Chennai: The Chennai-based natural beta-carotene manufacturer, Proalgen Biotech Limited, is expanding its capacity from 1.5 ton per annum (tpa) to 4 tpa. The expansion outlay has been estimated at Rs.15.40 crore.
Proalgen, formerly known as ACL Chemicals Limited, follows the unique technology of converting freshwater into saline water to produce beta-carotene while global majors use seawater.
According to managing director N S Balamukundan, the expansion will be completed during next fiscal. The greenfield facility will be set up in Cheyyur Taluk near Chennai, 25km from the company's existing plant.
Proalgen will build ponds to grow the algae at its' Cheyyur facility, and also set up a flocculation facility. "The flocculated biomass will be brought to the existing facility at Thirukazhukundrum, near Chennai to be converted into the end product," says Balamukundan. "Adding process capacity at the existing place is also part of the expansion project," he says.
Proalgen has identified about 154 acres of salt land at Cheyyur belonging to the Tamil Nadu government.
The Rs.32-lakh turnover (net profit Rs.22,000) company plans to fund the expansion through a maiden premium public issue of 77 lakh shares of Rs.10 each at a premium of Rs.10 per share.
Natural beta-carotene has five user-markets viz medicinal, human dietary and pharmaceutical supplements, food colourants, pet food, algal meal / food for crustaceans on fish farms.
Proalgen is the fourth company in the world and the first in India to manufacture natural beta-carotene bulk formulation. According to Balamukundan, the global market for beta-carotene is around 1430 tpa (synthetic 1400 tpa, natural 30 tpa).
also see : ACL
produces antioxidant from freshwater