The Telegraph
Saturday , February 8 , 2014
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CESC hastens Haldia unit

Sanjiv Goenka in Calcutta on Friday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury

Calcutta, Feb. 7: CESC is hopeful of completing its 600MW Haldia project ahead of schedule even as it grapples with rising costs on account of the volatility in the rupee.

“In Haldia, we are inching ahead of the schedule. I had always said the plant would get commissioned in the last quarter of the fiscal. Now we are looking at commissioning it by the third quarter,” CESC chairman Sanjiv Goenka said today.

However, he expressed concern about project costs going up because of the volatility of the rupee against the dollar.

“When we conceived the projects, the rupee was around 45 to the dollar. Now it is over 60. So, there is a foreign exchange impact. Definitely costs will be higher,” Goenka said, adding that the costs could be around Rs 6 crore per megawatt (MW) against an earlier estimate of around Rs 5 crore per MW.

Goenka said the second unit of the 600MW Chandrapur power plant in Maharashtra was expected to be completed within two weeks.

The company has entered into an agreement with the state distribution company of Tamil Nadu to purchase 100MW from Chandrapur.

It is also in talks with two more distribution companies for the purchase of another 420MW.

CESC has lined up a 10.6MW solar power project in Tamil Nadu at an investment of Rs 95 crore.

On retail arm Spencer’s, Goenka said three more stores at NCR, Bhopal and Hyderabad would be opened by the end of this financial year. Spencer’s had 126 store across the country at the end of the December quarter.

Meanwhile, CESC has reported a 5.94 per cent growth in net profit for the October-December quarter at Rs 107 crore against Rs 101 crore a year ago. The marginal rise in profit has been attributed to rising fuel costs. Revenue from operations grew 16 per cent to Rs 1,207 crore from Rs 1,040 crore a year ago.