Domestic tyre major Apollo Tyres will set up a new factory in Eastern Europe with an investment of ¤200 million (Rs 1,320 crore) as it tries to realise its aim of breaking into the league of the world's top 10 tyre manufacturers with a turnover of $6billion (Rs 30,000 crore) before the turn of this decade.
Apollo is also planning to launch the Vredestein brand in India by the middle of this year. Vredestein is a Dutch tyre firm that was acquired by Apollo in 2009. Piggybacking on Vredestein's infrastructure in Europe, Apollo launched its own brand of tyres in Europe in the middle of 2010.
"Our broad plan is to make all our brands visible around the world and we are on our way to achieving that," said Neeraj Kanwar, vice chairman and managing director, Apollo Tyres. "The Apollo brand is now available in four countries in Europe and by the end of this year we will be present in three more countries. Similarly, Vredestein would debut in India by the middle of this year."
Other markets where the company sees good growth are in South East Asia and Latin America. It is however staying away from the two biggest auto markets - US and China.
"South East Asia and Brazil are the other regions that we need to enter if we are to achieve the $6 billion revenue mark," Kanwar said. "Vredestein is present in a very small way in US and we are not looking at expanding it. It is a very tough and expensive market with wafer thin margins. I also do not want to enter China now as it is very crowded. One day I would need to answer the call of China but that will only be later."
Currently, 60% of Apollo's $2 billion (Rs 10,000 crore) revenues come from India, but the company expects that to be reversed by the end of this decade.
(The writer's travel and stay were sponsored by Tata Motors.)