Mumbai: India’s Naturol Bioenergy Ltd is planning greenfield palm plantations and acquisitions in Indonesia and also aims to set up crushing units in east Africa within a year, a top official said on Wednesday.
The country’s first commercial biodiesel maker plans to invest about $130 million (Rs535 crore) on these projects over the next 30 months, and is eyeing a $100 million initial public offering (IPO) in 2009 to fund its Indonesian ventures.
“The backward integration (plantation) will assure us of raw material supplies and will help hedge against price volatility,” managing director C.S. Bhaskar said.
The company has already identified locations for setting up plantations in Indonesia and palm crushing units in east Africa. The greenfield plantation will take about five years to mature.
“We will also look at existing plantations,” Bhaskar said.
Bhaskar also added that Naturol, which currently accounts for almost India’s entire biodiesel processing capacity, will export its first consignment of about 5,500 tonnes by mid-May to Europe.
“We would like to begin with spot sales and then get into long-term agreements. At present, biodiesel is selling at about $4.50 a gallon, which is a good price,” Bhaskar said.
Naturol is solely dependent on imported palm oil and palm fatty acid for its biodiesel output and sees itself dependent on the same feedstock for the next three-five years.
“We can use soya oil or rapeseed but as we go in that direction we move up the value chain in terms of vegetable oils and it becomes more expensive,” he added.