Dinesh Shahra, managing director of Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd, maker of soyabean products, in an interview from Mumbai, speaks about the country’s soya bean production prospects, palm oil prices and acquisition plans.
On soya bean harvest:
Good monsoon means good crop, and a good crop is good for us. If the monsoon is average and normal, we expect the crop to yield 7.5-8 million tonnes (mt).
Being the largest crusher of soya beans in the country with a capacity of over 2mt, we have good prospects for more crushing this year. Last year, we crushed 1.5mt and we’re looking at crushing 1.8mt this year.
(The monsoon reached Kerala four days earlier than normal. The nation’s 234 million farmers rely heavily on the four-month rainy season.)
In the current year we will have a profit growth of over 20%. If the crop is much better than last year, profit can be more than 25%.
On Indonesian plans:
We are the largest palm oil refiner in the country. It makes sense for us to integrate with palm oil plantations. Indonesia being the cheapest and the best location for palm oil, we have mandated two merchant bankers to look for either a plantation which is ready for yielding or a green-field project.
So, we are exploring both the options.
We would like to look at at least 10% of our demand. We refine 1 million tonnes of palm oil. So we will be looking for at least 100,000 tonnes of palm oil to come from the plantations to begin with.
On palm oil prices:
“Palm oil prices are very high. India is the biggest buyer of palm oil and if India has a good crop, price may come down and we may get good valuation in plantation business.”