Essen (Germany): German diversified industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG has initiated talks with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group to partner in building up to 12 submarines in a contract expected to be worth 50,000 crore. “We are at an early stage (of talks). All I can say is we have the right product to make in India. This is our offer to India and also let’s say our customer," said member of the executive board, Oliver Burkhard, responsible for the regions including India.

Burkhard confirmed that he met Anil Ambani in Mumbai last month and held exploratory talks on a possible joint push. Players such as L&T, and Mazagaon Dock Ltd are also said to be in the race for the contract, for which the Indian Navy is yet to issue request for proposal (RFP). ThyssenKrupp, the Germany-based 41-billion euro company, expects the contract to be in the region of 50,000 crore. Burkhard expects the RFP for six submarines initially, followed by another six later on. Company officials said it would take five to six years to build a submarine.

Reliance Defence Systems, a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, holds 18% stake in Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering Ltd. “We have requested Mr. Ambani to visit our shipyard over here in Kiel (in Germany)," he said. Top ThyssenKrupp officials are also confident that the German government would back the company’s proposal. They are hopeful that German Chancellor Angela Merkel would raise the sales pitch at the Indo-German Inter-Government consultative meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during her visit to India next week.

“Now when governments are meeting in October, I think this is one of the things that would be discussed. There is a clear signal from the German government that they are willing to help," said Burkhard.

ThyssenKrupp India said recently it has plans to set up a resource office in the country for sourcing of metals such as aluminium and zinc for its projects related to aerospace and defence among others spread across the globe. India, which is the company’s third largest market in the Asia Pacific, has sales of about 500 million euros and a headcount of 5,700. ThyssenKrupp, present in five diversified business areas and with 10 operating units in India, has products and services ranging from plant design and engineering to building industrial plants, marine systems and elevators to engine components, bearings and undercarriages. Burkhard said the target for the company in India now is to reach 1 billion euros in revenues, boost margin to about 10% and take employee headcount to 10,000. PTI

Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.

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