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Updated: July 28, 2012 21:54 IST

Ashok Leyland set to expand

Suresh Krishnamoorthy
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Antony Lobo. Photo: G. Ramakrishna
The Hindu Antony Lobo. Photo: G. Ramakrishna

Ashok Leyland is closing in on deals with prospective partners for expanding its footprint in global markets.

The company is set to enter into joint ventures in Chile, Indonesia and Nigeria for exporting its products as completely knocked down (CKD) kits. Ashok Leyland Special Director (International Operations) Antony Lobo told The Hindu that the company targeted to export 15,000 units valued at about Rs.1,750 crore during the current fiscal. These comprised buses, double-deckers, trucks and special vehicles such as compactors to handle garbage.

He said the company, part of the Hinduja Group, would export the CKDs. The foreign partners, in turn, would assemble them at their locations and market the finished versions. The majority holding in the joint ventures would be with Ashok Leyland.

Asked about Ashok Leyland’s growth, he said it had achieved 24 per cent growth in 2011-12 over the previous year. It registered a phenomenal 72 per cent growth in new markets such as Africa, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and Latin America, a major chunk of geographies that were unaffected by the global downturn.

Elaborating on its forays into virgin markets, he said the company was in the process of firming up a tie-up with Indonesia-based airline operator Lion Air, for an assembly unit. “Indonesia is a growing market and we see a huge potential,” he said.

In Chile, it would partner a local dealer there, keeping 98 per cent share, while in Nigeria, it would engage itself with two local companies as partners — one for importing the CKDs and the other for setting up the assembly unit. “We are eyeing Egypt too, but considering the political situation there, we wish to wait until things stabilise,” he said.

All these steps, Mr. Lobo said, were part of the company’s global positioning strategy with which it wished to leave a firm signature. “Currently, Ashok Leyland is No. 5 globally in the bus segment and in the top 10 as far as trucks are concerned,” he said.

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