GP Tables Lube Plant Construction

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GP Global disclosed recently that it has tabled plans to build a lubricant blending plant in Saronda, India, because of economic uncertainties stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a June 10 filing with India’s National Stock Exchange, GP indicated the project does not have a revised timeline and that it will move ahead with the project when conditions are more conducive.

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Sharjah, United Arab Emirates-based GP first announced the project in February of 2020, saying the plant would have capacity to make 290,000 metric tons of lubricants per year and that it would have a price tag of Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion or U.S. $14 million). The plant was a key part of the company’s strategy to expand its lubricant sales to 450,000 t/y.

Saronda is a village in the Valsad district of Gujarat state in Western India.

But those plans were developed before the pandemic, which has disrupted many businesses. In July of last year GP Global announced that it was experiencing a cash crunch due to the economic contraction resulting from the pandemic. The situation was serious enough that the company said it was seeking an investor to provide a capital infusion.

GP has one existing blending plant – an 80,000 t/y facility in Mumbai. It markets a wide range of automotive and industrial lubes under the Ipol brand.

India has been one of the nations hardest hit by the pandemic. It has recorded nearly 31 million cases – second only to the United States – and more than 400,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19. The latter number is behind only the U.S. and Brazil.

The country suffered a large spike in infections in May, but daily rates of new infections have declined sharply. It has given the third-highest number of vaccine doses, but because its population is so large, three-quarters of its population has yet to receive a vaccine.