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Indian tyre companies eye investments here



OPTIMISTIC:
Rajiv Budhraja.

INVESTMENT: Several Indian tyre manufacturing companies are keen to invest in Sri Lanka, Secretary General, Automotive Tyre Manufacturers' Association, Rajiv Budhraja told the Daily News after attending the SAARC academy at the Mahaweli Reach Hotel in Kandy last week. He said the main attraction is the availability of raw materials in Sri Lanka.

He said that though India is a large country, Indian tyre manufacturers still need natural rubber to manufacture tyres. "The Indian manufacturers are very happy with the Lankan natural rubber market which is of high quality," he said.

Two Indian tyre manufacturers are keen to invest around US $ 20 million each and would be meeting with Board of Investment officials soon to discuss investment plans.

The positive investor climate, the FTA between India and Sri Lanka and the incentives provided to foreign investors are some of the other key factors that are attracting Indian tyre manufacturers. Budhraja said that while the sales of cars are annually increasing by around 35 percent, the heavy vehicle market too is growing at around 15 percent.

While the three wheel market is almost beaten up, the two wheel market is growing by nearly 30 percent. "This has created a great demand for tyres," he said.

All SAARC countries are investing heavily on infrastructure development which includes new highways and widening of roads.

This will result in increase of automobile sales and the end result would be the increased demand for tyres. He said that since geographically Sri Lanka is closer to India it is profitable to manufacture and export to the Tamil Nadu market. In addition Sri Lanka can also service the Karnataka and Andra Pradesh markets as well. "This is a very big and growing market," he said.

In addition to the Indian and Lanka markets they are also keen to export to the African market.

There are eight leading tyre manufacturers in India which include MRF, CEAT, Good Year, JK, Apollo and Birla which supply to 85 percent of the country. In addition there are 25 leading small time tyre manufacturers.

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