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Tuesday, May 14, 2002

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Sika Qualcrete Indian ally plans three new ventures

Our Bureau


THE Indian partner of Sika Qualcrete, which is currently being bought out by the Swedish major Sika AG, is planning to set up three new ventures on a total investment of Rs 15 crore.

Mr Bhaskar Sen, Managing Director of Sika Qualcrete, told reporters at a press conference that these three ventures would be in the fields of food processing, personal and homecare products and herbal medicines.

The new companies are Senz National Food Pvt Ltd, Good Health Herbal Pvt Ltd and Vedic Solutions Pvt Ltd.

The first company will be a primary and secondary food processor and will be based in northern part of West Bengal.

The other two will be located in South 24 Parganas.

Regarding his previous venture, Sika Qualcrete, he said that he and his partners still held a majority stake of 60 per cent.

However, Sika AG, whose global turnover is almost 2 billion Swiss franc, is in the process of increasing its stake.

"They will increase their stake to over 51 per cent, but I will not be able to disclose the exact amount as I am bound by a confidentiality clause,'' Mr Sen said.

He also preferred not to disclose the price he is charging for selling his stake.

Instead, he said that he would quit from that company within one month.

Company sources said that Sika AG had already received the necessary clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, and currently, the money transfer was taking place in accordance with the Reserve Bank of India guidelines. Sika AG, established in 1910, is a leader in the construction chemicals industry. It has 80 manufacturing and marketing offices all over the world.

Apart from construction chemicals, the company is also manufacturing industrial chemicals.

However, 73 per cent of its overall business is generated from the construction sector.

In the Indian outfit, Sika holds 40 per cent stake. Mr Sadhan Dutta, promoter of Development Consultants Ltd, popularly known as DCL, held 15 per cent.

The rest was held by some of his associates, including the current Managing Director, Mr Bhaskar Sen.

Qualcrete India Pvt Ltd was incorporated in 1983 and the Swedish partner was roped in 1985. Currently, the company's turnover is approximately Rs 20 crore.

Sika Qualcrete has three production facilities - in Goa, Jaipur and Kalyani (West Bengal).

The company employs 200 people. Worldwide, Sika's operations are spread over five areas, namely sealing, bonding, damping, reinforcing and protecting.

Mr Sen said a major part of funds for fresh investments would come from selling his stake in the old company.

According to him, land acquisition for the new projects will be over by August, necessary permission will be received by November and construction will start in December.

The West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation has agreed to take up a stake in the food processing company.

In future, he said, a foreign collaborator would be roped in for modern technology.

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