A pioneer project

Published : Jan 02, 2004 00:00 IST

THE Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA) plant in Haldia, set up by MCC PTA India Corp. Pvt Ltd (MCPI), a joint venture between the Japanese global giant Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC), West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (WBIDC) and five other major Japanese trading companies, is the first major Japanese Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) project in India. The project, work on which started in September 1997 and was completed in December 1999, went on stream in April 2000. The shareholding pattern of the company is as follows: MCC 66 per cent, WBIDC 5 per cent, Mitsubishi Corporation 9 per cent, Nissho Iwai Corporation 8 per cent, Tomen Corporation 5 per cent, Marubeni Corporation 5 per cent, and Sumikin Bussan Corporation 2 per cent.

MCPI has a production capacity of 4,40,000 tonnes per annum and it is planning to increase it to 4,80,000 tonnes per annum in its second de-bottlenecking process. In its first de-bottlenecking exercise, it increased production to its present capacity from 3,50,000 tonnes per annum. The plant, situated at the northern end of industrial area of Haldia, is built on 212 acres (84.8 hectares) on the bank of the Hooghly river. An additional 111 acres (44.4 ha) has been acquired for future expansion. Apart from piped water supply, which it receives from Basudev Water Works of Haldia Development Authority, in almost all other aspects, the company is self-contained. It even has a captive power plant of 25 MW capacity. A 13-km-long pipeline connects the plant to Haldia port, and through it the plant receives paraxylene - the most important chemical for the production of PTA - from ships. The company, with a total staff strength of around 750, has built two townships at Haldia for its employees.

One of MCPI's top priorities is to ensure safety at the plant and protect the environment in and around it. The plant is built and operated in conformity with the statutory norms of the State Pollution Control Board and those of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. Gaseous emissions are maintained well below the statutory norms and discharged through suitable scrubbers and vent stacks. A wastewater treatment plant treats waste water before it is discharged into the river.

The MCC, which is the second largest manufacturer of PTA in the world and has a production capacity of around three million tonnes per annum, decided to invest in India following the growth of the PTA market here. Haldia was chosen for setting up the plant because of its port facilities and the availability of land and skilled human resources. MCPI has already grabbed a 30 per cent share in the Indian PTA market and projects an expected growth rate of 5-8 per cent every year. The quality of the PTA produced at the MCPI plant is supposed to be of international standard, that is, it is clean and has very low levels of foreign materials. The net sales of the company for the year ending December 2002 stood at Rs.1,183 crores, a considerable increase from the Rs.998 crores in the previous year. The expected turnover of the company for 2003 is Rs.1,100 crores.

A number of secondary and tertiary downstream industries that will make use of the plant's PTA can be expected to come up in Haldia, thus bringing in more investment and employment potential to West Bengal. MCPI's proclaimed corporate philosophy is to "contribute to the development of Indian industry and the economy of India through large-scale business activities". The company is known for its participation in many community development projects, including afforestation and awareness programmes, transport projects, and the development of a sports complex.

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