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DuPont to invest $100 mn in Hyderabad to step up R & D

DELAWARE: US-based chemicals giant DuPont plans to invest up to $100 million (approximately Rs 452 crore) over the next three years to expand its research and development (R&D) unit in Hyderabad , a top official said.

“India is among our top 10 revenue contributors. The plan is to make it among the top five. That’s the reason why we are investing more in DKC (DuPont Knowledge Center, Hyderabad),” said Mark P Vergnano, executive vice-president, at a global press meet recently.

DuPont, which was founded in 1802 as a gunpowder mill and later transformed itself into a chemical maker, producing iconic brands such as Nylon, Teflon and Kevlar, set up DKC — its biggest R&D unit outside the US — in 2008 for around Rs 150 crore.

DuPont is targeting a revenue of $1 billion from its Indian business by 2012, compared with $500 million in 2009, said Balvinder Singh Kalsi, who is in charge of the company’s Indian operations. The company’s global sales was $26 billion in 2009. However, DuPont has no plans to list on Indian bourses, Mr Kalsi said.

The proposed investment in India is part of DuPont’s global growth plans, termed as ‘megatrends’ within the company, that include tapping growth in emerging markets, increasing food productivity and decreasing dependence on fossil fuels and security solutions business. DuPont is focusing more on emerging economies as developed countries struggle to emerge from the recession.

A portion of DuPont’s investment in India will be utilised to develop a newer technology for protective equipment, including helmets and vests for armed forces. The company is developing a testing lab in DKC for this purpose and is in talks with the Indian government for clearances, DuPont officials said. The company will also use the funds to improve technology for its products for tyre, road construction and packaging solutions industries in India.

“We are looking at coming out with newer products to improve efficiency in agriculture, clean technologies and our other focus areas. We have filed about six patents in all these areas,” said Homi Bhedwar, director, DKC. Further, Pioneer Hi-Bred , a DuPont subsidiary, plans to set up a seed processing plant in India in 2011, said Paul Schickler, president, Pioneer. But, Mr Schickler declined to reveal how much does the company plan to invest for this unit and where would it set up the unit. Source: ET 4/10/10