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ABB to invest $100 m in India

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Mr Fred Kindle, ABB, CEO-designate (right), and Mr Ravi Uppal, Vice-Chairman and MD and Country Manager of ABB India, at a press conference in Bangalore on Monday. — G.R.N. Somashekar

Bangalore , Nov. 22

THE Swiss-Swedish engineering company ABB is investing $100 million over a period of three years for capacity and range expansion in India.

The ABB Global's Chief Executive Officer-designate, Mr Fred Kindle, told newspersons that the investment also includes setting up of a global engineering centre in Bangalore and expansion of its corporate research centre. The investment will be from 2004 to 2006.

"ABB considers India as a high priority country and is committed to expand its activities here," Mr Kindle said. He said India was one of the fastest growing markets for ABB and hence it wants to expand its manufacturing capacity to take advantage of the potential. Mr Kindle is visiting India for the first time since he was nominated as the CEO-designate of the global engineering giant. He will assume office on January 1, 2005.

Mr Kindle said the engineering centre would initially target a phased build-up to around 500 man-years of engineering and systems support to other ABB group operations. The research centre's strength will be expanded to around 500 over the next two years. It currently employs 100 domain experts, Mr Kindle said.

On the issue of shifting of jobs to India, Mr Kindle said that the company views it as an issue of cost migration which has become a necessity for ABB. "There will be increasing cost migration from the West to countries such as India," he said.

Mr Kindle said ABB Global could look at acquisitions again after 18 months.

He said there was high pent-up demands in the US and Europe which needs to be addressed as soon as possible apart from the fact that these places haven't seen investments for a long time.

The ABB India's Vice-Chairman, Managing Director and Country Manager, Mr Ravi Uppal, said the investment would be equally distributed towards projects, products and services. "All these are poised for equal growth," Mr Uppal said.

Some of the expansion will happen in the setting up of new manufacturing lines for high tension machines, distribution transformers and traction transformers at Vadodara, electronic AC drives, control products and several low-voltage products at Bangalore as well as packaged substations and ring main units (RMU) at Nashik. Planned capacity expansion include power transformers, low-voltage motors, medium-voltage indoor circuit breakers and magnetic actuators.

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