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Taco eyes overseas acquisition

New Delhi, April 18 (PTI): Tata Autocomp Systems Ltd (Taco) is close to buying a company in Europe, which would be its first acquisition outside India.

The company, which is eyeing to nearly treble its turnover to $1 billion by 2010, more than 50 per cent of it coming from foreign markets, is on the lookout for small and medium-level companies in the US and Korea as well as the European region.

'We are in an advanced stage of negotiation to acquire a company in Europe and the deal is expected to be sealed in the next three months,' Taco managing director D. S. Gupta said.

However, he refused to specify the area of operation of the company, which it was acquiring, and its size.

He said Taco was open to investing 'as much as is required' when it found the right opportunity in terms of acquisition, mainly in companies engaged in electronics and interiors. 'It can be a $50-million company or a $500 million. It has to suit our needs and requirements,' he added.

The company, which is eyeing a turnover of $500 million this fiscal against previous year's $360 million, has as many as 16 joint ventures manufacturing a range of automotive components at various locations in India. The partnerships, which involve equity participation and technology flow, are with companies in the US, Europe, Japan and Korea.

Gupta said, 'Exports contribute 15 per cent to our turnover and we hope that this would be over 50 per cent as we touch the billion-dollar mark.' The company's current customer list includes General Motors, Ford, and Toyota.

The company, which has 13 plants in India, will also invest to expand capacity. Gupta said it would also hire more engineers as it expands.

'Today we have 650 engineers who are working with global customers and this number will exceed 1,000 in the next two years,' he added.

Gupta said future acquisitions as well as partnerships would be in companies engaged in electronics. 'Interiors and electronics are our future growth areas,' he said.

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