Yesterday on the 2nd of February 2017, the world’s largest label printing company CCL announced their entry into India. CCL lead by Geoffery T Martin and headquartered in Toronto Canada has 2015 revenues reported at 3 Billion USD and a total workforce in excess of 19000 employees,  operating out of 150 state of art manufacturing facilities spread over North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. CCL, through their Dubai based joint venture with Albwardy GroupPacman-CCL, signed a binding agreement to acquire a majority stake in Mumbai based Super Labels. The press release received by me from Pacman-CCL and also available on the company website is as below;
CCL Industries Announces India Entry for CCL Label
TORONTO, ON–(Marketwired – February 02, 2017) – CCL Industries Inc. a world leader in specialty label and packaging solutions for global corporations, government institutions, small businesses and consumers, announced today that the Pacman-CCL joint venture, headquartered in Dubai, has signed a binding agreement to acquire a 70% stake in privately owned Super Label Mfg. Co. ("Super Label"), based in Mumbai, India. Super Label focuses on pressure sensitive labels for large consumer products and healthcare customers with operations in India. Pacman-CCL will invest $3.75 million in the venture to acquire its stake, reduce debt and provide funding for future expansion. Closing is subject to customary procedures and is expected to conclude later this month. The company will continue to be headed by its founder, Bharat Mehta, and becomes part of Pacman-CCL trading under the 
CCL corporate identity system with immediate effect.
John Dawson
Pacman-CCL now has plants in Dubai, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt as well as India. The Company is jointly owned by CCL and Albwardy Investment based in Dubai and headed by John Dawson, Managing Director. 2016 sales were approximately $50 million. 
Geoffery T Martin
Geoffrey T. Martin, President and CEO of CCL, commented, "Over the last decade we looked many times at entering India through acquiring a local business. Super Label is one of the best managed we have seen, I believe this is the best way forward given Pacman-CCL's proximity to the region. Our Indian Checkpoint subsidiaries remain separate to this venture, entirely under CCL control, focusing exclusively on Retail and Apparel markets."
CCL has been eyeing the Indian market for more than 6 years now. In my blog post that time titled, “Joint Ventures, Mergers, Acquisitions & International Partners, still Positive in labels.” I had mentioned; “On the 21st of March 2011, a press release from CCL Label Worldwide ruffled many feathers and set the ball rolling towards the current trend of JV’s and acquisitions. CCL label headquartered in Canada, employing 5800 employees at 61 locations around the world, acquired 50% stake in Dubai based Label Co. Pacman. In the same press release a line read; the partners have also agreed in principle to a prospective future Greenfield investment by Pacman- CCL in India.  If the world’s largest label company was planning to invest in India, it was time for Indians to take stock. They had to consider partnering with other international partners to face the challenges coming from such large entities. Though CCL has yet to announce their entry into India in label production yet leading Indian label manufacturers have opened their doors by either selling out or partnering with larger players.” 
During Labelexpo 2013 at Brussels I met Geoff Martin, Chairman of CCL Label and could
Harveer Sahni with Geoffery Martin at Labelexpo
 get an in-depth “India specific” view from him. The industry in India has for long looked at him with bated breath as to when he will invest and have been guessing who will be his strategic partner. Geoff had at that time mentioned that they were looking at many companies but his vision was to look for companies whose promoters had emotional dedication towards their venture. He did not approve of promoters who after succeeding wish to sell, make big money and quit. Those who managed their company well with vision to see their units and their team prosper even after management changing hands, were what he was looking at. In December 2015 Guenther Birkner,  now the President, Healthcare and Specialty business at CCL visited Mumbai and the news spread everywhere that CCL had signed up to acquire controlling interest in Bharat Mehta lead Super Labels in Mumbai. However in absence of any confirmation or press release from either of the companies, it remained a rumour or gossip. More so after CCL took over Checkpoint systems, it was evident that finally CCL has presence in India. Now with this press release CCL’s entry into label industry into India is a confirmed reality.
Chronicling the history of label in India I wrote, “By 1976, Bharat Mehta and his brother
Bharat Mehta
 setup a label press. Bharat Mehta bought his first Siki Label press from Ahmedabad where it was being used to produce unsupported wet glue labels. Shifting over from a business in agricultural pumps at the age of 26, Bharat Mehta settled down perfectly in to his label printing business. He is one of the most respected label printers. From a single Siki he went on to add a fully loaded Gallus, an EM 280 8 colours, EM 280 6 colours, and an Acquaflex. He was the first in India to opt for a full UV label press. In the earlier part of the decade of 2000-2010 he lost heavily in a major fire but firm resolve brought him right back in what he liked best, “Producing self adhesive labels”
Soft spoken gentleman of the Indian label industry Bharat Mehta is both, the history and present of the Indian label industry. He is one of the first label printers in India. I could sit with him and chat for hours about our time spent in this industry which has evolved like a family for him and me. Bharat Mehta’s Super Labels is one of the leading and respected label printing companies in Mumbai. His two sons joined him in business after completing their management studies.
Indian label industry is growing for sure but most of our printers complain of intense competition and depleting margins. They are under pressure to service debt as they would ideally wish to do comfortably. They are in a dilemma on the extent of further expansion, more so in the scenario whereby large multinational companies are investing into India. They wonder if the existing customer base and market will grow rapidly to provide enough opportunities for all or shrink by the incoming of foreign investors into labeling. My personal view is that with a growing literate population, low per capita usage at present and expanding retail, there will be enough business for all.
Written and reported by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director Weldon Celloplast, New Delhi, India
Magazines are free to publish this report giving credit to author.