Himadri Speciality to invest Rs 220cr in Bengal to expand speciality carbon black capacity

Kolkata, Apr 28 (PTI) Himadri Speciality Chemical Ltd, a Kolkata-based speciality chemicals major, to expand its speciality carbon black capacity in a brownfield expansion project in West Bengal, with an estimated investment of Rs 220 crores, a company official said on Sunday.

The expansion is envisaged to meet the increasing demand from Europe amid an impending ban on Russian carbon black imports in the EU.

The expansion, scheduled to be operational within the next 18 months and located at Singur in the Hooghly district, will be funded through internal accruals.

This additional capacity of 70,000 tonnes per annum will increase the company’s speciality carbon black capacity to 1.3 lakh tonnes per annum, enhancing the cumulative capacity to 2.5 lakh tonnes from the current 1.8 lakh tonnes, the official added.

“We foresee a significant uptick in demand for speciality carbon black, especially with the impending ban on Russian carbon black imports into the European Union. The gradual increase in the proportion of high-margin speciality carbon black will undoubtedly enhance our profitability and diversify our product mix,” Anurag Choudhary, CMD and CEO of Himadri Speciality Chemical Ltd said.

He also mentioned that exports, currently contributing around 25 per cent of their turnover, are expected to increase to 35 per cent in the next three years.

Upon completion, the expansion will make it the world’s largest speciality carbon black capacity at a single site, claimed the company. Himadri currently operates seven manufacturing facilities in India located in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh. With a capacity utilization rate of 92 per cent in FY23-24, the company has witnessed substantial demand for its products.

Speciality-grade carbon black is extensively used in pigment for products like paints, coatings, inks, and toners, commanding a significant premium compared to regular-grade carbon black.

The company is focusing on speciality carbon black, including in energy storage, due to its exceptional electrical conductivity, making it an ideal conductive additive in lithium-ion batteries. Himadri has introduced and promoted its range of high-performance speciality carbon blacks tailored for niche applications in plastics, fibers, coatings, inks, and more.

Additionally, Himadri is setting up India’s first commercial lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) cathode active material facility and has partially acquired a stake in Invati Creations and Australian start-up Sicona Battery Technologies to produce high-quality Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery materials.

Meanwhile, the company reported a 49 per cent increase in net profit for the March quarter, reaching Rs 115 crore compared to Rs 77 crore in the same period last year. Revenue for the quarter stood at Rs 1,177 crore, up from Rs 1,029 crore year-on-year, with EBITDA up by 45 per cent at Rs 177 crore.

On an annualized basis for FY’24, the company achieved a revenue of Rs 4,185 crore and a net profit of Rs 410 crore, turning net debt-free.

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