As part of plans to part finance its growth plans in the region, BOC India is set to launch an external commercial borrowing (ECB) programme after receiving the shareholders approval at the 71st annual general meeting of the company last month.

The company is putting the final touches to the ECB programme and it is thought that the cheaper ECB funds will be used to refinance some of the existing debts on BOC's book, though no specific details have been released as yet.

E. R. Raj Narayanan, BOC India managing director, simply said, $quot;We will able to give out the details in a few weeks.$quot;

Following the acquisition of the company's parent firm BOC Gases by Germany's The Linde Group, India has been identified as a growth driver in the coming years and investment will be stepped up in the region.

According to company director S.M. Datta, BOC is planning to set-up an industrial gas plant in north India, although Narayanan was cautious in his confirmation of such plans as he said, $quot;We do not have a presence in that market. We are looking at an air separation unit for merchant sale of gas.$quot;

BOC India has recorded a slightly lower turnover in the first quarter of 2007-8 compared to the same period last year, although the first quarter profit of the previous year included an extraordinary income on account of sale of property. .