Sabah (Malaysia): Ballarpur Industries Ltd (BILT), India’s largest paper manufacturer, plans to invest close to $1billion (Rs4416 crore) over the next 7-8 years to expand its newly-acquired Malaysian firm Sabah Forests Industries (SFI), the south-east Asian country’s biggest integrated pulp and paper mill.
“In the first phase, we would be investing about $100 million in the next two and a half years,” BILT chairman Gautam Thapar said after signing the agreement for transfer of SFI’s ownership to BILT and its JV partner JP Morgan.
Thapar said BILT is also expanding its Indian facilities and aims at a total paper manufacturing capacity of one million tonnes by 2010 and two million tonnes a year by 2015 from the current about 500,000 tonnes a year.
According to the agreement, Ballarpur Paper Holdings BV, a 80:20 JV of BILT and JP Morgan, acquired 97.78 % of SFI from Malaysia’s Lion Group for $261 million. This is the largest ever overseas acquisition by an Indian paper and pulp company.
The agreement was signed in Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of the state of Sabah on 16 March.
SFI currently has a paper capacity of 1.44 lakh tonnes and a pulp capacity of 1.2 lakh tonnes per annum. It also holds a concession for about 2.89 hectares of forest land by the state government of Sabah, which has the remaining 2.2% stake in it.
The concession is valid for 99 years from 1996 to 2094.
SFI’s other assets included a jetty and a power plant.