Birla to expand cement capacity

Birla to expand cement capacity
Published: 11 July 2005

Notwithstanding the ongoing bitter legal battle over its control, the Rajinder Lodha controlled Birla Corporation, the flagship company of M P Birla group, plans to substantially expand its cement capacity. A completely new one million tonne cement unit, Durgapur Hitech Cement, was in the final stages of completion adjacent to the company’s existing cement plant at Durgapur. With the commissioning of this new plant, the total capacity of the Durgapur unit would go up to 1.6Mt and on completion, the total capacity of Birla Corp would cross 6Mt, according to a company spokesman.

Despite its presence in jute, autos and PVC, Birla Corp’s 87 per cent turnover came from its cement business. The company spokesman said the Rs 75-crore new cement unit, which would produce portland pozzolana cement (PPC), was expected to be completed by September this year.

The Birla Corp, which is the third largest player in cement sector in terms of turnover, already has a total of six cement manufacturing units in the country. Two units each are located at Chanderia (Rajasthan) and Satna (MP) and one each at Rai Bareli (Uttar Pradesh) and Durgapur (West Bengal) and now the second unit at Durgapur would be the company’s seventh cement unit, the spokesman said.

Birla Corp has also undertaken a major drive to be self-sufficient in power by setting up its own captive plants at it Chanderia and Satna units which would help it to substantially bring down the cost. Both Chanderia and Satna would have their own power plants of 27mw each being set up at a total cost of Rs 190 crore. The power plants were expected to be commissioned in another three to four months.

The company has been in the news recent due to the legal tussle between Lodha and the Birla family for its control after the death of Priyamvada Birla, the childless widow of M P Birla, last year.