South Korean conglomerate to set up shop in Kerala

Monday, 24 February 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A South Korean conglomerate plans to set up shop in Kerala to manufacture products ranging from pharmaceuticals to electronic goods.

A South Korean delegation that is touring the state Sunday announced its decision to develop an industrial enclave on a 100 acre plot in the state.

"We are here for the fourth time in the last one year. We plan to set up units to manufacture products such as pharmaceuticals, white goods (like refrigerators) and electronics products for export as well as for domestic consumption," said Park Chan Dong, director general of South Korea's Small and Medium Industry Association.

Also planned is a JV with the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA) to look after liaison and recruitments.

Dong, who also is the chairman of the Sigma Group of companies, attended the Global Investors Meet (GIM) at Kochi last month and had expressed interest in investing in the state.

Kerala industries secretary P.H. Kurian said there had been considerable developments since the first visit of the Korean delegation.

A team of experts accompanied the Koreans this time and one of their main objectives was to conclude an agreement with the Cochin Port Trust to set up a ship repair unit under on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis.

"We expect to advance on this ship repair unit as we are conducting crucial talks with the Cochin Port Trust authorities," said Lee Bin, a naval architect from South Korea who is here to conduct a feasibility study.

"We also propose to set up a captive power generation plant. If everything goes well, we could set up this unit in two years," said Lee.

The industries secretary held the seriousness of the delegation could be gauged from the fact that they have decided to send two South Korean students to study naval architecture in Cochin.

Said Kurian: "One reason we are positive of South Korean investment in the state is that currently the cost of production, especially the labour costs, have shot up in South Korea. What they are doing there for $500 could be done with $100 here."

"The joint venture is expected to fill up the gaps and it would help for a smoother functioning of establishing Korean companies here," said Kinfra MD C.G. Gopala.
Source: IANS
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