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Kinetic Green plans to set up electric golf cart unit, battery swapping facility



Mumbai: EV maker Kinetic Green is looking to set up a manufacturing facility for electric golf carts besides a battery swapping unit at an investment of Rs 1,750 crore in Andhra Pradesh, a top company official said. Kinetic Green Energy & Power Solutions, which is a part of the Pune-based Kinetic Group, had in February 2018 announced setting up of a joint venture with Tonino Lamborghini in India for design and manufacture of premium segment golf carts and other electric off-road vehicles.

“We are exploring the possibility of setting up a unit in SEZ for the golf cart project. It is in the proposal phase. It is a combination of a unit in SEZ and we are also looking at investment in setting up battery swapping (infrastructure) to promote electric three-wheelers irrespective of the brand,” Kinetic Green founder and CEO Sulajja Firodia Motwani told in an interaction.

She said the company has submitted a proposal to the Andhra Pradesh government, and it is awaiting the government’s response.

Motwani said the two projects– setting up a manufacturing facility for electric golf carts and a battery swapping unit — entail an investment of Rs 1,750 crore.

“For Lamborghini , we are looking to set up a plant in SEZ because that will allow us to have an attractive export opportunity,” she said adding that separately, the company is looking at setting up a battery swapping unit for three-wheelers.

“We are looking at these opportunities as part of our proposal,” Motwani added.

She said Andhra Pradesh is the largest three-wheeler market in the country but only for the high-speed three-wheelers.

“There is no e-rickshaw market there. So, if you have to penetrate in the high-speed market you have to have battery swapping (facility) because then the vehicle becomes very attractive.”

Kinetic Green plans to set up the battery swapping infrastructure in the key cities of Andhra Pradesh so that three-wheelers can be sold in a large number, Motwani said.

“The network that we are looking at is not only for our three- wheelers but for any brand,” he added.

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Regulatory hurdles, valuation issues delays M&M’s exit from Ssangyong




Mumbai: Regulatory hurdles and valuation issues are hobbling a change of control in SsangYong Motors while Indian vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra is battling against time to revive the ailing Korean venture.

Informed sources said Mahindra wants to completely exit, while Haah wants to come in as a strategic investor. This has led to valuation issues with Haah Automotive and that has come in the way of concluding the stake sale as yet.

“We have not been able to agree to certain financial terms with Haah as yet,” said one person in the know.

The Mahindra Ssangyong combine may have to resort to a one-time write-off of foreign investment, which could run into regulatory hurdles, people in the know said.

“If the divestment of an overseas investment by an Indian company results in a write-off, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) permits such divestment only in limited circumstances,” says Sudip Mahapatra, partner at S&R Associates.

“Depending on the circumstances, RBI can grant exemption on a case-by-case basis. However, RBI might be concerned that such an exemption could set a precedent for other similar cases, Mahapatra added.

Mahindra currently owns 74.65% of cash trapped in Ssangyong. Samsung Securities and its global partner Rothschild have been brought on board to help find a suitor for SsangYong.

While negotiations are still going on, it is getting tougher with each passing day as bankruptcy is looming large on Ssangyong, said the person quoted above.

Currently, this is the only investor that Ssangyong is in discussions with and if this falls through, Ssangyong will have to go back to the drawing board and start to look for a new investor.

To sustain the operation, SsangYong Motor has managed to sell one of its service centres located in the Guro district in Seoul to an asset management company, PIA Investment Management.

Through this sale it raised close to $147 million for the Korean auto major that faces severe liquidity issues, according to reports in a section of Korean media.

Since July of 2020, SsangYong has witnessed month-on-month improvement in its sales, both in the domestic market as well as exports. In the first 10 months of 2020, the company had cumulative sales of about 85000 units with volumes down by about 24%.

The company was able to record sales increase for three consecutive quarters and delivered highest performance in Q3 thanks to diversified sales channel and non-face-to-face marketing and it is forecasting for a better Q4 both in terms of sales and profits on back of new models like Tivoli Air and All new Rexton.

SYMC was able to reduce its operating losses in Q3 with sales of 25,350 vehicles. The revenue for Q3 stood at 705.7 bn won, and operating loss at 93.2 bn won.

An email sent to Mahindra & Mahindra did not elicit any response.

Haah Automotive responded to an email query saying “We do not comment on rumours and speculation.”

With sales seeing some pick-up lately , Ssangyong is managing it’s working capital requirements in the interim. It’s in desperate need of funds to stay afloat after parent company Mahindra decided to let go of its control.

In September Haah Automotive made an “initial” offer of $258 million for a substantial stake in SsangYong Motors.

Mahindra paid Rs 2,100 crore ($463 million) for the purchase of the Korean car maker a decade ago and invested over $110 million.

Haah had also sought an extension of the loan repayments and their terms might not be acceptable to lenders.

Banks like JPMorgan, BNP Paribas, Bank of America, among others, have a 260 mn dollar (306 billion won) exposure.

Banking sources told ET that while the initial amount will be used to seek extension of SsangYong’s debt repayment, the lenders have made it clear that the incoming investor in the company will have to clear the dues upfront if Mahindra cedes control.

Haah Automotive Holdings, purchases various vehicle assemblies from Chery which, along with parts sourced in North America, are assembled in an American factory where the final vehicles are produced. These products are sold under the brand name VANTAS in North America. Informed sources say the aim is to close the deal as soon as possible so that vehicle exports to North America can start , allowing SsangYong Motor to make an inroad into the US market.

