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Tata Chem counting on soda ash to boost 2003 sales

India“s largest soda ash maker by installed capacity, Tata Chemicals Ltd., said in August that it aims to post annual revenue growth of 10% in the financial year ending March 2003, thanks to rising g…

India“s largest soda ash maker by installed capacity, Tata Chemicals Ltd., said in August that it aims to post annual revenue growth of 10% in the financial year ending March 2003, thanks to rising global prices for soda ash. Last financial year, Tata Chemicals reported a 1.3% drop in revenue to INR 14.81 billion, and a 23% fall in net profit to INR 1.27 billion from INR 1.65 billion a year earlier. Globally, soda ash prices have risen to US$ 145 a metric ton from US$ 135 a metric ton 12 months ago. During the quarter ended 30 June, the company exported 20,661 metric tons of soda ash compared with 34,000 metric tons in the full year ended March 2002. Tata Chemicals is able to fight the lower import duty on soda ash – duty was lowered to 20% from 35% a year ago – through cost-cutting measures, employing the suggestions of global consultant McKinsey & Co, Mehan said. The chemical and fertilizer company – part of the INR 360 billion Tata Group – said it will largely escape the fall in demand for fertilizers in the wake of scanty rains as it caters to well-irrigated areas and not those that depend on annual monsoon rains. India is suffering its lowest rainfall for a decade.

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