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Peugeot officials meet Modi as search for plant site continues

Peugeot officials meet Modi as search for plant site continues

Ahmedabad: Senior executives of French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen S.A. met Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, a day after meeting Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, to explore the possibility of setting up a plant.

The Gujarat government issued a press release on Thursday citing Gregoire Olivier, chief executive officer (Asia operations), saying the company was in talks with three states for setting up its first plant in India and Gujarat was one of the favoured locations.

That appears to contradict the Tamil Nadu government’s Wednesday release, which said the French car maker had finalized Tamil Nadu for its plant.

Tamil Nadu is home to the plants of car makers such as Ford and Hyundai, while Gujarat is also seeking to become another auto hub, having got Tata Motors Ltd to locate its Nano car factory there.

“A delegation of Peugeot group of companies led by Gregoire Olivier and Frederic Fabre, managing director (India), today met chief minister Narendra Modi and expressed the desire to set up a plant in the state," the release from the Gujarat government said.

Tamil Nadu had said the French car maker had selected a location near Sriperumbudur to set up its manufacturing facility with an investment of Rs4,000 crore. Tamil Nadu also said the firm’s plant in India will produce around 300,000 cars per annum.

“PSA has proposed to establish this Indian project as a 100% subsidiary of the parent company," the release said. “After evaluating sites in various states, PSA has selected a site near Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. Chennai offers a mature ecosystem with auto components supply base, abundant availability of skilled manpower, port logistics, etc."

PSA requested the chief minister for a package of support, including land, Tamil Nadu had said.

The company is the second largest car maker in Europe and is ranked the sixth largest automobile manufacturer in the world. It had sales of $67.30 billion in 2010.

“The delegation told the chief minister (Modi) that the company has not yet finalized any location and the board of directors will finalize the matter," said a senior industries department official, requesting anonymity.

Jitesh Gadhia, senior managing director of UK-based Blackstone group, financial adviser to the car maker, who was the part of the four-member delegation that met Modi, told reporters that the firm was still in negotiations with three states, including Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

“The PSA board will take the final decision in a few months," Gadhia said without revealing the investment the car maker intends to make in the plant.

Apart from Modi, Saurabh Patel, minister for state for industries, M. Shrivastava, additional chief secretary, finance department, K. Kailashnathan, principal secretary to the chief minister, and Arvind Agarwal, managing director, Gujarat Industrial Development Corp., were present at the meeting.


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