Vibrant Gujarat: Aditya Birla Group to invest Rs.20,000 crore

Gandhinagar: The Aditya Birla Group will invest Rs.20,000 crore in Gujarat to increase capacity of various existing facilities in a state he has a “personal bias” towards, Kumarmangalam Birla said here Sunday.

“Our investments will be close to Rs.20,000 crore, as we see it,” Birla said at the 7th Vibrant Gujarat Summit.

“We will be continuing to grow our businesses here. On the anvil are brownfield expansions at our cement plant in Sevagram, the VSF (viscose staple fibre) plants in Vilayat and Bharuch, and along with that, expansion in metal plants,” he added.

“We’re greatly impressed by proactive approach of government of Gujarat. I have a personal bias for it,” Birla said.

He said that, not tax incentives, but delivery of high quality infrastructure has drawn the group to the state.

The Aditya Birla Group’s investments in Gujarat amount to over Rs.25,000 crore, and it generates revenues in excess of Rs.30,000 crore a year. The company employs 10,000 persons directly and 20,000 indirectly.

In a report released Wednesday, industry chamber Assocham said there has been a sharp decline of about 20 percent in total amount of proposed industrial investments received by states across India in various sectors.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India data showed the country had received 1,421 investment proposals worth Rs.362,805 crore till September 2014 which had declined significantly from 1,906 proposals worth Rs.451,643 crore.

The chamber said Sunday that with manufacturing sector down in “the dumps”, there is little current prospect of investment revival in the private sector “when the existing capacity remains unutilised to the extent of 30-40 percent in several industries”.

Besides, the private sector is finding it difficult to service their heavy debt under an interest rate regime which remains hostile to consumer demand and investors’ risk appetite, the chamber said.

“Under these circumstances, the only way left for investment to return is through state funding of the infrastructure – both economic and social as also asking the cash rich public sector companies to create additional capacity and expansion either through new projects or through asset acquisitions. The public spending on infrastructure has to increase rather than decrease, as there are apprehensions about the same,” Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat said.