ITC to Make Andhra Agri-biz Hub, Plans Huge In­vest­ments

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Ashish.Kul­shrestha@ times­

Gun­tur: Af­ter years of strong pres­ence in Andhra Pradesh in the ar­eas of to­bacco and pa­per, FMCG gi­ant ITC now plans to make sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment in the state’s Gun­tur re­gion for both agri-busi­ness and hos­pi­tal­ity, in­volv­ing hun­dreds of crores. Chair­man YS Deveshwar said the con­glom­er­ate was look­ing at in­vest­ment for the pro­duc­tion of mil­lets, chill­ies, spices and shrimps, as well as set­ting up of cold chain fa­cil­i­ties and an agri­cul­tural research cen­tre.

The group was also con­sid­er­ing set­ting up a five-star ho­tel, ITC Grand Chola, in Andhra’s up­com­ing cap­i­tal city, Amar­a­vati. Deveshwar was in Gun­tur on Fri­day to lay the foun­da­tion stone for the group’s ‘My Fortune’ ho­tel. Spread over 1.44 acres, the ho­tel project would be com­pleted by 2019.

ITC, which plans to make Gun­tur its hub for agri-busi­ness in­volv­ing crop pro­duc­tion, devel­op­ment research and food safety ar­eas, would also build its of­fice and res­i­den­tial com­plex here. The group will take up research in this com­plex “to see that our agri com­modi­ties are added value to”, he said.

While Deveshwar did not di­vulge de­tails of the in­vest­ments, ITC ex­ec­u­tives at the venue said that would be around .₹ 350 crore on the pro­posed ho­tel at Amar­a­vati and the of­fice and res­i­den­tial com­plex in Gun­tur. The agri-busi­ness research com­plex would have a built up area of half-a-mil­lion square feet, hous­ing at least 500 em­ploy­ees. It is ex­pected to take off by April next year and act as the group’s agri-busi­ness head­quar­ters, said S Si­vaku­mar, ITC group head of agri-busi­ness.

ITC plans to set up large cold chain fa­cil­i­ties to en­ter the pack­aged shrimp busi­ness.

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