US mining equipment giant to set up shop in Bengal

By Sujoy Dhar, IANS

Kolkata : Bucyrus International, Inc., a world leader in the design and manufacture of mining equipment, is setting up its India operations headquarters here as the firm scouts for an abandoned facility in West Bengal to set up a $5 million manufacturing unit.

Support TwoCircles

"We have chosen Kolkata as our Indian headquarters of Bucyrus India Ltd, a 100 percent Indian subsidiary of the global company, for its geographical advantage since we can oversee countrywide operations from here and also support our facility at Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh. A manufacturing unit in the state is also under active consideration," Timothy W. Sullivan, president and CEO of Bucyrus International, told IANS in an interview.

"We plan to scale up the India operations in the next five years and make it a 500-employee company here, the second biggest overseas operation after Chile where we have 600 people. However, by the end of 2007 we will have four offices in India – the three other being in Singareni (Andhra Pradesh), Singrauli (MP) and Southeastern Coalfields (Chhattisgarh)," he said.

"We hope to make business worth $1 billion in the next 10 years. This is a conservative estimate," Sullivan said, while sharing the company's willingness to set up a $5 million manufacturing unit in West Bengal over a 120,000 square foot area.

"The Bengal unit if set up would supplement our facility in Bangalore where we work in collaboration with Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML).

"I have met West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya three months back during a visit and discussed the possibility of setting up a plant. We have to make sure, however, that it is a right move. I must say that the perception about Bengal is changing. A plant in Bengal at an abandoned facility is under our active consideration," Sullivan said.

"We had cursory look at some locations too," said the president of the Wisconsin-based company with an annual turnover of around $2 billion.

"I don't know much about the ongoing land controversy in Bengal but whatever we do would be after making sure that the everything is easy and free from disputes," he said.

Bucyrus, which has Coal India Ltd (CIL) as its largest client in India, plans to design and source parts and components from Kolkata that are required for the Indian mining industry as well as for their global requirements.

Sullivan, who flew to China from Kolkata Saturday, said: "Our market in China is very strong and moving faster but if India can offer good infrastructure and power there is huge potential in the country."

He said there is a trend globally for mining companies to partner with the supplier of the machinery for better utilisation of the equipment and maintain safety requirements.

"We are trying to tell the Indian clients that the multi-million-dollar machines are operated fully and for that a partnership with the machine manufacturer is important," said Sullivan.

"CIL is our largest customer and we have also done a joint study with them to work out cost benefits of large machines instead of smaller machines now being used in Indian coal mines. The recent tenders by CIL show that they have taken our suggestion and are going for large machines," said Sullivan.

Bucyrus International, Inc. is a world leader in the manufacture of draglines, drills and shovels for the surface mining industry. In addition to mining machinery, Bucyrus, a Nasdaq-listed company, manufactures high quality OEM parts and provides world-class support services for all Bucyrus machine brands including Bucyrus, Bucyrus-Erie, Marion and Ransomes Rapier.