BOC India Ltd, a subsidiary of the Linde Group, has reaffirmed its plans to further expand and invest in the Asian market.

According to a report by the India Times, BOC India harbours no plans to delist its shares from the stock exchange and would be injecting around Rs 10bn over the next three years to fund its expansion efforts.

Those are reportedly the sentiments of senior company officials, speaking on the sidelines in India.

Addressing shareholders at the company’s 73rd Annual General meeting, Chairman Susim Mukul Datta noted that following the preferential allotment of 36.2 million equity shares to the BOC Group in January last year and another 13.209402 million shares acquired by the group in June 2008, its shareholding in the company has increased to 89.48%.

However, Datta also made clear that there are no plans to buy back shares at present and now finding itself in a debt-free position, the company aims to kick on and build a reasonable debt-equity ratio for future capital expenses.

Expansion drive
Furthermore, the company plans to proceed with its investment objectives of Rs 10bn over the coming years.

Managing Director Srikumar Menon told local media that the company planned a total investment of Rs 10bn over the next three years to fund its expansion drive.

Between Rs 4.5bn to Rs 5bn will be spent in setting-up a new air separation plant that will supply oxygen, nitrogen and argon to the Rourkela Steel Plant of the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), apart from other clients in the region.

Menon added, $quot;Bulk of the remaining money will be spent in constructing another plant.” However he refused to disclose the location or the customer's name.

Menon said the company's under-construction Rs 1.5bn merchant air separation plant in Uttarakhand's Selaqui, with a total capacity of 250 tonnes per day (tpd), will be commissioned a year from now. BOC hopes to generate Rs 1bn revenue from the unit.

The company is also apparently likely to end 2009-10 with a higher growth figure than the 15% it achieved in 2008-09. Datta indicated that the commissioning of the 1,800 tpd air separation unit at Karnataka's Bellary has been delayed, as its customer JSW Steel Works' blast furnace was not ready in time.

The company is also setting up infrastructure for manufacturing, storing and pipeline distribution of high value electronic gases in a Special Economic Zone in Andhra Pradesh, to customers such as Mosar Baer in the solar photovoltaic business.