Diversified growth

Print edition : March 28, 2003

Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers Company Ltd., a profitable venture ever since its inception, has diversified into new products almost every other year.

DIVERSIFICATION was the mantra at the Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers Company Limited (GNFC) from day one. Set up in Bharuch in 1975, it is a joint sector enterprise promoted by the Government of Gujarat and the Baroda-based Gujarat State Fertilizers Company Ltd (GSFC). Since its inception, GNFC has been a profitable company, paying handsome dividends to the government and subsequently to its large base of shareholders, comprising mostly farmers. The company, which went public a decade ago, is now a Rs.1,478-crore corporate house in the joint sector.

The Info Tower of Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers Company Limited in Ahmedabad.-BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Most of GNFC's plants worked at over 100 per cent capacity, some even as high as 125 per cent and 135 per cent, partly contributing to its success. Wise management practices meant that the company has not lost a single man-hour since its inception. Over the years, it had diversified into new products almost every other year, from fertilizer and chemicals to electronic goods such as circuit breakers and become an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

When commissioned in 1982, GNFC's ammonia urea fertilizer complex was the world's largest single stream plant of its kind. It soon started manufacturing ammonium nitro-phosphate (ANP), calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) and other chemicals. GNFC has drawn on the world's leading technologies and systems in its efforts towards continued growth. For instance, the ammonia plant has adopted the world acclaimed Texaco process for partial oxidation of fuel oil. Engineers India Ltd (EIL) and GNFC have jointly developed an efficient hydrogen sulphide removal process called `Catsol'.

The aniline plant has been set up in collaboration with Chematur AB of Sweden under the banner of Narmada Chematur Petrochemicals Ltd (NCPL) and the Touline Di-Isocyanate (TDI) project with technology from DuPont, of the United States.

The GNFC complex is situated in a prosperous industrial belt on the Ahmedabad-Baroda-Mumbai trunk railway route, also called the `Golden Corridor'. This strategic location, close to the (Koyali) petroleum refinery, the IPCL petrochemical complex and Asia's largest chemical industrial estate, means that GNFC has easy access to raw materials and equipment and to end products for distribution. For a manufacturing plant that handles over 10 million tonnes of products annually, transportation is an important factor.

GNFC entered into the Information Technology (IT) business in a big way in the recent past, foraying into International Gateway, with an earth station at Bharuch, an InfoTower in Ahmedabad, Total Networking Solutions, Internet Security Systems, Global Network for e-Commerce, Web Hosting, Broadband Solutions and VSATs.

Some of the products of the fertilizer company.-

With the application of the latest technology at various shop floors, maintenance of high quality standards and a productivity conscious work force, GNFC has won many national and international awards, including the Licensee of the Year Award from Texaco Development Corporation, U.S. for operating more than the rated capacity for over a decade.

Other awards were the National Productivity Council Award, the Indian Chemical Manufacturers' Association Award for Pollution Control and Safety, the Fertilizer Association of India (FAI) Award for Best Environmental Preservation and Pollution Control, the All India Organisation of Employers Award for Best Industrial Relations and the FICCI Awards for Rural Development and Environment Strategies.

The Narmadanagar Rural Development Society (NARDES), run by the wives of GNFC employees', work for the betterment of rural and tribal areas of the Bharuch district, making an appreciable change in their socio-economic conditions, providing them training and jobs.

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