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Friday, Apr 05, 2002

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Golden Fries to go on stream in June

R. Balaji

CHENNAI, April 4

GOLDEN Fries Ltd, a 100 per cent EOU for producing 10,800 tonnes of parboiled frozen French fries annually, is set to commence production in June.

When contacted by Business Line, sources said the Rs 40-crore facility has the capacity to manufacture 36 tonnes of French fries per day at the factory located at Karamadai, about 33 km from Coimbatore.

While the company envisages exports to Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and the West Asian markets, the promoters have also tied up with Mohamed and Alsahen Supermarket, a West Asian chain, they said. The company also hopes to access the domestic market in Bangalore and Coimbatore where it has test marketed its product.

The Kuwait-based promoters have an interest in supermarket chains. TIDCO (Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation) has a one per cent equity stake in the project funded by the IDBI.

The project was earlier expected to commence production in March 2000. The delay in implementation has seen the project cost escalate from the Rs 33 crore estimated initially. The promoters have approached the IDBI for additional assistance to meet the escalation in the project cost.

Further, TIDCO, which was earlier expected to take a 10 per cent stake in the equity, has decided to restrict its exposure to one per cent, they said.

The company has tied up with the Karnataka State Agricultural Produce Processing and Export Corporation Ltd for regular supply of potatoes. In addition, it will source potatoes from the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu. Udhagamandalam is a major potato growing area with an estimated production of 1,25,000 tonnes per year, while Karnataka produces 3,27,000 tonnes. Since 2.15 kg of raw potato will be required for every kg of dried fries, the annual requirement of potatoes will be 17,760 tonnes at 90 per cent capacity utilisation.

The company will process about 70 tonnes procured daily from the local markets. In the long term, the company plans to enter into contract farming of potatoes. Golden Fries is in the process of selling the concept to the farmers in the region. The manufacturing process involves a 100-minute cycle of peeling, blanching, drying, frying, freezing and packing.

During the processing stage, the potatoes, in crinkle, straight and segment cuts, will be heated from 25 degrees centigrade to 100 degrees centigrade and cooled down to -25 degrees, they said.

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