Ratnagiri, India

This project is a major PVC resin production facility in the town of Ratnagiri in the state of Mahrashtra in India. It is owned by an Indian company called Finolex Industries Limited (FIL).

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the main revenue earner for FIL with around 70% of Finolex's sales revenues derived from PVC, while PVC pipes and fittings account for 28% of the revenues. Finolex PVC is used in applications in a variety of areas such as pipes, films, cables, sheets, and bottles. Most of the company's markets are within India. Domestic consumption of PVC is predominantly in the agricultural sector (in pipes), and peak season for PVC is from shortly after Divali until monsoon season. This is roughly from the late in the last quarter of the year until into the second quarter.


The first phase of the Ratnagiri project was commissioned in 1994, and was India's first petrochemical complex to have its own open-sea cryogenic jetty. Finolex is unable to use the cryogenic jetty throughout the year. It is off limits from mid-May to about mid-September as a result of the monsoons. An all-weather jetty will allow Finolex to reduce its inventory carrying costs, since it now has to store ethylene and ethylene dichloride (EDC), (which is an important raw material) for the four-month period that no ships can berth.


The 130,000t/yr petrochemical plant was set up with technical collaboration with UHDE using a process technology license from Hoechst of Germany. The company manufactures PVC using ethylene dichloride (EDC) as the starting material. EDC is converted into Vinyl Chloro Monomer (VCM) using oxy-chlorination process, which is then polymerised into PVC.


In 1997, FIL announced a two-phase expansion of PVC capacity at the Ratnagiri plant. In 1997, capacity was initially raised by 20,000t/yr to 130,000t/yr, and although there are plans afoot to expand to a further 200,000t/yr, these are currently on hold. Finolex raised some $30 million through external commercial borrowings (ECBs) to finance the expansion planned for Phase 2 and 3 of the Ratnagiri project. Expansion for Phase 2 and 3 cost $70 million, of which $22 million was spent on the construction of the new power unit. The capacity expansion had been necessitated through the growth in the domestic PVC market, at 14% annually. For FIL, plant expansion made the most sense economically, as a greenfield plant would have been prohibitively expensive.


In mid-2000, Finolex Industries announced its intention to increase PVC pipe production at its Ratnagiri facility to 40,000 from 30,000t/yr. The first expansion of PVC pipe production cost $3 million. A further expansion from 40,000t/yr to 60,000t/yr will cost around $4 million, and should be complete by the end of 2002.


Finolex is India's third largest manufacturer of PVC resin, accounting for 17% of the domestic PVC capacity. The company is integrated in the manufacture of pipes and fittings. The captive consumption of PVC makes up about 30% of production. FIL is the largest player in the PVC pipes and fittings industry. Established in 1956, Finolex has long been important in industrial development in India. A diverse group, Finolex has interests in many areas including: education, energy, irrigation, power, petrochemical and telecommunications.