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Mitsubishi in Bengal record

Calcutta, Dec. 27: Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation will set up its second unit at Haldia at a cost of close to Rs 1,700 crore, making it the largest foreign direct investment in Bengal.

Mitsubishi has informed the government of its decision, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said today.

“Mitsubishi Chemicals has decided to set up their second unit at Haldia. The unit will have an increased capacity of 800,000 tonnes. We expect the chairman of the company to come down to Calcutta in mid-January to make a formal announcement,” the chief minister said at the annual general meeting of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The plant will come up adjacent to the unit Mitsubishi already has at Haldia. After the expansion, the capacity will go up to 1.3 million tonnes from 470,000 tonnes.

With an investment of about Rs 1,500 crore made in the first phase, Mitsubishi’s will be the largest Japanese investment in the country.

Observers say the decision is a vote of confidence for the government that has been trying hard to project itself as business-friendly. “This will certainly boost the image of the state since the company has decided to double its investment here,” they added.

The company had earlier expressed concern about the poor infrastructure at Haldia. But it seems that an expanding market and the proposed chemical hub there might have forced its hand.

The Haldia unit makes PTA (purified terephthalic acid), the main raw material for polyester fibre and PET resins and films.

Once the chemical hub, planned by the Centre, comes up, Mitsubishi will get a ready market at its doorstep. The PTA market is growing at 7-8 per cent a year in India.

The company, which clocked a Rs 1,800-crore turnover last year, will start construction of the new unit in 2006 with production slated to begin by the middle of 2008.

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