Partha Chatterjee (left) with Ambuja Cements chief executive Ajay Kapur (right) at Sankrail on Friday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury
Sankrail, Dec. 28: Ambuja Cements Ltd (ACL) has lined up investments worth Rs 550 crore in Bengal. Nationally, the company will spend Rs 2,000 crore across various projects in the next two years, while it will try to maintain its market share at 10 per cent for the next five years.
The cement manufacturing company today announced it would invest Rs 325 crore in the grinding unit at Sankrail to expand the capacity to 2.4 million tonnes (mt) from 1.5mt in two years. It has also proposed to invest Rs 225 crore in another grinding unit in the state at Bandel, Bengal industries minister Partha Chatterjee said.
“This plant (Sankrail) is working at a capacity of 1.5mt and we will go up to 2.4mt. We also have a unit in Farakka with a 1.25mt capacity. So, with this, we will be one of the largest cement players in Bengal. In terms of demand, the east has been fairly boisterous. Bengal, Bihar, Odisha have all recorded a double-digit CAGR growth in the last five years. Nationally, we will spend around Rs 2,000 crore in the next two years, inclusive of the Bengal plan. That is our financial plan for the next two years,” said Ajay Kapur, CEO of Ambuja Cements.
According to Kapur, with GDP growth slowing to 5.5-6 per cent, the cement industry could grow at 6.5-7 per cent in the current financial year and 7-8 per cent next fiscal.
Kapur also said the east could witness 7-8 per cent growth in demand in the next 5-10 years. Prices would also remain stable as the company was adjusting rates according to inflation.
ACL, with a total capacity of 27.25mt and a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent year-on-year, plans to expand in Rajasthan and the neighbouring northern region.
“We will set up a 5mt unit in Rajasthan. Land requirement for such projects are usually 1,000 hectares. We have most of it and are waiting for certain clearances. We will also commission a bulk terminal of 1mt in Mangalore by March 2013 ,” Kapur said.
A 1.5mt grinding unit at Sanand, Gujarat, was also on the radar.
According to Chatterjee, Bengal is the best investment destination. Hinting at the change of guard at the Tata group, he said, “Hopefully, those who are new and taking charge will take care of this point.”
“There are a number of units of the Tata group in our state and we do not have bad or strained relations with anyone. It is up to the leader to decide where he wants to go.”
The minister, on the request of local MLA Sital Sardar, has also asked ACL to consider the case of the five workers at the Sankrail unit who were layed off recently.
Chatterjee said it was the responsibility of both the management and the workers to ensure the successful running of a unit.