India’s largest cement producer UltraTech Cement expects its production capacity to rise to 159.25 million tonne per annum (MTPA) following the completion of its ongoing expansion plans. On the economic front, India appears to be well-placed to ride through this uncertain global economic environment, chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said.
The Aditya Birla Group company is adding another 22.6 MTPA of capacity through a mix of brownfield and greenfield expansion plans, for which it had earlier approved a capital infusion of Rs 12,886 crore.
“Upon completion of the latest round of expansion, our company’s capacity will grow to 159.25 MTPA, reinforcing its position as the third-largest cement company in the world, outside of China,” Birla told shareholders at the company’s virtual annual general meeting on Wednesday.
The company has already commissioned 3.2 MTPA of production capacity at Patliputra Cement Works in Bihar, Dankuni Cement Works in West Bengal and Line II of its Bara Grinding Unit in Uttar Pradesh. This is under the first phase of 19.9 MTPA capacity expansion, which will help UltraTech service the eastern and central regions of the country.
UltraTech Cement has also commenced operations from its seventh bulk terminal in Navi Mumbai, Birla added.
Further, as part of its ongoing expansion plans, the firm also commissioned a 2.7 MTPA clinker-line, its second one, at Hirmi Cement Works in the June quarter. Separately, the firm’s plans to upgrade cement mill capacity to 1.30 MTPA are on track and would be commissioned in the second quarter of the financial year.
“The additional capacity would be created across the country and achieved by setting-up integrated and grinding units as well as bulk terminals. Commercial production from these new capacities is expected to go on stream in a phased manner by FY25,” he said.
The firm had repaid a high-cost, long-term debt of Rs 7,531 crore in FY22 from its cash flows.
On the cement demand in the country, he said it was impacted by overall inflationary trends after a strong FY22. “However, the demand picked up in June 2022 due to pre-monsoon construction activity,” he added.
On the business environment in the country, Birla said India seems to be “well-placed” to ride through an uncertain global economic environment.
“The Indian economy has not remained unscathed by these global developments. India has also witnessed upward pressures on inflation, rate hikes by the RBI and a widening trade deficit. Nevertheless, there are also bright spots in India’s overall economic narrative – which are bolstering our resilience through the broader global economic turmoil,” the chairman said.
But with silver linings such as a firm economic recovery, an inflation rate not as severe as in other countries and foreign exchange reserves equivalent to more than nine months of imports, India appears to be “well-placed” to ride through an uncertain global economic environment.
“Activity indicators are now well ahead of the pre-Covid levels, and most estimates peg India’s likely economic growth during FY23 at 7%-plus,” Birla added.