There are any number of public sector undertakings (PSUs) in Kerala which remain defunct or simply limp along under the ‘weight’ of accumulated losses they endured over the years. But some of them have managed to resurrect to the surprise of many naysayers and go on to win laurels and disprove the stigma attached to the ‘clumsy PSUs’. The story of Travancore-Cochin Chemicals Ltd. (TCC) at Eloor in Kochi is one such glittering example.
After 23 years of losses and nearing liquidation, Travancore-Cochin Chemicals sprung back to life registering a turnaround profit of Rs. 36 crore
The State PSU was set up in 1951 for producing 25 TPD (Tonnes per Day) of Caustic Soda. However, despite undergoing many expansions over the years, it failed to register profits, causing its net worth to erode almost completely. Many of the old plants were dismantled by 1988. Fast forward to 2017-18. Now the company has managed to achieve a stupendous turnaround. “The story of TCC in the last two years is of a remarkable turnaround from the verge of liquidation to a company posting highest-ever production, highest-ever turnover and highest-ever profit of Rs. 36 crore in 2017-18,” said K Harikumar, MD, TCC.
In 2016, the loss-making PSU was referred to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR). In the last financial year, the company registered an annual turnover of Rs. 241 crore. The company went one step further by paying a dividend of Rs. 84.55 lakh to the Government, thereby entering into the league of a handful of PSUs which are able to do so. E P Jayarajan, State Minister for Industries, laid the foundation stone for a Rs. 60-crore worth expansion project which includes three new plants, on January 17. One new plant under the project will help increase the existing production capacity of 175 tonnes per day (TPD) of Caustic Soda to 250 TPD. The other two additions under the project are a new 100-TPD Caustic Concentration Plant and a 60-TPD HCL Synthesis unit. The new Caustic Soda plant, according to officials of TCC, is expected to increase the turnover by Rs. 100 crore and substantially improve the profitability. All the three plants are part of the first-stage expansion of the company.
According to TCC, the expansion is part of an initiative to increase the firm’s output from 250 metric tonnes to 350 MT in the second phase by 2021, thus paving the way for the increase in annual turnover to Rs. 450 crore from Rs. 250 crore. At present, the company has drawn up plans to maintain sustainable growth. They key goals will be to increase production capacity, improve marketability and reduce cost by focusing on an environment-friendly production process.