Guntur: Cigarettes-to-biscuits maker ITC Ltd will invest Rs.345 crore in Guntur district, where Andhra Pradesh’s new capital Amaravati is taking shape.
The company is making Guntur the headquarters of its agribusiness division, which earns yearly revenue of Rs.8,000 crore.
ITC will invest Rs.200 crore in a 0.5 million sq.ft. facility that will provide employment to 500 people. The facility will house, among other things, a research division for agri commodities.
Chairman Y.C. Deveshwar said ITC, maker of the Aashirvaad brand of staples, spices and instant mixes, will source chillies, pepper and millets from Andhra Pradesh. The state already contributes two-thirds of ITC’s tobacco supply.
Guntur’s food-safe chillies, or chillies without pesticides and chemicals, have export potential to Europe and the US that have stringent food safety norms, Deveshwar said.
ITC will offer new staple categories such as millets that are considered healthier food options, under the Aashirvaad brand.
ITC will also build Guntur’s first five-star hotel by 2019 at an investment of Rs.145 crore. The company broke ground for its third My Fortune hotel that will come up about 30 km from proposed capital area of Amaravati.
The 144-room hotel, the biggest in Guntur, will come up on a 1.44-acre property that was earlier was the site of an ITC guest house.
“We are taking a leap of faith in anticipation of growth in this region,” Deveshwar said at a media conference after breaking ground for the hotel with Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
Other My Fortune hotels are located in Chennai and Bengaluru.
ITC has committed to investing Rs.8,000 crore to building a food processing park, a new five-star hotel and to doubling the capacity of its Bhadrachalam paperboard factory in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh’s neighbour that was split from it in June 2014.