Malabar Gold and Diamonds will be investing Rs 1,000 crore in expansion before December.

“Most of the investment will go into increasing number of our stores to 120 by end of this year,’’ O. Asher, Malabar Group Executive Director, told newspersons here on Thursday.

He was here to participate in a workshop for school teachers organised by IIM-Kozhikode with Rs 1 crore sponsorship from Malabar Group.

At present, Malabar Gold has 81 branches in India and the Gulf region.

The company will also be opening its stores in Singapore, Malaysia and other countries in the far-east region. In domestic market, expansion would be focused on key markets such as Gujarat and Maharashtra, Asher said.

On the concerns expressed by the Government about increasing investment in gold, Asher said Indian customers would continue to buy gold even if it becomes dearer.

“If import duties on gold is further increased it will only motivate smugglers but people will continue to buy gold,’’ he said.

The import duty on gold was increased from one per cent to six per cent in the last budget. ``We will be making a representation to the Government that it should be brought down in the ensuing budget,’’ he said.

The total turnover of the Kerala-based group is about Rs 10,000 crore.

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