The Turnhout-based playing card manufacturer Cartamundi yesterday laid the foundation stone of its ultramodern factory on a 40 000 square metre site 200 kilometres from Mumbai, as the manufacturer’s exisiting Indian outfit in Daman can no longer cope with the increasing demand. Last year its turnover in India grew by 30% and CEO Chris Van Doorslaer expects it to increase to 50% this year; hence the need for a new factory. It’s hard to believe if one considers that this manufacturer of classic playing cards, casino cards and card games with Disney, James Bond and Harry Potter copyright figures only became active in India in October 2010, when the Flemish signed a joint venture with the Indian family-owned business Parksons Games & Sports and called it Parksons Cartamundi. At the time, Parksons had about one hundred card types in its portfolio, but this did not include copyright cards such as the Disney ones or flow packs packs with five or six collector’s cards based on India’s national sport of cricket. Parksons Cartamundi have so far sold in the region of 40 million playing cards in India, to which it hopes to add 50 million flow packs. Apart from its activities in India and its headquarters and factory in Turnhout, the concern also has production sites in Germany, England, Poland, the US, Brazil and Mexico, as well as sales offices in a number of countries including Sweden and Singapore. With its 1 300 associates and well-known clients like Unilever, McDonald’s and Mattel Monopoly cards, among others, the group recorded a turnover of 152 million euros last year.
The laying of the foundation stone started without CEO Van Doorslaer in Pardi yesterday, as he could not fit it into his schedule. The Indians were adamant to get going, however, as the moon and stars were in perfect conjunction. The local population strongly believe in astrology. Even when the contract was signed last year, it had to happen on a day with a favourable position of the stars. Van Doorslaer’s Indian partners believe that if all goes according to plan, the factory will be operational by the end of this year, but Van Doorslaer is less ambitious, saying: “India is not exactly known as a country where everything happens fast. I’ll be happy if we could start early in 2013.”