Punjab’s Sonalika tractors to till South America and Africa

By Jaideep Sarin, IANS
Friday, October 1, 2010

HOSHIARPUR - Punjab-based International Tractors Ltd (ITL) is looking at South America as the next big market for its Sonalika brand tractors and lining up a complete range of farming solutions in several countries in the continent and Africa.

“We are looking at South America as the next big market for exports. With vast land holdings and agriculture being dominant in many South American countries, we expect to capture the market there,” Akshay Sangwan, ITL’s head for strategy and corporate planning, told IANS.

The Sonalika Group has come a long way in just 15 years. From being a manufacturer of farm equipment in 1995, it has become one of the top three tractor manufacturers in India and is selling tractors to 62 countries across the globe.

“The markets we are looking at are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Eucador, Peru, Surinam, Paraguay and Bolivia,” said Sangwan.

ITL has tied up with Brazil’s major tractor and farm equipment manufacturer, Agrale, to sell its products there under co-branding.

It is planning to assemble tractors in Argentina.

The company, established in 1969, commands 70 per cent share in the farm thresher market. It has in the past had tie-ups with Renault of France and Claas of Germany. It is now tying up with Landini of Italy.

The Rs.50-billion ($1-billion) ITL is now lining up its complete farming solutions for several countries in South America and Africa.

“The complete farming solutions will include sending tractors, providing other farming equipment and also training people in the use of these products,” M.G.M. Nair, ITL’s senior general manager, international business division, told IANS at the company’s 90-acre manufacturing facility near Hoshiarpur town, 150 km from Chandigarh.

Of the 62 countries to which it is exporting tractors, 31 countries are in Africa.

Looking at a growing market in Africa, Sonalika is setting up an assembly plant in Nigeria.

Over 12 percent of the company’s tractors, which range from 30 to 90 horse power, are exported. With exports doubling in numbers in the last 2-3 years, the company is looking at an export figure of 15 per cent in the next two years.

Sonalika is exporting its tractors to Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethopia, Uganda, Bourkina Faso, Chad and several other African countries, besides Nepal and Bangladesh in South Asia.

Nair said the company’s policy had been to provide top quality tractors at affordable prices.

Sonalika, which manufactured 60,000 tractors last year, has set itself a target of 80,000 tractors annually.

In 2009-10, tractor manufacturers in India sold nearly 430,000 tractors. The Indian tractor market has grown by nearly 30 per cent.

ITL has also ventured into the automotive industry through its multi-utility vehicle, Rhino.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

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