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InoxGFL bets big on battery chemicals in $1 bn investment


NEW DELHI : The InoxGFL Group plans to invest nearly $1 billion across segments, including battery chemicals, green hydrogen and wind energy services, over the next three to four years, a big chunk of which will go into India’s largest battery chemicals factory it plans to build in Gujarat..

In an interview, Devansh Jain, executive director, InoxGFL said the factory investment is in the initial phase of discussions. The business is housed under GFCL EV Products Ltd, a subsidiary.

“That’s a business that we are very, very bullish on. I think, that’s somewhere where we would probably be investing a large part of the nearly billion dollars planned over the next three to four years. That business is going to see exponential growth as we move forward as a group. And as a company, as a group, we will be elucidating our plans on that may be a month down the line,” he said, adding the company has a “large vision” for the battery chemicals business.

InoxGFL will enter battery manufacturing but focus on chemicals, its core competency. “Why are we in battery chemicals? Because a lot of that is backed by fluorine, that’s the group DNA. It’s a very unique position. We’re probably years ahead of anybody else. Batteries are not a core competence. We don’t want to get into battery. There are enough battery players will be supplying to, all the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and the battery manufacturers.”

InoxGFL has three chemical manufacturing facilities in India and owns a fluorspar mine in Morocco, along with offices and warehouses in Europe and the US.

Jain said given India’s recent lithium discovery, the company will also consider bidding for mines holding the key mineral used in batteries.

The focus on battery chemicals and lithium comes at a time India has ventured into its ambitious energy transition with a view to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070.

In its September-quarter investor presentation, group company Gujarat Fluorochemicals Ltd (GFL) had mentioned plans for entry into new-age businesses, including chemicals and fluoropolymers for EV batteries, solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells.

Jain said Inox Wind, the group company focussed on wind energy solutions, is set to grow, given the massive demand for renewable power. The company plans to set up a commercial and industrial vertical to primarily cater to the group’s captive power demand, he added.

“We have our own C&I platform coming up because the group needs almost 500-600MW of power. We are setting up our own platform. We have every lot of private equity players who want to partner us on that venture. So we are fine-tuning that,” he said.

He said the C&I platform would sell to third parties also, but for the first two-three years, it would completely cater to captive requirements. “We are in discussions with multiple private equity players,” he said.

On the policy focus on offshore wind segment, he said the emphasis shows that it is a futuristic and forward-looking move. Jain, however, added power from offshore wind would be comparatively expensive and it would be tough to find buyers. He was of the view that there is immense opportunity in the onshore wind segment with its completely potential still unexplored.

Recently, Inox Wind raised 800 crore through equity, which would go towards reducing its debt. Jain said the company is likely to become debt-free by the end of this fiscal year.

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Updated: 15 Nov 2023, 12:46 AM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.