Universal Empire firms up Rs 1750 cr investment plans

Kochi, March 29 | Updated: Mar 30 2006, 05:55am hrs
Pioneer in medical education and healthcare Universal Empire group, is to make a foray into the infrastructure segment with an investment of Rs 1,750 crore in various projects. Company chairman and managing director K Balachandran Nair said the company would be investing Rs 150 crore to set up the first dedicated airline service for the North-East. It had set up a company, Surya Airline, for this and had tied up with Buddha Air of Nepal and would acquire five 19-seater fixed wing pressurized aircraft to connect the North-East town and also with Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal.

The airline was expected to start operations by this October. In the second phase, the proposal was to run the airline in the West and then in the South. As per the study done, the company expected to generate an annual turnover of Rs 38 crore. The other major project was a knowledge hub and global university for which it had acquired land in Panaji.

This Rs 1,000-crore international destination for higher education would be a one-stop-shop for all educational and business needs involving various universities and R&D setups of companies, Mr Nair said.

The company was also planning to set up medical colleges and healthcare facilities across the country and proposed to take up the venture on a public-private partnership on an investment of Rs 300 crore.

Universal had identified Alappuzha for setting up a mega tourism project on an investment of Rs 300 crore with eco-resorts, a convention centre and making it a caravan tourism hub. The project would showcase Keralas cultural heritage and the best of tourism products.

The group was also in talks with the Arunachal Pradesh government to set up a hydroelectric project there and was expected to submit the expression of interest and site finalisation soon.

About the raising of the funds for such mega investments, Mr Nair said talks were held with investors abroad and hoped that like-minded investors across the country would join the group in such ventures.