Sakthi Automotive sells German business to MAT Holdings

Sakthi Germany had applied for insolvency in November 2008. After cost-cutting measures, including the introduction of shorter working hours and retrenchment of around 200 workers (out of a total of around 900), it failed to reverse the decline and stabilise business

Indian auto components manufacturer Sakthi Automotive Components Ltd has sold its insolvent German business to US-based MAT Holdings for an undisclosed amount, reports PTI.

MAT Holdings has already set up a German subsidiary which will take charge of the operations of the Indian company's two foundries in Neuenkirchen in Saarland, bordering France and in Ueckermuende in eastern Germany, latest by the beginning of June, German insolvency administrator Udo Groener said.

Sakthi Germany applied for insolvency in November 2008 end after cost-cutting measures, including the introduction of short working hours and retrenchment of around 200 workers of around 900, but it failed to reverse the decline and stabilise business.

The proceedings started on 1 February 2009. On Wednesday, the deal for the takeover of Sakthi Germany's two foundries in Neuenkirchen and in Ueckermuende was approved by the company's creditors, workers' council and the engineering workers' trade union IG Metall, Mr Groener said.

According to media reports, the company was offered bridging financial assistance by the state governments of Saarland and the eastern German state of Mecklenberg Pomerania to overcome its payment difficulties.

The US-based company has given a long-term operational guarantee for the two plants and also promised to keep the present labour force of 437 workers in Neuenkirchen and 257 in Ueckermuende, he said.

Sakthi Automotive group, which belongs to Coimbatore-based Sakthi Sugars Ltd, is an Indian manufacturer of automotive components and specialises in manufacturing high-quality castings for a wide range of applications.

It had acquired the two foundries from the American company Intermet in May 2007 reportedly for $130 million and manufactured a range of auto components including axles, gear units and brakes for cars and trucks. Its customers included Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen, Suzuki and Citroen.

The company employs around 3,500 people at three production locations in India and at three plants in Europe. Besides the two German foundries, Sakhti Automotive has a plant in Arvika, in Sweden.

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Hindustan Sanitary to buy Havells' Rajasthan unit

HSIL, the maker of 'Hindware' sanitary-ware brand, will acquire Havells' whole business of manufacturing and dealing in bathroom fittings and accessories under the brand ‘Crabtree’

Somany Group company Hindustan Sanitary Ware and Industries Ltd (HSIL) on Friday said that it is acquiring electrical goods maker Havells India's bathroom accessories and fittings business for an undisclosed amount, reports PTI.

The company said that it has entered into an agreement with Havells India, whereby it will acquire its whole business undertakings engaged in manufacturing and dealing in bathroom fittings and accessories under the brand ‘Crabtree’.

"With this acquisition, HSIL will have modern faucet manufacturing facilities, additional distribution network and additional sales volumes," the company said in a statement.

Havells' faucet manufacturing unit is situated at Bhiwadi in Rajasthan.

It also said that the acquisition will help in expanding its building products division and "get competitive advantage in (the) institutional and project segments."

The Rs800-crore company, which sells sanitary ware under the 'Hindware' brand, is one of the market leaders in the segment, with over 1,200 distributors and 12,000 retailers across the country.

In the last two-three years, HSIL had expanded the 'Hindware’ brand by adding its building products portfolio, which includes PVC cisterns, bathtubs, shower systems and kitchen appliances.

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Wipro sees big potential in France

Wipro believes that sales opportunities are huge in France for an IT outsourcing company and it is keen to expand its footprint in that country with stepped up investment

Indian information technology (IT) services provider Wipro Ltd has said that it is keen to expand its footprint in France as the country offers huge potential for growth and has stepped up its investment in the region, reports PTI.

"We invested in a senior leadership team. We are seeing excellent progress and we are extremely confident of our future in France," Wipro chief financial officer Manish Dugar said in a statement released in Dubai.

Wipro believes that sales opportunities are huge in France for an IT outsourcing company, it said.

The French government has undertaken a series of measures in recent years to make it easier and more profitable to do business in France. These far-reaching reforms have changed the equation for existing companies and new investors.

"It is a large under-penetrated market for offerings that take advantage of the global delivery model. But more critically, some of the world’s biggest and best corporations represent France. And French companies are becoming more and more international and global," Mr Dugar said.

Last week, French minister for the economy, industry and employment, Christine Lagarde and Michel Mercier, the minister for rural and regional development, presented the 2009 report on job-creating foreign investment in France.

"Against the backdrop of a worldwide downturn in foreign direct investment flows, the IFA and French regional development agencies recorded 639 job-creating foreign investment projects in 2009, an increase on the figure in 2007 (624), and nearly as many as in 2008 (641). The results for 2009 are the fourth-best in the last 15 years," the report said.

These investments will enable 29,889 jobs to be created or maintained (versus 31,932 jobs in 2008), which is broadly in line with the annual average since 2000 (30,400).

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