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Wednesday, Nov 24, 2004

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ACC to invest Rs 370 cr to expand capacity

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Mr Ashok K. Jain, Executive Director, ACC, addressing at a press conference in Banglaore on Tuesday. — G.R.N. Somashekar

Bangalore , Nov. 23

CEMENT major ACC said on Tuesday that it is investing around Rs 370 crore to increase its capacity to 20 million tonnes during the first half of next year.

The Executive Director, Mr Ashok K. Jain, told newspersons that the company would invest Rs 300 crore to expand the capacity of its plant in Jharkhand and Rs 70 crore in Himachal Pradesh. It will also set up a 15 MW captive power plant in Jharkhand, he said.

Mr Jain said ACC expects its revenues to increase by over seven per cent during the current fiscal. In 2003-04, its revenues were around Rs 4,038 crore. He admitted that delay in implementing the golden quadrilateral had hit cement manufacturers.

Mr Jain said he expects cement prices to harden in the South during the next six months and prices could go up by around 10 per cent.

Mr Jain said during last fiscal, cement industry's growth slowed down to less than 6 per cent. However, it has picked up during the last two months. "The lag in growth was primarily because of slowdown in the southern market," Mr Jain said. He said while the rest of the country grew 10 per cent, four southern States pulled down the growth considerably. He attributed the slowdown to drought in these four States last year.

Mr Jain said Karnataka is the largest consumer of ready mix concrete in the country. He said in order to meet the demand, ACC had set up four units in Bangalore.

Mr Jain said ACC had set up a help centre in Bangalore, the first in the country to advise customers about construction of houses. He said customers can dial 1600-22-3535 to get information about construction practices and also interact with experts in the field.

ACC will also hold tutorials for customers and guide them through the house construction process. ACC has also brought out a book, Your dream house, on all aspects of house construction.

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