R. Balaji

Chennai, Oct. 20

Buoyed by assured irrigation and sugarcane availability, Empee Sugars and Chemicals Ltd is looking at expanding its existing sugar mill and has started work on a 20-MW cogeneration unit.

According to Mr K. Jayachandran, Executive Director, Empee Sugars, funds for the project have been tied up and the company plans to invest over Rs 100 crore in the mill expansion and cogeneration plant.

The sugar mill will be expanded to 3,500 tonnes a day from the current 2,800 tonnes. Groundwork on the cogeneration plant has started and firm orders have been placed for the equipment, he said.

Outlook

During the 2006-07 season, the company is looking at crushing over 5 lakh tonnes cane and in 2007-08 over 6.5 lakh tonnes. This follows the implementation of the Vakadu barrage works on the Swarnamukhi River on the banks of which the company's mill is located in Nayudupet, Andhra Pradesh. Water for irrigation will be available from February 2007, he said.

It has also doubled capacity at its distillery to 60 kl a day, he said.

Expansion plans

The company is also looking at expanding its operation to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as a long-term plan.

It has applied to both the State Governments for allocation of sugarcane command areas. In Bijapur district in Karnataka, it plans to set up a 5,000 tonne sugar mill, 60 kl a day distillery and a 24-MW cogeneration unit. In Tamil Nadu, the location is yet to be finalised but the scale of operation would be similar.

Together this would involve investments over Rs 460 crore, according to Mr Jayachandran. Apart from sugar and alcohol, the Empee group is a diversified group with interests in hotel industry, textiles, power and agro-exports.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 21, 2006)
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