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Wednesday, Apr 03, 2002

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Haldia targets Rs 3,400-cr sales

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, April 2

HAVING closed the previous fiscal with a gross turnover of Rs 2,400 crore, Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) is planning to ramp up its sales to around Rs 3,400 crore in the current fiscal.

Company sources said that a net income target of Rs 2,700 crore had been set for 2002-03 when an operating profit of Rs 164 crore is expected. The company went commercial in August 2001.

The plant would have a planned shutdown for five days beginning from the middle of this week for necessary maintenance work, a company release said.

All the units at HPL had been operating at over 11 per cent of capacity of 4.6 lakh tonnes of naphtha for nearly three weeks in March and the shutdown would enable HPL to gear up for sustained operations at these levels of efficiency, according to the release.

In the light of the operational success and with definite signs of an improving global market for polymers, HPL's outlook was very positive this fiscal, the release said.

The release said that 7.5 lakh tonnes of products, including 2 lakh tonnes of chemicals, were sold by HPL in the domestic and export markets during 2001-02.

"We have had a positive gross margin for nine months, although our depreciation and interest payment obligations pushed us towards a loss-making position,'' a source said.

Anniversary day, agony time

THE 900 employees of Haldia Petro celebrated the plant's annual day on Tuesday in the backdrop of the impending entry of the navaratna PSU Indian Oil Corporation.

Company executives, most of whom were in Haldia today to mark the second anniversary of the plant's inauguration in 2000, went about their usual programme of distributing fruits and sweets at the local blind school and the Government hospital.

But, the tension about the future was palpable among the 650 plant-level employees, not to mention those sitting at the corporate office in Kolkata.

Mixed with the sighs of relief, that the company just yet might be brought back from the brink (its monthly debt service burden is an approximate Rs 45 crore) with help of IOC's financial clout, is the foreboding of the public sector culture being brought in with IOC getting management control.

The sense of trepidation is being felt by most since IOC's likely arrival will coincide with the present MD's exit from May 1.

His efforts to motivate the employees at very challenging times (when cash crunch restricted supplies of main raw material like naphtha) has evidently left deep impressions on some of the employees who now feel disheartened.

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