JK Tyre & Industries plans to venture into footwear and accessories manufacturing from used tyres in association with the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI), said vice-chairman and managing director, JK Tyre & Industries, Raghupati Singhania.
“The direction that we want to open up is lifestyle products and such an initiative could become a business proposition for the tyre industry in India by way of utilising what is a ‘hazardous waste’ and making it viable,” said Singhania. The initiative has been called Soles with Souls.
The company will retail both office wear and casual sandals, along with accessories such as belts and bags. Singhania said students from FDDI were being trained by the company on the usage of rubber to create such products.
Singhania added that the company was open to exploring ways to commercialise this venture. “This can be done. We will be evaluating all options. It is too early to say anything on that proposition and nature of profit from such products,” he said.
About 88 million tyres, part of 33 million vehicles, were added to the roads in the last three years in India. These include two, three, four and six wheelers, creating an enormous potential for reuse of rubber in the country, he said, adding that around 11 million tyres are scrapped every year.
The group, that has been on a diversification drive, is also setting up a 1,360 megawatt power plant near Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. “The first phase of 660 MW will entail an investment of Rs 1,300 crore over the next two years,” said Singhania. A special purpose vehicle (SPV) will be formed for the power projects.
He added that the group’s Chennai plant would be ready by the end of this year, instead of its earlier schedule of May-June 2012. “The Chennai plant will have an initial capacity of 25 lakh passenger car tyres and four lakh truck and bus radial tyres annually and in due course, the capacity of the plant could be increased by three-four times,” he said. The company is investing Rs 1,000 crore on the plant.
Source : Financial Chronicle