The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hitachi Home to rejig stake

New Delhi, March 6: Hitachi Home and Life Solutions of Japan is planning to raise its stake in the Indian arm from 54.6 per cent to 70 per cent through a rights issue likely to be floated in June.

Hitachi Home Life’s calculation is based on the fact that ICICI Bank, which holds a 16.4 per cent stake in the company, won’t subscribe to the rights issue. It is because ICICI Bank had got the stake by default. The Sanjay Lalbhai group, which once partnered Hitachi in the company, had stumped up a part of its 35 per cent stake in the company with ICICI Bank as a collateral against a loan on which it defaulted.

Last December, the Lalbhais sold their remaining stake in the venture to Hitachi and pulled out after Sebi ruled that they would have to make an open offer if they (the Lalbhais) bought back the stake from ICICI Bank.

The remaining 29 per cent stake is with the public.

Last year, Foreign Investment Promotion Board permitted Hitachi to raise its stake in the venture — Amtrex Hitachi Appliances Ltd, which has since been renamed as Hitachi Home and Life India (HHLI) — to 74 per cent.

Addressing a press conference, Shoji Tsubokuta, managing director of HHLI outlined the company’s plans for this year. “We will start assembling air-conditioners in our plant in Jammu from next quarter,” he said. It is investing around Rs 1 crore in the plant in order to assemble 50,000 units a year.

The company is also planning to pass on to the consumers the benefit of reduction in excise duty from 16 per cent to 8 per cent announced in the budget. The price cut on various models will range from Rs 750 to Rs 1,500, said Anil Gupta, vice president-marketing and business strategy, HHLI.

The company today launched its range of window and split air-conditioners in India under the brand Logicool Mu. The window AC will cost Rs 24,000, while the split AC is priced at Rs 40,000. Hitachi’s range for 2003 includes 17 new split and window models. These will include eight new models of Logicool Mu, five split and three window ACs, and nine Big Flo models (three window and six split ACs) in capacities from 0.75 tonne to 4 tonne.

Logicool Mu will offer auto climate technology providing intelligent environment control based on the geographical location, weather condition and time of the day.

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