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European naval group to set up Indian subsidiary

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Signalling its intention to foster a long-term relationship, European naval defence systems major DCNS Group Sunday announced it would set up its Indian subsidiary to facilitate ongoing and future projects.

To be called DCNS India, the subsidiary will be established in Mumbai and will become operational in mid-2008.

“The subsidiary will be oriented towards design, service to naval shipyards and sourcing of components and materials in the Indian industry,” DCNS India vice president Xavier Marchal told reporters on the sidelines of the DEFEXPO-2008 international defence exposition here.

DCNS already partners Mumbai’s state-owned Mazagon Dock Ltd. in building six Scorpene submarines for the Indian Navy. The company hopes for a repeat order for six submarines later this year.

“India is an important growing market and Indian defence companies have a lot of potential here,” said Bernard Planchais, DCNS Group’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

“The opening of DCNS India is part of a strategy aiming to increase our industrial activity in India. We are also actively looking for partners in India for developing major equipments and subsystems,” he added.

Toward this end, DCNS has recently signed agreements with Kirloskar Oil Engines for integrated platform management systems and with Walchandnagar Industries Ltd. propulsion system parts for the next generation ASW (anti-submarine warfare) corvettes being built for the Indian Navy.

The French government holds a 75 percent stake in DCNS, and the balance is held by French defence major Thales.

To meet customer demands for more comprehensive and integrated systems, DCNS acts as prime contractor for naval shipbuilding, integration and support by combining its own development, marketing and production capabilities with those of selected partners.

DCNS employs 13,300 people and generates annual revenues of around three billion euros.