Ashok Leyland scouting for acquisitions in Brics countries

Ashok Leyland scouting for acquisitions in Brics countries

Hyderabad: Ashok Leyland Limited, the flagship company of the Hinduja Group and one of the leading bus and truck manufacturers in the country, is scouting for acquisitions in Brics countries, according to a top official of the company.

V Sumantran, the executive vice-chairman of Hinduja Automotive Ltd and chairman of Nissan Ashok Leyland Powertrain, said there are a few proposals at the board-level at this point of time and the company is evaluating them.

“Contemporary European product is not directly relevant in India. And indeed, the big bus markets in the world are China, Russia, India and Brazil. Obviously, our strategy will be oriented toward that, Sumantran said.

He said the company is unfolding a story that is beginning to be seen and the previous three overseas acquisitions are part of the strategy.

In October, 2006, Ashok Leyland bought a majority stake in the truck business unit of Prague-based AVIA, a.s.

The move gave Ashok Leyland a channel into the competitive European market.

“This (Avia) gave us an entry into the medium light vehicle segment in Europe. Its contemporary technology, its Euro 5 product with advanced engines, gave us a foothold in Europe," Sumantran said.

Last year, Ashok Leyland acquired a 26% stake in Optare plc, a leading bus manufacturer in the UK, and similarly formed a joint venture with the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) to manufacture vehicles in the Ras-Al-Khaimah Free Zone in the UAE.

Replying to query, Sumantran said the company is set to roll-out its first construction industry vehicle in the next quarter.

“We will start with the Backhoes loader. It is coming out of a Leyland-Deere venture. This will be very soon within the next quarter. It has a product line-up, including wheel loaders and excavators," the automotive-maker explained.

The joint venture between the Indian commercial vehicle maker and John Deere, the US construction major, was formed in 2008.

However, the project has seen a series of delays and is yet to see a roll-out.