Demand for chemicals expected to reach pre-COVID levels this fiscal, says Tata Chemicals Chairman N Chandrasekaran

The demand for chemicals is gradually returning, both globally as well as in India, and expected to reach the pre-Covid levels during the current fiscal year, Tata Chemicals Chairman N Chandrasekaran said on Friday.

"Demand for chemicals was tough in 2020, but the recovery is mostly back, not only in Asia, but also in the UK and Europe, and other US markets. This is expected to continue all through the year, gradually, and the demand level for many chemicals is likely to reach the pre-pandemic levels," Chandrasekaran said while addressing the shareholders at the company's 82nd Annual General meeting.

Further, he stated that the consolidated revenue of the company had decreased by 2 per cent, mainly due to the decline in the US soda ash prices.

Tata Chemicals Managing Director and CEO R Mukundan, who was also present on the occasion, said the demand for chemicals is back and pricing is returning to the normal levels.

"We expect that margins will catch up by the fourth quarter of this year," he added.

However, products like solid food ingredients agri-products remained resilient during the year, he noted.

"In terms of key achievements during the year in basic chemistry we had highest sales of salt which cross 1.5 million tonnes between India and the UK, where we retain our leadership position," he added.

The additional storage capacity of 1,80,000 tonnes and salt capacity at 1.4 million tonnes is back on track and is progressing as planned, Mukundan said.

"In specialty chemistry product, we launched 15 new products, we acquired 64 new customers to grow the sales of these products to over Rs 150 crore from Rs 75 crore," he stated.

He said Tata Chemicals has leadership position and the company will continue to put its efforts to retain it by ensuring cost competency with appropriate capacity addition and utilisation and focus on robust cash flows.

"In specialty chemistry, we are in a very nascent phase in some areas. We need to grow our revenue faster and also launch new products, which are co-created with our business-to-business customers, even as we expand customer base in India and overseas," he added.

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