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Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003

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Bridgestone to invest in Philips Carbon facility

G.K. Nair

KOCHI, July 8

BRIDGESTONE, a major US tyre manufacturing company, which has a unit in Madhya Pradesh, is to join hands with Philips Carbon Black Ltd (PCBL) for the expansion of the latter's unit in Vadodara in Gujarat.

The American company would be investing around Rs 43 crore in the capacity expansion of the plant involving a total investment of about Rs 75 crore. Reliable company sources told Business Line that both the parties had signed a MoU in this connection in Thailand recently.

With this expansion, the capacity of the unit would go up to 90,000 tonnes per annum from the present 20,000 tonnes, they said. The Gujarat Government had given all the required clearances for the expansion of the plant, they said. Once all the formalities, which are said to be in the final stages, are completed, work on the project would begin and is expected to be completed in one year.

Bridgestone is a major buyer of carbon black from India for its tyre manufacturing units in several countries and of course, for its own unit in Indore where radial tyres are manufactured.

Given the upward trend in the demand for carbon black in the domestic and foreign markets, the company is entering into the tie-up with the US company for raising its capacity, they said.

In addition, PCBL is currently carrying out de-bottlenecking at its Durgapur unit - which is likely to result in about 25 per cent addition to the existing capacity. With this the capacity of this unit is estimated to go up to 1.25 lakh tonnes per annum, they said.

PCBL, a company of the RPG group, has carbon black manufacturing units in Durgapur and Ambalamugal near Kochi.

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