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Aditya Birla group to invest USD 350 mn in Laos

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, Mar 17 (UNI) The Aditya Birla Group today announced a USD 350 million project in Laos to raise pulp wood and set up a pulp plant for its viscose staple fibre (VSF) business.

The group's three companies - Grasim Industries, India; Thai Rayon, Thailand and PT Indo Bharat Rayon, Indonesia - have secured 50,000 hectares of land from the Laos government on lease for 75 years to plant Eucalyptus to feed its pulp plant.

The two-phased project envisages plantation of Eucalyptus trees, which have a growth cycle of seven years, and the commissioning of the dissolving pulp plant, coinciding with the first harvest in the seventh year, a group release today said.

The pulp produced in Laos would be exported to the group's rayon fibre manufacturing units in India, Thailand and Indonesia, as well as newer locations.

''This integrated plantation and pulp plant project with an annual 200,000 tonne capacity, is a forward step, planned ahead of time to ensure that our future expansion needs are met,'' group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said.

''In the cellulosic fibre business, we are in a leadership position globally and our intent is to grow the business exponentially. We will be requiring far larger quantities of pulp as our plans fructify. Our strategy to maintain our edge dictates the setting up of holistic backward integration from the plantation to the final VSF production,'' he added.

Group's Director (pulp and fibre) Shailendra Jain said, ''Laos is at the take-off stage of economic growth and our entry is just rightly timed to leverage the liberal foreign investment environment there. Laos is also strategically located to support our rayon fibre manufacturing plans in the South East Asia region where the textile hubs are growing.'' The group's seven pulp and fibre plants in India, Thailand, Indonesia and Canada have a collective capacity of more than 7,75,000 tonnes per annum, the release added.

UNI SA GK SKB1613

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