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Bata plans to tap defence market

business Updated: May 26, 2009 23:07 IST
Jaidev Majumdar
Jaidev Majumdar
Hindustan Times
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Having forayed into making safety shoes for industry use, footwear major Bata India is now planning to tap the defence and paramilitary sectors with custom made shoes.

Bata India estimates that the overall size for the defence and paramilitary forces to be in the region of 12 million (based on the assumption that 3 million personnel use four pairs of shoes in a year). The company has put in place a dedicated team to secure contracts.

Bata India non-executive chairman PM Sinha said Bata is a major shoe supplier to the Chilean forces and there is a huge potential in replicating that success in India as well. “We feel that defence and a deeper penetration into the rural markets will propel Bata’s growth in India,” Sinha said on Tuesday.

Sinha added that Bata has already made successful inroads into the construction, cement, mining, airlines

and hospitals segment with safety shoes.

Currently, all the shoes used by defence and paramilitary forces are made locally. Bata has recently installed state-of-the-art machines for manufacturing such shoes at the Batanagar plant near Kolkata.

Bata India is also planning to open 65 to 70 stores and re-model 30-odd stores in a year. With 1,250 outlets and a 33 per cent marketshare in the retail segment, the company has come into the black since 2004.