"650 rolls disappeared in a couple of hours”: demand for toilet paper in Tatarstan doubled

Manufacturing plants have had to increase capacity and calm down alarmists — the republic is not being in danger of a deficit

Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

Since last week, Tatarstan citizens have been buying up essential goods, including toilet paper. The demand for it has doubled, representatives of two of the four manufacturing plants in the republic told Realnoe Vremya, but they assured that the reserves are sufficient for the needs of the market. Of course, alarmists are difficult to calm down and they even came up with an offensive term for them: Covidiot (derived from COVID-19 and the word “idiot” — editor's note). Therefore, so that no one makes mistakes in calculations: how many products to take for the period of self-isolation, the UK has launched a toilet paper calculator. Perhaps, the popular stay-at-home challenge, when footballers from all over the world juggle a roll of toilet paper like a soccer ball, has also added interest to the product.

"650 rolls of toilet paper disappeared in a couple of hours”

In the past week, across Russia, and in Tatarstan in particular, in connection with the coronavirus epidemic and citizens' fears about the possible introduction of quarantine, customers began to buy up essential goods, including toilet paper, in large numbers in stores. This has led to the need for retailers themselves, who, it would seem, should benefit from the growth of demand, to explain to customers that there is no point in panicking.

For example, on March 20, the Vprok retail chain from Naberezhnye Chelny showed warehouses filled to the ceiling with toilet paper of different brands: the company noted that the most popular brand among customers is the products of a local manufacturer, it is delivered to stores in the amount of 200 to 800 pieces:

“People panic and create a shortage of goods. Our sellers do not have time to put the product on the shelve — 650 rolls of toilet paper in one of the stores disappeared in a couple of hours!

On March 20, the Vprok retail chain from Naberezhnye Chelny showed warehouses filled to the ceiling with toilet paper of different brands. Photo: vk.com/vprokshop

Who produces toilet paper in Tatarstan

One of the largest producers is Naberezhnye Chelny paper mill NP NCH KBK named after S.P. Titova CJSC — has worked since 1988. A couple of years ago, it produced about 4,500 tonnes of such paper a month. But today, according to CEO Andrey Fomichev, the company occupies about 13% of the Russian market.

In addition to the residents of Naberezhnye Chelny, there are three other companies on the market of Tatarstan. It is Nega paper mill in Kazan (Agrotekhmashstroyservis), created on the basis of bankrupt Ptitsepromoborudovanie SUE and a few years later bought by Motovilikhinskie plants (0,5 tonnes a month).

In the east of Tatarstan, large Turkish company Khayat Kimya, located in Alabuga SEZ with an initial output of 5,000 tonnes a month, has been recently launched. However, last year they launched a paper-making machine with a capacity of 70,000 tonnes a year, which can lead to the production of up to 10,000 tonnes of toilet paper a month, in the first half of 2019 alone, the market share of Russian production of toilet paper Khayat Kimya already reached 16%.

Finally, in Kazan, in addition to Nega, on the squares of Tasma, there is the company Pulp Invest, capable of producing up to 2,500 tonnes of products a month (in 2017, 1,3-1,4 thousand tonnes were made).

Nega promises, in case of a shortage of toilet paper in stores, the company will also increase production twofold. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

The demand for toilet paper doubled last week

Nega paper factory (Agrotechnmashstroyservis CJSC), which cooperates with the companies X5 Retail Group (Pyaterochka, Karusel, Perekrestok) and Bakhetle, confirmed the hype demand for toilet paper in recent days. Marketing specialist Anna Bazhitova told Realnoe Vremya that orders began to grow since last Monday and have already doubled. Nega promises, in case of a shortage of toilet paper in stores, the company will also increase production twofold.

“Now our production capacity is 70 tonnes a month. Before the epidemic, demand was moderate. But there is no shortage, as the stock will last for a long time," said Anna Bazhitova, commenting on the likelihood of a shortage of paper on the shelves of the store.

Let us note that in the interview with our publication, Director General of Agrotechnmashstroyservis CJSC Eric Akchurin 3 years ago said that the production of paper took half the capacity of their company, and another half — napkin products. By 2020, the company planned to increase production by 15-20%. Nega could produce up to 500 tonnes a month, out of it — toilet paper up to 200-250 tonnes, and, the production of toilet paper there was planned to be reduced, and napkin — to be increased. It is interesting that if the head of the Chelny KBK, Andrey Fomichev, a couple of years ago complained about the lack of pulp/waste paper, which was purchased in huge quantities by Chinese manufacturers at the time, then the head of Nega — about a growth in cost, which was influenced by energy, packaging, etc.

The rush to buy toilet paper was also felt in another Russian company, where Realnoe Vremya newspaper on condition of anonymity was confirmed that last week the demand for it increased by about two times. At the same time, the company is already working at full capacity, and it would not be able to increase the production of toilet paper in case of a shortage. However, representatives of the company note that, although they did not conduct a deep analysis of the market, judging by the already available information, the shortage of toilet paper is still not worth waiting for.

In the companies of NP NCH KBK named after S.P Titov CJSC and Hayat Kimya could not respond promptly to the questions of Realnoe Vremya.

The volume of the Russian toilet paper market is from 50,000 tonnes a month. Photo: rt.rbk.ru

All manufacturers have increased their turnover

In Russia, the toilet paper market is divided by several major manufacturers. This is the oldest Syas pulp and paper mill in Leningrad Oblast with three paper machines (one papar-making machine can produce up to 2,500 tonnes of paper or more). Then SCA Hygiene Products Russia (ZEWA brand), which produces up to 13,500 tonnes of paper a month. Syktyvkar Tissue Group also has three or three paper machines. As well as the aforementioned Hayat Kimya. The volume of the Russian toilet paper market is from 50,000 tonnes a month.

And this is in addition to private entrepreneurs, who is known as “garazhniki”, who produce a product of low quality with minimal costs — such paper is produced on inexpensive Chinese machines and sold in the Republic of Tatarstan in discounters, major players complain.

All Tatarstan companies have been growing well in recent years. Thus, the Chelny KBK revenue in 2018 exceeded the mark of 10 billion rubles, net profit for 4 years has exceeded 1 billion rubles, in 2018 amounted to 1,3 billion rubles. Nega, as well as the Naberezhnye Chelny's company, since 2011 has actually doubled its turnover, reaching 618,4 million rubles of revenue and net profit of 17,3 million rubles in 2018. Since the opening of the plant in 2015, Hayat Kimya's turnover has doubled to 5,5 billion rubles, but the Turks have not yet been able to make a profit: in 2018, the company went negative by 1,8 billion rubles. The most impressive growth rate belongs to Pulp Invest, whose revenue has soared 5,5 times since 2015, amounting to 1,5 billion rubles, in 2018, after years of losses, Kazan finally showed a profit of 13,3 million rubles.

By Sergey Afanasyev
Tatarstan