Even as Tata Chemicals Ltd (TCL) was impacted by the coronavirus-induced lockdown, the company took steps to ensure that the recovery is on track including manufacturing of salt and soda ash, the company said at its 81st annual general meeting on Tuesday.

“Tata Chemicals has a global presence with manufacturing operations in four continents. In India, it was impacted by the nationwide lockdown to curb COVID-19 pandemic, but it took steps to ensure that the recovery is on track,” Bhaskar Bhat, non-executive director and chairman of TCL.

He was addressing shareholders at the Tata Chemicals’ 81st annual general meeting (AGM), which was conducted via video conference.

This was TCL’s first AGM after the merger of the consumer business of the company with Tata Global Beverages.

Meanwhile, the company’s manufacturing plant at Mithapur continued to manufacture Tata Salt without any disruption, he said.

“The company produced over 3,08,000 tonnes of salt, over 25 per cent more than the production in the same period last year. Sales volumes were also higher than this period last year, recording a 42 per cent increase over the sales for the first quarter of 2019-20,” he added.

Soda ash production, sales

The production of soda ash and sodium bicarbonate also recovered after an initial lull due to the lockdown, Bhat said.

Soda ash sales volumes were just over 70 per cent and sodium bicarbonate sales volumes were 80 per cent of the sales for the corresponding period of 2019-20, he added.

Bhat said TCL’s newer operations at Mambattu, Nellore (Andhra Pradesh) and Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu) were shut in March 2020 as per government directives.

These sites started limited operations in May 2020 as per relaxations granted by local authorities and are currently meeting customer demand in full, he said.

Given the scale of their current operations, this would not have a material impact on the financials of the company, he added.

Meanwhile, talking about the company’s international operations, Bhat said its UK operations also did not witness any disruption in production or sales with the customer demand remaining at par or ahead of last year.

However, the export markets served by the US operation witnessed a slowdown in part due to COVID-19 restrictions in the markets serviced, he said.

In Kenya, while there was no disruption in production related to coronavirus, despatches to customers in India and Sourtheast Asian countries were delayed for a period of time on account of complete or partial lockdowns in these regions, he added.

Further, he said the company’s value-driven growth opportunity in the Bicarb space with brands in food, feed, pharma and specialty segments will entail scale and consolidation.

TCL also intends to increase the production volume of its subsidiaries to maintain their market share, he said.

“Our strategy going forward will be to build scale and value in the businesses of soda ash, marine chemicals, silica and nano products, nutritional sciences, agri and energy sciences,” he added.