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HPL plans 3 polymer clusters in Bengal

Calcutta, May 30: Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) today proposed three polymer parks in Bengal and devised a marketing strategy to beat the vagaries of the commodity cycle.

HPL vice-chairman Purnendu Chatterjee said the company had initiated talks with the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation on parks in Haldia, Panagarh and Kharagpur.

Spread across 100 acres, each park will be dotted with units making plastic products from polymer granules Haldia manufactures as well as value-added chemical products. “Haldia sells only 20 per cent of its product in the eastern region. We want this to go up to 50 per cent,” Chatterjee said.

The WBIDC and the Haldia Development Authority possess the land for the parks.

The company expects the move to increase profitability. It has to compete with big players such as Reliance Industries Ltd, Indian Oil Corporation and Gail (India) Ltd in their home turfs (west and north India), resulting in meagre earnings as transportation cost eats into the profit.

HPL will provide the common testing facility helping entrepreneurs with the know- how for the units. It will set up warehouses to store products so that small units can buy when they need to reduce their working capital.

Marketing push

The company also unveiled a new marketing initiative today. Instead of only driving volume, it plans to create a new line of products used in agriculture.

HPL will try out shade nets (paan baroz) to be used in betel leaf cultivation, potato sacks and rice bowl (dhaan gola). It also hopes to make products to be used in drip irrigation, safe drinking water and fish packaging.

“We may get some price protection and improve the netbacks (profits),” Chatterjee said.

These initiatives are part of the company’s strategy to increase the use of HPL’s products — polymer and chemicals — in Bengal.

So far, 763 downstream units have come up for HPL, employing over 2 lakh people directly and indirectly.

Managing director Partha S. Bhattacharyya said the new initiative would create jobs in the state. “The state will benefit in two ways. There will be jobs and correspondingly economic prosperity. It will also benefit HPL and since the state is a shareholder, it will be rewarded, too.”

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