Mumbai: The AV Birla group's three brown-field projects worth Rs 2,000 crore are all set to take off in the first half of 2004.
The commissioning of these projects is expected to make the Birla group Asia's leading player in the copper and carbon black segments. Currently, leading engineering and construction firm Aker Kvaerner is executing all these projects in Dahej, Chennai as well as in Thailand.
Says Kvaerner Powergas India deputy managing director Pothen Paul: "All these projects are under different stages of implementation. We expect these projects to be completed in the first half of the next year."
The total cost of these projects - Hindalco's Rs 1,500-crore copper smelting project in Dahej, Indian Rayon's Rs 150-crore carbon black project in Chennai and Thai Acrylic Fibre's Rs 250-crore Acrylic Fibre project in Thailand - is estimated at about Rs 2,000 crore.
Say sources: "Hindalco has undertaken a study to evaluate further expansion plans to increase copper smelting and refining beyond 2,50,000 tonnes per year along with a captive power plant during the next two or three years at Birla Copper Dahej."
The group will source ore for the project from its recent mining acquisitions in Australia. Hindalco had recently acquired Mount Gordon mines at a cost of Rs 60 crore. The capacity addition will further consolidate the group's position as a leader in the non-ferrous segment following the merger of Birla copper with its aluminium business last year.
Hindalco is now the market leader in copper capacity leaving its rivals Sterlite Industries and the state-owned Hindustan Copper far behind in terms of smelting capacity while in the aluminium business, it is neck-to-neck with Nalco.
Thailand-based AV Birla group company, Thai Acrylic Fibre Co, is doubling its capacity owing to increased demand from China. In the first phase, the capacity will be increased from 57,000 tonnes per annum to 77,000 tonnes per annum in 2003 and will be finally increased to 1 lakh tonnes. The group operates 10 companies in Thailand. Says a senior group executive: "The investment on the proposed expansion will be around Rs 250 crore."
While 43-per cent of its total produce is sold in China, 57 per cent is exported to markets including Southeast Asia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, South Africa and Australia. Value-added products are also exported to the US and Europe.
Similarly, Hi-Tech Carbon, a unit of Indian Rayon, is doubling its carbon black manufacturing capacity at its plant in Chennai. The expansion, estimated to cost Rs 150 crore, is expected to be completed by March 2004, after which the plant's capacity will increase to 80,000 tonnes per annum.
Hi-Tech Carbon manufactures carbon black, which is used in automotive tyres, plastics, paints, pigments and printing ink industries. Carbon black is used as a reinforcing agent in tyres when blended with polymers.