NRI to invest $600 million in West Bengal
Frankfurt: Purnendu Chatterjee, the reclusive Bengali industrialist from New York, has announced plans to invest $600 million (Rs 4,400 crore) in Haldia to double the capacity of a purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant.
The announcement was made at an investment summit in Frankfurt in the presence of Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and German industrialists as well as representatives of business chambers.
Mamata is in Frankfurt to showcase Bengal as an investment destination at an event organised by the Bengal government, Ficci and German trade bodies. Chatterjee and others were called on stage to share their experiences in Bengal.
"I walked in from the airport yesterday and I met the chief minister. She saw me and said, 'Look, I have cleared the land for you'," said Chatterjee, the chairman of The Chatterjee Group.
MCPI Pvt Ltd, the company operating the 1.25-million-tonne PTA plant at Haldia, was looking for land nearby to expand capacity. PTA is a petrochemical intermediate product and a raw material used to make polyester fabric and plastic bottles.
Chatterjee said he would deploy new technology to produce PTA since land would no longer be a constraint. "We are close to finalising the technology for the unit," he said.
Government sources said the company had sought 90 acres, which are with the Haldia Development Authority. The government has decided to allocate the land to MCPI.
Chatterjee told The Telegraph after the event that the environment impact study was going on. "We will start the project once environment clearances are in place and finances are tied up," he added.
When TCG, which also owns Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd, took over MCPI from the Japanese giant Mitsubishi Chemicals in July 2016, the unit was sick. Within two years, the company has been turned around and made profitable.
During his speech, Chatterjee said the demand for PTA was growing by 7 to 8 per cent and the Haldia unit was unable to meet the need of western customers. As a consequence, he has been toying with the idea of expansion.
Reliance Industries is the largest producer of PTA in India, followed by MCPI.