Buoyed by higher demand and better prices, India Cements Ltd (ICL) has reported a sharp growth in net profit at Rs 45.31 crore for the fiscal ended March 31, 2006 compared to Rs 4.58 crore in the previous year. Sales and other income grew 31% to Rs 1,836.69 crore as against Rs 1,402 crore in 2004-05. The interest charges went up marginally to Rs 149 crore (Rs 133.50 crore). The company has brought down its overall debt to Rs 1,300 crore from Rs 1,900 crore last year and the same is expected to be brought down further, N Srinivasan, vice-chairman and managing director, ICL said. The debt-equity ratio, during the fiscal 2005-06 has come down sharply from 6 to 1.6 and by end of this fiscal it will be less than 1, he added.
India Cements Ltd (ICL) is also planning to build facilities in North India and has already entered into an MoU with the Himachal Pradesh government to set up a 2Mta cement plant in Shimla district. It is also scouting for mining leases for limestone in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh for setting up plants. Having gained a good market position in South, the proposed move would give the company a geographical advantage, said N Srinivasan, vice-chairman and managing director, ICL. (Financial Express report).