Our Bureau

Pune, Oct. 20

TATA Auto Comp Systems Ltd (TACO), a Tata group outfit, has set a target of achieving an annual revenue of $1 billion by 2008 and is scouting for acquisitions in areas where it has no presence.

Set up in 1995, the company is now celebrating its tenth anniversary. The TACO Managing Director, Mr D.S. Gupta, told presspersons that the company was started with a twin vision - one was to start a unit company which would, at a later stage, include joint ventures and partners to further its growth and the other to be self-sufficient in technology and showcase it to global players. TACO is now in second phase.

He said the company, which has to its credit 19 business units, is now looking at newer pastures including plastics and electrical segments.

"The focus is now on becoming independent and not on entering joint ventures. We will honour the commitment we have made to the joint ventures and we will not compete. Now we are looking at becoming self-sufficient in technology and then go global," he said.

Mr Gupta pointed out that the area where TACO did not have any partners was in interiors and electronics, which according to him were high growth areas.

"The consumer now wants the same comfort, connectivity as is available at his residence or office. He is also looking at being entertained during his journey. And our intention is to provide customers with plush interiors and comfort," he said.

Mr Gupta said the company would be completing this fiscal with a revenue of $500 million. The growth would come from both the domestic and international markets. He said that some of the joint ventures were not giving any turnover but would start doing so in a couple of years. The company is also ramping up its service division that includes supply chain management and engineering services. All these, he felt, would help the company achieve the $1-billion revenue target.

Asked about the acquisition of a German company, Wundsch Weidinger, he said, this was a first for TACO. He said 12 million euros would invested for the German company, which would include the acquisition cost. Wundsch Weidinger produces plastic parts and systems for the automobile industry. The company had filed for bankruptcy in March 2005. Weidinger's facility is located at Coburg in Bavaria, Germany.

According to the statement issued by the company, the assets of the German company were valued at four million euros and the company would be renamed TACO Kunstosf Technik Gmbh.

Mr Gupta said the acquisition would give TACO an entry into the European market. The company would supply all parts other than the instrumentation and door panel, for the Ford Galaxy, scheduled to be launched in 2006.

Asked if the company would also supply parts for the new `small car' of the Tatas, he said that "we as a part of the Tata group would be supplementing each other and have to sit on the same side of the table. The answer is yes".

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 21, 2005)
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