Our Bureau

Coimbatore, Aug. 29

ABT Ltd is all set to foray into passenger transport service. The company would, according to its Managing Director Mr M. Manickam, be launching ABT X Travels within a month or two. "We are planning to offer the passenger transport service in the four southern States initially. We have not planned the route, but intend to offer the service for long distance travel at affordable rates. We are looking at 10 to 15 buses, initially, before expanding the fleet size to 200 in 5 years."

The company is planning to invest about Rs 30-40 lakh on each bus.

The announcement has assumed significance particularly in the wake of the company completing 75 years of service.

"ABT is the parent company for the Sakthi Group, but over the years, the Group has emerged much larger than the parent company.

ABT though is running profitably and is able to stay with the times," Mr Manickam noted.

Sharing some of the initiatives proposed to strengthen ABT's reach and position in its diamond jubilee year, he said the company intended to take the cargo service ABT Exppress national.

Going national

According to Mr Manickam, ABT Exppress was the top operator in cargo service space in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Its services were available in Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat as well.

The company is planning to extend its reach to the Eastern and Northern parts of the country. It owns about 500 trucks and carries articles worth over Rs 3,500 crore every year.

Dealership

The company incidentally has taken the dealership for Maruti Udyog. About 14,000 cars are serviced annually at the ABT Maruti workshop, numbering 16. Mr Manickam is planning to add another 14 workshop and take it to 30 by 2010.

"ABT's turnover is about Rs 350 crore," he said, and added that the company would focus on the services space.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 30, 2006)
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