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Pune, June 29

Pune-based Praj Industries Ltd (PIL) is enhancing its R&D capabilities and chalking out a Rs 20-crore expansion plan, including entry into the industrial biotech space. The company's blueprint for R&D expansion is expected to be ready in three months, the Chairman, Mr Pramod Chaudhari said.

"Technology and knowledge will be the key fuels for growth in this space and we want to gain advantage in the fields of bio-fuels, bio-chemicals and bio-energy," Mr Chaudhari said. Praj will move into an independent R&D facility to tap the nascent industrial bio-tech space, he said adding that the company was enhancing its R&D manpower.

The company, which has bagged an order from a US-based group for setting up two corn-based ethanol plants, is simultaneously preparing to meet expected demand from the US and has shortlisted some companies in the US/Europe for acquisition, Mr Chaudhari said, adding that the companies would have local engineering expertise. "We expect to complete the process by September this year," he said. With a major expansion in its US business on the anvil, the company is set for quantum growth from fiscal 2007, Mr Chaudhari said, adding that exports would account for nearly half of its revenues.

Praj is expanding manufacturing capacities by setting up two additional workshops near the Mumbai port and plans 30 per cent addition to the existing manpower, he added.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 30, 2006)
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