UltraTech Cement, the country's largest cement maker, on Thursday announced a Rs 5,477-crore investment to add 12.8 million tonnes (MT) capacity, taking its overall output to over 136 MT per annum. In a statement, the company said its board in a meeting approved capacity expansion to the tune of 12.8 MT per annum with a mix of brown-field and green-field expansion.
Upon completion of the latest round of expansion, Ultratech's capacity will grow to 136.25 MT per annum, reinforcing its position as the third-largest cement company in the world, outside of China. "The additional capacity will be created in the fast-growing markets of the eastern, central and northern regions," the company said.
This expansion includes the existing approval for cement plant at Pali in Rajasthan, in addition to the existing 6.7 MT per annum capacity expansion currently underway in UP, Odisha, Bihar and Bengal. The expansion will get commissioned by FY22, in a phased manner, the company added.
"The capital outlay, given the current economic backdrop, is a marker of UltraTech's ascent from being the country's No.1 cement player to a national champion," Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla was quoted as saying in the statement. The cement industry has been witnessing healthy volumes after the relaxation in lockdowns, on the back of the government's thrust on infrastructure, underlying demand from the rural economy and individual home builders, he added.
"Given our pan-India presence which will be further strengthened by the capacity expansion, we will be well positioned to support the rising demand for cement in the country," Birla said. Commercial production from the new capacities is expected to go on stream in a phased manner by the final quarter of FY23, Birla said, adding that the capacity addition will not impact the ongoing deleveraging programme to make UltraTech debt free by the time the expansion programme is completed.