Our Bureau

Kolkata, Sept. 19

Azim Premji, Chairman of Wipro Ltd, has picked up 2-lakh shares of Birla Corporation Ltd. This was announced by Mr R.S. Lodha, Chairman of Birla Corporation. He was talking to reporters after chairing the 86th annual general meeting of the company on Tuesday.

Despite the legal wrangles over the ownership of Birla Corporation, following the dispute over the will of the Late Priyamvada Birla, Mr Lodha said that the company has an attractive investment proposition and it was proved by Mr Premji's decision.

Fresh Investment

It was learnt that Mr Premji bought the shares from the secondary market in his personal capacity. Wipro has nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, Birla Corporation has decided to make a fresh investment of Rs 250 crore for adding 1.25 million tonnes of cement capacity at its existing units in Satna (Madhya Pradesh) and Chanderia (Rajasthan).

At present, the total cement capacity of Birla Corporation is around five million tonnes. The capacity expansion for 1.25 million tonnes would be partially through de-bottlenecking and the rest of it would be a brown-field expansion.

Birla Corporation, which was established way back in 1919, is weighing the option of diversifying into real estate business as it is the "flavour of the month," Mr Lodha said. In the last financial year, Birla Corporation installed two captive power plants of 27 MW capacity each at the cement units of Satna and Chanderia. All the 10 resolutions that were proposed at the annual general meeting were put to vote.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 20, 2006)
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