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Samsonite Aims At 15% Of Sales From India

The US-based $900-million luggage manufacturer Sam-sonite Corpo-ration has targeted to achieve 15 per cent of its world-wide sales from the Indian operations alone over the next five years. The company has drawn up a Rs 100-crore investment plan for Samsonite India, its Indian subsidiary, by year 2001.

This was disclosed by Karlheinz Tretter, president and managing director, Samsonite Europe and Asia, at a press conference here yesterday.

Tretter said that India has been chosen as an important manufacturing base to export Samsonite products to neighbouring countries and middle-east countries, in addition to the large domestic market. Samsonite Corporation hopes to be the market leader in the country by 2001 through Samsonite India - a 60-40 JV between Samsonite and Tainwala group of companies.

Of the Rs 100 crore planned for India, Rs 80 crore has already been invested to set up a plant in Nashik which began production yesterday.

The investment has been financed through a combination of debt and equity of Rs 40 crore each.

Samsonite plans to double the manufacturing capacity of its Nashik plant from the existing 0.5 million per annum to one million per annum shortly.

Samsonite executives said that they are flexible about their investment plans and will react to the events as they develop. "We will try to respond to the market situation. If investment is based on good returns we will go for further investment," Tretter said.

The range of products to be manufactured at the Nashik plant will be expanded three-fold as well once the company received favourable feedback from the market to its current range. The Nashik plant has so far come out with 57 products.

The Nashik plant uses 80 per cent components from indigenous sources for a few products and localisation is expected to be extended to other products.

To create a distinct niche for products, Samsonite India is banking on its slogan of "world class quality at affordable prices".

Samsonite India has so far made 500 dealers across the country, which they claim, capture 80 per cent of the total organised luggage market in the country.

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First Published: Fri, April 10 1998. 00:00 IST