Pran to build first foreign plant in India | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 24, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 24, 2008

Pran to build first foreign plant in India

Bangladeshi beverage producer Pran sees huge potential for its products in Northeast India's market, building a new plant in Tripura. Star Graphic

Pran, one of Bangladesh's leading processed-food and beverage companies, is to build its first foreign factory in India, taking advantage of the country's recent decision to lift its ban on Bangladeshi investment.
The plant will be built in the north-eastern Indian state of Tripura. It will initially produce jelly and drinks and is expected to come into operation by 2009 with an annual turnover of around Tk100 crore.
It will supply the markets of northeast India -- Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh -- known as 'Seven Sisters', said a senior official of Pran Exports Ltd.
Last year India lifted its ban on direct investment from Bangladesh and said it would welcome investment from its neighbour. The move was seen as a precondition for Dhaka to consider the large-scale investment plans of Indian companies such as Tata in Bangladesh.
The plant will initially produce jelly and drinks, which have already won popularity in those areas, said Paramuddin Hossain, senior manager (Export) of Pran-RFL Group.
The company chose Tripura due to its closeness to Bangladesh. “We will be able to transport raw materials for our products from Bangladesh to Tripura very easily due to the easy communications,” said Paramuddin.
He said there is similarity in lifestyle, culture and economy between the people of Bangladesh and these areas of India, adding that this is one of the main reasons to choose Tripura.
Negotiations have been going on between the parties concerned about acquiring land for the project. India will allocate a 10-acre industrial plot for the purpose.
The Indian government has also assured Pran of banking, electricity and other infrastructure facilities. Initially Pran will employ nearly 200 people, including Bangladeshi and Indian nationals.
Pran exports its agro-processed foods and drinks to nearly 70 countries, including USA, UK, Sweden, Cyprus, Australia, Malaysia, Italy, Germany, South Korea, and some Middle East, East and West African countries.
The news of the new plant was announced at an 'Export Sales Conference 2008' of Pran Exports Ltd held yesterday in Dhaka. Deputy Managing Director of Pran-RFL Group Ahsan Khan Choudhury and other senior officials were present at the conference.
ML Debnath, president of Tripura Chamber of Commerce and Industries, also spoke at the conference attended by hundreds of importers and dealers from different states of India and Nepal.
Ahsan expressed his concerns over different types of tariff and non-tariff barriers that the Indian government is imposing on the export of Bangladeshi food products to Indian markets. He urged the government to help the business community solve those problems through bilateral discussions.

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