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P M Sinha appointed Bata chairman

17-April-2004
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P M Sinha appointed Bata chairman

Bata India has inducted P M Sinha, former CEO of Pepsi Cola International South Asia, its chairman on Friday in a move to reiterate its plan of transforming itself from a manufacturing firm to a marketing one.

To achieve further efficiency in its logistics chain, the company yesterday launched an initiative to revamp its image and operations.

As part of this, it would develop a state-of-the art integrated retail management system in partnership in Infosys, said Thomas G Bata, grandson of the founder chairman of Bata Shoe Organisation and chairman of BSO, the parent of Bata India.

While dismissing plans for recapitalisation of the loss-making Indian operations or a buy-back of its shares, Bata said funds were not a problem for Bata India. The company had raised $7.5 million recently, he added.

In a parallel development, the company today announced a joint venture to develop a township on a 264-acres land at Batanagar, 20 kms away from the city where the oldest and largest factory of the company is located.

The company did not comment on how the project which proposed to set up a township including hospital, schools and a stadium would prop up the its bottomline besides that the land was valued at Rs 264 crore two years ago and would be revalued now.

The estimated cost of the real estate development, excluding the cost of the land, is pegged at Rs 1,000 crore. It would be the largest in the state after the government’s Rajarhat township project.

Sources in Calcutta Metropolitan Group Ltd, the joint venture partner of the proposed township project, said the venture would 3-4 years to complete after the clearance of the government.

Since the land was allotted for industrial promotion, it required special permission from the government which was unlikely to give go-ahead as the issue might gain importance in the backdrop of the ensuing general elections. The Batanagar factory is built on 303 acre land.

Both the decisions were made public after a board meeting which was also attended by Bata. Meanwhile Sinha today took over from Constantin Salameh, the acting chairman.

Salameh will continue as a member of the board. A member of the Bata global board, he said Bata would invest around Rs 12 crore to do up its stores in India this year.

P M Sinha told the media that his task ahead would to negotiate the challenges of a competitive environment and the changing consumer preference. He said he would help the company reposition itself as a market driven fashion conscious lifestyle company.

Bata said the company would intend to invest in development of production facilities from the proper utilisation of utilised assets and a ploughing back a part of its profit.

However, he, could not provide any numbers on the proposed investment.

Bata clarified that the company would not shut down any of the production facilties in the process of fund collection.” We have changed production lines in all our production facilities. We are now concentrating on assembling components supplied by outsiders,” he clarified.

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