Tyre manufacturer MRF may step up imports due to rubber shortage in the country.

Currently, the company consumes 14,000 tonnes of rubber every month. While a bulk of this comes from Kerala, 40 per cent is sourced from South-East Asian countries such as Thailand and Malaysia.

“With availability an issue in India today, we may have to import more,” said Arun Mammen, Managing Director.

Will increased imports hurt given the rupee depreciation?

“Domestic rubber is ruling at Rs 171/kg and is nearly Rs 20 more than international prices. So, after factoring in the impact of the rupee and import duty, there is not much difference between Indian and international prices,” said Mammen. Rubber prices in the country have softened over the last few months and eventually the benefits of this will be passed on to the customer, said Mammen.

MRF is also scouting for acquisition of tyre companies, manufacturing plants and plantations in South East Asia and Europe to tide over the shortage.

The slowdown in the automobile industry is worrying the company.

“The tyre industry is driven by the auto industry. So, it is bound to affect us too,” said Mammen.

(This article was published on September 2, 2012)
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