Emami Biotech, a group company of the diversified Emami Group, is planning to set up an edible oil refinery in South India, Director, Emami group of companies, Aditya Agarwal, said. The group’s present investments are concentrated in the East, Northeast and North India.

He said the company had decided to set up one coast-based unit each in the West and the South. The company has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Gujarat Government for setting up the unit. “In the South, the unit will either be in Karnataka or in Tamil Nadu,” Mr. Agarwal said.

The proposed 1,500-tonne unit would need about 25-30 acres and could commence production in about two years, it was learnt. “We propose to invest about Rs. 225 crore in each of the units that we are planning,” he said. The unit is now proposed as edible oil refineries but can be modified to produce bio-diesel.

While for Gujarat either Kandla or any of the minor ports would be the chosen location, in Tamil Nadu the company would prefer Tuticorin or Ennore. In Karnataka, it would prefer Mangalore. Mott McDonald, which is doing the feasibility study for the group’s bio-fuel crop project in Ethiopia, will also carry out the study for these projects. Mr. Agarwal said Emami Biotech had entered into a technical collaboration with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University for the institution’s expertise in agri-related projects.

Emami had begun its foray into the area of bio-fuels by investing Rs. 150 crore to set up a unit in Haldia in West Bengal. However, the project was subsequently converted into an edible oil refinery, following ‘anomalies’ in government policy on bio-diesel.

Hitherto known as a cosmetics and toiletry company, Emami has got into diverse sectors, including real estate, hospitals and pharmaceuticals (through the acquisition of Zandu). It is planning to set up a cement unit and a power plant in Chhattisgarh and a paper unit in West Bengal. Its manufacturing units are located in Assam, Orissa, Puducherry, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. It is planning real estate investments in Kolkata, Coimbatore and Hyderabad.

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