India: Two New Water-Soluble Fertilizer Plants

Potash and phosphate maker Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL) announced that it was expanding its production capacity and is to establish two soluble fertilizer manufacturing plants in India with its local partner, Zuari Industries, which operates in north and east India. One unit will be established in Rajasthan and is scheduled to start-up by late 2013. It will be followed by the other one, which will be located in Orissa. The cost of the project is of about USD 9.84 million. The new plants will have an annual production capacity of 30,000 tonnes each.

“The decision to open two more plants stems from the success of the existing plant, the current shift in India’s agriculture to modern and intensive methods and growing demand for soluble and complex fertilizers resulting from this shift,” the ICL company said in a statement.

Zuari Industries, part of the Saroj Poddar-led Adventz group, produces and distributes fertilizers and agricultural products throughout India and is partner with ICL in the specialty fertilizer 50:50 joint venture  operating in India under the name Zuari Rotem Specialty Fertilizers.

Since March 2010, Zuari has been operating a soluble fertilizer plant with a production capacity of 32,000 tonnes a year. At present its total capacity to produce water soluble NPK speciality fertilizers is of 50,000 tpa.

ICL said that “the decision to expand the cooperation with Zuari Industries is a further step in the implementation of our expansion strategy in specialty fertilizers abroad and in general – mainly in emerging markets where we see considerable growth potential.”

“We believe that our leadership in delayed release and controlled release fertilizers alongside Zuari’s distribution and service array will allow us to respond to the special needs of India’s farmers through the new plants and to obtain a competitive edge”.

The Indian markets’ demand for soluble fertilizers has been growing continuously over the past several years, reflecting the region’s growing adoption of advanced fertigation techniques (such as through drip irrigation systems) and foliar fertilization. Consumption of water-soluble speciality fertilizers is growing at 18-20 percent annually.

In the second part of August, ICL published its financial results for the second quarter of 2011, reporting a net profit of US$119 million – a 44% leap compared with the same quarter last year.

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