Our Bureau

Kolkata, Oct. 7

EVEREADY Industries India Ltd, the flagship of the B.M. Khaitan group, on Friday completed the takeover of the Bangalore-based BPL Soft Energy System Ltd.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Mr Deepak Khaitan, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Eveready Industries, said the newly acquired company will be renamed as Powercell Industries India Ltd.

He said it will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Eveready Industries and that there were no immediate plans for a merger of the company.

A formal application to the Registrar of Companies for changing the name will be made soon.

`Perfect fit': The acquisition was completed after eight days of due-diligence activity by Delloite Haskins. "We now find the acquisition a perfect fit for both of us," Mr Khaitan said.

As a first managerial decision, the Khaitans have decided to change the D-sized BPL Shakti battery, which is priced at Rs 8, from metal jacket to paper jacket. It will be manufactured in any of the three Eveready units. While BPL produces only metal jacket batteries, Eveready manufactures paper jacket ones for the D-size. According to Mr Khaitan, this decision will substantially reduce the losses of the BPL unit.

"We might also use their metal jacket production facility for our Lava brand, which we export. These flexibilities and synergies will soon be worked out, but we will not merge the sales force of the two companies," he added.

1.6 billion a year: BPL's existing capacity is 240 million pieces per annum. With this acquisition, Eveready's total battery production will be 1.6 billion per annum. BPL's market share is at around 10 per cent.

The acquisition will help Eveready increase its market share to 55-56 per cent from the existing 47 per cent.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 8, 2005)
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