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Friday, Aug 27, 2004

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Eveready to acquire battery unit in China

Our Bureau

Kolkata , Aug. 26

EVEREADY Industries India Ltd, the flagship company of Mr B.M. Khaitan, is planning to acquire battery manufacturing capacity in China through the joint venture route during the next three to six months.

According to Mr Deepak Khaitan, Executive Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Eveready Industries, the company has started preliminary discussions with some of the Chinese battery manufacturers.

Senior officials of the company have already made several visits to China and have identified two to three plants for future discussions. All these plants are owned by private parties. "We are looking at the joint venture route where we will be holding a minority stake. The product from the Chinese factory will be sold both in India and abroad," Mr Khaitan told reporters after addressing shareholders at the 69th annual general meeting of Eveready Industries.

He, however, preferred not to disclose the name of the Chinese parties with whom discussions were being held or the scale of investment which Eveready Industries will be making in this venture.

He said that Eveready Industries had initiated a capacity expansion programme at its Cossipore plant in Kolkata, the oldest unit of the company. The plant capacity will be increased from 200 million pieces per year from the existing 80 million pieces per year.

"We would not like to disclose the investment amount but funds for this project will be generated from internal accruals. The project will be ready by the end of next year," he said.

Meanwhile, the company has become the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for a number of battery producers based in other countries. Here too, Mr Khaitan preferred not to disclose names but added that they were located in Japan, Chile, Australia, Hong Kong and the US.

Earlier, while addressing the shareholders, he threw some light on the proposed bifurcation of Eveready Industries between bulk tea and battery and FMCG products.

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