Chennai, India - During a press conference reporting the company's annual results, MRF chairman, K. M. Mammen Mappillai,Â said the company is on track with a new greenfield tyre factory in Tamil Nadu, and is exploring the possibility of making aircraft tyres for the Indian defence forces. He added that the company is exploring the possibility of building another tyre factory in China.
Mammen was quoted in a number of Indian newspapers saying he is discussing a deal with Indian military in which the Indian government would build a aircraft tyre factory at a cost of Rs 1500 million ( €27 million) which MRF would operate exclusively on behalf of the military. Reports suggest the Indian military approached MRF about the project, but discussions were still at an early stage.
Mammen was further quoted saying MRF's new factory for radial car tyres in Tiruchi, Tamil Nadu is expected to come on stream in 2009. The total investment there will be up to Rs 7000 million (€126 million). The plant will have a dedicated test track on a total land area of 500 acres (200 ha). The test track will represent an investment of Rs 250 million (€4.5 million) and will be built in a series of steps.
In a third comment, Mammen reportedly took a swipe at high Indian prices, suggesting that duty on imported rubber might force MRF to build its next tyre factory elsewhere, in order to keep control of costs.
Mammen said MRF was the first Indian tyre maker to report annual sales of Rs 50 000 million ( €902 million). The company said its sales for the 12 months to September 2007 crossed this threshhold. Mammen added that MRF is now ready to look beyond India both for manufacturing and for sales. He suggested that in 10 years, around 50 percent of MRF's sales would come from overseas operations. Currently the company generates 10 percent of sales from export activities.
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Financial data from MRF
MRF to make tyres for Defence, eyes acquisitions Times of India (India)
MRF Ltd crosses Rs.5000 cr sales mark in September The Hindu (India)
MRF's 2006-07 turnover over Rs 5,000 Economic Times (India)
MRF now a Rs 5,000 cr company Sify (India)