Essar Group Considers Buying Nokia's closed Chennai Unit

Essar Group Considers Buying Nokia's closed Chennai Unit

Weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated efforts were on to revive Nokia's handset manufacturing plant near here, Essar Group has said it is evaluating the feasibility of buying the defunct unit.

"We are still evaluating. We do not have commitment though," Essar Group chairman Shashikant Ruia has said.

The company would also not be averse to taking back the workers who lost their jobs following closure of the facility after Nokia-Microsoft's $7.2 billion deal, he said.

"We can offer training to them and make them operators in 15 days," he said speaking at a Rotary club felicitation function last evening.

The reason for indicating the company's interest can be seen in the backdrop of spurt in electronics industry which is currently estimate to be worth $40 billion.

Mr Ruia said import of mobile handset which was around Rs 75,000 crore currently, was expected to reach Rs 1 lakh crore by next year.

Nokia suspended operations at the facility, one of its largest in the world, in the industrial hub of Sriperumbudur on the outskirts of Chennai, from November 1, 2014 after it was excluded from

the Nokia-Microsoft $7.2 billion deal due to tax disputes.

Nokia started manufacturing at the plant in January 2006 and exported products to markets, including West Asia and Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

The Prime Minister had last month told Rajya Sabha that efforts had commenced to study the prospects of restarting Nokia's unit, which had employed more than 8,000 workers during the peak of its operations.

"We have started efforts in this direction (to restart the unit). The result of this effort will be that in the coming days, Nokia plant should start functioning again and people will get employment," PM Modi had said.

After the shutdown, hundreds of workers had opted for the voluntary retirement scheme offered by the company.

Tamil Nadu Government has blamed the erstwhile UPA government's complex tax policies for the closure of Nokia plant.

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