Stone India at final bid stage for European firm

September 8th, 2008 - 7:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 8 (IANS) Stone India Ltd, a G.P. Goenka group-company, is in the “final bidding stage” of acquiring a European railway equipment maker, said a top company official here Monday.”The European company we are targeting is privately held and its turnover is bigger than ours,” managing director Amitava Mandal said at a press meet.

Stone India, which registered a turnover of Rs.920 million last fiscal, is a multi-product engineering company located in Kolkata, and has been serving the Indian railroad industry for over seven decades.

Without revealing the name of the company or the acquisition cost, Mandal said the successful bidder would be known in a month.

The company is now in the process of forming a special purpose vehicle in Cyprus as a consortium with other group firms, Mandal added.

Stone India has also entered into a funding arrangement with Dresdner Bank.

Its current order book position is Rs.800 million, and Mandal predicted the turnover in the current fiscal would reach Rs.1.2 billion.

He, however, conceded the company’s operating margin is under pressure and might go down to 17 percent in 2008-09 against 24 percent earned a year ago.

“Our margins are likely to go down following rise in steel prices, our key raw material,” Mandal said.

Matters gave not been helped by Stone India’s upcoming Nalagarh plant in Himachal Pradesh falling behind schedule by five months, which is now expected to start commercial production by the month-end.

“Our Nalagarh facility is behind schedule by about five months, but it will start operations this month. Most of our proposed railway electronic devices would be produced here,” Mandal said.

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