Tata Motors to raise truck output

The production rise will take the Tata Motor plant’s annual output to 450,000 vehicles

Tata Motors will increase output of light commercial trucks from its Pantnagar plant in north India by up to 90,000 vehicles per year from early 2012, said Ravi Pisharody, president of the automaker's commercial vehicles unit.

The production rise will take the plant's annual output to around 450,000 vehicles, Pisharody said on Tuesday. Sales of commercial vehicles, a key indicator of the country's economic activity, rose 35% in November, data from an industry body showed.

In the late afternoon, Tata Motors was trading at around Rs176.80 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1.09% up from the previous close.

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Ashok Leyland buys additional 49% stake in Optare

Ashok Leyland had initially acquired 26% stake in Optare in July 2010

Hinduja flagship company Ashok Leyland said it has acquired an additional 49.1% stake in British bus maker Optare Plc for over Rs30 crore, taking its total holding to 75.1%.

"Ashok Leyland... together with its associate companies will increase its stake in the British bus maker Optare plc to 75.1%, thanks to a re-financing agreement announced today," the company said in a statement.

The company had initially acquired 26% stake in Optare in July 2010 as a long-term strategic partnership, it said, adding that the move integrates Optare into Ashok Leyland's global strategy for buses.

"The board of directors of the company at their meeting held today approved the proposal for making additional investment up to GBP 40,04,495 in Optare Plc, UK," Ashok Leyland said. Ashok Leyland's share will reach 75.1% of the company's share capital through placing of shares, raising new equity, it added.
"The re-financing has been achieved by Ashok Leyland facilitating a credit-line to support Optare's re-banking options and providing a substantially improved working capital facility for the business," it said.

Ashok Leyland chairman Dheeraj G Hinduja said: "We are confident that, together, we can surge ahead with Optare, taking advantage of the large opportunities for growth and development we see based on synergy and integration with Ashok Leyland's bus business."

The company considers this move as an important element in realising its vision of being among the top five bus makers globally, the statement said. "This is great news for Optare's customers, employees and suppliers and secures stability and the long-term future of the business. The re-banking represents a defining moment in the company's 3-year turnaround plan which commenced in June 2009," Optare chief executive officer Jim Sumner said.

In the late afternoon, Ashok Leyland was trading at around Rs21 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 3% down from the previous close.

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Zydus Cadila acquires Mumbai-based Biochem

Zydus Cadila has acquired a 100% stake in Biochem, one of the top 40 pharma companies in India

Drug firm Zydus Cadila said it has acquired a 100% stake in Mumbai-based Biochem for an undisclosed amount.

"Zydus Cadila has acquired a 100% stake in Biochem, one of the top 40 pharma companies in India," Zydus Cadila said in a statement. A privately held firm, Biochem has a presence in various therapeutic segments, including antibiotics, cardiovascular, anti-diabetics and oncology, it added.

Commenting on the development, Zydus Cadila CMD Pankaj R Patel said: “The formulations business in India has always been the bulwark of our operations and we have looked at every strategic opportunity to grow and contribute to this market, either by way of novel initiatives, collaborations or acquisitions.”

“Biochem represents the right fit as they have a significant presence in our core therapy areas and also add value to our product offerings in key growth segments,” he added. Biochem reported sales of Rs264.5 crore for 2010-11. The company’s top brands include Ampilox, Biotax, Monotax, Amicin and Zithrocin, which together contribute to 40% of the company’s sales.

“The acquisition strengthens Zydus’ operations in the Indian pharma market,” the company added.

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