The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dunlop hopes to roll with property sale

Mumbai, March 12: Dunlop India will put prime properties in Goa and Pune on the block to start rolling again.

The tyre maker, struggling to resume work at one of its units at Ambattur in Tamil Nadu, is now on course for a scheme of rehabilitation proposed under the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provision) Act, 1985.

The Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) has appointed an asset-sale committee to oversee property disposals, which will help the company dredge up enough funds for a revival.

One piece of real estate that will attract buyers’ attention is a prime land in Goa, near Margao in Taluka Salset, spread across more than 2,40,000 square metres. Also on the sale-list is 43,560 sq. feet of commercial land in Pune’s Shivaji Park, off Mumbai-Pune road.

Moves to sell estates come amid reports that the Jumbo group of companies, promoted by the Chhabria family, has decided to pump in around Rs 20 crore to start the operations of Dunlop’s Ambattur factory, near Chennai. The money will flow in once Appellate Authority for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction clears the management’s draft rehabilitation scheme (DRS).

The funds will be used as initial working capital to get the company, which has been under the BIFR for five years, get back on its feet. The sense is that the first trickle of cash will go into resuming work at Ambattur, where trade unions had agreed to support the management in implementing the rehabilitation plan.

The plant, with a capacity of 100 tonnes per day, ran into working capital constraints before high cost of operations led to its closure in 1998 — the year Dunlop itself was declared sick. The blueprint for a recovery was submitted for the consideration of BIFR then.

Earlier, holding operations — a scaled-down shift in which only key installations are kept running — were suspended in April 2001 following a cash crunch, even as the fate of the turnaround plan hung in balance. Work at Sahagunj, Dunlop’s plant in Bengal, has also stopped.

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