UltraTech Cement to spend Rs12,000 crore on adding capacity

UltraTech Cement Ltd, the country's largest cement maker, plans to spend Rs12,000 crore up to fiscal 2014 to increase its production capacity by 10.2 million tonnes to 62 mt, chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting (AGM) in Mumbai on Thursday.

He said the capital expansion plan is on track and most of new projects including clinkerisation plants at Chhattisgarh and Karnataka together with grinding units, bulk packaging terminals, ready mix concrete plants and waster heat recovery systems will be on stream early on in the next financial year 2013-14.

''The total capex under implementation is around Rs. 12,000 crore. It will be funded through a judicious mix of internal accruals and borrowings,'' said Birla, adding that most of these projects ''will go on stream in early FY14''.

Birla also sought government assistance to help the industry come out of the ''challenging times'' with soaring operational costs and slowing demand, with the slow pace of housing and infrastructure growth.

''We look up to the government to support the cement industry and ensure growth through initiatives like reducing the tax burden and ensuring availability of linkage coal,'' he said.

He said the short-term prospects for the industry seemed ''bearish''. ''With the industry's proposed capacity expansion of around 71 mt between FY13 and FY15, it will be no different for the next two to three years,'' he said.