Mahindra’s board moved a special resolution at its AGM to reduce its shareholding in SsangYong to less than 50%, an indication of a new investor coming in rather than a complete sell out.

The board last April rejected a Rs 3300 crore turnaround plan for SsangYong, pushing the Korean car maker into deep financial distress.

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Omega Seiki plans to launch electric tractor, cargo pick-up truck as part of expansion plan




Omega Seiki Mobility aims to bring in multiple electric products including two-wheelers, a four-wheeler cargo vehicle and a tractor over the next two years, as per a top company official.

The company, which is a part of the Delhi-based Anglian Omega Group, also aims to set up manufacturing facilities across various parts of the country.

Omega Seiki already has multiple manufacturing sites in Delhi/NCR.

The company also plans to have around 200 dealerships across the country by the end of next year.

It has earmarked an initial investment of Rs 200 crore for the projects and going ahead aims to raise another Rs 1,000 crore in order to fund the expansion plans.

“We are going to have factories and we are going to line up the products, we are going to be non-stop from here till next few years,” Anglian Omega Group Chairman Uday Narang told PTI in an interview.

The company would consider taking various routes to raise required capital to fund various projects, he added.

“We will try a combination of various things which may include going public, private equity, green bonds etc,” Narang noted.

Elaborating on the product pipeline, Omega Seiki Mobility Managing Director Deb Mukherji said the electric two-wheelers for both passenger and cargo segments would be introduced around April next year, while the four-wheeler for cargo and tractor would make way around next 2021-end or early 2022.

Commenting on electric two-wheeler range, he said the vehicles would be powered by lithium ion batteries and would cater to last mile deliveries.

“These scooters are already in advanced stages of testing and trial stages,” Mukherji said.

The electric pick-up truck would come with two tonne payload and would cater to last mile cargo delivery, he added.

“The market is moving towards higher payload. With the development of highways like the Delhi-Mumbai corridor and other similar kinds of  projects, we see this is going to be a big driver of electrification in India particularly in logistics space as all along the highway there will be logistics hubs and warehouses,” Mukherji said.

The vehicle would be a great option to deliver cargo from such warehouses to city centres with its range of 200 kms in a single charge, he added.

Commenting on the electric tractor he said, the model would come with 30-40 HP power range and could be priced around Rs 10-12 lakh.

“We want to be the first mover in the electric tractor space  and solve the problems of farmers with smaller land holdings. Data shows 80 per cent of the farmers in the country hold less than an acre, so this is a huge market. The cost of preparing the land with diesel powered tractors costs Rs 150 to Rs 200 for an hour whereas our product would cost Rs 20-Rs 30 an hour,” Mukherji said.

He said the company is currently witnessing a significant demand coming up for electric three-wheelers in South India, primarily from e-commerce firms.

“We see around 40 per cent of the demand is being generated from there. So we are in an advanced stage of discussion with a possible partner for a facility there,” Mukherji said.

The company, which has recently set up dealerships in Hyderabad and Bengaluru, now plans to open 20 more outlets in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala by this year end.

“We aim to have around 200 dealerships across the country by the end of next year,” Narang said.

The company, which currently sells electric three-wheeler Rage, has also recently unveiled  three new products Sun Ri (three-wheeler cargo), Ride (E-rickshaw), and Stream (passenger auto-rickshaw) which it plans to commercially launch in March next year.

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COVID-19 has put the focus back on personal vehicles, pushed out shared mobility, says Motherson Sumi chairman




NEW DELHI: The coronavirus pandemic has clearly established the role of private vehicles, pushing out shared mobility in the process while also dampening the ‘whole excitement’ over electric vehicles, according to auto components major Motherson Sumi Systems Ltd Chairman Vivek Chaand Sehgal. Citing global experience of countries like China, Japan and South Korea, where there has been a spike in demand of personal vehicles when the countries re-opened after the COVID-19 induced restrictions, he exuded confidence that the conventional automotive industry has a bright future.

“One thing is certain that COVID-19 has clearly established the role of a private vehicle for daily usage. All those particular thoughts about shared vehicle and that’s going to be the future is all out of the window,” Sehgal told .

Stating that the demand for personal vehicles has has been “very very strong” after the reopening of the economies, he said, “We saw that in China (where) demand came back very strong. I think the same happened in Japan, the same happened Korea and as countries opened up, we could see there was a beeline for buying a vehicle because the space is very very important for you.”

Commenting on the impact that the pandemic has had on the automotive industry, Sehgal said, “I believe that a lot of clarity has been brought in, at least for the next two years.”

Also, he added, “I think the whole excitement about that the future is going to be the electric cars and things like that is also a bit toned down for the simple fact that to replace 1.4 billion cars in the world at one time it is a mammoth task.”

Observing that “a lot of the feeling of reality has set in and people have understood that”, Sehgal said going forward more focus is going to be given towards trying to expand fuel economy of vehicles, “and that I think will be more reasonable and doable in the next 10-15 years”.

On the road ahead for the automotive industry, he said, “I think there is a huge future. It is going to go very strong and (we are) looking forward to exciting times.”

Sehgal also said once the COVID-19 vaccine is found, it “will make people little bit more wanting to go out and that’s very important”.

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