Ashok Leyland's UK arm Optare PLC to receive conditional offer fund from the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The money will be utilised to develop new products for export markets, said the company officials.
The Yorkshire-based bus maker Optare PLC said that is has received a conditional offer of funds from the fourth round of the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) which could be worth up to £1.5 million.
The RGF is provided through the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to support projects and programmes to create economic growth and sustain private sector employment.
Commenting on the conditional offer, Glenn Saint, Deputy Chief Executive, said that this conditional offer of fund is directly linked to our programme of developing new products for export markets.
“The funding, if received, will assist in our export sales drive through boosting our research and development capabilities, and is likely to lead to more jobs at our Sherburn plant and increased overall security for the business”.
Optare is one of 102 companies and intermediaries that have been selected to receive a conditional offer and which were whittled down from a list of 309 applications, said the company.
In recent years Optare has emerged as an innovator in the public transport sector through its development of ‘green’ technologies including alternative fuelled vehicles and all-electric buses. If the funding is received it will be used to continue its work in this area in which it has a market-leading position.
“ We’ve been very clear that our strategy is to use our market leading technology as a base for new products aimed at export markets in Europe and further afield. With the support of the global marketing resources of our parent company, Ashok Leyland, we can grow our export penetration thus lessening our dependence on the highly competitive British bus market,” said Saint.
It may be noted, Optare is one of the key acquisitions by Ashok Leyland to penetrate into European markets. In 2010 Ashok Leyland acquired 26% stake for around Rs 28 crore and in 2011 further it increased the stake in Opatre.
This acquisition was one of the key drivers to support its ambition of becoming top five bus companies in the World. Recently Ashok Leyland said it has become the fourth largest bus company in the World.