Mahindra eyeing UAE partnership opportunities
India's multinational conglomerate the Mahindra Group is eagerly eyeing aerospace and defence partnership projects in the UAE with a particular focus on Abu Dhabi.
S. P. Shukla,(pictured above), Mahindra’s Group President – Aerospace & Defence, says he’ll be in the UAE capital in around three months’ time to begin a first round of talks with potential partners.
The Group President said areas of particular interest were components, sub-assembly and assembly of aerospace and aviation equipment for fixed wing and and rotary platforms “since we already do them in Bangalore and Australia we have the technology skills and management manpower to allow us to do it here.”
Mr Shukla, who was on his first visit to the UAE capital to address the Global Aerospace Summit today, said partnerships were possible with local firms and global OEMs.
“We have begun dialogue here and will I will follow up with a three day meeting after 90 days to take conceptual discussions further.
“I am quite confident that within the next three months we will move from conceptual ideas towards implementation plans for at least one or two projects.”
The Group already operates a production facility for armoured vehicles in Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE which has an annual production capacity of between 150-300 vehicles dependent on capacity configurations. Production is sold regionally and to Africa.
Shukla said partnerships were needed “to discharge offset obligations which have accumulated in the UAE” describing the Gulf region as “our neighbourhood” and to bring projects into the global supply chain.
He added that following his Global Aerospace Summit address he was “already pretty excited” about approaches received. “There’s the desire here, the willingness and the energy and is just a case of finding the right partners.”
Shukla pointed out that the partnerships could be reciprocal. “There’s the opportunity for two-way business. We would be happy to manufacture here and we would equally welcome partnerships with those looking to enter the Indian aviation market which will be the third largest by 2020/2021.”
He told the Summit that opportunities existed in India, where the FDI process is being liberalised, across the entire supply chain with MRO in particular emerging as “the new opportunity.”
“The bottlenecks in the MRO field are being sorted out little by little. It’s only a matter of time before we see MRO hubs emerging in India. Talent will not be wanting,” he said.