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|September 12, 1997||
Bharti Telecom wins India's largest-ever phone orderBharti Telecom, the flagship company of Bharti Enterprises, has bagged orders for 1.25 million phones, worth Rs 500 million, from the Department of Telecommunications. The order, to be delivered by March 31, 1998, is the largest ever given to any Indian company.
Of this, 250,000 will be supplied by Bharti Telecom's 100 per cent subsidiary, Goa Telecommunications and Systems Limited, and the rest will come from Bharti's manufacturing facilities at Ludhiana, Punjab, and Gurgaon, near Delhi.
Bharti Telecom also announced a Rs 250-million expansion plan for its electronic push button phone manufacturing divisions. Bharti has invested Rs 32.5 million in increasing the production capacity of its two manufacturing facilities from 1.25 million units during 1996-97 to 2 million units in 1997-98. Another Rs 65 million will be invested in a phased manner to increase production capacity to 5 million units by 2000.
Bharti Telecom will also be setting up a 'Centre for Excellence' at Gurgaon with an investment of Rs 150 million. The centre will have a design department equipped with CAD/CAM facilities to undertake total product design. Product aesthetics issues would also be addressed there.
The centre, to go operational in October 1997, will be employing world-class 'surface mount technology' for the production of printed circuit board assemblies for all the telephone factories of Bharti. The CFE will be producing 5 million PCBs annually to meet Bharti's telephone manufacturing requirements.
Making the announcements at a press conference in the capital, Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and managing director, Bharti Enterprises, said "It is high time India became a major sourcing base for manufacture of telephones. The US is the largest market for any telephone exporter and currently over 75 per cent of the US' imports are from China. But several vendors in the US are now looking outside China in an effort not to lock themselves to one source."
"We offer a quality advantage over Chinese products as well as a better price - around $10 per unit, compared to $15 per unit for the Chinese telephones," he said.
Sunil Mittal added that the worldwide demand for telephones was about 140 million units per year. "Of this, about 60-70 million are the 'Mickey Mouse' type $4-5 phones where India is not competitive. Of the rest, about 50-60 million are the advanced feature phones where, again, India is not competitive due to lack of a good supply chain for critical components. What we are good at is making the 20-30 million basic push button phones and this is where we should concentrate."
Apart from exports to the US, Bharti Telecom is also exploring new markets in Europe and Africa. Bharti Enterprises has a strategic alliance with Siemens Telecom for the manufacture of telephones and a joint venture with Casio for radio paging products.
Bharti Telecom also announced the annual results for the 1996-97 which shows profit before tax at Rs 108.5 million, a growth of 13.08 per cent over 1995-96. The company registered a turnover of Rs 869.5 million for the 1996-97 and the board of directors have recommended a dividend of 22 per cent for the shareholders.
- Compiled from the Indian media
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