Piaggio joins M&M, Atul Auto for Scooters India acquisition

After reports of Mahindra & Mahindra and Atul Auto evincing interest in the purchase of a controlling stake in sick public sector two-wheeler maker Scooters India Ltd (SIL), it is reported that that Tata Motors and Piaggio may also be in the race.

According to Hindu Business Line, top officials in the heavy industries ministry said that Piaggio and Tata Motors have also shown interest in purchasing a 74 per cent stake in the Lucknow-based three-wheeler maker. The Mahindras and Rajkot-based Atul Auto have already spoken to ministry officials.

''These four companies have already given an indication that they are interested, though the formal expression of interest (EoI) can only be made after the cabinet approval. Many companies see huge potential in SIL because they expect a strong growth from the north Indian and Uttar Pradesh markets,'' said the official.

When contacted, a Piaggio official said that they had not yet contacted the ministry, though he expressed hope that the company would be informed when the formal EoI announcement is made. Earlier, in 2000, Piaggio had been interested in purchasing the company, but had found the deal to be ''not workable''.

A Tata Motors spokesperson denied that his company had any interest in SIL.

As part of a turnaround plan for the state-owned company, the ministry has proposed divestment of a 74-per cent stake in SIL, where it will provide the 150 acres of land and equipment. It will also clear the old debts of the sick company, amounting to about Rs100 crore, while any fresh investment will have to be made by the new private partner.