Tata Chemicals Ltd (TCL), which has adopted a two-pronged strategy towards efficient financial management, has brought down the total debt of the company by 33 per cent to Rs 617 crore, resulting in a debt equity ratio of 0.36.
TCL, CFO, PK Ghose said in a conference call: “A large proportion of the company’s outstanding debt has been repaid through internal cash generations.” Additionally, the weighted average cost of borrowing has come down to 8.2 per cent during the second quarter ended September 30, 2003 as compared to 105 per cent during the corresponding quarter previous fiscal. The net interest outgo contracted by 50 per cent to Rs 25 crore during the first half of current fiscal. As part of the company’s export initiative, Tata Chem has intensified its focus on countries which were earlier serviced by China.
The company is servicing markets in Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh and the Arabian Gulf. Most of the markets in these areas are for dense soda ash, which is required by glass manufacturers. Demand for soda ash has increased in these countries, since China’s own demand has gone up.
Said TCL MD, PR Menon, “The infrastructure requirement, mainly driven by China, has gone up. Chinese production demand for soda ash has rocketed in the last couple of years. China used to be the main exporter to these markets, and currently, because of the huge demand in their own country, they have pegged their exports virtually at the same level that they had over the last two years. We saw an opportunity to get a foothold into these markets. It is not that these markets have themselves gone up considerably in the last two years - they have moved up, but it is really because China’s own demand has gone up.” TCL continues to be the leader in the soda ash segment with market share of 34.3 per cent. Over the last six months, the company has exported 81,000 mt of soda ash which is 75 per cent of the total volume achieved in the last financial year.