Honda expects to roll out vehicles from Rajasthan unit in 2-3 years

HSCI had committed an investment of Rs1,000 crore to set up the facility at Tapukara with an installed capacity of 60,000 units per annum

Japanese car maker Honda expects its second Indian facility at Tapukara, in Rajasthan, to start rolling out vehicles within the next 2-3 years after being put on hold indefinitely due to the global slowdown of 2008.

The company, which is present in India through a joint venture with the Siel Group, had partially opened the Tapukara plant in 2008 for the manufacture of components.

"Our first aim is to fully utilise the capacity of the Greater Noida facility and only after that we will consider starting assembly at Tapukara. I think we will be able to do that in the next 2-3 years," Honda Siel Cars India Director (Marketing), Mr Seki Inaba, told PTI.

The company's first facility at Greater Noida, set up for Rs450 crore in 1997, has an installed production capacity of one lakh units per annum and can produce up to 1.2 lakh units by improving the efficiencies of different verticals, he added.

HSCI had committed an investment of Rs1,000 crore to set up the facility at Tapukara with an installed capacity of 60,000 units per annum. In September 2008, it had partially opened the plant to start stamping operations and produce few parts for domestic and export markets.

Last year, the company announced a further investment of Rs250 crore on the Tapukara facility to expand the power train unit, primarily to cater to its upcoming small car 'Brio'. It currently rolls out engine and transmission components such as cylinder heads and cylinder blocks.

Earlier, in 2010, Honda Siel Cars had stated that it was likely to start car assembly operations at Tapukara from 2012. When asked about sales expectations for this year, Mr Inaba said: "We have suffered this year due to the tsunami in Japan and had to cut our production by half for several months. Still we are expecting to cross the last year's numbers." HSCI sold 59,463 units during 2010-11 against 61,815 units in the previous fiscal. The company has now geared up to launch its much-awaited small car 'Brio'. The car will hit the roads next month and will be priced below Rs5 lakh.

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Elder Pharma to launch 12 products by March-end

Elder Pharmaceuticals is also planning to spend up to Rs55 crore in the next two years for increasing its manpower

Drug firm Elder Pharmaceuticals will launch 12 new products this fiscal in the areas of gynaecology, pain management and nutraceuticals.

"All the products are in the mandate and prescription market and we are targeting gynaecology, pain management and nutraceuticals segments," he added.

The company is also planning to spend up to Rs55 crore in the next two years for increasing its manpower, mainly the sales force, updating its research and development facilities and for brand building exercises.

"We are looking at between Rs40-Rs55 crore investments for these exercises," Saxena said. The company had recently announced the plans to increase its sales and marketing force by 1,000 in the next two years. Saxena said Elder Pharmaceuticals is looking to expand in the over-the-counter (OTC) segment, in which it has almost negligible presence at present. "This [OTC] is the segment which we are looking at and probably is an area of growth for us as we go forward," he said.

He said the firm is also looking to enhance presence in the functional foods market, leveraging on UK-based NutraHealth Care, a company specialising in neutraceutical products, which it had acquired last year.

"The Indian [functional foods] market is estimated to be of Rs4,400 crore. Elder already has a range of products for women care and we are identifying opportunities where we can fulfil all daily nutritional and medical needs for women," Saxena said.

Elder Pharmaceuticals manufactures and markets prescription pharmaceutical brands, surgical and medical devices.

On Monday, Elder Pharma ended 0.15% up at Rs372 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex rose 1.24% to 16,341.70.

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Religare Finvest to raise Rs800 crore via bonds next month

The bonds would have a flexible maturity period of three years and five years

Non-banking financial company Religare Finvest plans to raise up to Rs800 crore from retail investors through issue of bonds early next month.

"We will raise Rs800 crore through issue of retail bonds. This includes an option to retain another Rs400 crore over subscription," Religare Finvest chief executive Kavi Arora told PTI. The funds raised through this issue, after meeting the expenditure, will be used for company's various financing activities including lending and investments, he said. Arora said the bonds would have a flexible maturity period of three years and five years.

"We have filed for a retail bond issue with the Bombay Stock Exchange last week. We are hopeful of launching the issue in two weeks," he added. Religare Finvest had an asset base of Rs9,900 crore at the end of June with majority of it coming from secured loan, comprising mortgage lending, and commercial vehicles and construction equipment loan. Arora said Religare Finvest would now focus on extending loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the form of working capital.

"SME sector presents a significant opportunity for growth. With the economic expansion the sector's output will also increase," he added. Religare Finvest, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Religare Enterprises, is registered with the RBI as an NBFC and has presence in 48 cities through 39 branches. It currently provides consumer finance, IPO financing and personal financial services.

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