NEW DELHI -- India's Base Corp Ltd said on Monday it planned to set up an automotive battery plant in southern Karnataka state with the world's largest battery maker, a unit of Japan's Matsushita.
Girish Arora, Base's managing director, told a news conference the company along with Matsushita (Panasonic) Battery Company Ltd would invest about 1.0 billion rupees ($21.6 million) to set up the plant to make 1.2 million auto batteries a year.
The facility would most likely be set up in Hosur, close to India's software capital, Bangalore, and begin production in 2004.
"With that capacity we would be aiming for an 18-20 percent of India's organised automotive battery market," Arora told reporters on the sidelines of the news conference to launch Panasonic's maintenance free batteries.
Base currently imports batteries for sale in India but a 51 percent import duty makes its batteries too expensive for sale as original equipment to automakers. It only sells the Panasonic batteries in the replacement market.
Arora said the company expected sales of about 600 million rupees from automotive batteries in 2003/04 (April-March) that would give it about nine percent share of India's organised auto battery market of about 6.5 billion rupees.
The unorganized market, that comprises small companies selling unbranded products, is more than twice as large and estimated at 15 billion rupees a year, he added.
Calcutta-based Exide Industries Ltd. is India's top auto battery maker with a dominant market share of 70 percent.
Panasonic has an over 35 percent share of Japan's automotive battery market and is an original supplier to automakers like Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Honda and Isuzu, a company statement said.