BEL eyes global market to boost exports

Monday, 17 November 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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BANGALORE: India's leading defence public sector firm, Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), plans to boost exports by 10 times in the next three-four years and become globally competitive.

Outlining the new vision of the Bangalore-based company, BEL chairman and managing director Y. Gopala Rao said the company would enter into strategic alliances with its global partners.

"We plan to have 10 percent of our total revenue from exports.

"We are aiming at a 50 billion turnover by 2006-07 as against 25.71 billion during the fiscal 2002-03. To be a global firm, our thrust in the coming years will be on exports," Rao stated.

Though the five-decade-old company has been focusing on the domestic market, with over 70 percent of its business from the defence sector, the company plans to leverage its core competencies in radars, sonars and communication equipment for ramping up its exports in the global defence and civilian markets.

"Many of our strategic partners in Europe, Africa, the Commonwealth of Independent State (CIS) countries and the SAARC region have agreed to enter into marketing alliances with BEL to jointly promote our exports in their geographic regions."

The company plans to invest 1.5 billion annually in the next couple of years for upgrading its existing production facilities in nine centres located across the country.

"Apart from catering to the domestic market, mainly defence services, we are looking at new overseas markets in opto electronics, electronic warfare and civilian products, including electronic components."

Some of the company's partner industries in Sweden, Switzerland and Israel have come forward to set up joint ventures for boosting its exports in defence and communication equipment.

Currently, 60 percent of BEL exports go to the civilian sector and the rest to the defence sector.

In a specific instance, the company plans to extend its joint venture partnership with two Israeli technology firms - Elop and Elta - with which it makes thermal imagers (cameras) to improve night vision and flycatcher radars for border surveillance by the Indian Army to jointly promote these products in the global market.

In collaboration with other defence units such as the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Electronic Research Development Establishment (LRDE), the company has developed long-range and short-range battlefield radars and sonars to detect weapons and check intrusions. These products too have export potential.

As a major supplier of electronic voting machines along with the Hyderabad-based Electronics Corporation of India Ltd to the Election Commission, BEL has targeted countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia to export these machines in view of their success in India.

For the current fiscal (203-04), the company has set a revenue target of 27.50 billion against 25.71 billion in 2002-03.

The public listed company is also rightsizing its staff strength to achieve higher productivity.

Reviving the voluntary retirement scheme, BEL plans to reduce its total strength to 12,000 by 2006-07 from the current 13,300 employees.

Source: IANS
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