Sri Lankan firm Screen Field Advertising (SFA) has come to Bangladesh with a new technology of manufacturing cardboards to provide customers in the advertising field with a low-cost substitute for PVC boards.
As the first company, SFA is manufacturing corrugated polypropylene (PP) sheets in Bangladesh with direct digital print on advertising boards.
These kinds of corrugated sheets are used as an alternative for PVC boards but cost almost half when compared to PVC boards.
PVC boards are used for advertising boards, partitioning, ceiling and many other projects.
With a primary investment of Tk40 crore, the company has already set up a factory in Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka city to enter the market with limited production.
Now it is set to hit the local PVC market by starting commercial production with the offering of low-cost and eco-friendly products.
After spending more than one year to understand the Bangladesh market, the company is now planning to increase its investment to begin commercial operation.
SFA is in negotiation with some local players to go for partnership in its commercial operation, said its chief executive officer Nalinda Jayamanne.
"We are the lone company in Bangladesh to use this new technology in manufacturing low-cost PVC boards," he said.
The objective behind the primary investment was to understand the Bangladesh market, he mentioned, adding, "We have seen a huge opportunity in the PVC market here, which is why we have decided to go for full commercial production."
SFA products have multiple exclusive features that will enable them to compete in the market, he further added.
Competitive price will be the most striking feature of SFA products, he continued.
"For instance, the price of a 3mm corrugated PP board is Tk350, while a PVC board with the same thickness and size costs Tk600."
The second feature is direct screen printing in advertising boards, he said, adding local PVC manufacturers do not have the technology and they sell separate stickers for advertising boards.
The cost of direct screen print is Tk7.50 per square foot. On the other hand, stickers sold by PVC makers cost Tk21 per square foot.
The third exclusive feature of PP sheets is that they can be recycled. So, these products are eco-friendly and the Bangladesh government also is promoting environment-friendly businesses.
The fourth feature is durability, as advertising materials of screen-printed boards last for one year when PVC advertising boards last for 3-4 months.
The current size of the PVC board market is around Tk8,000 crore in terms of annual sales and is growing at a rate of 5-7% annually.
Partex and Pran RFL dominate the local PVC board market by holding 60% share of the market together. Imported PP hollow sheets have 20% share in the market and others hold the remaining 20% of market share.
Currently, SFA is producing 1,600 boards per day, said Nalinda.
In the next investment phase for full commercial operation, the capacity will increase threefold, he added.
The company is currently working with two multinational businesses due to limited production, he added.
There will be a huge demand for SFA products thanks to its price competitiveness, he hoped.
"Many big clients are in the pipeline. After improving the production capacity, the company will take orders from them," he said.
SFA is a sister concern of APS Holds that retains 90% share of the advertising industry in Sri Lanka, according to the company document.