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Sandvik Asia setting up steel plant in Pune

Our Bureau

New facility may go on stream in 2008

Pune , Nov. 27

Sandvik Asia Ltd, the wholly owned subsidiary of the $ 8-billion Swedish Group Sandvik, is setting up a new high-speed steel plant under the Sandvik Tooling Division in Pune. Talking to presspersons, Mr Hakan Kingstedt, Managing Director and President Sandvik Asia Ltd, and Mr A. Srinivasan, General Manager, Tooling Supply, Sandvik Asia Ltd, said the new facility would utilise an investment of Rs 45 croreand would be located at the current premises of the company.

The plant is expected to go on stream by 2008 calendar year. Mr Hakan said the estimated production in the new plant would be one million units in the first year. Currently the company is manufacturing about 2,50,000 units of Taps. He said this facility would be the first in the Sandvik Asia's Indian operations to have double storeyed production facility and has brought in experts from various fields, including experts to check on the vibration, "as otherwise it would be a disaster".

On same premises

The new facility that is being set up is on the same premises where a 40-year old construction stood, which has been pulled down for the new one. Mr Srinivasan noted that the plant would not only support the Asian market but is also being set up to make India the global hub. Currently, about five facilities across the globe have the manufacturing of Taps and the new facility is being set up to cater to the increasing demand of Taps across the globe.

He noted that "this would in no way mean that we would be stopping production in any facility. The demand for this is huge and we are gearing up forthe market." Mr Srinivasan said the production would cater to 80 per cent exports and 20 per cent for the domestic market, when the plant became operational. The mix could change depending on the market conditions, he said.

Mr Hakan said Sandvik Tooling with invoiced sales exceeding $ 3 billion is the largest of Sandvik's three business areas, the other two being mining and construction and materials technology. It has about 15,000 employees working out of nearly 70 countries and the business areas comprise a number of independent brands. In India, the division produces Taps under Titex brand name.

He noted that new brands would be brought in "which are available in the Sandvik's bouquet, but is not present in India." Mr Hakan commenting on the expansion plans of the company noted that during the calendar year 2006, the company had earmarked an investment of Rs 160 crore. It may be noted that recently the Hyderabad facility wasopened, and the recycling plant in Chiplun began its operations in June.

He noted that the plant was turning out about 100 tonnes of reusable material per year. He added that "we have expansion plans till 2010 in Pune".

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