Vedanta lines up $8-bn investments in 3 years

New Delhi : Metals and mining giant Vedanta on Friday said it will pump in around $8 billion (about Rs 56,000 crore) over the next three years on various projects across businesses.

There is immense growth potential in sight, Vedanta Chairman Navin Agarwal said at the company’s annual general meeting, where he made the investment announcement.

“As India’s largest private sector oil producer, your company contributes 27 per cent to the domestic production and aspires to take it up to 50 per cent. Towards this, your company will be investing $3-4 billion over the next 2-3 years, in various growth projects,” he said.

This year Vedanta had a record production in its zinc-lead-silver and aluminium businesses, he said, adding that it would further invest $3-4 billion in these businesses in the next 2-3 years.

On Tuticorin unit, which has been permanently shut down by the Tamil Nadu government following the deaths of 13 people in police firing on protesters against the plant, Agarwal said the company is greatly grieved by the tragic loss of lives and has extended all possible support to the impacted families.

“Your company has been instrumental in the socio-economic transformation of the region. Our copper smelter strongly complies with all environmental norms and is, amongst the best, globally,” he added.

In April, the Tamil Nadu pollution control board had rejected Vedanta Sterlite’s plea to renew the Consent to Operate certification, saying the company had not complied with the stipulated conditions. Following this, the government had issued a permanent closure notice to the plant.

After Sterlite announced its plans to expand the Tuticorin plant, villagers around it started fresh protests that continued for over 100 days, culminating in the May 22 police firing on protestors that claimed 13 lives and left scores injured.

The need of the hour is to bring further changes in policies for natural resources sector, particularly the implementation of the  much-awaited New Mineral Policy and ensure a level playing ground on imports and duties.

“Encouragement to explore and produce natural resources in India will lead to greater self-reliance, save billions of dollars in imports, generate immense employment opportunities, paving way for socio-economic development,” the company said.

During financial year 2017-18, Vedanta increased its revenue by 22 per cent, year-on-year to Rs 92,900 crore.

Its EBITDA or operating profit also increased by 19 per cent, to Rs 25,500 crore, and profit after taxes rose up by 10 per cent to Rs 8,200 crore.

“Free cash flow stood at Rs 7,900 crore and we reduced our gross debt by Rs 8,500 crore,” Agarwal said.

Company looks to pump $400 mn into Electrosteel

Mumbai: Vedanta will spend around $300-400 million in recently acquired Electrosteel Steels to expand its capacity to 2.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), a top company official said.

“Electrosteel Steels is currently processing at a full capacity of 1.5 mtpa, and we will soon start work to expand capacity to 2.5 mtpa at a very nominal capex of $300-400 million,” Chairman Navin Agarwal said on Friday.

In March, Vedanta acquired assets of Electrosteel Steels, which marked its entry into steelmaking in India.

“Our acquisition of Electrosteel has lot to do with the integration of our iron ore business,” said Agarwal. Similarly, the zinc business will grow to about 1.35 mtpa. The company is also looking at growing its international zinc business and aluminium and alumina refinery capacities, the chairman said.

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