Our Bureau

Chennai, June 6

AMARA Raja Batteries Ltd has said that it will be an exclusive supplier of batteries to the recently-launched Maruti Swift.

The company will supply the premium range of Amaron Zero Maintenance long-lasting batteries, according to a company press release.

"It is a matter of pride that within a year of signing an OE (original equipment) deal with Maruti, we are now exclusive battery providers for their latest model - Swift," Mr Jay Galla, Managing Director, Amara Raja Batteries, was quoted in the release.

All three variants of the Swift LXi, VXi and Zxi will run on Amaron batteries.

When contacted, Mr Galla said that Amara Raja started supplying "in small quantities" to Maruti from November 2004. Maruti Udyog, he said, used batteries that required maintenance while the company manufactured maintenance-free batteries and hence it could not compete on cost with other battery manufacturers till now.

He said the process of validation of the battery for the Swift by both Maruti Udyog and Suzuki Motor Company, Maruti's majority shareholder, had been on for almost a year.

Becoming an exclusive supplier for Swift meant that Amara Raja would now have access to the nearly 5,000-strong service network of Maruti, which would give a major boost to the company's aftermarket operations. With this deal, Amara Raja was confident that it would cross the 100,000 unit sales to Maruti alone.

Mr Galla said the Swift was one of Maruti's high profile car launches in recent times and it was pinning a lot of hopes on the car. At such a juncture, the fact that "they have signed on a new supplier like us, shows the confidence they have in our product," he said.

On the company's performance in 2004-05, without giving figures as the board meeting was scheduled for later this month, Mr Galla said the year "put us on a high growth curve." The company expected to cross the Rs 200-crore sales mark in 2004-05. It was expecting a 15 per cent to 20 per cent topline growth, he said. (In 2003-04, Amara Raja Batteries had net sales of Rs 163.51 crore.)

He said that the company's expansion at its Tirupati plant, which would increase the capacity from 1.5 million units to 2.4 million units a year, was likely to be completed by December-end.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 7, 2005)
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