BOC India, a member of The Linde Group, on Tuesday announced its plans to invest Rs. 830 crore in India including a Rs. 600-crore investment for setting up an air separation unit (ASU) at the Jamshedpur works of Tata Steel. Once commissioned in early 2012, this will be the largest such plant in India and among Linde’s biggest in Asia.

The Jamshedpur investment includes a Rs. 50-crore outlay for buying three small air separation units of Tata Steel, BOC India Managing Director S. K. Menon said.

Mr. Menon told The Hindu that while the three running ASUs of Tata Steel with a 1,100 tonnes a day total capacity were acquired at book value, the new unit would be readied by February 2012 to meet the needs of the Jamshedpur unit as well as other units in the east. “We may sell some liquid products like argon in merchant markets in this region,” he said.

Partners Tata Steel

Linde AG, which now holds 89.65 per cent in BOC India (the rest is with public). This investment would take its exposure to around Rs. 2,000 crore over the last three years in India. Today’s announcement followed the signing of a long-term agreement with Tata Steel for the supply of over 4,000 tpd of oxygen, nitrogen and argon. The new ASU (BOC has two ASUs in Tata Steel) will cater to the steel major’s current expansion from seven million tonnes to 10 million tonnes.

Mr. Menon said investments of Rs. 230 crore were in the pipeline for setting up two ASUs in Maharashtra which would produce 500 tpd of liquid products by March 2011. He said the projects might be funded with loans from the parent company or through internal accruals.

Profit dips

The BOC board also took on record the results for the quarter-ending September 2009. The company ended with a higher net sales of Rs. 214.49 crore against Rs. 132.90 crore.

But the net profit was pared from Rs. 21.87 crore to Rs. 12.54 crore on higher expenditure as also certain provisioning.

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