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Tata Chemicals eyes Rs 10,000-crore soda ash business in 5 years

MUMBAI: Tata Chemicals today said it is aiming to clock Rs 10,000-crore business in its soda ash segment and Rs 5,000 crore in the pulses, spices and food category in the next five years.

“In the commodity business we had soda ash, urea and phosphate. We will continue to maintain cost leadership and scale in soda ash. We see the business crossing Rs 10,000 crore in the next five years,” Managing Directer and CEO R Mukundan told company’s shareholders in its 78th annual general meeting (AGM) here.

The company will continue to grow new categories – pulses, spices and food – through sourcing strength of its subsidiary Rallis and science-based differentiation coming out of its innovation centre, he said.

“In the next five years, we should reach a reasonable size of Rs 5,000 crore in the pulses, spices and food category.”

He said the company’s strategy is to maintain its strengths in chemicals business while growing the specialty and consumer food business.

The company will continue to focus on farm business through its subsidiaries, Rallis and Metahelix, he added.

“We have a unique combination of a farm business in Rallis, having the farmer connect and a food business in Tata Chemicals having the household connect.”

Talking about Tata Chemical’s exit from the urea business, Mukundan said, the decision was in line with the company’s strategy.

“We have exited the urea business which will happen during the course of the year and in phosphate our decision is to cap the business, maintain a flat rate of revenue and run it for cash.”

During the year, the company entered into an agreement with Yara Fertilisers India for the sale of the urea and customised fertiliser business, on a slump sale basis, subject to regulatory and statutory approvals.

“The specialty and consumer business are going to be our future growth catalysts. We are investing in manufacturing facilities in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh to develop scale in specialty business and new materials like highly dispersible silica (HDS), nanomaterials and new nutrition and food such as oligosaccharides and polyols,” he added.

Bhaskar Bhat, the company’s non-executive director, who chaired the AGM said, Tata Chemical continues to transform itself from an alkali manufacturer to a wellness solutions firm with focus on consumer, agri and specialty businesses while further strengthening its core.

“The company is making significant progress in its transformation journey by focusing on building brands through greater consumer centricity and technology led differentiation,” he added.

Bhat said the nutritional solutions unit, operating as a start-up, will focus on building scale in specialty businesses.

“The board of directors has approved the capital expenditure of Rs 270 crore to set up a greenfield bio- technology manufacturing unit for food ingredients and formulations developed by the company’s innovation centre. An memorandum of understanding was signed the with Andhra Pradesh government in this regard,” Bhat said.

The board has also approved an investment of Rs 295 crore in a manufacturing facility for precipitated highly dispersible silica, he said.

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