Tube Investments plans acquisitions

Tube Investments plans acquisitions

Mumbai: Tube Investments of India Ltd, a maker of steel products, plans to buy companies locally or overseas by the end of March to benefit from spending on infrastructure in the world’s second fastest growing economy.

“We are looking at companies that have technologies we don’t have," managing director L. Ramkumar said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “The growth in infrastructure will require some chains, tubes, boilers, those kinds of things."

India needs $1.7 trillion (Rs81.94 trillion ) for roads, utilities, railways and other large projects in the next decade to boost growth, Goldman Sachs said on 16 September.

Tube Investments may spend about Rs140 crore this year to boost production capacity, which doesn’t including buying companies, Ramkumar said.

“The budget for acquisitions will be known when we decide. We have scope for leverage without fuss," Ramkumar said. “We are looking at options in all areas." He declined to say whether Tube Investments is in negotiations to buy any companies.

Shares in Tube Investments, have more than doubled this year, compared with an 80% increase in the Bombay Stock Exchange BSE 500 index. Toyota Motor Corp. bought a 1.5% stake in the company on 14 September, according to Bombay Stock Exchange data.

“Business has been better than our expectations in the first and the second quarters," Ramkumar said. “If the current trend continues over the next two quarters, this could well be one of our best years."

He declined to forecast sales or profit growth in the 12 months ending 31 March.

Tube Investments, which gets almost half of its income from bicycles, parts and electronic scooters and about a quarter from formed metal products, including doorsfor Tata Motors Ltd’s Nano, won’t be expanding in the automotive sector, Ramkumar said.

“It is going to be more of the non-auto sector that will drive growth," he said. “Auto companies want more for less all the time. Over the next two to three years, we’d like to reduce it by 10% to 15%."

Tube Investments is part of the Murugappa group, a privately held investment company that has holdings in financial services, agro-industry and other businesses.