T Murrali

OBO Bettermann India Private Limited (OBIPL) has inaugurated its maiden manufacturing and testing facility recently in Oragadam about 40 km south west of Chennai, to make cable management systems for industrial applications and construction industry. This will help create a safe manufacturing plant for different industrial segments including automotive.

The Managing Director of OBIPL, S Gopakumar said the company so far has invested 10 million Euro (approx. Rs 80 crore) in this facility. With a manufacturing base in India, the company aims to cater to the domestic market as well as exports with initial destinations being Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Middle-East. Further investments are under finalisation which will enhance the total investment to 25 million Euro by 2017.

With its headquarters in Menden, Germany, the family owned business -OBO Bettermann has a legacy of 103 years and is a premium provider of cable management and protection systems for all kinds of electro-mechanical installations. The company that won the Best Employer award three years ago from the German government, offers 30,000 products under 7 product lines such as VBS -Connection and Fastening Systems, TBS – Transient and Lightning Protection System, KTS – Cable Support Systems, BSS – Fire Protection Systems, LFS – Cable Routing Systems, EGS – Device Systems and UFS – Underfloor Systems. The Indian arm, which is a 76:24 joint venture between OBO Bettermann GmbH and Gopakumar family, will make all product lines in KTS and UFS divisions and some products in VBS and TBS divisions. Overall it hopes to make about 3,000 different components including about 500 parts in cable management systems, Gopakumar said.

This new facility will provide employment opportunities for more than 230 people (direct 80 and indirect 150). According to Gopakumar the company hopes to register a turnover of Rs 30 crore during the current calendar year and double it in the next year. In the first year the company will depend on contract manufacturing and towards this it has already developed several vendors in and around Chennai. “We have a business strategy in place to boost our revenues to 10 million Euro by 2015 and 25 million Euro by 2020. This will be possible only by strengthening our presence across India by empowering our customers, dealers and suppliers. In line with the global strategy of creating localized products, the company is planning to create a modern R&D and testing centre in the near future,” he said.

The CEO and Executive VP Sales ( Marketing & Innovation) of OBO Bettermann GmbH, Andreas Bettermann said the company globally employs about 3,000 people, working in 40 subsidiary companies across 60 countries generating an annual turnover of EUR 500 million. It has production facilities in Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil and South Africa.

The German company commenced its India operations in 2008 supporting the customers by importing parts from locations beyond boundaries. According to Bettermann the Indian arm has already catered to the requirements of the manufacturing plants of Daimler India Commercial Vehicles in Chennai and Volkswagen India in Pune. It is currently executing the cable management systems for Maruti’s upcoming plant in Gujarat, through construction contractors. Besides, it has also catered to several auto components manufacturers including Bosch.

German Companies in India

Germany has been the 8th most important investing country for India since liberalisation. During April 2011 to March 2012, investments inflows from Germany soared by 117% over the previous year to reach a figure of USD 1.6 billion. This has improved Germany’s position to 5th largest investor. FDI inflows from the country since August 1991 to March 2012 is an estimated 5.3 billion USD. (2.9% of the total investment inflow into India.) There are over 1,500 German Companies in India of which nearly 120 are large companies. About 800 new companies mostly from Mittelstand – micro, small and medium enterprises, have come to India in last

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