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Wednesday, Nov 24, 2004

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Steelbird plans expansion

Our Bureau

HYDERABAD: With more and more States likely to make helmets a must for two-wheeler riders, Steelbird Hi-Tech India Ltd, a leading helmet manufacturer in the organised sector, has decided to go on a three-phased expansion drive that would cost Rs 40 crore.

The expansion would increase the total capacity from the present 3,000 helmets a day to 18,000 by 2008.

"In the first phase, we will set up a Rs 10-crore manufacturing facility at Baddi in Himachal Pradesh. The production in this plant will start in the next financial year," Mr Rajeev Kapur, Managing Director of the company, said.

Talking to newsmen here on Tuesday, he said the company would invest 40 per cent, while banks and financial institutions would contribute the remaining part. Banking on the 10-year tax holiday in that State, the company planned to sell helmets at lower prices, catering to the lower segment. "There is a huge potential for helmets as only three places (Delhi, Chandigarh and Hyderabad) impose the wear-helmet rule as of now," he said.

After the first phase of expansion, the company might go for a public issue in 2006. If it succeeds, it would be the first helmet company to go for an issue. Steelbird has tie-ups with four Italian companies, including Composites Bieffe Srl, AD Engineering and GP One Srl.

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