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Engelhard joint venture begins auto catalyst production in India

17 August 1998

Engelhard Environmental Systems (India) Ltd., a joint venture of US-based Engelhard Corporation and India-based UCAL Fuel Systems Ltd., began production at India's first auto-emission catalyst plant. The production plant is located some 25 miles south of Chennai, India.

The plant initially will focus on manufacturing emission control catalysts for light passenger cars. The facility also will produce emission catalysts for motorcycles, scooters and mopeds. Engelhard Environmental Systems will be capable of meeting the bulk of demand in India, expected to reach more than 400,000 auto catalysts and 1 million motorcycle catalysts annually by the year 2000.

The facility also will make advanced catalysts designed to reduce air emissions from stationary sources, including manufacturing facilities and power-generation plants.

"Demand in India for advanced environmental technologies, particularly auto-emission catalysts, is growing dramatically," said Edmund A. Stanczak, Jr., group vice president and general manager of Engelhard's Environmental Technologies Group. "India is acting quickly to adopt clean-air regulations to manage environmental issues related to its rapid economic growth, including its evolution as one of the world's fastest growing automotive markets."

Stanczak said most major automakers have, or are planning to build, vehicle manufacturing operations in India, fueling demand for catalysts to meet local-content needs and support just-in-time inventory management.

To combat rising pollution levels, India has taken a series of steps to clean its air. Since 1995, catalytic converters have been required on all new passenger vehicles sold in India's four major cities: Mumbai, Calcutta, New Delhi and Chennai. In September, catalytic converters will be required on new vehicles in an additional 25 cities and state capitals. Even more stringent standards, modeled after European air regulations, will be implemented over the next year.

India also has implemented an aggressive campaign to phase out leaded gasoline. In fact, gasoline stations in New Delhi, India's largest city, now sell only lead-free fuels. Unleaded gas, a requirement for effective use of automobile catalytic converters, is now available in 40 cities throughout India. Complete conversion to unleaded fuel is expected by 2002.

Engelhard owns 70% of Engelhard Environmental Systems, with UCAL owning the remaining 30%. The two companies formed the joint venture in 1997 specifically to meet burgeoning demand for environmental technologies in India.

Engelhard Corporation, which commercialized the first catalytic converter in 1976, is the largest developer and manufacturer of auto-emission catalysts, supplying more than a third of the catalysts on the road today. With today's plant opening, Engelhard and its partners now operate automotive catalyst plants in the United States, South Africa, Japan, Korea, India and Germany.

UCAL Fuel Systems is a major manufacturer of carburetors and fuel pumps. It is a publicly traded joint venture between UCAL Group and Mikuni Corporation of Japan.

Source: Engelhard Corporation