UltraTech plans ₹1,500 cr. capex; group head sees 6-8% GDP growth next fiscal

The economic impact of the lockdown to combat the pandemic has been severe in urban India, while the rural economy appears less badly hit, Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said on Wednesday.

Observing that the gradual unlocking of the economy was reflecting in improvement in some economic indicators like GST collections and electricity consumption, Mr. Birla told shareholders of the group’s UltraTech Cement Ltd. that these markers were, however, not yet back to pre-COVID-19 levels. “While FY21 will be a challenging year, I remain confident that the economy will revert to the 6-8% growth trajectory in the next fiscal.”

Mr. Birla said the cement maker had used the lockdown period to strengthen its position.

“Periods of turmoil have historically presented an opportunity for industry leaders to emerge as champions… with unmatched capacity, leadership across markets and a robust balance sheet, your company is one such champion,” he asserted.

Spending plans

India’s largest cement maker has also lined up capital expenditure of ₹1,500 crore for the current fiscal. This would include installing 66 MW of waste heat recovery systems, adding 1.2 million tonnes (MT) per annum brownfield cement capacity in West Bengal and Bihar, undertaking work on phase 2 of the Bara grinding unit in Uttar Pradesh and coal block development in Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Birla said.

UltraTech also plans to raise its consolidated cement capacity to 118 MT, from 114.8 MT, Mr. Birla said.

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