Reliance buys Malaysia''s Hualon, boosts yarn output by 25 per cent

The world''s largest producer of textile yarn Reliance Industries is to buy the assets of the bankrupt Malaysian company Hualon Corporation. The move will increase Reliance''s yarn-making capacity by 25 per cent to 2.5 million tonnes

The Mumbai-based company has said the acquisition will increase its revenue by $1 billion, and enable it to control 7 per cent share of the world''s polyester yarn and fibre market. "This acquisition reiterates our strong commitment to the growth of polyester," Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani said in a statement, "Reliance celebrates its silver jubilee in the polyester business with the acquisition of Hualon."

The Reliance statement didn''t say how much it paid for the assets, acquired in a deal with Hualon''s court receivers and the company''s managers. Hualon was placed in receivership on 30 November 2006.

Reliance''s petrochemicals business earned about 45 per cent of the company''s revenue last year, as prices of ethylene, the basic raw material for plastics and synthetic fibres, rose 27 per cent to an average of $1,142 (Rs46,365) a tonne in South East Asia last year, up from the 2005 average of $898 (Rs36,460) a tonne.

On 10 March, the company announced a buyback of all the shares it doesn''t own in subsidiary Indian Petrochemicals Corporation (IPCL), consolidating its petrochemicals operations.

Reliance also announced a JV with Rohm & Haas in March to build a plant in India to make chemicals used in paints and plastics, taking advantage of India''s construction boom. Philadelphia-based Rohm & Haas is the world''s biggest producer of acrylic monomers for paints and plastics. The project is to build a 200,000 tonnes-per-year plant at Jamnagar in Gujarat, where Reliance''s refinery is based.