Brazil-India Joint Venture Wants to Export Wagons

Santa Fé, a maker of wagons that is based in the city of Santa Maria, in the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, has not yet completed one year in operation, but already plans further investment and is seeking expansion of its markets outside Brazil.

According to the industrial director at the company, Antonio Giudice, in 2007 a new factory will be inaugurated in the city of Campinas, in the interior of the southeastern Brazilian state of São Paulo, and markets in South American and African countries are already being prospected.

The company was inaugurated in December 2005, started producing in January and forecasts revenues of 150 million reais (US$ 70 million). In the beginning of the year, the forecast was 100 million reais (US$ 47 million).

The company arose from a partnership between the Brazilian railway operator América Latina Logí­stica (ALL) and Indian Besco, which transferred to the Brazilian partner decades of knowledge accumulated in the railway industry.

"Apart from that we installed the factory in an ancient sector hub, where there are professionals who have operated in the market for over 20 years," stated Giudice.

"We can therefore say that Santa Fé is a new company, but with great experience," added the executive, who participated last week in fair Business on Rails, in the city of São Paulo, capital of the state that goes by the same name.

But why did the company from India, a country that is renowned for its railway network, decide to invest in Brazil? "Basically because the demand for wagons in Brazil is very large," answered the Indian Madhu Sudhan Tantia, director at Besco and vice president of the board of administration of the joint venture, who was also in São Paulo. "And now we hope to start selling to other countries in Latin America and Africa," he added.

Apart from 40 years worth of know-how in the production or wagons, and 60 in the production of parts for the railway industry, Besco also has experience in the foreign market as the organization sells to almost 30 countries in Asia and Africa, including Arab countries like Sudan and Egypt, as well as Russia and Brazil.

"And the business in Brazil is going very well, the company is growing," stated Tantia. Besco, according to him, has revenues of US$ 90 million a year and employs 1,200 people in Calcutta, where the factory is based.

New Products

To advance on the domestic and foreign market, Santa Fé bets on new products. The Campinas factory is going to produce railway cars for use on broad rails, as the Santa Maria factory will only produce cars using the metric system.

The company started producing just a grain car, but has now released a multi purpose car, that may transport grain or cargo in general. "This way, it can charge freight on the return trip," stated Giudice. That is, the train can transport grain on the way out and other products, like fertilizer, on the way back.

Apart from that, for 2007 the launch of cars for the transport of containers and tankers is scheduled. The Santa Maria factory employs 250 people and has a capacity for production of five units a day.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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