Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Apr 27, 2002
Agri-Biz & Commodities
Oilseeds & Edible Oil
Corporate - Alliances & Joint Ventures
A.P. Solvex to produce winterised rice bran oil
NEW DELHI, April 26
A.P Solvex Ltd, the country's largest rice bran oil (RBO) refiner, has entered into a technical tie-up with Meiura Engineering Corporation of Japan for production of `winterised' RBO.
``Winterisation technology enables complete separation of the stearin (solid fraction) from the oil, so that the latter is clear and not hazy even at zero degree celsius. This would promote RBO exports to countries such as the US,'' Mr A.R. Sharma, Chairman and Managing Director of the Rs 108-crore turnover company, told Business Line.
Under the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, refined RBO is required to meet the zero haziness criteria only at 32 degrees. As a result, refiners here employ the `partial winterisation' route, wherein the oil remains clear at ambient temperatures in Indian conditions. But in cold environs, the refined RBO tends to become cloudy, similar to cottonseed oil.
Mr Sharma claimed that the US was a potentially large market for RBO, especially for use on salads (as against normal frying). ``They are willing to pay as much as Rs 800 per kg. But the oil has to fully winterised so that it remains clear even at zero degree,'' he said adding that the company would invest Rs 5 crore in the proposed winterisation plant.
A.P Solvex's plant at Dhuri in Sangrur district of Punjab has a capacity to refine 200 tonnes per day (tpd) of crude RBO. The company also has a solvent extraction unit to process 800 tpd of rice bran, yielding around 100 tpd of crude RBO, meeting half of the refinery's requirement.
The remaining 100 tpd of crude RBO is sourced from neighbouring extraction units.
``Our production of refined RBO is 150 tpd or 45,000 tonnes per year, corresponding to an all-India share of 15 per cent,'' Mr Sharma said.
The country currently produces around 90 million tonnes of rice, which, assuming a bran content of 10 per cent and a 13 per cent oil recovery, translates into a crude RBO potential of almost 1.2 million tonnes. This is equivalent to 9 lakh tonnes (lt) of refined RBO, given that one tonne of crude RBO yields 0.75 tonnes of refined oil.
But against the potential of 12 lt, the actual crude RBO production is now estimated at hardly five lt, of which one lt goes for industrial uses such as soap manufacture and the remaining four lt for edible uses. Of the four lt of edible RBO, roughly three lt is used for vanaspati manufacturing and only the rest one lt is refined for sale in consumer packs.
Mr Sharma said his company was now marketing 50 tpd of refined RBO in consumer packs under the `Ricela' brand at a maximum retail price of Rs 40 per litre, while selling the remaining 100 tpd in loose to vanaspati units.
A.P Solvex has set a target of selling 100 per cent of its refined RBO production as cooking oil over the next year.
``Having established our presence in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, we are now expanding to other northern markets, including Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan'', he added.
Besides A.P Solvex, other major refined RBO brands include `Tandul' of Food, Fats & Fertilisers, AgroTech's `Crystal' and `Ricegold' of the Calcutta-based Sethias.
Dabur, too, has its `Level' brand, which is a 70:30 mix of RBO and sunflower oil.
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