`Leyland's FY07 sales target to rise by 4-5 pc'

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Mr K Sridharan, Chief Financial Officer of Ashok Leyland, says that the company's market share stands at over 30 per cent after taking into account September sales. He says that the market share for the year to date stands at 28 per cent.

Mr Sridharan says that they plan to end FY07 with sales of over 78,000 units. He further adds that the promoter group is in talks with global players including Volvo, and that their new partner will help enlarge their product portfolio.

Excerpts from CNBC-TV18's exclusive interview with Mr Sridharan:

Could you tell us where your market share stands at the end of this month now?

It has been very good. For the month of September we have crossed 30 per cent, which is a psychological barrier, and we do hope to consolidate our position at this level. On a year-to-date basis, it is closer to about 28 per cent, as we didn't have that much of market share in the previous months.

Going forward, the market is very upbeat, more particularly on the heavy-duty range, as has been witnessed in the last six months. So we do believe that we should be able to consolidate above 28 per cent market share.

Where has the growth been strongest among passenger, goods and the LCV space?

Obviously it is in the heavy-duty range; the tractor-trailers and multi-axle vehicles. There is a runaway demand happening. Even now, we are not able to meet the full demand.

There is an order book backlog.

To some extent, passengers are catching up. We have been focusing more on the trucks. Now the order book position from the State Transport Corporation is what we will now be servicing.

So hopefully by the year-end we should be able to catch up on the passenger side.

The ICV (Intermediate commercial vehicle) segment has been a bit sluggish from our point of view.

Are there any changes you would like to make to the year-end targets or will you remain on course for the full year target?

We should be selling about four to five per cent more, something like 2,000-3,000 more vehicles, which would mean something like 78,000 units or so.

With a bit of luck, we should even touch 80,000 vehicles, but I would rather bet on more than 77,000 vehicles for the full year.

Could you confirm whether Volvo is in talks with the promoter group for a stake buy and how significant could that be?

Honestly, I won't be able to confirm that.

All I would be able to say is, I'm also aware that many leading players including Volvo have been in talks with the promoter group.

Certainly any association with any of the majors would be beneficial for Leyland's product range offering to the market. But I won't be able to say anything beyond this.

We believe there are also reports that you might be buying a stake in Doktas -would you confirm or deny that?

No, we are in the race and I can't say at the moment that we would be clinching it. It's a 50-50 probability now.

So we need to see how it turns out in the next few weeks.

How soon would you know?

Hopefully before the end of this month.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 7, 2006)
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