SKF opens global testing centre in City

SKF opens global testing centre in City

Briefing reporters, Group President & CEO Tom Johnstone said the company, in the first phase would be investing Rs 10 crore and scale up the same to Rs 30 crore over a period during which time a Laboratory and Engineering Development Centre would also come up boasting a staff strength of 100-130.

The Centre would initially be engaged in catering to SKF’s two-wheeler, automotive and sealing solutions businesses, and subsequently span out to encompass the industrial segment as well. It will also cater to testing value-added solutions that integrate SKF’s five technology platforms.  Stating that India, China and Indonesia were “major markets for SKF” in the Asia Pacific rim, Johnstone said 51 per cent of SKF Group’s turnover comes from Europe, while Asia Pacific accounted for 19 per cent out of which India contributed 5 per cent.

Two new factories

Further, emphasising the importance of India in SKF’s strategic business initiative, he said, the group, which has five manufacturing facilities in India, is opening two more, one at Ahmedabad and Haridwar, with an investment of Rs 250 crore and Rs 170 crore respectively. The two factories will become operational by first quarter of 2010.

SKF, which began India operations in 1923 and in Bangalore in 1999, clocked a turnover of Rs 1,700 crore last year. With a workforce of 2,350 employees, SKF has 13,000 retailers spread over 340 locations.

Pointing out SKF, realising the importance of investing in new businesses and new segments, has invested US$3.8 billion since 2003 in various businesses and has increased R&D spending by 30 per cent last year. “The group is also investing in solution factories. We’ve built seven such factories and will have 10 by the end of this year”, he added.

SKF India Limited Managing Director Rakesh Makhija said the group, including India, which witnessed a turbulent and difficult circumstances in 2008, saw its India operations record a 43 per cent dip in its net profit at Rs 63.22 crore for the January-September 2009 period as against Rs 111.36 crore recorded in the same period last year. Its net sales in this period was 12 per cent lower at at Rs 1,106.76 crore. Makhija said the company may not reach the 2008 net sales figure of Rs 1,700 crore.