The $600-million Hyderabad-based 3F Group has diversified into aerospace and defence. It plans to invest about ₹500 crore to set up assembly facilities for unmanned aerial systems and composite materials.
3F Advanced Systems, the newly created division, has teamed up with European major SaaB-UMS to showcase the UMS Skeldar V-200 VTOL (vertical take-off and launch) remotely piloted aerial systems, at the Benguluru Aero Show next month.
Ashiis Goenka, MD of 3F Advanced Systems, said: “As fourth generation entrepreneurs, we have forayed into the aerospace and defence sector and chosen to work on unmanned aerial systems useful for surveillance in defence and civil applications.”
“After finalising our engagements with the European companies, we are looking at setting up an assembly/manufacturing base in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. We plan to invest about ₹500 crore in the aerospace sector over the next five years and the funding will be through internal accruals and debt,” he told BusinessLine.
Recalling that the group has been in the oil manufacturing business for the past five decades, he said: “We have efficiently implemented backward integration projects extending up to the farm sector, commodity trading and biogas plants. We understand the long-term cycle of business and are willing to tap the latent potential of the aerospace sector.”
3F has tied up with Saab-UMS and an Israeli company for composite materials used in defence applications.
“We are in the process of identifying sites to set up a manufacturing unit, which will enable us to integrate the aerial system and thereafter focus on after-sales service,” said Goenka. “Apart from being an integrator, we will gradually develop a supply chain in India for support services.”
Since 1962, the 3F Group has set up several manufacturing units in India and abroad and has a joint venture with Fuji of Japan to set up a food processing unit near Hyderabad, said Goenka, who holds a degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University. “These tie-ups with European OEMs will provide the right platform for our manufacturing,” he said.
(This article was published on January 13, 2017 – The Hindu Business Line.)