Caterpillar aims for aggressive growth in local market, exports

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Caterpillar, one of world’s leading construction and mining equipment brand, has indicated that it is aiming an aggressive domestic-cum-export growth in India, as the company is on the verge of completing its latest $210 million investment plan.

“India has proved to be lucrative as a global outsourcing hub and manufacturing base for us. While we have been expanding our footprint in the country by catering to local demand, a significant percentage of pro­duction is exported to other markets. For instance, 90 per cent of the trucks we manufacture at Tamil Nadu facility is being exported to Asean markets,” Kevin Thi­e­ne­man, country manager, Cat­erpillar India, China and Asean told Financial Chronicle.

The said the company, at present is in the process of completing the work envisaged as part of the recent investments. The new med­ium hydraulic excavator unit work is still underway, he added.

The latest investments of $212 million comprise establishment of a new unit in Aurangabad in Maharashtra to make Perkins brand of 4,000 series engines for electric power applications, and to further ramp up the off-highway mining truck capacity in Thiruvallur plant near Chennai, Thieneman said. In addition, the company is setting up a medium hydraulic excavator unit in Thiruvallur complex. It has been importing these equipment and selling in India.

Thieneman said the company has been laying stronger focus on backhoe loader segment after capacity ramp up at its Chennai complex. “Our backhoe loader market is gradually gaining momentum, and we have been able to garner good traction in various markets in India,” he added.

The company has made significant investments in manufacturing operations in India since 2008 to strengthen its presence in the country in view of long-term potential and large investments pumped into infrastructure segment as also to cater other emerging markets.

“Whilst there appears to be a downturn in the current market economics, we strongly believe that it is short-term in nature. With the current reform spate, we expect the market to show some improvement next year. Over $500 billion worth of investment is planned to flow into India’s infrastructure by 2014. Without doubt then, there is huge opportunity in the Indian infrastructure space,” he said, adding, “However today, the major challenge for the road construction and mining sectors is the uncertainty regarding environmental clearances. We welcome the cabinet change, which we understand was made in part to drive a more balanced approach to environmental clearances. We strongly believe with greater transparency, the length of time for approval of new projects will be significantly reduced increasing market opportunities for all allied players.”.


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