April 19, 2005 | The Financial Express

Taco to buy European firm by July

Tata AutoComp Systems (Taco) will acuire a small to medium size auto component manufacturer in Europe by July, said Taco managing director DS Gupta. “We have been scouting for companies in the $50-500 million range for acquisition in Korea, the US and Europe. We expect to clinch the deal in three months,” he said, refusing to give further details. He was speaking at the sidelines of a conference to announce Taco’s joint venture with MobiApps to provide flee management solutions.

A major focus area for the company is export income. “We are on target to become a $1 billion company by 2010. At that time, we want exports to constitute 50% of our revenues,” Mr Gupta said. Taco recorded $360 million turnover in 2003-04. It expects to post $500 million sales for 2004-05. At present, exports account for 15% of its total revenues.

For achieving this growth, we plan to focus on the electronics segment, apart from interiors, where we have a strong base, Mr Gupta said. Till now, almost all our revenues was coming from the interiors segment. But electronics is the fastest growing segment in the auto component sector, he added. Industry sources estimate that in value terms, the consumption of electronics has increased from $1,430 per car to $2,880 per car by 2010.

The foray into the fleet management solutions business is a first step into a electronics related business for Taco. The JV company, in which Taco has a 58% stake, will develop and retail vehicle tracking systems based on GPS (global positioning system) to OEM and retail markets. The company is, however, unlikely to venture into the electronics business with a partner.

“We want to be global players. A joint venture, though it does bring in technology, has its limitations in terms of expansion for us. We have lined up plans for setting up our own research and development facility,” he added.