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Birla Delays Mexican Plant

According to the Times of India, Birla Group has confirmed that it is delaying the construction of its planned carbon black plant to be built in Altamira, Mexico. The article states that Birla has purchased the land and obtained the necessary environmental approvals, but is focusing on other expansion projects, including a greenfield expansion in western India. The group had floated a company called Birla Carbon Mexico to implement the Mexico project. As per the plan, the facility was to initially produce 60,000 tonnes/year, expandable to 200,000 tonnes/year.

Said Rakesh Jain, head of carbon black business, AV Birla group: “Because of a slowdown in the US economy, we have deferred the Mexico project start-up for a short period. We will assess the situation in the next six months.”

The Times article states that the Altamira plant was originally to be commissioned at end of 2007, but I believe this is incorrect. When I first heard of the project in late 2007, startup was scheduled for late 2008 at the earliest, and it quickly became apparent that it would be later than that. In January 2008, this blog reported that the plant was delayed due to higher-than-anticipated start-up costs and a focus on other projects. In April, The Economic Times of India reported that Birla was close to signing an agreement on the land for the project.

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