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Asian Paints to raise capacity

Our Bureau

Mumbai , July 18

PAINT major, Asian Paints (India) is to increase capacity and look towards its international business to boost growth.

At the annual general meeting in Mumbai today, Mr Ashwin Choksi, Chairman, Asian Paints India Ltd, said the company plans to set up a 10,00,000 TPA plant for manufacturing paints at Pondicherry.

"To meet the growing demand in the water based paints, the company has decided to set up this facility,'' he said. The plant will be scaled up in a phased manner and the investments will be made over a period of time, he added. The project is awaiting necessary approvals.

The company expects its international business to contribute over 21 per cent of its consolidated sales this year.

Asian Paints is in the process of integrating and consolidating its international operations after the acquisition of Singapore-based Berger International and Egyptian firm, SCIB Chemical for a combined cost of Rs 81.9 crore.

The paint major will also focus on turning around its five loss-making international units. The five loss-making units are Sri Lanka, Australia, Oman, Bangladesh and Mauritius.

According to Mr Choksi, the company is looking at improvements in operational efficiencies and effective cost measures through this integration. The company has 23 facilities in 22 countries through its subsidiaries.

On the domestic market scenario, Mr Choksi said that with the construction sector showing signs of growth, the paint industry should witness growth.

"A conducive fiscal and credit regime for the housing sector should give a boost to the construction sector and hence to the decorative paint industry,'' he added.

At the AGM, the shareholders approved a 1:2 bonus issue and Rs 6.5 per share final dividend.

For the year 2002-03, the profit after tax increased by 24.2 per cent to Rs 142 crore (Rs 114.3 crore). Sales were at Rs 1,573.78 crore (Rs 1,396.49 crore).

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