Tata Chemicals is setting up an R&D lab in Hyderabad.
MUMBAI: Tata Chemicals is looking at entering the biotech business using nano-science as a base, chairman Ratan Tata said on Monday. The company is also increasing its focus on crop-specific, high-value fertilisers to improve realisations and profitability.
“We are looking at improving the breadth of our agri and food business. The company is looking at new lines of business allied to the agri-industry. The new lines of business would be using biotechnology and nano-science as a base,” he told shareholders at the company’s 67th annual general meeting.
Biotech business has become the next hot destination for corporates. Reliance Industries has already entered the space.
The company is setting up a research and development lab in Hyderabad and this centre is expected to lead the group’s entry into biotech.
In nanotechnology, smaller particles are programmed to perform the same function as its bigger counterpart. So using nanotechnology, minute amounts of fertiliser could be made to achieve greater results.
According to chief financial officer P.K. Ghose, current investments in the sector would be limited to R&D, and manufacturing would be taken up at a later stage. “We are working on becoming an asset-light corporation from being asset heavy currently. Nanotechnology would help us achieve that,” he said.
For the Rs 3,600 crore fertiliser and inorganic chemicals company, the cement operations continue to be on the block, awaiting a suitable buyer. Tata Chemicals, which has a half million tons per annum cement production capacity, has identified cement as a non-core business and is looking for buyers.
The company has lined up capex worth Rs 400 crore over the next three years, which would be used for de-bottlenecking and capacity expansion.