Mumbai: The Italy-based agrochemical major Isagro Asia Agrochemical is planning to offload 26 per cent to a strategic partner in Isagro India that will be floated by the end of this year. Isagro Asia has already initiated talks with major foreign and domestic agrochemical companies. The company is expected to declare the name of its joint venture partner by the end of May 2002.
Confirming this, Isagro Asia managing director Partho Lahiri said: "We will be floating a new joint venture company to give more focus to our Indian operations. Talks are on with few world famous agrochemical majors. Isagro Asia will control the majority sake in the new JV company."
Lahiri was however reluctant to give details of the total percentage of stake that Isagro wants to offload. Sources said as per the current plan, the company wants to offload just 26 per cent stake, but at the negotiation table it can go even up to 49 per cent.
Isagro SpA of Italy commenced its Indian operations with the acquisition of the agrochemical division of RPG Life Sciences for a consideration of Rs 78 crore. In 2001, the world over, Isagro had made three acquisitions, representing a total investment of over euro 100 million.
According to Lahiri, the parent Isagro wants to convert Isagro Asia as the hub for its entire Asian operations. "India will be the headquarters of Isagro Asia, while Isagro India will look after the entire marketing operations in India."
Isagro Asia has already started upgradation of its manufacturing facilities in India. The company has already invested Rs 72 crore in its Indian facilities and for the upgradation process it will invest another Rs 15 crore. Out of the Rs 72 crore, Rs 53 crore has been invested by the parent Isagro, while the remaining has been mobilised from Indian banks and institutions, Lahiri said.
The company, he said, wants to focus more on the speciality agrochemical segment in India and it will launch parent Isagros new-generation products in the Indian market. "The Indian agrochemical market is estimated at Rs 3,500 crore and the companys share is just 2.7 per cent. There is a good potential to grow in the Indian market."
Currently Isagro Asia is planning to phase out its six tail-ended brands and will launch four new speciality international brands in the Indian market. The company has entered into a co-marketing pact with Du Pont India to market its anti-fungal brand Kocide and is in an advanced stage of talks with Rallis India to co-market its leading insecticide brand Rogor, Lahiri said.