National Aluminium on a major diversification drive: Chairman

July 28th, 2011 - 11:57 am ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, July 28 (IANS) State-run National Aluminium Co (Nalco) wants non-core areas to contribute a fourth of its revenue through an ambitious diversification plan covering areas like nuclear energy, thermal units and other metals, chairman B.L. Bagra has said.

“In the power sector alone, Nalco has planned to invest a little less than Rs.1,000 crore from its own resources during this fiscal. Nalco is also interested to invest in non-aluminum businesses like copper, uranium and caustic soda,” Bagra told IANS in an interview.

The Bhubaneswar-based company and India’s third largest aluminum producer also wants to become a major independent power producer — not just in conventional coal-based units but of nuclear energy and wind power as well, said Bagra, also the managing director.

“As far as our diversification endeavours are concerned, we are also joining Nuclear Power Corp to set up a nuclear power plant of 1,400 MW capacity in Kakrapar in Gujarat, in which we will hold 49 percent equity,” he said.

The top official said the Nalco board has already approved the proposal and had sent it to the central government for a final nod. “We hope their approval should be coming on time.”

The cost of the nuclear project, he said, was Rs.13,000 crore and Nalco’s equity will be of the order of Rs.1,700 crore. “The construction had already started in December last year and the project is expected to be commissioned some time in 2014.”

He said the company was also preparing to bid for the 4,000 megawatt ultra mega power project at Bedabahal in Orissa’s Sundergarh district.

Bagra also spoke about the efforts in other areas such as clean energy and said Rs.200 crore was being used in wind power. “We’ve been recently awarded a 50 megawatt contract for a wind power project in Andhra Pradesh. We hope to commission it by February.”

Apart from power, Nalco was also interested to invest in non-aluminum businesses like copper, uranium and caustic soda, and was scouting for copper in Africa, Central Asia and Latin America. Also on the cards is a caustic soda plant in Gujarat.

Nalco had posted a net profit of Rs.1,069 crore in the financial year ended March 31, up 31 percent over the previous year’s Rs.814 crore. The company hopes to earn better profits this fiscal following expansion.

Bagra said the second phase of expanding refinery was almost complete and production will start some time next month, adding some 400,000 tonnes to the alumina capacity and Rs.400 crore to the turnover this fiscal.

Nalco produced 1.5 million tonnes of alumina in 2010-11 at its refinery at Damanjodi in Koraput district and the production could go up to 1.9 million tonnes this fiscal. Nalco also runs a captive power plants of 1,200 megawatt capacity to power its smelters.

(Jatindra Dash can be contacted at jatindra.d@ians.in)

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