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Bilt Chemicals on the prowl

New Delhi, Oct 8: With a brand new corporate identity, Bilt Chemicals is planning to acquire mid-sized bromine chemicals businesses of overseas companies, preferably in the UK.

It is also weighing the options of raising funds through an initial public offering (IPO) or a private placement.

The closely-held Rs 250-crore Bilt Chemicals has rechristened itself as Solaris Chemtech Limited with a new corporate logo in place. The company is aiming to grow the business to Rs 500 crore by 2005. The company is targeting a turnover of Rs 330-340 crore in its current financial year ending June.

Speaking to reporters, Solaris Chemtech managing director Manoj Dutt said, “We are open to all options for raising funds including an IPO or a private placement.” However, he added that right now the market was not conducive for an IPO.

“'The corporate identity is being changed as the name Bilt is associated with the paper industry. As we are drawing up an ambitious growth plan for the chemicals business, we wanted to break that association. The growth area for the company will be the business of bromine chemicals and biochemicals followed by caustic soda.”

The company has major export plans for its citric acid division and said that in three years, two-thirds of the production from this division will be for export purposes. It has identified markets in Europe, the US and South Africa.

Solaris Chemtech is also going to expand its production capacity of bromine from 4,000 tonnes per annum to 10,000 tonnes per annum at a cost of Rs 35 crore, to be funded from internal accruals and debt, said Dutt.

The Brij Mohan Thapar group owns 90 per cent in Bilt Chemicals, while 10 per cent is owned by a private equity fund. Bilt Chemicals was spun off as a separate company only in 1998, prior to which it was a division of Ballarpur Industries (Bilt), the Rs 1,500-crore flagship of the Thapar group. Currently, Bilt has no shares in the company.

Bilt Chemicals recorded a turnover of Rs 225 crore in the last fiscal. Bilt Biochem, a fully owned subsidiary of the company which made its debut in January last year, had a turnover of Rs 25 crore.

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