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Friday, Jul 23, 2004

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Hind Paper plans to double HNL capacity

Badal Sanyal

Kolkata , July 22

THE State-owned Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) has finalised an ambitious plan for its wholly owned subsidiary, Hindustan Newsprint Ltd (HNL), to double its newsprint manufacturing capacity to 200,000 tonnes per annum. The capacity will be expanded at an investment of about Rs 600 crore.

The Chairman of HPC, Mr Raji Philip, said the expansion would be done with in-built "swing" facility so that the company can produce both newsprint and writing and printing paper, according to its marketing strategy. Incidentally, HNL currently does not have this facility, and hence, production is restricted to newsprint only.

Production facilities at HNL's pulp mill and de-inking plant will be doubled. A captive power plant will also be set up based on gas or imported coking coal.

Similarly, HPC has plans to increase writing and printing production capacity by at least 60,000 tonnes.

The company has two mills in Assam - one at Cachar and another at Naogaon. Each has an annual production capacity of 100,000 tonnes. The capacity will be expanded with an export commitment of at least 30 per cent of total production from both the mills.

The company is gearing up its marketing machinery to create a base in South East Asia. The expansion will involve an investment of about Rs 300 crore.

Mr Philip said expansion would be completed by the Tenth Plan period. The company has sought approval from the Union Ministry of Heavy Industries to begin work.

However, Mr Philip said that HPC might face competition from Chinese paper in the years to come, if it failed to expand capacity to reduce the cost of paper production per tonne.

Since availability of raw materials at reasonable prices might hinder the growth of Assam mills, HPC is exploring the possibility of sourcing raw materials from neighbouring countries.

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