Orchid Chemicals’ plant shut on pollution concerns

July 11th, 2011 - 7:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, July 11 (IANS) Bulk drug maker Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd Monday announced the closure of a factory here after an order of Tamil Nadu’s pollution control agency on disposal of solid waste.

The plant, located at Alathur here, is the company’s oldest (operational since 1994) and one of the largest integrated antibiotic manufacturing complexes in India, producing a wide range of pharmaceuticals.

“The closure order is in connection with method of disposing the solid waste. We are in dialogue with TNPCB (Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board) and hope to start production soon,” the firm’s chairman and managing director K. Raghavendra Rao told IANS.

Rao said there is no problem in respect of liquid effluents as the plant is a zero discharge facility.

Queried on the financial impact on the company due to production stoppage, he said: “We have sufficient stocks for the short time. However, if the closure is for longer duration, there will be financial impact.”

Only recently, the US health regulator, US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), approved the Orchid Chemicals’ Alathur facility that has now been shut down.

Declining to put a number on the quantum of production loss the company would suffer due to closure, he said: “The loss depends on the kind of product that is being produced, the markets served and the duration of shut down. We think the matter would be resolved quite soon.”

According to Rao, a significant portion of the company’s topline last year came from products made at company’s plants outside Alathur.

The Rs.1,663 crore turnover Orchid Pharma has two other active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) plants - one in Aurangabad in Maharashtra and the other in China (a joint venture).

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