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Eveready weighs recharge options

Calcutta, March 14: Eveready Industries India Limited (EIIL) may enter into a joint venture with GP Batteries International of Hong Kong to manufacture rechargeable batteries.

At present, EIIL is importing rechargeable batteries from the Hong Kong-based company and marketing them in India.

EIIL director Aniruddha Roy said, 'We are open to the idea of floating a joint venture with our importer once we taste success in the rechargeable battery business.'

However, he refused to name their importer as the confidentiality clause does not allow EIIL to do so.

GP Batteries International is engaged in developing, manufacturing and marketing batteries and battery-related products.

Since its establishment under the Gold Peak Group in Hong Kong, GP Batteries has rapidly expanded to become one of the world's major suppliers of primary and rechargeable batteries. Today, the GP Batteries group is the largest consumer battery manufacturer in China.

GP Batteries' major production facilities are located in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and Denmark. These are supported by marketing and trading offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Poland, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Sweden, the UK, Canada and the US.

EIIL has tied up with GP Batteries to launch the advanced form of rechargeable battery to brace itself for growing demand in the country as well as to take on cheap imports from China.

EIIL today announced the launch of nickel metal hydride (NIMH)), an advanced form of rechargeable battery, which is claimed to be three times more powerful than the normal rechargeable nickel cadmium (NICD) batteries.

Announcing the launch, the company's rechargeable business senior executive Saurav Z. Medhi said it was aimed at capturing the rapidly growing rechargeable battery market following the growing usage of electronics gadgets.

EIIL will import the battery as well as the charger from GP Batteries. Eveready Recharge 2100 series batteries will be initially available in a pack of two AA or pencil batteries at Rs 250. Eveready recharge 2100 series combo-pack of a charger and four AA batteries will be available for Rs 950.

EIIL controls 40-45 per cent of the 7-million unit rechargeable battery market and the company is confident of further increasing its share with the launch of the product.

Subir Chaki, vice-president (manufacturing), said Eveready was the only organised player in this segment and competition was mainly from cheap Chinese imports.

This type of rechargeable battery provided the longest operating time and was best suited for new-age high-power drain electronic devices like digital cameras, portable CD/DVD/MP3 players and electronic toys.

The BM Khaitan-controlled Eveready, which has dominated the Indian market since 1905, already controls 46.5 per cent of the carbon zinc battery segment and 85 per cent of the torch and flashlight segment.

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