Tata Chemicals plans to enter the nutraceuticals segment as part of its plans to increase focus on its specialty and consumer products business.

As a first step, it is investing around Rs.50 crore to set up a manufacturing plant.

Nutraceuticals are used in the foods industry. The strategy is to be a more consumer-facing, application-driven company in the future rather than be a commodity-driven company.

“The plant will come up in Chennai, and should be commissioned towards the end of this year or first quarter of next year. The products, oligosaccharides and polyols, are inputs for the foods industry,” R. Mukundan, Managing Director, Tata Chemicals, told The Hindu.

“Going forward, we will focus on our specialty and consumer products businesses. The combined portfolio contributed around Rs.2,500 crore to our Rs.13,000-crore turnover in 2011-12, around 18 per cent. We would like to build this portfolio to at least 50 per cent of our turnover in the next five years, if aggressively pursued or it may take a little longer. But, we would certainly like to move the portfolio to more consumer and application-oriented businesses.”

The company will drive the change through its Pune-based Innovation Centre.

Tata Chemicals has a 30 per cent stake in a joint venture with Singapore-based Temasek Life Sciences and others for Jatropha-based biofuel where it invested around Rs.75 crore.

“We have seen fine results and the plantations in Coimbatore have high productivity levels, the same as soyabean. We hope to raise it to palm oil levels in the next 18 months. We are focused on Jatropha not only for biofuel but also animal feed from the seed cake.”

The speciality business, through subsidiary Rallis’ Agrochemicals business, has the potential to at least triple business in the next six or seven years, he said.

“We have plans to enter new verticals. But how much we get out of the potential depends on our strategy and strategy execution,” he said.

More In: Companies | Business