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Extracts from Nandini Chemical Journal, May 2004

Vinyl Acetate Monomer|Nanotechnology|Sponge Iron
Highlights of Some of the Articles

TALK OF THE MONTH
NANOTECHNOLOGY-PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES
VINYL ACETATE MONOMER- INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
INDIAN SPONGE IRON UNIT AT CROSS ROADS
PAGE ON HERBAL INDUSTRY
OTHER STORIES
OTHER ARTICLES

TALK OF THE MONTH

CASE AGAINST UNRELATED DIVERSIFICATION

Many people would have been surprised about the recent news that Reliance Industries is planning to enter into herbal sector in a big way. Earlier, this textile and petrochemical oriented organisation has made an entry into Life Science/Biotech sector.

It is not uncommon to find several of the organisations, both big and small, announcing new projects for diversification in totally unrelated areas, which appear to be largely motivated by the press reports and the so called market trends.

In recent times,several organisations in the chemical and pharmaceuticals sector have got into software industry, without much of success. We have also seen textile units getting into real estate business and alcohol producer getting into shipping industry.

One wonders as to whether such diversification in totally unrelated areas, where the project promoters have no particular experience, is appropriate. It appears that many project promoters think that the job is one of merely assembling a few specialists and making the investment and right noise in appropriate forum. The job cannot be as simple as this .

Very well established group like Aditya Birla could not successfully set up the Seawater Magnesia Project near Visakhapatnam, where more than Rs.3000 million went into drain. DSQ Software, a Chennai based organisation acquired starch based unit at Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu and the entire project has virtually collapsed. Even Dr.Reddy's Laboratories have gone into non pharma area where their experience have been bitter. Highly organised consumer product oriented company Hindustan Lever now wants to move away from hybrid seeds business. As a matter of fact, the spokesmen of Hindustan Lever said that they would like to move away from the seed business immediately but are waiting since the buyers could make the necessary payment only in 2005.

Unrelated diversification is not the ideal option available for the industries. In today's context where enormous amount of specialisation and inbuilt strength and deep knowledge are required to become successful, industries should give themselves enough time to learn and understand the issues involved .

As a matter of fact, it is found that most of the organisations going into unrelated diversification often learn at the cost of project.

Several entrepreneurs going into unrelated diversification may even be due to the fact that they lack confidence to expand their operations in the existing areas.

In today's scenario, almost every area of chemical industry offers opportunities for growth by way of product development, process and cost optimisation and technology improvement practices.It may really be unnecessary to jump in unrelated areas and unknown territory

In the international context, most of the products are adequately supplied.There are cases for setting up new projects and creation of additional capacities only based on projected growth in the demand for the products. Substitution possibilities also point to the need for more capacity creation in certain areas.

While there are certainly a number of new project opportunities arising due to changing consumer preferences and living conditions, implementing facility for manufacture and operating the project at optimum standard needs considerable expertise, which cannot acquired in short period of time. Given the fact that most of the projects have to operate in the global context, such requirement of specialisation is becoming all the more important.

Diversification into new areas have to be necessarily very gradual and one should step in with great caution. Amongst multi national companies, one rarely finds this phenomenon of one company jumping into another unrelated area, to the extent that is done in India today.

What is needed is that every organisation has to work out long term strategy and corporate plan, atleast for the period of next 10 to 15 years, which would provide clarity with regard to purpose and direction.

In the case of such organisations capable of long term planning, such unrelated diversification would only like anachronistic concept.

NANOTECHNOLOGY - PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES  

Nanotechnology is simply the science of small things. For example a nanometre is one billionth of a metre, or, put another way, a nanometre is 1/10,000th the thickness of a human hair. Moreover, nanotechnology today has become a unifying science of what were once distinct and separate discipline; it cuts across physics, chemistry, biology and engineering.

Nanotechnology is essential for chip companies if we are to continue the revolution in computer hardware beyond the next decade.

It will also facilitate fabrication of entirely new generation of products that are cleaner, stronger, lighter and more precise. The ability to pack more power, performance, reliability and cost effectiveness into smaller and smaller chips can continue to revolutionise the electronics industry with better and better finished products.

Nanotechnology is the natural progression of technology riding two parallel waves of development - one is the convergence of multiple fundamental disciplines including electronics, chemistry, material science and biochemistry; and the second being the uninterrupted progression of miniaturisation in semiconductor technology, that is currently hovering at the 65 to 90 nanometers nodes for electronic design.

VINYL ACETATE MONOMER - INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY  

In this article, following aspects are discussed :

· Characteristics
· Grades
· Specification
· Product application
· Derivative Product Application Sector
· Manufacturing process
· Technology Developments
· Global scenario
· Indian Scenario
· Import/Export details
· Assessment of Demand

INDIAN SPONGE IRON UNIT AT CROSSROADS  

Sponge iron is looking up especially after steel producers have started charging sponge iron in their blast furnaces to overcome the imported coking coal crisis.

