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Govt sets the ball rolling on Hindustan Photo Films' revival

BS Reporter  |  Chennai 

The Union ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises has said that the Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE) had recommended implementation of the 1997 pay scale for the employees of Hindustan Photo Films Mfg Co Limited (HPF), as a part of the revival proposal of the company. The ministry also said that diversification for the company has been planned over the next two years after the revival package.

HPF was established in 1960 with the objective of ensuring regular supply of raw cine films to the motion picture industry, x-ray films for health services and defence forces and special photographic materials for photographers. The company has two manufacturing plants — the main factory at Ootacamund, Nilgiris, and a plant at Ambattur near Chennai in Tamil Nadu. HPF started production in 1967.

The company has set up a project for manufacture of polyester-based medical x-ray, industrial x-ray and graphic arts films in technical collaboration with Dupont of the US. The company had turned sick and is currently under reference to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR).

According to the company’s auditors report for 2009-10, which is the latest available, the balance sheet of the company and the foot note to the schedule, the secured A-Series bonds and secured loans amount to Rs 5,561.29 crore (including interest).

“Of this total amount, only Rs 544.34 crore has been secured by fixed and current assets. The classification of the balance of Rs 5,016.95 crore as secured in our opinion is not correct,” it said in the auditors report. The accumulated losses as on March 31, 2010, stood at Rs 7,056.39 crore as against the net-owned shareholders’ funds of Rs 2,27.98 crore, the report. In a reply at the Lok Sabha on Thursday, minister for heavy industries and public enterprises Praful Patel said that net loss of the company in 2011-12 (till February 2012) was Rs 1,209.77 crore as compared to Rs 1,156.65 crore (in 2010-11), Rs 1,009.21 crore (2009-10) and Rs 890.26 crore (in 2008-09).

The minister said that the BRPSE had recommended implementation of the 1997 pay scale for the employees of HPF as a part of the revival proposal of the company.

“There is a proposal for diversification and modernisation as a part of the revival proposal,” he added.

The revival proposal of HPF involves diversification into IV fluids, colour paper, digital films and non-silver films by using the existing infrastructure with modifications and installation of minimum additional facilities.

The minister said that Rs 9 crore had been proposed for R&D trials to achieve product improvement and new product development.

The diversification will be implemented within two years after the revival package of HPF is approved by the government, he said.

First Published: Wed, March 28 2012. 00:15 IST