The manufacture of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) at Haldia was suspended during the first quarter

Even as high input costs continue to pressure Tata Chemicals’ performance, the company will look to first turn around its soda ash operations in Magadi, Kenya, and stabilise its operations in Haldia West Bengal.

In his last address to shareholders as the company Chairman at it 73 annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday, Ratan Tata said the company’s operations in the first quarter of 2012-13 were impacted by floods in Kenya, foreign exchange fluctuations and a slowdown in production at Babrala.

The manufacture of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) at Haldia was suspended during the quarter due to shortage of input phosphoric acid.

“The problems at Babrala and Haldia are now behind us,” he said. The Magadi operations in Kenya were impacted by flooding during the quarter.

Mr. Tata said that global demand for soda ash had gone up 6 per cent due to increased demand in BRICS countries and from the glass industry, especially housing glass.

“The production of soda ash has increased globally. However, there are imbalances with overproduction in China and shortage in other countries,” he said adding that the growth of glass business in developing countries was strong and soda ash will grow 4-5 per cent annually till 2016. Mr. Tata told shareholders that the company had a 64 per cent share in the Indian packaged salt market which grew by 9 per cent in 2011-12. The company’s consumer branded products grew 28 per cent and the shift in consumption from unbranded to branded products “augurs well for the consumer products business division.”

While making a presentation at the AGM, R. Mukundan, Managing Director, said, “the company is now focused on value creation and will offer differentiated products. The i-shakti range of branded pulses is an example and we have expanded it. We also offer a range of salt and are now branding our bulk commodity bicarbonate business.’’