By Nayan Dave
Ahmedabad-based conglomerate Chiripal Group, which has businesses in textile, petrochemicals, education, NBFC and infrastructure sectors, plans to diversify into the solar power equipment space with an estimated investment of Rs 6,000 crore in a project in Jaipur.
“A new company, Chiripal Renewable Energy, is being formed for the project. Chiripal Group has purchased 26 acres of land at Dudu, situated on Jaipur-Delhi national highway. We will make solar panels, cells and glass at the facility,” said Vinay Thadani, chief executive officer of Vishal Fabrics, a flagship company of the group.
The solar equipment project will be fully commissioned in the next four years in four phases, said Thadani, who is also director of the new company. The first phase will be commissioned by the end of June 2023. The group will also apply for benefits under the product linked incentive scheme, he said.
The solar equipment plant will have the capacity to produce 4 gigawatt (GW) solar panels, three GW solar cells and 300 metric tonne (MT) solar glass, Thadani said.
The group is also augmenting its denim production facility from 230 million metres per annum (MMPA) to 240 MMPA by the end of the current calendar year. “We are adding an additional production line at a cost of Rs 30 crore at Vishal Fabrics’ Dholka facility near Ahmedabad, which would increase the company’s annual production capacity from 90 MMPA to 100 MMPA,” said Ravindra Bajaj, director, Vishal Fabrics.
Two other group companies, Nandan Denim and Nova Textiles, have denim manufacturing capacity of 110 MMPA and 30 MMPA, respectively, near Ahmedabad.
Despite the pandemic and higher cotton prices, Vishal Fabrics’ exports increased to 20% of total sales of Rs 1,550 crore in 2021-22 from around 9% in the previous year, Thadani said.
“During FY22, we exported to 15 countries, which include South Asian countries, the MENA (Middle East and North African) region and European nations. Vishal Fabrics could successfully pass on the hike in raw material costs to finished products amid overall global demand,” he said.
The company expects to export to the US and Latin American markets in the current fiscal.
Geopolitical changes post-Covid are helping it augment denim exports as buyers in Europe and the US are increasingly adopting a “China plus one (more country) policy” for imports and looking at India as a suitable alternative, Thadani said.
Founded by Ved Prakash Chiripal in 1972 with 12 power looms, the Chiripal Group now generates over Rs 7,000 crore from the textile business alone. Its petrochemicals business contributes the rest of the turnover of roughly Rs 11,000 crore, as of March 2022.