Dunlop To Shut Unviable Sections

Kolkata, Sept 29 | Updated: Sep 30 2004, 05:30am hrs
Dunlop India Ltd is betting on its Ambattur unit in Tamil Nadu for its revival and the management is hopeful of commencing operations "at the earliest."

Although the company has not decided on a time period that they are looking at for resuming operations, the management and the workers union at Ambattur have renewed their earlier agreement for starting operations.

Dunlop was maintaining a small team of technical and commercial personnel and would increase the teams strength once it was ready to commence operation, said the companys whole-time director, P Balakrishnan, at its 77th annual general meeting (AGM) here Wednesday.

Dunlop, the erstwhile tyre major, was planning to close down its unviable sections for revival, Mr Balakrishnan, who chaired the AGM, said. "We will operate only the profitable ones," he said. For commencing operation in the Ambattur unit, Dunlop needs Rs 15 crore.

There was, however, no mention of the Sahagunj unit in Mr Balakrishnans speech. On queries from shareholders, he said the management was holding talks with the union but no agreement has been arrived at. "It (Sahagunj) is a much older plant and the problems are aging equipment and the large number of workers. We are looking at downsizing the staff strength," he told shareholders. The unit employs around 3,000 workers, which, according to Mr Balakrishnan, is "double the required size."

Dunlop, the only tyre company to produce aircraft tyres in India, is now back in the black with a Rs 32.7-crore profit after a gap of six years. This is due to a Rs 73-crore exceptional income, on account of the write-back of liabilities/provisions. The company had used the proceeds of its non-performing assets sale towards paying the dues to financial institutions and banks and this helped the write-back of provisions.

Depositors Fate Unknown
Even though Dunlop reduced its liabilities by paying its dues to the banks and financial institutions, the fate of a large number of depositors is still hanging in the balance. This is due to the non-clearance of the draft rehabilitation scheme (DRS) by the Appellate Authority for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction (AAIFR).

There has been no hearing at AAIFR due to absence of a constituted bench from June 2003 to March 2004. The next date of hearing is on October 11, 2004.