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ETA-Fujitsu venture launches General ACs

Our Bureau

CHENNAI, Sept. 19

ETA General Private Ltd, a technical joint venture of the ETA Ascon group and Fujitsu General of Japan, has set up a plant near Pondicherry to manufacture air-conditioners.

Initially, the company will assemble CKD kits of the General brand air-conditioners, and will ``aggressively pursue'' indigenisation in stages.

At present, Fujitsu does not have any equity stake in the company, but is in negotiations with ETA for a stake.

Officials of the company, at a press conference here on Tuesday, declined to give further details on this, saying negotiations were still on.

The plant in Pondicherry will initially produce 1,00,000 units per annum, but would eventually go upto 2,50,000 units.

The ETA group will invest Rs 60 crore in two phases of Rs 30 crore each in this venture, officials said. The first phase has already commenced.

Company officials estimate the size of the Indian market for air-conditioners, both split and window type, at 4,50,000 units per annum. This is said to be growing at 20 per cent per annum.

``Our target is to reach 10 per cent market-share in 2002 and 20 per cent in 2005,'' Mr C.R. Menon, Chief Executive Officer of the company, said at the press conference. He said he hoped the company would be able to sell 60,000 units in the first year.

The Pondicherry plant was inaugurated on Tuesday by Mr Tsuguo Yagi, President, Fujitsu General, Japan. He said the General brand was very popular in West Asia and in some European countries.

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