Bus maker Ashok Leyland will be sewing up at least three overseas joint ventures in the next two to three months, as it looks to consolidate its presence in new geographies.

The firm is in the final stages of inking joint ventures in Indonesia, Chile and Nigeria, keeping the majority holding in each of these partnerships. While Ashok Leyland will be exporting the kits, the foreign partners will be responsible for assembling and marketing the buses and trucks.

“We are zeroing in on geographies that are not much affected by the global economic slowdown. This year we are targeting to sell 15,000 vehicles in the global market,” Antony Lobo, Special Director (International Operations), told Business Line.

Last fiscal, the company sold 12,800 buses overseas, notching up a revenue of Rs 1,500 crore, which was 15 per cent of its total turnover. This year the target is Rs 1,700 crore, with the company expecting the new joint ventures to give a significant push to its overseas sales.

Lobo was in Hyderabad to receive the Top Exporter award from the Engineering Export Promotion Council, Southern Region, for 2010-11.

In Indonesia, Ashok Leyland, part of the Hinduja Group, is tying up with Indonesian airline operator Lion Air, who will be setting up an assembly unit there as part of the venture.

“We are yet to finalise the precise holdings of the partners in the JV, though we will be having majority stake,” Lobo said.

In Chile, Ashok Leyland will partner with its local dealer there, keeping 98 per cent share in the JV.

“In Nigeria, we may have partnerships with two local firms. One will import our kits and the other will be involved in the assembly. These deals will be finalised in the next couple of months,” he said.

It had plans to enter Egypt through a similar route, but has deferred the project for the moment due to the political situation in that country.

amitmitra@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 30, 2012)
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