According to an estimate by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), India Inc plans fresh capital expenditure of around Rs 5,00,000 crore in 400 projects in the next two financial years. “There will be a saving of up to five per cent from our capital cost and this will help new units to break even faster,” said Ashok Bhandari, chief financial officer, Shree Cement. Reliance, the Birlas and the Tatas, which have a number of projects lined up, will benefit from this move. So will public sector companies.
The estimated saving of around Rs 25,000 crore on project cost is equivalent to 7.3 per cent of the aggregate profits of BSE-500 companies in FY12. The savings will flow directly into their bottom line and improve the financial viability of projects.
Aditya Birla Group flagship Grasim Industries would be another gainer. The company, with subsidiary UltraTech Cement, is investing Rs 16,000 crore in augmenting fibre and cement capacities. Nearly a third of this amount is likely to be spent in the next financial year and the company can claim investment allowance on it. K K Maheshwari, managing director of Grasim Industries, said the move would definitely boost their investment plans. He did not quantify the benefit.
One of the top beneficiaries of this scheme would be Reliance Industries, which intends to invest around Rs 1,00,000 crore in the next five years. RIL is investing $8 billion (Rs 43,784 crore) in expanding its capacity in petrochem and refining and to roll out its telecom business by the year-end.
“The scheme will surely benefit our planned capex at Manesar and Gurgaon,” said Ajay Seth, chief financial officer of Maruti Suzuki, without giving the actual savings. In the last three years, the company had spent on an average Rs 2,000 crore every year on capex.
Though the demons of land acquisition and lack of environmental clearances will still haunt companies, business leaders are enthused and say an interest rate cut to follow will be a big help.