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Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005

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Bay-Forge bullish on wind energy sector, aims at Rs 100-cr turnover

M. Ramesh

A worker at Bay-Forge's plant at Palayanoor village, 40 km south of Chennai, helps unload a gigantic steel ring from a truck. After processing, the ring will become either a part of a rocket or a windmill tower. - Bijoy Ghosh

Chennai , March 28

THE Chennai-based Bay-Forge Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fomas of Italy, proposes to invest Rs 5 crore in debottlenecking its plant to pave the way for the manufacture of windmill components — turbine shafts and towers.

For a company that has just completed a Rs 80-crore project for manufacturing steel rings for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) — rings that become parts of rockets — an investment of Rs 5 crore may not appear to be a big deal, but the significance is in the consequent business rather than the investment itself.

In calendar 2005, Bay-Forge (formerly Fomas India Ltd) expects to achieve a turnover of Rs 50 crore against Rs 30 crore last year. About Rs 14 crore of this would come from the ISRO. The company produces forged components for nuclear plants too.

However, after the debottlenecking exercise, it expects sales to the wind energy sector to boom and estimates to achieve a turnover of Rs 100 crore in 2006.

Bay-Forge's President and Whole-time Director, Mr R.C. Mohan, told Business Line on Monday that the company was in "extensive negotiations" with a number of windmill companies.

In a way, Bay-Forge's `diversification' was mandated by economics, because the equipment it has for producing rocket parts can execute all ISRO orders in a matter of days.

The company has a 3,500-tonne hydraulic press that can punch a hole in the middle of a two-feet-by-two-feet block of steel. A rolling mill squeezes the walls of the "steel doughnut" to form the metal into a huge ring.

These machines could be otherwise used, but not to make conventional forgings such as auto components. The current boom in wind energy has come in very handy in this context, and hence the Rs 5-crore investment.

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