Kochi, Oct 12: Apollo Tyres Ltd is to invest Rs 175 crore in a 200-tonne per day greenfield plant, to be located at the Kerala Government-promoted Rubber Park at Irapuram in Ernakulam district, Group Chairman Onkar S Kanwar has said.
Addressing a press conference here last night, he said the group's PTL Enterprises (formerly Premier Tyres Ltd) plant at Kalmaserry in Kochi would be relocated to the Irapuram site.
The ground breaking ceremony for the Irapuram plant would take place today. The relocation would be completed in a phased manner in the next 12 to 15 months, he said.
Stating that the Kalmaserry plant was unable to grow at a healthy rate due to locational constraints, Mr Kanwar said the relocation would allow PTL Enterprises to increase its production from the current 90 tonnes per day (tpd) to 200 tpd.
Besides fresh investment of about Rs 175 crore in the Irapuram plant, to be located in a 23-acre area, the new venture would also double the revenue to the Union and State Governments from Rs 45 crore per year to Rs 100 crore once the plant was completed.
The company would manufacture passenger car radial and truck tyres at the new plant.
Mr Kanwar said one round of discussions had taken place with the employees and their response had been positive. The company proposed to hire another 500 employees in addition to the current worker strength of 1,300. To ensure a smooth transition, the employees would be given transportation facility to travel to the new site.
Stating that several manufacturing companies had exited from Kerala, he continued to be bullish about the State and was enthused by a change of attitude among the workers and the Government to industry.
Mr Kanwar said the group was mulling over other investment options for the Kalmaserry site, spread over 30 acres, once the plant relocation was completed. An IT park or a commercial centre in line with Government policies would be developed there.
The group was also thinking of putting up a healthcare facility tapping ayurveda and medical tourism at another six-acre plot owned by it at Kalmaserry.
Mr Kanwar said the Apollo Group was also setting up a 250 tpd greenfield project at a 130-acre site near Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
Stating that the rise in the price of natural rubber had ''squeezed the margins of tyre manufacturers tremendously'', he said the import duty on natural rubber should be brought down.