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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Panasonic to make India manufacturing hub; to start exports

PTI  New Delhi, September 30, 2012
First Published: 15:20 IST(30/9/2012) | Last Updated: 15:26 IST(30/9/2012)

Japanese consumer electronics major Panasonic will start exports of home appliances from India as part of plans to make the country a manufacturing hub and the first shipment is likely by 2014-15.

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The company's production in India will get a boost with the commissioning of the $200 million facility at Jhajjar in Haryana by December 2012.

"We will focus on India as a manufacturing base. We are seriously considering to start exports from India and at present studying various markets around the world that are suitable for products manufactured here," Panasonic India vice president and Board Member Yutaka Suzuki told PTI.

Once the company operationalises and commissions the upcoming Jhajjar plant, it will consider expanding the reach of its products to other countries as well, he added.

"We are looking for similar markets like Africa and Middle East. We have not finalised the products that will be exported, but it is likely to start with air conditioners and washing machines," Suzuki said.

He declined to specify any timeframe for commencing exports from India.

However, a source close to the development said the company will take some time to meet the requirement of Indian market and shipment for other nations "will begin by the end of 2014-15 financial year".

Last week, Panasonic India managing director (Global Consumer Marketing Sector) Manish Sharma had said the company is looking to locally produce all home appliances by 2015 that are sold in India.

After the Jhajjar plant gets operationalised by December 2012, it will start with production with air-conditioners and washing machines. Within one year, the company plans to roll out refrigerators and microwaves from there.

The production capacity of air conditioners will be 10 lakh units annually, while for washing machines it will be three lakh units.

Panasonic India currently manufactures LCD panels at its Noida facility and automatic rice cookers at its Chennai plant. The Noida plant has a capacity of six lakh units per annum and it will be expanded to 10 lakh units next year, Sharma had said.

Besides, the company is looking to produce plasma and large TV sets, which are imported from Thailand, in India by 2015, he had said.

The company, which had last week launched water and air purifiers, will start assembling these products through a contract manufacturing agreement with Ion Exchange after initial six months of import from Japan.

Panasonic had said it is targeting an over two-fold jump in revenue to Rs. 12,500 crore from its consumer durables business in India by 2015 as part of an overall plan to become a Rs. 25,000 crore business entity in the country.

In the last fiscal, the consumer durables division had a revenue of Rs. 3,200 crore. This fiscal it is targeting Rs. 5,500 crore.

In India, Panasonic has business in other segments such as dry cell batteries, carbon rods, industrial devices and automotive systems.

The company is also investing around $300 million on advertising, marketing and other promotional activities by March 2015.

At present, the company has 6,000 retail outlets across India and 1,300 after sales service centres.


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