Exide to invest Rs 700 crore capex in Haldia plant

Kolkata, July 19 (IANS) Aiming to produce next generation batteries, Exide Industries will invest Rs 700 crore as capital expenditure (capex) in its Haldia plant in West Bengal, a top company official said on Tuesday.

“We will invest Rs 1,400 crore as capital expenditure between this year and the next year. The capex expenditure will be made primarily for new technology which we are getting from East Penn, USA,” said company’s MD and CEO G. Chatterjee.

“Of the total capex, Rs 700 crore will be invested in Haldia for implementation of new technology and capacity expansion,” he said.

Rest of the capex expenditure will spent in other manufacturing facilities for the same.

“Total capacity of the company is about 12.2 million and of which, Haldia plant’s capacity is 2.2 million. With the implementation of new technology, the capacity addition will be more than one million,” he said.

The project for implementation of the punch grid technology will produce high performance long-life durable batteries. These are next generation batteries which will primarily cater to the replacement market, Chatterjee said.

“For expansion in Haldia plant, we are looking for 25 acres of land and we are in talks with Kolkata Port Trust for this,” he said.

“The first phase of new technology enabled plant in Haldia will be operational in fourth quarter of this year and the project takes more than one year to be completed,” Chatterjee said.

The new technology-punch grid is proven in the US and the new batteries will have 10-20 percent extra life.

“The way batteries are manufactured before this technology requires human skill. There will be inconsistency on human-made products. The new technology is a mechanical and electrical technology with highly automated and robotic machine. There will be consistency in products. Human-error element will be eliminated,” he said.

Last year, the company invested around Rs 260 crore in Haldia.

As a strategy to regain margin, the battery maker looking at cost reduction, not price increase, he said.

Going forward, the company is eyeing to capture more share in the market for telecom sector. “For battery makers, the entire market size in the telecom sector is around Rs 1,600 crore. We have negligible share in this market and want to have moderate share,” he said.

For railways, two new products are under development, which will be rolled out in FY 2016-17, the company said in its latest annual report.

–IANS

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