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Haldia Petro is No 2 in polymer sales

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, Jan. 17

HALDIA Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) has emerged as the number two player in the polymer market, grabbing 21 per cent of the market share in the first three quarters of 2001-02.

HPL sources said that Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd (IPCL), which has been displaced by HPL, was in the third slot with a 20-per cent share, followed by Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) and Nocil. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) dominated the market with a 48-per cent share during the period under review.

While RIL sold 691 kilo tonnes in the first nine months of the fiscal year, HPL sold 299 kilo tonnes and IPCL sold 291 kilo tonnes. HPL, which lost some volumes in the wake of the WTC attacks, hopes to end the year with a turnover of around Rs 2,570 crore.

Admitting that this would be lower than the Rs 3,000-crore target set for 2001-02, sources said that the fact that HPL had to throttle its production, operating mostly below its capacity of 4.66 lakh tonnes, also contributed to the lower output and sales.

However, buoyed by the recent agreement between the State Government and Mr Purnendu Chatterjee, who together hold 86 per cent of the Rs 1,010-crore equity, HPL has begun planning its purchases of increased amount of naphtha so as to operate at 100 per cent capacity in the remaining months of the fiscal year. It sources naphtha from Indian Oil as well as from overseas suppliers.

"We now import 50 per cent of our requirements, sourcing the balance from IOC," sources said.

Pointing out that HPL's immediate task was to make its bottomline healthier, sources said that while the company had had a positive gross margin for a year, a Rs 600-crore annual interest burden was proving to be crippling and the restructuring package would have to be finalised soon.

Tying up with a strategic partner would only be in the second phase, sources said, adding that ideally this should coincide with HPL's plans of ramping up its capacity to seven lakh tonnes.

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