NEW DELHI: Upbeat on infrastructure growth in India, Swedish furniture giant IKEA has evinced keen interest in a proposed cluster at Kandla port and sought 450 acres for the same, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said. “We have proposed furniture clusters at the Kandla port. IKEA wants 450 acres of land,” Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
The retailer is ready to provide technology, know-how and expertise to the cluster and buy the entire finished product, Gadkari said on the sidelines of an event to launch a joint study by IIM Calcutta-Transport Corporation of India on operational efficiency of freight transportation by road in India. “They are ready to buy the finished products… You bring wood, good designs and we will buy, they have said. What is happening in China, we can do it,” Gadkari added.
IKEA will source from the cluster for both India as well as overseas supplies, he said. The catch is “IKEA will not invest, it will provide design and source from there”. Currently, wood is sourced from Africa and other countries and then exported. Once the deal is finalised, Gadkari sees the cost to be reduced by 50 per cent, which would enable India to compete with China.
The minister said Jalna in Maharashtra has got Rs 10,000 crore contracts under Sagarmala initiatives during the Maritime India summit. Jalna has 450 wood-cutting centres. IKEA is scheduled to open its first store in India in Hyderabad in the second half of 2017 even as it scouts for more sites in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The company, which received government approval in 2013 for its Rs 10,500-crore proposal to open retail stores under 100 per cent FDI, plans to open 25 by 2025 in nine Indian cities.
In July last year, the company had announced purchase of 13 acres close to the IT hub in Hyderabad’s HITEC city. IKEA expects its stores in the country to be among “the most visited stores in the world” and hence, the company has prepared for it by planning bigger restaurants and more seating capacity to suit high visitation stores. The company earlier this year has said that compared to China where it is there for 15 years and opening at a rate of 3 stores a year only now, in India IKEA will be looking at a much faster growth.
In November last year, IKEA had sought relaxation from the government for five years over mandatory 30 per cent local sourcing norms from opening of its first store in India rather than first investment. At present, IKEA sources products worth euro 300 million for its global operations from India.
Credits ET Realty