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Tata Chem revives Haldia growth plan

P.K. Ghose in Haldia on Friday. A Telegraph picture

Haldia, Jan. 24: Tata Chemicals is planning to revisit its proposal to expand its single super phosphate (SSP) production facility in Haldia.

A central moratorium on setting up potentially polluting industries in Haldia was lifted recently, and this may have prompted the decision.

The expansion may need an investment of Rs 40 crore and could more-than-double the production of SSP to over 4 lakh tonnes per annum from 2 lakh tonnes, helping to meet the increasing demand for this fertiliser.

The company, which is part of $100-billion Tata Group, had factored this in an earlier capital expenditure plan but could not proceed with it following the imposition of a restriction by the environment and forest ministry at the end of 2009.

The decision to lift the ban was taken around three months back with the comprehensive environmental pollution index at the industrial region becoming positive.

“We had done an expansion of about Rs 12 crore two years back. Now it is being contemplated that we should go in for another expansion. It is in the capex plan,” said P.K. Ghose, executive director and chief financial officer of Tata Chemicals.

Ghose was here to announce the launch of Tata Swach Silver RO water purifiers for the Calcutta market.

Meanwhile, the company has applied for clearance for its project plan, including approvals from the central pollution control board, the West Bengal pollution control board and the ministry of environment and forests.

At present, Tata Chemicals produces 250,000 tonnes of diammonium phosphate (DAP) and 500,000 tonnes of NPK complexes at the Haldia facility.

This plant is one of the largest producers of sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid and sodium tripolyphosphate.

Sableel Nandy, vice-president (manufacturing) and in-charge of the Haldia plant, said, “There was a moratorium on Haldia, which has been lifted. We have very serious plans and we are taking a relook at the investment. The first hurdle is to get permission.”

The move may help to reaffirm Tata Group’s faith in Bengal after the exit of its Nano project from Singur.

Consumer Products

Tata Chemicals is betting big on its consumer products business vertical as a key growth driver and expects its contribution to grow to Rs 3,000-3,500 crore from about Rs 1,000 crore currently. The vertical includes water purifiers, Tata Salt, iShakti, pulses, besan etc.

“We are targeting a 5-8 per cent market share in online water purifiers in the first year. The overall water purifier market is around Rs 3,500 crore of which Rs 2,500 crore is online. By volume, online is about 1.4 million,” said Parag Gadre, head (water purifier business & strategy), consumer products business, Tata Chemicals.

The company has lined up a Rs 1,700 crore capex plan over the next two years for both its domestic and overseas ventures. More than half of the amount will be spent on maintenance capital expenditure and the remaining in salt, Indian chemical business an consumer related products.

 
 
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