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JSW Infra to spend up to Rs 7,000 crore to boost cargo handling capacity



JSW Infra, India’s second largest private port operator, aims to spend ₹6,000-7,000 crore over 3-4 years to increase its annual cargo handling capacity by over 40% to 250 million tonnes, its chief executive said.
The bulk of investment will be on two greenfield port projects in Karnataka and Odisha as well as the expansion of a cargo terminal the company recently took over.

Construction of both greenfield projects will begin this calendar year, Arun Maheshwari told ET in an interview.

The Sajjan Jindal-owned company last year emerged as the winning bidder for the development of a greenfield port at Keni in Karnataka, further to which the concession agreement was signed with Karnataka Maritime Board.

“So for Keni port, we got into a concession agreement sometime in November last year. Once we get some of the remaining approvals, the construction will start,” said Maheshwari, adding it would take four years to commission.

The capital expenditure on the port is estimated at ₹4,119 crore. It will have an initial handling cargo handling capacity of 30 million tonnes per annum (MTPA).”We are also getting into Jatadhar in Odisha, which is a greenfield port again. JSW Steel intends to set up a steel plant there, for which all the approvals are in place now. The concession agreement is likely to be signed within this month or within next 4 weeks and then, JSW Infra will start building the port there also. That will take around 3-4 years and JSW plans for it to have a capacity of 30 million tonnes in phase 1,” said Maheshwari, adding it will entail a capital expenditure of about ₹3,000 crore.JSW also recently acquired majority shareholding of PNP Maritime Services (PNP Port), an operating port located in Raigad, Maharashtra, which is about 20 nautical miles from Mumbai Anchorage and opposite to the company’s Dharamatar Port. It paid ₹270 crore for 50%-plus 1 share of the paid-up capital of the PNP Port.

The port has a current capacity of 5 (MTPA) and the potential to expand to 19 MTPA.

“Our endeavor would be to increase the capacity every year by 14-15% from the base. And I think we should be in 3-4 years time, we should be 10 million total at least over there,” said Maheshwari.

He added that the projects would be 30% funded by equity and the remainder by debt. The company has debt of ₹600 crore on its balance sheet and will raise further debt in the coming financial year for its two projects.

Last week, the company posted a 118% increase in its net profit to ₹254 crore on a robust operating performance.

“We get 67% of our business from captive cargo. We have a very sound captive customer, which is ever growing and growing at full speed,” he said, adding overall the story “looks pretty great”.

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