Balmer Lawrie to spend over Rs.400 crore on capex in three years

Kolkata, Sep 22 (IANS) Diversified state-owned firm Balmer Lawrie & Co on Tuesday said it has earmarked over Rs.400 crore as capital expenditure (capex) over a period of three years to strengthen its infrastructure.

“We’ll have a capex of Rs.400 crore spread over three years. A multi-modal logistics hub at Vizag is coming up and three temperature controlled warehouses will be coming up in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi NCR in phase one,” chairman and managing director Prabal Basu told media persons here after the company’s annual general meeting.

“By the end of this year, the Delhi NCR warehouse will be ready and the rest two by March-end next year.”

While Rs. 220 crore has been allotted for the Vizag project, Rs. 65 crore has will be spent on the three warehouses.

“We have procured land in Vizag at a price of Rs. 78-80 crore,” he said.

Further, in phase two, four warehouses based on the same technology will come up. The company is estimated to be spending Rs.100 crore in the second phase of warehouse expansion.

“In phase two each of the four zones will have a warehouse; however, we are yet to decide on the exact location of these,” Basu said.

The pubic sector company had first thought of putting up the multi-modal logistics hub at Dankuni in West Bengal which would have given it access to the northeast zone but had to abandon the plan.

“We could procure 53 acres of land but could not obtain the 14Y clearance from the state government. So we had to shelve off this project,” he said.

In the state, companies’ whishing to obtain land in excess of 24 acres are required to have the approval of the state government under section 14Y of the state’s Land Reforms Act of 1955.

Apart from these projects, another Rs.50 crore has been fixed to be spent for modernisation and further expansion of ongoing activities.

The ‘mini ratna’ firm has also targeted to double its turnover in the coming five years.

“It is our target to double the company’s turnover from the existing (nearly) Rs.3,000 crore by 2020,” the official said.

Asked about its joint-venture (JV) project with Transafe Ltd – where the company hold a 50 percent stake, Basu said Balmer Lawrie is keen to revive the same and is looking for a strategic partner.

“We are open to several options for the strategic partner and is in talks with some Indian companies. We are also ready to sell equity in the JV project and also open to foreign investors,” he said.

The partnership firm has a loan book of Rs.120 crore and it has been referred to Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction for the debt restructuring.

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