Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), the City-based sport utility vehicle (SUV) maker, has been approached by the owners of one of the Fiat engine plants in Europe for a sell-out, according to industry sources.
Fiat Powertrain Technologies — which designs, develops, produces and sells engines and transmissions — was the former owner of the plant, before it was liquidated to creditors.
The creditors have fixed the price of the plant at around $45 million (Rs 207 crore), excluding engines and transmissions which were earlier owned by Fiat, according to the sources.
The sources said along with M&M, the creditors had approached several automotive companies around the globe for the purpose, however it would be not so easy for them to sell it.
“The plant is certainly not one of the modern engine manufacturing facilities in the world. In fact, it’s one of the oldest for Fiat with dated design and processes. Selling it to anybody for that price will be a challenge,” said one of the sources.
“Please note that as a matter of policy, we do not comment on speculation,” M&M said in an e-mailed statement.
Although the capacity of the plant is yet to be ascertained, the acquisition will give the buyer a ready access to the European market, where a greenfield operation will come at an ultra premium price.
M&M and Tata Motors (standalone) do not have any manufacturing facility in Europe, though both companies are looking at the continent for driving their growth.
While M&M had made two big-ticket acquisitions in the auto component space a few years ago in Europe, it sells its Scorpio model under the Goa brand in some of the countries there. The company is developing its SUVs, keeping the European market in mind.
Similarly, Tata Motors plans to launch its upgraded version of Nano in Europe in less than two years. The company is also separately working on the electric version of Indica, which would be launched in Norway soon.
As Tata Motors and M&M expand their global footprint, both are increasingly approached by dealmakers for studying a prospective buyout.
Although Tata Motors, the country’s largest automaker by revenue, has a significant presence internationally through brands such as JLR and Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicles, global customers have also begun to appreciate the company’s own brands, following the launch of Nano.
The company has been invited by many countries for setting up plants, especially for Nano, considering the interest it has generated across the globe.
In fact, a recent entourage, accompanying Italy’s Minister of Economic Development, welcomed both companies to set up their plants in Italy. A Fiat plant, located at Termini Immerse in Sicily, was proposed to be sold, for which both companies were approached.