M&M tractor assembly unit in UP

Mumbai: Mahindra & Mahindra's third satellite plant for assembling tractors will commence operation at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh shortly. The company already has two such assembly plants — at Rudrapur in UP and at Jaipur in Rajasthan.

The Varanasi plant, set up at Rs 7-8 crore, can assemble up to 7,000-10,000 units of tractors. The company aims at becoming the market leader in UP, where M&M stands second in sales after Escorts. Each satellite plant will function as an agro-centre, and will cater to a cluster of markets surrounding it.

M&M expects the plants to serve the dual purpose of customising tractors to meet the needs of specific markets, and as a means of saving costs on logistics and duties. M&M currently operates two manufacturing plants — a 'mother plant' at Kandivli, Mumbai, and Nagpur.

The satellite plants will also house the company's Shubhlaabh centres — farming shops offering end-to-end products and services under one roof. These centres will sell seeds, pesticides, fertilisers, in addition to farming tools, and might also buy farmers' output. The company has tied ups with pharma companies Aventis and Novartis for this venture.

M&M is also planning to open training centres at some Shubhlaabh centres for farmers. Also, it is looking at offering finance options to farmers through Mahindra Finance. The company operates about eight such centres in different parts of the country.