India: The board of directors of Aditya Birla subsidiary UltraTech Cement has approved a planned increase in cement production capacity of 12.87Mt/yr. This will increase its capacity to 136Mt/yr from 123Mt/yr, at a cost of US$743m. The company says that the expansion will consist of new plants and upgrades to existing plants in the ‘fast-growing markets of the east, central and north regions of the country.’ This includes the upcoming Pali integrated cement plant in Rajasthan and capacity expansions at plants in Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, that are due for completion in the 2022 financial year (1 April 2021 - 31 March 2022).
The producer said, “Given the company’s history of setting up capacities in record time, commercial production from the new capacities is expected to go on stream in a phased manner, by early 2023. This capacity addition will not impact the on-going deleveraging programme, which is on track to make UltraTech debt-free by the time the expansion program is completed.”
Aditya Birla group chair Kumar Mangalam Birla said, “This significant investment in a core infrastructure sector will accelerate the wheels of economic activity and aid the kick-start of the private investment cycle. The capital outlay, given the current economic backdrop, is aligned with the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat programme. It is also a marker of UltraTech’s ascent from being India’s No.1 cement player to a national champion. The cement industry has been witnessing healthy volumes post-relaxation of lockdown, on the back of the government’s thrust on infrastructure, underlying demand from the rural economy and individual home builders. Given its pan-India presence, which will be further strengthened by the capacity expansion, UltraTech will be well-positioned to support the rising demand for cement in the country.”