BARODA, India (Jan. 26, 2006) — Apollo Tyres Ltd. is adding radial truck and bus tire capacity at its Limbda tire plant in Baroda, going ahead with a project that initially was supposed to be part of a joint venture with Group Michelin.
Apollo, the No. 2 tire maker in India and No. 16 globally, has budgeted $9 million for the project, which is expected to yield capacity of 400 units a day and generate $90 million in additional revenue annually. Initial production is expected by October and commercial-scale output by early 2007.
The Indian truck tire market is still about 98-percent bias-ply, according to Neeraj R.S. Kanwar, chief operating officer, who added, “Even though the market segment is still very small, we feel Apollo needs to be present in this segment to retain its leadership position across all categories.”
Michelin and Apollo had formed a venture in 2003 to make radial truck and bus tires, but Michelin took over full control of the venture last summer and put the project on hold, citing the slow transition to radials in India as the reason.
Apollo said it has invested nearly $90 million in the past 18 months in various radial projects.