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MKU forms new company to make armoured vehicles

Concord Safety Solutions on lookout for partners in India and abroad

Vijay Chawla  |  New Delhi/ Kanpur 

MKU has entered into a three-way partnership to create a new company Concord Safety Solutions (Pvt) Ltd, to produce lightweight armoured vehicles.
Besides MKU, the joint venture involves the Kanpur-based JN group, which has been a well-known auto-dealer in the city and the country's largest vehicle body builder, and an Israeli company, MDT Armor, a leader in armour design and integration. The concept is from MDT Armor and the composite materials are from MKU
MKU started from the lower end of technology and has consistently risen in technology scale and is now making high-tech products, for which very few vendors are available.
Neeraj Gupta, one of the three brothers running the company, said Concord combined extensive cutting-edge composite and component research with armour integration technology to design and fabricate customised armoured vehicle solutions.
It has various models that offering different levels of protection. All the three partners will have 33 per cent equity. The company is already looking for buyers in the India and outside.
MKU has reached the high note in a period of about twenty years. When the downfall of their parent company, Narayani Locks, left them with major financial losses, the family decided to go into fibreglass making.
Around that time the government had started enforcing rules for two-wheeler riders to wear helmets. Fibreglass helmets were the first product MKU made. Even when 16 were in the fray, they were able to make their mark in the market. They later diversified into steel helmets for the army and won a major army order in 1992-93 even though there were six competitors.
By mid 1990s, MKU had diversified into PT shoes, jungle boots, snow boots for the army. The company proved its mettle during the Kargil conflict.
At present, MKU makes helmets, ballistic jackets, armour plates, bomb blankets, composite ballistic panels, de-mining suits, camouflage nets, tents' canvas and rubber footwear.
Gupta said, "Our core strength lies in knowledge and expertise in providing extensive ballistic protection solutions against any perceived threat or application, be it from knives, handguns of the most modern lethal and modern weapons and ammunitions for individual or vehicle protection."
Production facilities are spread over seven factories, employing 1,100 people. In the past three years it has increased its exports from Rs 3 crore to Rs 25 crore in 2005.
Gupta claimed that MKU was one of the very few in the world, which had in-house capabilities to process both soft and hard armour under one roof. "This allows us to custom design protection solutions for all conceivable solutions for all its conceivable ballistic threats for individuals vehicle protection."
"A short cut to develop one's own technology is that there are people in the US and Europe who have the expertise, or the ideas to develop a specific product. We invite them to come and develop it over here, all at our expense. In case the product works out then they will get a certain amount of royalty. This has worked well for us and we have been able to win the confidence of various technology and product developers in the west. We have half a dozen such persons who are working with us," Gupta added.
Turnover of MKU's other arms, A R Thermosets, AR Polymers, Tirupati Equipment and MKU Pvt Ltd, has reached about Rs 150 crore.
These manufacture and supply chemicals, footwear, black boards, flush boards, and prefabricated huts. Other products of group are plywood, polymer modified bitumen, bitumen emulsion for roads, skid boards for para-dropping equipment etc, compressed wooden boards and particleboards.

First Published: Tue, May 02 2006. 00:00 IST