The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bengal steps up Sony serenade

Calcutta, Sept. 20: The Bengal government has decided to work out a flexible incentive package to encourage Sony Corporation to set up its second unit in the state.

“I had a meeting with Jiro Aiko, senior managing director of Sony Corporation, on September 17. The firm has decided to set up its second factory in India, and Bengal is one of its favoured destinations,” West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) chairman Somnath Chatterjee told The Telegraph.

Sony entered India through Sony India, its 100 per cent subsidiary, in 1995. It has a production facility in Dharuhera, Haryana, which can manufacture two lakh audio equipment and three-lakh colour TVs. A software development centre is also planned at Bangalore.

Sony India has set sights on a 25 per cent growth in the current financial year, and a turnover of Rs 750 crore, up from Rs 600 crore in the previous year. Colour TV sales account for about 60 per cent of the company’s revenues.

“We are keen to bring in Sony. If it comes, it will be in electronics, not software. The Japanese have been favourably inclined to the state. We would like to do whatever we can. We are preparing our proposal and it will be sent soon, ” Chatterjee said.

The scheme offers customised incentives on investments of over Rs 25 crore. There are efforts to provide Sony with a package of good inducements.

Chatterjee, however, said the investment will not come in immediately. “Japanese investors are very cautious by nature. They will do a lot of survey before actually pouring in the money. There were several rounds of meeting with Mitsubishi Chemicals and the state government before they invested Rs 1,600 crore to set up the PTA plant at Haldia,” he added.

Companies like Marubeni and Mitsui showed interest in the state’s power and port sectors when chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee visited Japan early this year. Bengal, on its part, will make a strong pitch for Japanese investments when a delegation from that country comes to India in December.

“Ficci and Assocham will bring in a Japanese delegation. I have asked chambers to see that when the team comes certain projects can be discussed. We are in constant touch with Japanese investors. Earlier, Aiko had helped us a lot in attracting investors,” Chatterjee said.

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