Auto component manufacturer Bharat Forge Ltd (BFL) has become another major player in the auto sector to eye the defence pie by forming a joint venture company with Elbit Systems Land and C41 Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd of the US, to meet the need for advanced artillery and mortar systems solutions.

A joint statement by both companies said the joint venture company, subject to requisite approvals, would offer solutions in the artillery guns and mortars segment based on Elbit Systems’ technologically sophisticated products that were in use globally. The JVC would capitalise on the US company's technology and system integration capabilities with the Indian outfit's expertise in design, engineering, manufacturing, testing and validation.

Baba Kalyani, CMD, BFL, said the cooperation between the two companies, and especially the JVC, would address the needs of Indian defence “with operationally proven systems” from Elbit that were customised for Indian conditions and produced at BFL’s facility for end-to end solutions for artillery systems and armoured vehicle upgrades established recently.

Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, Elbit Systems' Executive V-P and President-CEO-designate was confident that the JVC would emerge as a ‘leading supplier’ to the defence and other potential Indian Government customers.

BFL shares were trading at Rs 227 (face value of Rs 2), a gain of Rs 3.15, with a trading volume of about 1, 00,000 shares in the NSE at 10.40 am.

The Mahindra & Mahindra group is another major player from the auto sector that is foraying into the defence sector, forming JVCs with overseas companies.

(This article was published on February 7, 2013)
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