Over 100 Tons of Paint for Mega Petrol Station Project in India

When driving along the roads in India, you not only pass large high-rise buildings and densely populated neighbourhoods, but also petrol stations that catch your eye because of their green color: the Jio BP. These are owned by the Indian Reliance Group and the British BP Group, which merged to form a joint venture in 2019 and founded Jio BP.

The name Jio means «Live the life» in Hindi. Today’s experts predict that India will become one of the fastest growing fuel markets in the world in the next 20 years. Among other things, the Reliance portfolio of more than 1,400 existing retail locations is to be successively expanded to 5,500. More than 1,000 new filling stations are to be built throughout India by the spring of 2022. Another 2,000 petrol stations are to follow by autumn 2022. For each petrol station, around 450 m2 of façade panels will be coated using the coil coating process. And this is where Monopol Colors India comes into play.

Monopol Colors prevailed among many suppliers with its high-performance Vernicron fluoropolymer coating. In October 2021, they finally won the contract to frame the petrol stations in the high-gloss colors green, yellow and white, with some grey. The advantage of the fluoropolymer coating lies in its color and gloss retention – it remains intact for several decades. Thanks to the hydrophobic properties, such façades are not only easy to clean, they remain as attractive as on the first day.

As soon as the first 3,000 filling stations are bright and shining in the typical Jio-BP colors by autumn 2022, more are to follow. The aluminium composite panels are produced in India by the long-standing Monopol partners Aludecor Lamination Pvt. Ltd. and 3A Composites India Pvt. Ltd. For Monopol Colors, this means that approximately 100 tons of paint are needed for the over 1.3 million square metres of surface to be coated. A mega project!

Lecture at the SGV: India, The «mighty Elephant» 

India: A roaring tiger or rather a mighty elephant? One person who knows the answer is Lionel Schlessinger, CEO of Monopol Colors. He spoke about this question, among others, as part of a lecture at the Swiss Trade Association on January 14, 2022. Schlessinger also had to do away with prejudices during his travels. Because there is not simply “the” India.

Officially, there are 24 languages with their own script. Estimates suggest that about 415 languages are spoken throughout India. An enormous number, which leads to some challenges. The distance from south to north is just under 3,200 km, approximately the same as from Sicily to Finnish Lapland. Consequently, the southern Indian has about as much in common with the northern Indian as a Sicilian has with a Finn.  

Anyone wanting to do business on the subcontinent needs, above all, patience and the ability to network in order to learn from others’ mistakes, Schlessinger says. The world’s most populous country, with 1.4 billion people and a young population with an average age of 26.7 years, is still very poor. Around a quarter still live in slums. But it is precisely this young age of the population – almost 2/3 of the population are under 35 – that plays positively into the country’s cards. Because they want to move the country forward and improve their personal situation.

Another challenge is the increasing migration to the cities. It is estimated that by 2050, almost half of India’s 1.7 billion people will live in cities. This leads to major problems in terms of infrastructure, such as roads and power supply which are already reaching their capacity limits, especially during the monsoon season.

The caste system is and remains challenging. The caste system, although officially abolished, is still in the minds of many Indians and is thus a great enemy of the meritocracy. India has not yet done much of its homework: its capital markets are extremely regulated, payment periods of up to 200 days and more are not uncommon, “friendship gifts” are unavoidable, the bureaucracy inherited from the English is endless, jurisdiction is a disaster – and yet Schlessinger does not regret his move to India for a second.

However, all these experiences should not result in us giving India a wide berth. On the contrary: India offers great opportunities if you are willing to learn from your mistakes and exercise patience. Not to forget the friendliness of the people, the variety of colours in the streets and the different flavours in the cuisine, which have all appealed to Schlessinger. On each of his journeys, he was always warmly welcomed – making India Schlessinger’s second home.

So India is not a roaring tiger, but a mighty elephant. It takes time to get moving and is then unstoppable. Patience is the key if you want to succeed in India.

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