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Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003

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Kinfra toying with plan to revive private units

Sankar Radhakrishnan


FOLLOWING the interest generated by the recently-held Global Investors' Meet (GIM), Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra), is examining the possibility of offering its services to assist in the revival of smaller, private sector industrial units in the State.

Speaking to Business Line, Dr G.C. Gopala Pillai, Managing Director, said that the promoters of several private industrial units in the small-scale sector had evinced interest in such a project.

One option being examined is an attempt to facilitate the revival of sick private sector units by putting interested investors in touch with financial institutions and the owners of these units.

"Kinfra's role will be that of a matchmaker, bringing all the parties together."

If this project takes off, it will not only aid the State's industrial growth but enable financial institutions to recover some of the funds they have invested in such troubled units, Dr Pillai said.

The company is also looking at establishing linkages with financial and research institutions in an effort to aid the State's development.

Many scientific organisations in Kerala have developed new technologies and products but are unable to translate them into commercially viable options.

Kinfra is evaluating the possibility of working with such institutions and assisting them in adding a commercial angle to their research.

Examining new avenues in traditional small-scale industries such as coir and cashew processing also figures high on Kinfra's future plans, according to Dr Pillai.

However, its efforts in this area will be limited to the preparation of project reports, which will then be made available to interested entrepreneurs, he added.

In addition, the company is also looking at validating existing industrial project proposals and offering them to interested parties.

According to him, the need of the hour is to capitalise on the enthusiasm generated by the GIM.

"The meet has created some interest in Kerala as a viable industrial destination and a formal system should be put in place to follow up on this feel-good factor."

On its part, the company signed 27 MoUs at the meet, and the preliminary work on all but two of these will commence within three months.

There has been some interest in the industrial development zones showcased at the meet.

The company will now look at conducing one-to-one meetings with potential investors, Dr Pillai said.

Around 30 per cent of the total area in the company's apparel park in Thiruvananthapuram and 70 per cent of the total space in the small industries park in Ernakulam has been filled up in the post-GIM period, he added.

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