Companies

ITC explores venturing into frozen foods

Our Bureau Panchla | Updated on February 10, 2016 Published on February 10, 2016
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and ITC Chairman YC Deveshwar at the foundation stone laying ceremony of ITC’s integrated consumer goods manufacturing facility at Panchla on Wednesday. - Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty

Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal along with Y C Deveshwar, Chairman, ITC Limited at the foundation stone laying ceremony of Information Technology Park, ITC Green Centre, Rajarhat and Integrated Consumer Goods Manufacturing Facility, Panchla on Wednesday. Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty   -  Business Line

Subject to availability of land for setting up cold-chains: chairman





Diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd is exploring a possible entry into the branded frozen foods segment, its Chairman, YC Deveshwar said here on Wednesday.

According to him, the foray might come at a later stage, and is also subject to availability of land for setting up cold-chains.

At present, the company exports (frozen) shrimps, but may enter the domestic branded segment. IFB Agro is one of the major players here.

“We are targeting a turnover of ₹1 lakh crore from the non-cigarette segment in the next 15 years. Obviously, this cannot come from our existing line. We have to enter new areas,” Deveshwar said responding to a specific question on whether the company would enter the frozen food segment or not.

For the first nine months of this fiscal, the non-cigarette FMCG businesses contributed over ₹7,000 crore to its total turnover.

Additional land

Meanwhile, Deveshwar reiterated the need for contiguous land availability so that companies get economies of scale.

Speaking during the inauguration of its new facilities, he sought additional land from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Additional land was available near the company’s Uluberia facility, some 40 km west of the city.

Although ear-marked for industry, this land has been lying unutilised.

“We are willing to invest, provided we get the land. We may even bid for it, if required. The land will help us expand our facility in Uluberia, thereby giving us economies of scale,” he told the Chief Minister.

Banerjee laid the foundation stone for an integrated consumer goods manufacturing facility at Panchla (50 kms from the city), pre-commissioned a similar facility at Uluberia and laid the foundation stone for ITC’s IT park at Rajarhat.

The three put together have a combined investment of ₹4,500 crore (₹3,000 crore for the two consumer goods manufacturing facilities and ₹1500 for the IT park).

While the Uluberia project will be commissioned around April-May, the Panchla facility goes on stream in 2017. The IT park will be commissioned in phases starting 2018.

Mamata’s assurance

Incidentally, the Chief Minister also assured the ITC Chairman that land availability was not an issue in the State. Responding to Deveshwar’s appeal for additional land, Banerjee said, “We have enough land with us. It won’t be a problem.”

However, she did not make it clear if she was willing to give ITC the same plot(s) that the company was looking for. Meanwhile, she also ordered her party workers to ensure that ITC did not face any operational problems here.

Published on February 10, 2016
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