Mahindra to start Ssangyong due diligence

Mahindra to start Ssangyong due diligence

Pune: Mahindra & Mahindra, India’s largest utility vehicles and tractor maker, will start due diligence on troubled Korean SUV maker Ssangyong Motor in a day or two, a senior official said on Monday.

“The final bid and the bid amount will depend on the findings of the due diligence that would be completed over few weeks," Pawan Goenka, Mahindra’s president for the automotive sector, told reporters at the sidelines of a news conference.

Earlier this month, Ssangyong said it had shortlisted six out of seven firms that submitted letters of intent to buy the carmaker, under court-led restructuring since early 2009.

“I will be visiting South Korea as part of the due diligence process," Goenka said.

Apart from Mahindra, France’s Renault SA is among six firms in the race for Ssangyong -- owned 10% by China’s SAIC Motor Corp.

Separately, Mahindra Navistar Automotives Ltd (MNAL), a joint venture between Mahindra & Mahindra and Navistar International, on Monday announced the commercial launch of its 25-tonne-capacity MN25 trucks.

“We will roll out the entire range of products by end of the current fiscal," Goenka said. “The auto sales numbers are back to where they were two years before."

“It’s a good time to enter this industry segment," he said.

The MN25 truck is priced at Rs1.49 million ($32,000) ex-showroom, the company said in a statement.

MNAL is presently manufacturing seven to eight units of the MN25 truck every day at its plant at Chakan, near Pune, Goenka said. The firm would be making between 20 and 25 units a day by the end of the 2011 financial year.

The company also makes about 80-100 units daily of its light commercial vehicle, Maxximo, at the same plant .

Shares of the utility vehicle maker closed up 1.4% at Rs612.75, in a Mumbai market that rose 1.6% on Monday.