Apollo Tyres to set up plant in Hungary; will invest 200 mln euro

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Gurgaon, Jan 16 (UNI) Apollo Tyres Ltd today said it will set up a manufacturing facility in Hungary, with an initial investment of 200 million euro.

''We will infuse 200 million euro for setting up a manufacturing plant in Hungary which is expected to start production by June 2009, subject to Board approval and regulatory clearances,'' company Chairman and Managing Director Onkar S Kanwar told reporters on the sidelines of the Partnership Summit 2008 here.

The plant, that will commence production by mid 2009, will be a dedicated passenger car radial tyre unit with a seven million tyres a year capacity in the first phase, he said.

The firm is targeting a total revenue of about 300 million euro from this plant in by 2010, he added.

The company will enter into a formal agreement with the Hungarian authorities for acquisition of 50 hectares of land in Gyongyos, the CMD said.

''So far, this is the largest investment made by any Indian company in Hungary. This manufacturing facility in Gyongyos, Hungary, will become our hub to service our passenger car radial customers in Europe and North America,'' Mr Onkar said.

At the summit, Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany met Mr Kanwar and invited him for setting up a manufacturing plant.

He said the likely site of the project is in Gyongyos outside Budapest city, Hungary, adding that both parties agreed to make an all-out attempt to ensure a ground breaking ceremony at the new site early this coming financial year.

The company's Board of Directors yesterday approved Rs 250 crore for the construction of a world class greenfield radial facility with an annual capacity of 3.5 million units in the recently acquired 135 acres of land in Chennai, Mr Kanwar said.

He added that the first phase of the project will be completed in the next 12-15 months.

This projected investment in Europe compliments Apollo Tyres' planned investment in India.

''We are currently in a growth mode and the investments are part of our ongoing product and capacity expansion plans for our India operations. The domestic market is a crucial market for us and we will continue to ensure both market and customer demands are fulfilled at the earliest possible,'' Mr Kanwar said.

The company's quarterly net profit rose 77 per cent and expects a 15 per cent revenue growth for the January-March quarter and for 2008-09.

For the quarter ended December 31, the tyre maker posted a net profit of Rs 62.17 crore, up from Rs 35.07 crore a year ago.

In its plant in Gujarat, Apollo will spend over Rs 100 crore to set up an off-the-road tyre plant with a capacity of 10 tonnes a day. Another Rs 39 crore has been marked to double its wind energy capacity there to 16 MW.

Apollo, which in 2006 bought Dunlop South Africa for Rs 290 crore, has eight plants, four of which are in India and two each in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

UNI SR SBA KP1820

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