 2010 5:17 am

Sajjadur Rahman

Products of FARR Ceramics are on display. Ceramic tableware makers are up for expansion to keep up with growing demand on international markets. Photo: FARR Ceramics
Ceramics makers are on an expansion drive to cash in on growing demand for exports.

Expansion apart, new factories are appearing on the scene, industry people said.

Shinepukur Ceramics, a concern of Beximco Group, is investing an additional Tk 80 crore to expand its bone china production capacity by 4.5 tonnes to 7.5 tonnes a day by year-end.

A new factory will be set up with the fund, said a top official of Shinepukur Ceramics.

“We are trying to grab a bigger share of the international market,” said Rizvi-ul Kabir, chief operating officer of Shinepukur Ceramics.

The fund is being invested to make and export premium-quality bone china products, Kabir said.

Fast-growing FARR Ceramics has set aside an additional Tk 65 crore to expand its porcelain production capacity by 13 tonnes to 23 tonnes a year.

Iftekhar Uddin Farhad, chairman and managing director of FARR Ceramics, said the company is pumping up funds into modern technology and capacity expansion.

“We'll use raw materials in dry format instead of wet format to improve the quality of products,” said Farhad.

After expansion, he said his company's export earning will reach nearly Tk 85 crore a year from present Tk 30 crore.

FARR Ceramics was set up in 2005 and started commercial production in 2007.

Ceramics is a fast growing industry in Bangladesh. The country enjoys a comparative advantage in manufacturing ceramic products, as it is a gas-based, labour intensive and skills-oriented business. Value addition of ceramics is 70 percent.

Traditionally, Japan, UK, Germany and other European countries dominated exports of ceramic products to the world markets. But a jump in production costs, including wages and currency appreciation, made ceramic manufacturing unfeasible for those nations.

According to industry people, Bangladesh has certain competitive advantages over its competitors an availability of gas, cheap labour and the generalised system of preferences (GSP) that allows Bangladesh's duty-free exports to Europe. There is no quota restriction either on the export.

Bangladesh exported ceramic tableware worth over $33 million in fiscal 2008-09, of which over 80 percent was destined to Italy, UK, USA, Germany, France, Canada and Sweden.

“We are getting export orders from new countries, like Turkey, India, Argentina and Brazil,” said Farhad of FARR Ceramics, a fully export-oriented factory.

The company's exports to India have crossed Tk 5 crore in 2009, he said.

Entrepreneurs are also coming up to set up new factories, he said.

Two new factories -- Protik in Savar and Paragon in Gazipur -- are being set up, he said.

Monno Ceramics, a leading maker of the item, has no plan to expand its capacity, as it cannot utilise its full capacity due to the gas crisis, said an official of the company.
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