HMT Machine Tools Limited at Kalamasserry is in talks with Naval Physical Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), Thrikkakkara, to supply components.

The deal, understood to be in the pipeline, would be worth crores of rupees and could help improve the turnover of the machine tools unit, which is planning a large-scale expansion.

Though there was no official confirmation, it is learnt that both the public sector units are moving towards a joint venture project. While the deal would boost the prospects of Kalamasserry unit of HMT Machine Tools Limited, it would help the Kochi- based Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) unit to have some of the important orders executed locally.

The deal is being nurtured at a time when functional autonomy is sought for the Kalamasserry unit of HMT machine tools division. The unit has made profits in recent years compared to the four other units of the company, which are in the red. In addition to Kalamasserry, HMT has manufacturing units at Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ajmer and Pinjore.

The city-based unit made a net profit of Rs.2.26 crore in 2012-13, a leap from Rs. 46 lakh profit in the previous fiscal. The Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE) had recommended a working capital of Rs.75 crore for the unit for 2013-14.

HMT unit has more than 300 acres of land at Kalamasserry, which could be used for the expansion project. Tie-up with NPOL will be an important step in its march towards progress. The machine tools unit is also keen on partnering with Kochi Metro Rail Limited.

Some of the achievements of NPOL include Modular Data Bus (MDB), underwater telephone (UWT), and sonobuoy.

MDB is used in the communication of naval ships, UWT is employed for communication between submarines, and sonobuoy is a sonar device supported by parachute for smooth landing in sea surface. These and a host of other gadgets need several key components, which are outsourced.

NPOL has an offsite setup of underwater acoustic research facility at Idukki lake, It also owns INS Sagardhwani, an oceanographic research vessel. HMT Machine Tools Limited is stepping in to satisfy certain requirements of NPOL.

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