Buffet-owned Lubrizol in talks with Astral for JV in Gujarat

Shares of Ahmedabad-based pipe maker Astral Poly Technik Ltd hit an all-time high on an otherwise depressed Bombay Stock Exchange on Thursday after reports that the company may enter into a joint venture with Lubrizol Corp, of the US.

According to reports Astral plans to set up a chlorinated poly vinyl chloride pipe-making plant at Dahej in Gujarat, in partnership with the Ohio-based speciality chemicals maker. Astral clarified that the talks were at a preliminary stage.

Lubrizol is managed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett's company Berkshire Hathaway Inc, which recently acquired the company for $9.7 billion.

At close on Thursday, the stock of of Astral stood at Rs215.50 on the BSE, a gain of 18.3 per cent over its previous close.

Astral Poly Technik said in a regulatory filing to the stock exchange on Thursday, "We wish to clarify that the discussions (with Lubrizol) are at a very preliminary stage and the same are subject to detailed negotiations. The company would announce its final plans as and when things are finalised."

According to the report citing a Gujarat government statement, Lubrizol will initially invest $245 million (Rs1200 crore) in the venture, which could start production by October 2014.

Astral is the first licensee of Lubrizol, according to the Indian company's website.