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Kohler forays into Indian sanitary segment with $200 mln investment

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 10 (UNI) Kohler Co, world leader in kitchen and bath design, today announced its foray into the Indian sanitary market, with the setting up of its manufacturing unit in Gujarat, at an investment of 200 million dollars.

''We are setting up our first plant in the country near Baroda in Gujarat, and we expect to commence construction work by July end this year, while production will begin in November 2007. This plant will be our 50th production facility in the world.'' Kohler Co Kitchen and Bath Group President David Kohler told reporters here.

On the production capacity, Mr Kohler said,'' We would not like to divulge the details as yet, but would only say that this plant will be the largest in Asia.'' Among the 45 plants the company has worldwide, the units in Mandarin (Mexico) and Bangkok (Thailand) are the largest.

To a poser as to why Gujarat was chosen for the initiative, Mr Kohler said,'' its availability of skilled labour, friendly business environment, support from the state government, good logistic connections and overall cost efficiency, were the prime reasons.'' The new plant will serve as an export hub catering to the European and North American market, and is likely to hire about 3,500 employees.

The company's India business is headquartered in Gurgaon, Haryana.

The company at present has its Research and Development units in Wisconsin in US and in Paris and does not intend to have a seperate R&D plant in India.

''We are not looking at setting up R&D units in India at present,'' Kohler India Operations Vice-President&Commercial Director Sharad Mathur said.

Having around 5 showrooms in India at present, Kohler plans to open 70 showrooms in the country by the year-end.

The company which expects a sales turnover of 5 billion dollars by the end of 2006, launched the 'Odeon' toilet-- specially designed for the Indian market, besides showers with a pressure balance system to save water.

The price of the products ranges from Rs 1,600 to Rs 5,86,000.


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