The industry is recording steady growth and it is likely to continue for the next few years. However, it appears that the Indian units may not be able to meet the total market demand.

India, the world's largest sponge iron producer, manufactured 8.08 million tonnes during 2003-04. During 2004-05, it is expected to touch the 10 million tonne mark.

All the big producers like Jindal Steel & Power Ltd., Essar Steel, Vikram Ispat, Ispat Industries, Monnet Ispat and Tata Sponge Iron have charted out major growth plans. However, the recent decision of Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) to charge sponge iron in their blast furnaces might push the demand to such an extent that there can be a scarcity in the domestic market.

To avert the coking coal crisis, the four integrated plants of SAIL are slowly changing their blast furnace mix. They are trying to replace iron ore with sponge iron to reduce the dependency on imported coking coal. Three of the four plants have started building stocks of sponge iron. Rourkela Steel Plant has already placed an order of one lakh tonnes.Bhilai and Bokaro steel plants too are considering similar steps.

Sponge iron producers are yet to work out the total sponge iron demand of SAIL but it should be in the range of 10 lakh tonnes per annum.

The industry is not in a position to meet this huge demand. Perhaps, SAIL should create its own sponge iron units and create the extra capacity to meet this increased demand.

The domestic sponge iron industry is handicapped on the raw material supply front. The Union Government should take immediate corrective steps. There is an acute shortage of iron ore and coal supplies from Coal India.

Raw material transportation is another major problem faced by the sponge iron producers due to the non availability of railway rakes and trucks. Import of iron ore is also ruled out because of high duty and freight charges.

Despite all the problems, Essar Steel increased its sponge iron capacity to 2.4 million tonnes per annum from 1.76 million tonnes per annum.However, everything will be used for its internal consumption.

By the end of 2004-05, Jindal Steel & Power will increase its sponge iron capacity by 6.6 lakh tonnes per annum to 13.1 lakh tonnes per annum.

PAGE ON HERBAL INDUSTRY  

CHIRATA

This plant first came into notice in Britain in 1829 and in 1839 was admitted to the Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia.

Common name: Chirayata, Napalinim, Kirata & Kirataka

Botanical details:

Family: Gentinaceae

Botanical name: Swertia Chirata bush-ham

Botanical trait: The plant is an annual erect herb, stems are robust 0.6 to 1.5 m, branching leaves are opposite, broadly lanceolate, acute, lower leaf often much larger, sometimes petioled.

Calyx and corolla are four-lobed. Corolla is green yellow and is tinged with purple.

Constituents: Two bitter principles, ophelic acid and chiratin,the latter in larger proportion.

Phytoactive: The main chemical constituents of this plant are ophelic acid and chiratin. The plant also contains resins, tannin, gum, carbonates, phosphates and 4 to 6 percent ash (1,3).

A number of workers have shown that the drug contains bitter glycosidal components, chiratin and amarogentin,swerchirin, phytosterol, also a number of acids and phenolic compounds (7-9)

This article also discusses the following aspects :

· Application sector
· Cultivation
· Price
· Regions cultivated in India
· Specification of extract
· Countrywise Import/export details
· Selected Indian players
· Observation

OTHER STORIES

PROSPECTS FOR SOLVENT EXTRACTION UNITS

The 600-and odd Solvent Extractor units spread across the country, that were until five years ago, centres of throbbing activity had gone into a state of forced inactivity because of inadequate availability of raw material and shrinking processing margins.

An increase of over 70 percent in the quantum of oilmeals exported from the country during fiscal 2003-04 has helped put life back into the moribund solvent extraction industry.

SPOTLIGHT ON SPECIALITY CHEMICAL: POLYDIALLYL DIMETHYL AMMONIUM CHLORIDE (DADMAC)

This article discusses the application aspects and process technology as well as global scenario for DADMAC.

OTHER ARTICLES

* Biopiracy Threat
* Over 300 rare species unprotected
* Update on Nano Technology
* Update on e-Chemical Business
* India initiates Most Anti Dumping probes
* Anti dumping page - International/India
* Government Notification Page
* Technology for Houseboat Sewage Disposal
* Raw Cashew Nut Shortage
* Process Flow- Butadiene
* Safety Data - Sodium Hypochlorite
* Pesticide News
* Testing and Certification Issues
* Safety and Accident Page
* News Round Up-International/India
* Technology Development - International/India 
* Agro chemical page- India
* Pharma Page - International/India
* Drug Pricing - Post Trip Scenario
* Price details - International
* Environmental Page - International/India 
* Fuel/Energy Page
* Business opportunities
*Tender
* Directory of Chemical Industries in China-Manufacturers, Trading Houses and Promotional Organisations - Part XVI
*International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code - Part XIX
*Nandini Internet Index
*List of Foreign Investment/Collaboration Proposals Approved by *Government of India During the Month of December 2003
*Chemicals Exported at Chennai Port During the Month of March 2004

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