Minister for Major Industries lays stone for the plant

The Mithra Kyokuto Special Purpose Vehicle Company Private Limited, a join venture formed by Japanese company Kyokuto Kaihatsu Kogyo Company Limited with AP-based Mithra group, aims to manufacture tipper trucks and transit mixers at its new body building unit at Veerapaneni Gudem near here from next June-July. Kyokuto Kaihatsu Kogyo Company, a 55-year-old firm, specialises in manufacturing of special purpose vehicles like dump trucks, mixer trucks, garbage trucks and the like, while Mithra group has been dealing in distribution of passenger cars, commercial vehicles and construction machinery.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding in February to set up the plant on a 15-acre site provided by the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) near Vijayawada with an initial investment of Rs.35 crore. The Japanese firm has a stake of 59 per cent in the plant and the remaining is held by the Mithra group.

Minister for Major Industries Kanna Lakshminarayana laid the foundation stone for the plant on Sunday. Expressing happiness over the JV formed between a Japanese firm and an Indian company.

Mr. Lakshminarayana said Andhra Pradesh had a lot of potential for the setting up of projects in automobile sector. Yet, very few such projects were coming up.

He promised to extend the required support to the project from the government and hoped that the JV would eventually enter into bus building as well.

Mithra Group chairman Maganti Subrahmanyam, who will also be president of the JV, said it was fulfilment of their long-cherished dream to enter manufacturing of special purpose vehicles.

M.V. Srinivas, president and CEO, Mithra group, told newspersons that trial production would begin in June-July and the aim was to sell and offer after-sales service for the vehicles in all states in the country.

The Japanese firm would provide support in equipment selection, technical know-how and production. About 2,500 tipper trucks and 400 transit mixers per annum would be rolled out from the plant in the first phase. Based on the success, plans would be drafted for expansion in the second stage, he said.

Stiff competition

In reply to a question, he admitted that competition was stiff in the two categories of vehicles because there were already a few companies in India, but expressed confidence that latest technology coupled with competitive pricing would make the ultimate difference.

Takaaki Fudetani, president and CEO, Kyokuto Kaihatsu Kogyo Company Limited, said his company was delighted to extend technical support to an Indian firm in developing infrastructure facilities. Japanese firms always enjoyed an advantage over Indian companies in technology. If an Indian technology lasts for just three years, similar Japanese technology would last for six years. It was this advantage that his company would be bringing to India through the JV.

C. Nageswara Rao, director-general, Pinnamaneni Siddhartha Institute of Medical Sciences, presided the foundation-laying function, which was attended by MLA Malladi Vishnu and others.

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