Strong growth prompts Bosch to invest more in India (Lead)

June 2nd, 2011 - 10:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, June 2 (IANS) A record 40 percent growth in net sales in 2010 and brighter opportunities in the resilient Indian market have prompted global automotive major Bosch to Thursday announce fresh investments of Rs.2,500 crore ($560 million) in India during the next two years.

“Leading our impressive growth in Asia, our flagship company Bosch India Ltd posted a record net sales of Rs.6,630 crore in 2010, achieving 40 percent growth over 2009. The entire group benefited from the dynamic growth of the Indian market with combined sales growing 36 percent year-on-year,” Robert Bosch GmbH chairman for automotive group Bernd Behr told reporters here.

Of the total investment committed to India, Bosch will invest Rs.1,300 crore in a greenfield facility in Chennai to manufacture electrical drives for the domestic market by 2012.

“We will set up a sister plant at Sanand in Gujarat with an upfront investment of Rs.150 crore to produce additional electrical controls and drives for the western region and a new facility at Verna in Goa to roll out packaging solutions,” Behr said.

The euro 47-billion German group will also invest an unspecified amount in software engineering and developing power train electronics for gasoline and diesel engines along with hybrid and electric vehicles.

“We will employ about 800 engineers in our Bangalore and Coimbatore facilities to develop power train electronics for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emission,” Behr pointed out.

Continuing its aggressive hiring policy, Bosch plans to hire an additional 5,500 people over the next two years to take its total headcount to 28,000 by 2013 from 22,500 in 2010.

In the first five months of 2011, it has already hired about 1,000 people, including graduates and laterals.

Noting that Bosch India played an important role in the group’s rapid recovery in 2010 from the global recession in 2009, Behr said the Indian economy continued to attract more investors from the world over even in the midst of the economic crisis.

“Even at the height of the global economic crisis, our business in India continued to grow. With new activities arising in many spheres of the economy, the prospects for more growth are evident. In the past decade, our sales in India grew five fold to Rs.9,270 crore in 2010 from Rs.1,800 crore in 2001. We expect this growth trend to continue,” Behr asserted.

Fuelled by increased demand from Europe, export sales of Bosch Ltd grew 45 percent in 2010. In value, exports by the group’s companies in the Indian sub-continent contributed Rs.1,700 crore last year.

Lauding the Indian government for promoting hybrid technology and the industry for improving emission standards and fuel efficiency, Behr said such initiatives presented major opportunities for a technology and service firm like Bosch.

“In an era of climate change, protecting the environment is one of the greatest challenges we face. At Bosch, sustainability is a top priority. Of the euro 4 billion we invested in R&D; last year, almost half went into products and services that conserve resources and protect the environment,” Behr noted.

The group also plans to make substantial investments in developing new products for the Indian market, including an upgraded version of Inline pump for higher injection pressure to meet the forthcoming emission norms under Bharat Stage 3.

“For the low priced vehicle segment, common rail for enhanced fuel efficiency is also being worked upon. Innovative solutions for tractors is another area of work we will be pursuing,” Behr added.

The European behemoth’s 53-year-old Indian subsidiary has three business divisions and operates 13 manufacturing plants and four development centres across the country.

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