ITC Ltd is all set to expedite its Rs 25,000-crore investment plan, “as we consider this as the right time to invest in the Indian economy,” said Y. C. Deveshwar, Chairman of the conglomerate. He said this would enable Brand ITC to emerge stronger. “In the current global economic scenario, India needs strong brands to hold its own; and nothing is given, we have to earn,” he said.

Besides, this investment over five years will also generate more employment opportunities, leading to the country’s overall economic prosperity, he said.

Addressing the media here at the launch ceremony of the company’s new luxury property, ITC Grand Chola, he said ITC is prepared to invest even more should the need arise, as there would be no dearth of funds or lack of expertise. “However, the major challenge is formalities; statutory clearances take a lot of time,” he said.

40 projects in pipeline

According to him, a chunk of the investment — over Rs 10,000 crore — has been earmarked to expand its hotels division. It has 40 hotel projects in the pipeline. Besides, it is planning one in Sri Lanka.

“Nepal and Bangladesh are also on our radar, though our first priority is to consolidate our position in India,” he said.

The remaining Rs 15,000 crore will be invested across verticals including food, lifestyle retailing, personal-care products, and packaging to agri commodities, paperboards and stationery.

For example, he said for the foods division, the company plans to set up manufacturing facilities closer to markets.

Near Chennai, it plans a logistics hub and a manufacturing unit on 40 acres.

ravikumar.ramanujam@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 15, 2012)
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