Century Plyboards, one of the largest plywood manufacturers in the country, has decided to put Gabon commercial veneer unit project on hold as of now. According to the company, there is significant overcapacity in commercial veneer in Gabon which is almost double the demand which has led to decline in prices of veneer. According to the company procuring veneer from outside has become cheaper than producing in-house. For the company, importing from Soloman Islands in Southern Africa is also another option.
Till recently, Indian plywood industry was dependent on Asian countries for their face veneer requirement. However, of late, Indian plywood industry has started realising that Asian countries, like, Myanmar, Indonesia or Laos are no longer dependable as a source of their face veneer requirements as they started putting restrictions on export of veneer. As a result, they have started scouting for new sources in Africa.
Greenply was one of the first Indian plywood companies to set up veneer plant in Gabon in Africa to take care of its face veneer requirements in India. Further, the cost of face veneer from Gabon is much cheaper than that procured from Myanmar and Indonesia. Century too was planning to set up a veneer plant which it has now put on hold. According to Century, Soloman Island veneers are far better than Okoume veneer, the veneer procured from Gabon. Gabon has been attracting large number of investors setting up peeling units in its economic zone. It is reported that there are more than 100 peeling units in Gabon.