Azim Premji
Azim Premji
File Photo-AFP

Premji Invest-backed Gold Plus Glass Industry (Gold Plus) is said to have firmed up its plans to undertake the biggest float glass capacity expansion in India till date. The company has confirmed a plan to put two float glass lines and one solar glass line with combined installed capacity of approximately 700,000 metric tonnes annually.

Premji Invest has invested Rs 400 crores in 2018 to fund Gold Plus’ expansion plans. It is the country’s second-largest float glass manufacturer and a dominant player in the architectural glass segment. The total project outlay is said to be in tune of Rs 2,200-2,300 crores, and the company is targeting revenue of over Rs 3,000 crores with this capacity expansion. It is already in discussion with government authorities of at least two Southern states for land allotment and capital/revenue subsidies. It is likely to finalise the state and the land parcel in next 3-5 weeks, according to news reports.

The expansion is expected to be funded through a mix of internal accruals, equity raise and debt. The equity raise is likely to be around Rs 600 crores. KPMG has been appointed to assist the Company in the fund raise. Jimmy Tyagi, Whole-time Director, Gold Plus Glass Industry confirmed the expansion and capital raise plan but did not divulge further details. Tyagi said, "The company has been eyeing capacity expansion for the last couple of years and has finally decided to move forward considering the overall positive business environment and government policies supporting the domestic glass industry," Tyagi said. He also indicated that the company plans to list its shares on the stock exchange in future.

Solar glass manufacturing

The company is also setting up a solar glass manufacturing line as part of its planned expansion. Solar glass is used in photovoltaic (PV) panels used to generate electricity. Currently, only 30 percent of solar glass requirement is produced in India. Solar energy is a top agenda for the government and recently the Cabinet approved production-linked incentives for PV penal manufacturing to promote domestic manufacturing of panels. Currently, Borosil Renewables Ltd. is the only solar glass manufacturer in the country.

Glass is one of the most versatile man-made material and carries widespread application. The float glass consumption in India has been grown rapidly over the years driven by growth and expanded use in architectural, industrial and automotive sectors. India's per capita glass consumption is only about 2.7 kg as compared to an average of 20-25 kg in other developing economies clearly indicating a tremendous potential for growth.

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