New Delhi: US chemical giant Dow, fighting to overcome the dubious legacy inherited from Union Carbide said that it could pump in billions of dollars in India, as it looks to expand operations in the country.
The company, which currently imports most of its products to India, plans to eventually have a manufacturing operation in the country, particularly for specialty chemicals.
“The country is attractive enough from the investment point of view and it could be large,” Dow Chemical International President and CEO Ramesh Ramachandran said.
“For us, large could be billions of dollars,” he said when asked to specify.
“At some point we have to start manufacturing here, particularly for specialty chemicals,” he said.
The company has kept its options open on the modalities of setting up manufacturing operations.
“In some case we will look for partners and in some we will go on our own for technical reasons,” Ramachandran said, adding tying up with a local firm would depend on what the potential partner could offer.
Dow had signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with Gujarat Chemicals and Alkalis earlier this year.
He said that the setting up of a specialty chemicals manufacturing plant typically requires about $4100-200 million and 2-3 years to become fully operational.
Ramachandran said that Dow would be focusing on its basic, specialty as well as licensing business in India.
The company has so far invested about $200 million in India with two manufacturing sites and three centres of excellence employing around 950 people.
The company has so far registered sales of 550 million dollars in India and is aiming for a three-fold increase in sales by 2010.
“Dow would also focus on developing natural-based plastics in India through its research centre located at Pune,” said Ramachandran.
“In Brazil we have the world’s largest green-plastic plant which uses sugarcane, India can match it with other natural products such as soyabean polymers,” he added.
“Aware of strong sentiments against the company due to the acquisition of Union Carbide (UC) in 2001, Dow Chemicals was actively engaging people to clear its position,” he added.
Dow has been maintaining that it was not accountable for the Bhopal Gas tragedy, although it had acquired UC.
“UC India was sold in 1991 to Eveready and the plant was taken over by Madhya Pradesh government. When we acquired the operations of UC globally, except India in 2001, its entity in the country was no longer existent,” he said.
He futher said that the company has undertaken corporate social responsibilities actively in the country to come out of the shadows of the legacy left by UC in India.
Dow Chemical had donated Rs1 crore this year to the famous Jaipur foot venture by Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti to supply free artificial limbs.