The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Birla Corp set to raise cement capacity

Calcutta, Aug. 29: Birla Corporation Ltd will raise the grinding capacity of its Raebareli cement plant from 3.6 lakh tonnes to 6.3 million tonnes per annum.

The cement division of the MP Birla group flagship performed well in the last financial year despite an industry-wide slowdown. With higher capacity utilisation, volumes increased substantially, thus improving profitability.

Cement despatch volumes rose from 39.68 lakh tonnes in 2000-01 to 41.72 lakh tonnes last year.

At some plants like the one in Chittor, the capacity utilisation stood at 115 per cent.

A senior company official said the long-term outlook on the division is very positive and capacity expansion is expected to match the demand.

The company’s outlook on its other businesses like jute, auto trim and vinoleum are not as positive as that on cement. However, it could not be ascertained whether the company will move out of any such businesses which have become nonviable due to cheaper imports.

Meanwhile, Birla Corporation has decided to delist from the Delhi Stock Exchange. A resolution to this effect, which was moved during the annual general meeting here, was unanimously approved by shareholders.

This, incidentally, is the third Birla group firm to seek delisting from the DSE. Earlier, BK Birla group companies—Century Enka and Century—Textiles had decided to delist their shares from the exchange.

Moving the resolution, Birla Corporation co-chairman R. S. Lodha said with the extensive networking of the BSE and NSE and the extension of their terminals to other cities as well, investors had access to online deals in the company’s ordinary equity shares across the country.

He said the bulk of the trading in the company’s ordinary equity shares took place on the BSE and NSE and their shares had not been traded on the DSE since October 8, 1996. Further, the company could save on unnecessary costs in the form of listing fees to DSE.

Lodha said the delisting would take effect after all approvals, permissions and sanctions from the appropriate authorities are obtained.

Earlier, while addressing shareholders, Lodha said they were exploring all options, including restructuring of operations by de-bottlenecking, to stage a turnaround after five consecutive years of net losses.

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