An increase in tube-well installation fuels demand for plastic pipes and encourages firms like Navana, Bengal and Gazi to invest more in the sector.
The market for non-biodegradable plastic pipes has seen a steady rise since it became an alternative to iron pipes in 1985.
Initially, the market consisted entirely of Old Dhaka-based small-scale manual factories, said Moniruzzaman Panna, managing director of Aziz Pipes, one of the oldest pipe makers.
But the landscape started to change as large firms -- RFL (Rangpur Foundry Ltd) and National Polymer -- were lured in by the growing demand for tube wells thanks to a rise in construction of new buildings.
Industry insiders said the annual market demand for plastic pipes stands between 80,000 tonnes and 125,000 tonnes, and has been growing by 15-20 percent over the past three years.
"The market for plastic pipes is expanding and we expect it to grow in the coming years," said Atiur Rahman, assistant general manager of Navana Engineering, a concern of Navana Group.
Earlier this year, Navana started producing plastic pipes as water supply accessories. "We will also enter the sanitation and sewerage segment in four months,” Rahman said.
"Plastic pipes are cheaper and last longer than iron pipes, which get rusty after some years," said Kamruzzaman Kamal, a director in the market leader Pran-RFL Group.
"There is scope for business as the market is growing with the increasing pace of urbanisation and expansion of cities and towns," said Habibur Rahman, general manager of Bengal Plastic Pipes Ltd, a concern of Bengal Group of Industries.
The entry of more large companies in the market will enhance competition and raise the quality of products, Rahman said.
"Small factories that once ruled the market will gradually be lost to the competition," he said ruefully.
Many small-cottage based factories were driven out of business in recent years, said Panna of Aziz Pipes.