BSRM ready to produce LRPC strands
Bangladesh Steel Re-Rolling Mills (BSRM) is all set to introduce a new construction material called "Low Relaxation Prestressed Steel Strand (LRPC strand)" in a bid to cater to the Tk 3,000 crore market segment which is currently dominated by imports.
The country's leading steel maker invested a total of around Tk 1,000 crore to establish an LRPC strand manufacturing unit under its new concern BSRM Wires, according to Tapan Sengupta, deputy managing director of the BSRM. The LRPC strands are used in the prestressing of concrete for different kinds of construction work.
For example, the LRPC strands are used in pre-stressed concrete girders for building roads, flyovers, river and railway bridges, prestressed concrete domes, hollow core slabs, steel beams and TT slabs, silos, hangars, aqueducts and viaducts, as well as railway sleepers.
There are currently a number of bridges, flyovers, and tunnels under construction where the LRPC strands are being used.
"On this ground the BSRM undertook the decision to manufacture the LRPC strands to cater to the local demand," he said.
Bangladesh needs around 12,000 tonnes of LRPC strands per year while BSRM Wires has an annual manufacturing capacity of 30,000 tonnes, Sengupta said.
The current market for LRPC strands is around Tk 3,000 crore per annum and will continue to grow for the next 20 years.
He went on to say that the new plant would also make other construction materials, such as electrodes and galvanised products.
"We set up the high capacity factory considering the future demand of LRPC strands along with the rise of physical infrastructure development work," the deputy managing director said.
Sengupta hopes the new unit would go into commercial operation by October 15 as preparations are almost complete.
BSRM Wires will manufacture three import substitutes -- LRPC, ACSR, and razor wire -- alongside carbon dioxide wire, and gabion wire.
The BSRM established the LRPC strand manufacturing plant at Mirsarai in Chattogram as the steel maker looks to capitalise on the impending construction boom in Bangladesh.
The Tk 500 crore project was implemented with 70 per cent bank financing and 30 per cent equity investment.
Dhaka Bank arranged the fund through syndication with six other banks -- Bank Asia, City, NCC, Modhumoti and Mercantile -- and one financial institution, the Saudi-Bangladesh Industrial and Agricultural Investment Company, said Sengupta.
The plant created job opportunities for over 500 people, bringing the total number of people employed by the group to 4,700.
This is the first and only company to manufacture LRPC strands in Bangladesh.
Considering the demand for the products, the group has decided to set up a new factory with some diversified product lines, Sengupta said.
The BSRM logged Tk 92 crore in profit for fiscal year 2019-20, when its turnover was Tk 2,358 crore.
Regarding the project's financing, Emranul Huq, managing director and chief executive officer of Dhaka Bank, said they provided Tk 321 crore through the syndication.
"Basically Dhaka Bank played a leading role to finance the project as it is a potential project in Bangladesh and the business was viable," he added.
Huq went on to say that the loan was provided on a seven-year term, including a one-and-a- a-half year grace period.
"Usually the grace period is of one year but we added six months considering the Covid-19 situation," he said.