Germany's Carl Zeiss ink JV with India's GKB Hi-Tech in Goa

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Panaji, Feb 28 (UNI) Global leader in manufacture of ''prescription'' lenses with 34 billion USD turnover, Carl Zeiss Vision International of Germany has inked a pact with its joint venture partner GKB Hi-Tech of Goa, enhancing its equity stake to 50 per cent in a bid to boost its manufacturing facilities in India.

With this, the Goan base, considered the ''Mecca of world class opthalmic lenses in India'' is poised to increase its turnover three times by the year 2012 to Rs 450 crore as against its current Rs 150 crore.

Its turnover was mere Rs 50 crore just before the joint venture materialised initially on January 10, 2005 with 26 per cent equity participation of the Carl Zeiss.

Disclosing this to media persons here last evening, CEO of the Carl Zeiss Vision Dr Norbert Gorny representing 40 countries and Mr Mahendra K Gupta, CMD of his Indian counterpart, said Chief Minister Digambar Kamat had inaugurated the latter's expanded manufacturing facility, yesterday.

The expanded facility was expected to open new marketing opportunities for cost effective but world class prescription lenses in neighbouring countries of the sub-continent, they said.

Dr Gorny said his company had no specific plans of expansion of its operations in Asia, but desires to adapt to local needs, particularly of China, India and South East Asia.

The GKB, with 120,000 lenses manufacturing facility per day is poised to raise its market to share to 45 per cent soon as against 25 per cent before the beginning of the joint venture.

It had more than 20 manufacturing units and 30 sales points in India with a distribution network in 800 cities and towns, supplying lenses to more than 10,000 opticians meeting 200,000 orders every month, Mr Gupta said.

It will expand its existing 140 retail optical showrooms to 200 within two years, he added.

Meanwhile, Executive vice-president of Cal Zeiss Vision for Asia Pacific V Srinivasan said, the company desired to engage in boosting its medical equippment and education sectors in India through partnerships with institutes like the famous L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad.

Incidentally, Carl Zeiss is a global leader in semi-conductor industry in manufacturing optical chips for computers in collaboration with a Dutch company.

It offers products and services for biomedical research and medical technology as well as system solutions for the semiconductor, automotive and mechanical enginering industries.

Planetarium and high-quality consumer goods such as camera lenses or binoculars carry the Zeiss brand name to millions of users around the world.

Over 40 million Sony and Nokia products carry Zeiss' lenses in their cameras every year, besides Star Theatres providing heavenly experience to 80 million visitors every year to planetaria were fitted with projectors from Zeiss, he added.

UNI/BM/DB SM1315

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