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Vesuvius group's plans

By Our Special Correspondent

KOLKATA, APRIL 12. The Vesuvius group is planning to increase its investments in India, stepping up capacities at its plants at Kolkata, Vizag and Mehsana, besides looking at acquisitions, President and Chief Executive Officer, Giancarlo Cozzani, said.

The Belgium-based Mr. Cozzani, who likes to describe Vesuvius as a transnational company, told The Hindu that Rs. 20 crores would be invested to double the capacities of the plants of Vesuvius India Ltd (VIL) located at Visakhapatnam and Mehsana by 2007. An investment of Rs. 55 crores is planned for a brown-field investment here where a new plant with upgraded technology would be set up adjacent to the existing plant. "The capacity would be doubled here by 2008," Mr. Cozzani said.

The Vesuvius group, which makes refractory materials, operates through four business sectors — iron and steel, foundry, industrial processes and glass. It has a holding of about 56 per cent in VIL which also provides its Indian customers the range of products in all the four business sectors. Since its entry 11 years ago, Vesuvius has invested Rs. 100 crores in India. It paid its shareholders a special tenth anniversary dividend of 10 per cent on March 2004 taking the year's payout to Rs. 4.25 for every share with a Rs. 10 face value.

Speaking on the acquisition plans earlier at a press meet, Mr. Cozzani said: "Acquisition opportunities in steel as well as non-steel sectors were being pursued." He indicated that the group had zeroed in on some companies and due diligence studies were about to begin. "We hope to finalise deals by third quarter of this fiscal."

For the year-ended December 31, 2004 VIL earned a total income of Rs. 174.40 crores with a pre-tax profit of Rs. 38.70 crores.

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