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Berger Paints discovers the charm of Kashmir

Calcutta, June 5: Berger Paints has joined the bandwagon of investors who are coming to Jammu and Kashmir, enthused by the thaw in the relations between India and Pakistan over the strife-torn valley.

Berger, which has been operating out of Calcutta for over 75 years, is setting up a plant in the special economic zone (SEZ) near Jammu, a senior official of the company said.

The company has already acquired a 10-acre plot and will be setting up a plant at a cost of Rs 20 crore over the next one-and-half years.

Explaining the decision to set up a plant near Jammu, Subir Bose, managing director of Berger, said, “The state offers fantastic incentives to greenfield ventures in the form of exemption in duties.

“Jammu’s sops are significantly better than other states including Bengal. Land, too, is being offered at a very reasonable price.”

However, employees of the company are quite concerned about security. They have started talking to National Insurance — the country’s second largest general insurance company — for a comprehensive cover.

National Insurance officials reassured Berger employees that Jammu was relatively safer than other regions of the state.

Mufti Mohammad Syed’s gain is Buddhadeb Bhattacharya’s loss. Why didn’t Berger choose Bengal, which is rolling out a red carpet for investors, to set up its fifth plant'

“We are certainly committed to Bengal. Not only do we operate out of Calcutta we have scaled up our operations in Rishra.

“We chose to set up our fifth plant near Jammu because of strategic advantages in distribution,” Bose explained.

Berger had acquired the factory in Rishra from ICI India. It produces industrial paints and employs around 100 people.

Although Berger has operated out of Calcutta, its promoters, the Dhingra family, live in Delhi.

Besides the plant in Rishra, the company has three other manufacturing facilities — in Goa, Pondicherry and Vallabh Vidyanagar.

Berger has been looking to grow through acquisitions. It tried to acquire Snowcem but the deal fell through as the two companies could not agree on a price.

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