|Dhaka: Pran, one of the leading food processing companies in the country, wants to invest around Rs 300 crore (Tk450 crore) to set up five food processing plants in parts of India with a vision to stand up as a regional brand.|
Pran will raise a major portion of the fund by borrowing from Indian banks and financial institutions for establishing these factories in Tripura, Orissa and Tamil Nadu in the next five years, Deputy Managing Director of the company Ahsan Khan Chowdhury told The Daily Star yesterday.
“We look forward to becoming a regional brand to be accepted across the subcontinent. We feel our drive to set up factories in India will help our dream come true,” he said.
Chowdhury's remark came as Pran got go-ahead from the Indian government for its planned investment under Pran Agricultural Products (Pvt) Ltd.
The company early this year unveiled its plan to go beyond the border after India had lifted ban on investment from its neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh.
Pran, now exporting juice and other processed foods to India and 69 other countries, will be the first Bangladeshi company to invest in India.
The company officials said construction of the first plant will begin in October 2008 at an industrial estate in Agartala, capital of Tripura. Tripura is one of the seven states of the north-eastern India. The cost for establishing the plant has been estimated at Rs 25 crore (Tk 37 crore), Chowdhury said, adding that the plant will mainly process fruit juice and food products to cater to the need of the local Indian market.”
Pran officials said the company had chosen Tripura due to its closeness to Bangladesh. Similar lifestyle and culture of people of Bangladesh and these parts of India encouraged the local food conglomerate to select Agartala.
India also offers various incentives such as 10-year tax holiday, land at subsidised price and subsidy on cost of transportation of raw materials and equipment that have also encouraged the company to invest in India, said Chowdhury.
The Pran DMD said the company is investing in India with an aim to localise its products and stay close to the local people.
“India is a very good place for us because of its huge market. Its economic growth is also creating more market opportunities. If we can catch Indian market, we will be able to grow an immense potential,” he said.
Pran recorded combined sales of over Tk 450 crore during the financial year that ended on June 30, 2007.