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Chettinad Cement targets 13-mn tonne capacity by 2013

Chennai: The Rs.1,137-crore Chettinad Cement Corp plans to increase its annual production capacity to 13 million tonnes in two phases by 2013, the company said here today. In the first phase, the company will increase capacity at existing plants in Tamil Nadu and the second phase will involve setting up a three million tonne unit at Gulbarga in Karnataka. "The company has started work on its 2.5 million tonne expansion plans at its existing plants at Puliyur and Karikkali in Tamil Nadu, taking the total capacity to 10.2 million by 2010," company managing director M.A.M.R. Muthiah told reporters here. Chettinad Cement has three plants in Tamil Nadu -- Ariyalur, Puliyur and Karikalli -- with a total annual capacity of 7.5 million tonnes. "In Gulbarga, we have acquired 1,500 acres to locate the mill. The public hearing by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board is being held on Dec 30. The project outlay is estimated at Rs.700 crore including a 45 MW captive power plant." He said the company has invested around Rs.1,200 crore in the past three years, with an additional Rs.500 crore to be spent over the next three. The expansion programme will be funded through mix of debt and equity. "We have raised a debt of Rs.900 crore from the institutions," he said. According to M.C. Kini, president (business development), the company's focus is on the Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka markets that are logging an average annual growth of 10 percent. One of the six manufacturers in the country to make sulphate-resistant cement, Chettinad Cement will be giving thrust to this niche segment as several infrastructure projects are being planned in southern India. "The total market for sulphate resistant cement in India is around 6,000 tonne per month. This is expected to grow. We can make 50,000 tonnes a year," Kini said. (IANS)