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Thursday, Aug 18, 2005

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Nicco plans telecom cable unit in Assam

Ambar Singh Roy

Kolkata, Aug. 17

SUBJECT to approval from authorities working on a Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR) scheme for the company, Nicco Corporation Ltd proposes to set up a facility in Assam to manufacture electrical and telecom cables with an estimated investment of Rs 11.5 crore.

It sought assistance, including identification of land for the proposed facility, from Assam Industrial Investment Development Corporation. Webcon was preparing a techno-economic feasibility study for the project, said Mr Rajive Kaul, Chairman of Nicco Corporation Ltd.

Mr Kaul told Business Line that most of the equipment would be procured from the company's cable factory at Kalyani that was shut down after its workers availed voluntary retirement schemes. "The project would be implemented within 9-12 months of receiving the CDR approval," Mr Kaul said, adding that the proposed plant would generate Rs 60 crore turnover, operating at full capacity. Much of the equipment at the Kalyani factory had already been relocated to the company's manufacturing facilities at Shyamnager and Baripada.

Mr Kaul said that, after a gap of two years, Nicco Corporation had earned a gross profit in 2004-05. This was facilitated by a 26 per cent increase in gross turnover compared with the previous year. The company's cables division contributed to the growth despite a fall in the turnover of the projects division, which suffered a loss due to a sharp rise in the price of steel and cement against fixed price contracts.

The company plans to convert its projects division into a wholly-owned engineering subsidiary for optimum utilisation of assets and profitability. Plans were also afoot to set up educational facilities in biotechnology through a tie-up with the West Bengal University of Technology for a post-graduate diploma course in biotechnology.

Besides taking up contract research on behalf of clients, the company would also manufacture curcumin (an extract from turmeric) and catichin (an extract from green tea). Both products are stated to be in great demand among pharmaceutical, and nutrition and cosmetics industries.

Mr Kaul said the outlook for the current fiscal was "bright" and the company was confident of returning profits in the year ahead.

In 2004-05, the company notched a total income of Rs 274.51 crore, up from Rs 222.69 crore recorded during the previous year.

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