GHCL''s ''operation turnaround'' of Romanian plant shows results

A month after its acquisition of the Romanian soda ash maker S C Bega Upsom S A, GHCL has already ramped up production in the plant; the current production rate is 650 tons per day, a 34 per cent increase from last year's per day average of 486 tons (from January 2005 to November 2005). In addition, GHCL has put in place cost reduction measures to control input costs of raw materials and utilities.

GHCL acquired a controlling stake of 65 per cent in the Romanian firm at $19.50 million with a requirement to make a public offer to purchase the remaining 35 per cent stipulated by local Romanian regulations.

It is now in the midst of efforts to successfully turn around the soda ash business by optimising operations to increase production capacities, modernise the plant and improve price points within identified market segments.

Commenting on the turnaround strategy, Sanjay Dalmia, chairman, GHCL Ltd, says, "GHCL is India's lowest cost producer of synthetic soda ash and our endeavour is to leverage and replicate our Indian experience to make this plant the lowest cost producer of soda ash in Europe, given its strategic location to tap East and Central European markets having substantial reserves of natural resources required for production of Soda Ash."

The company is on its way to becoming a dominant player in the global soda ash industry; upon completion of expansions underway in India and Romania. The company's global capacity is expected to rise to 1,800,000mtpa.