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Philips to sell lamp unit to Videocon group co

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Mr S.M. Datta, Chairman, Philips India Ltd, listening to shareholders during the company's AGM in Kolkata on Friday. — Parth Sanyal

Kolkata , April 23

PHILIPS India Ltd has decided to sell its lamp manufacturing facility located at Taratolla in Kolkata to Kitchen Appliances India Ltd, a Videocon group company, for a consideration of Rs 1 crore.

Speaking to newspersons after the company's 74th annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday, Mr K. Ramachandran, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Philips India, said that only the factory was being sold on an `as is where is' basis. He added that the lamp-making equipment at the factory was not being sold.

According to Mr Ramachandran, the West and the North were major markets for lamps and the "economics of operations" in Kolkata made continuance of production at the Taratolla factory unviable.

The company has also decided to hive off its hi-tech plastics manufacturing facility located at Loni-Kalhbor near Pune.

An enabling resolution to this effect was passed by shareholders at today's AGM.

Mr Ramachandran said that the move was in tune with Philips's global plans to stay away from the hi-tech plastics business.

According to him, a decision has been taken to set up a "global shared service centre" in Chennai that would be engaged in financial accounting transactions. Such a centre already exists in Kolkata, taking care of the financial accounting transactions of Philips's Indian operations.

Philips India has achieved 16 per cent topline growth and 40 per cent bottomline growth in the first three months of 2004 compared with the corresponding period of 2003, Mr Ramachandran said. He hoped that the growth would be sustainable during the remaining three quarters of the year.

Earlier, in his address to shareholders, the Chairman of Philips India, Mr S.M. Datta, said that the company was concentrating on lighting, consumer electronics and domestic appliances.

The focus was on ensuring high returns on capital employed, he said, and allayed shareholders' apprehensions by emphatically stating that the company had no plans to shift its registered office out of Kolkata.

During the year ended December 31, 2003 Philips India recorded gross income of Rs 1,656.1 crore, up from Rs 1,618.7 crore in the previous year.

Profit before tax stood at Rs 105 crore (Rs 122.7 crore), while profit after tax was Rs 67 crore (Rs 104.3 crore). A 15 per cent dividend was declared for the year gone by.

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