Vedanta capacity expansion: Anil Agarwal details $6-7-bn investment plan

Working on creating a natural resources giant anchored in India, Vedanta's dream has only just begun and it will invest $6-7 billion in expanding overall capacity in 3-4 years, metals and mining baron Anil Agarwal said.

Vedanta is the world's 6th largest diversified natural resources powerhouse post-Cairn-Vedanta merger, achieving a market capitalisation of $14 billion.

"Our dream has just begun. Faring very well financially during the last fiscal, we are looking for at least 60 per cent capacity addition in our businesses in three to four years," Vedanta Resources Plc Group Chairman Anil Agarwal told PTI in a phone interview.

With the government's thrust on natural resources, the future is promising, he said.

"For expanding capacity by 60 per across segments, on a pro-rata basis we will be spending about $6-7 billion," said Agarwal, who is also Chairman Emeritus, Vedanta Limited.

At the same time, he said, there should be more natural resources companies anchored in India.

India could be a natural resources powerhouse with its abundant natural wealth, he said.

"We are far behind on exploration front. Our exploration of natural wealth is minuscule when we compare it with advanced nations like the US and Australia," he said, adding that government thrust could change the scenario.

The company is aspiring to produce 50 per cent of India's oil production as "it wants to cut on huge import bills", he said.

Vedanta Ltd is also looking at 1.2 million tonnes of zinc capacity and wants to take it to 1.5 MT later, he said.

About silver, he said the company wants to double the output to 1,000 tonnes.

"We are looking at 3,50,000 barrel of oil and to have 100,000 barrel equivalent to gas," he said, adding that for aluminium, the company was looking at 3 million tonnes capacity.

Tapping the tremendous possibilities of growth in demand for zinc, aluminium and copper, Vedanta managed to be the market leaders for India's Zinc Industry, primary Aluminium market, and refined copper with market shares of 72 per cent, 40 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.

Also, it is India's largest private sector Iron Ore exporter and operator of 26 per cent of India's crude oil production.

The Chairman said Vedanta has completed a significant portion of its capital expenditure programme, that has equipped it to ramp up production in existing assets and reap benefits of the capex spent.

In 2016-17, the company spent $0.7 billion capex.

Vedanta's operations span across India, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Liberia, Ireland and Australia.

Vedanta Ltd had reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 2,988 crore for the quarter ended March 2017.

The company recorded a 5 per cent year-on-year increase in Free Cash Flow (FCF), to Rs 13,312 crore while its "Net Debt/EBITDA at 0.4x, (was) lowest among peers" as per its annual report.

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