On Fast Track to Spread Splendour - The New Indian Express

On Fast Track to Spread Splendour

Published: 22nd April 2014 02:54 PM

Last Updated: 22nd April 2014 02:54 PM

Beating last year’s blues, Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML), Chavara, has made a turnover in its fortune with a profit of Rs. 30 crore in the last fiscal that ended on March 31, despite the headwinds faced in the prices of its main product - Titanium Dioxide pigment.

Against this, the company has incurred a net loss of Rs. 4 crore in the last fiscal. Globally the prices of Titanium Dioxide pigment have been declining for the last two years making it the longest streak of decline since 2002.

According to the data provided by Bloomberg, the prices tumbled 33 per cent to $3.97 a kg in 2013 from a February 2012 peak. Weak demand and over supply have been attributed to the fall in prices. According to the management, the performance of three major units - Mineral Separation (MS) plant, Titanium pigment plant and Titanium Sponge Unit - contributed to the improvement in balance sheet.

Compared to the annual turnover of Rs. 617 crore in the 2011-12 fiscal, the KMML could achieve Rs. 725 crore in the last fiscal. “Last year, the production in the pigment unit touched 30,004 tonnes.

In March alone, the pigment production touched 3,450 tonnes. It is the highest-ever monthly production since November 2010,” said P Michael Vedasiromani, Managing Director, KMML. Despite the weak market, the KMML could sell off 32,250 MT of Titanium Pigment, including the stock of the previous year. Pigment has been exported to 15 countries, including Italy, US, Japan, Australia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Turkey and Spain.

The products go into the manufacture of a variety of products used in everyday life from dress materials, facial creams, tablets, plastics, toothpaste, rubber products etc. Though the Kollam coast near Chavara has ilmeniterich mineral sand, the land acquisition in this area is facing problems. In the Ilmenite Benficiation Plant, an alltime record was set by producing 38,386 MT of Benficiated Ilmenite. The MS unit could make an all-time record production of 62,850 MT last year. The previous record was 52,500 MT.

Moreover, the company could achieve a record production of Sillimanite also in the same period.

The most-noted achievement will be the production of 131 MT of titanium sponge metal and thereby achieving the targeted turnover of Rs. 8 crore. As per an agreement between the Navy and the KMML, the Navy would purchase 70 MT of metal grade titanium sponge every year from the KMML. Titanium Sponge Plant is one of the latest unit at KMML and has emerged as major contributing unit since its commissioning in 2011.

Titanium sponge, the raw material for titanium metal, is known for its light weight and sturdiness and can be used in the making of dental implants to submarines and other defence equipment.

The TSP is a joint venture of KMML, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL).

With the inauguration of TSP, India became the 7 country having the technology for producing titanium sponge, which is the raw material for titanium metal.

Thus KMML has become a strategic supplier of country’s present requirements of Titanium for its prestigious space missions. KMML also produces other products like, Rutile, Zircon, Sillimenite, Synthetic rutile etc.

Michael Vedasiromani said that the KMML was facing stiff challenge from countries including China on the price front and this year’s thrust would be to reduce the cost of production.

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