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Cades Digitech will make Fokker aircraft

Tuesday, 12 September 2006 - 10:23pm IST

Infy co-founder’s firm is in talks with Rekkof Aircraft, to manufacture under licence the family of Fokker aircraft in India.

BANGALORE: Aerospace engineering firm Cades Digitech Pvt Ltd is in talks with The Netherlands-based Rekkof Aircraft, to manufacture under licence the family of Fokker aircraft in India for the airline market in the country.

Nadathur Holdings and Investment Company (NHIC), an investment firm owned by Infosys co-founder N S Raghavan, holds a 70% stake in the Bangalore-based Cades, whose customers include Airbus, Boeing and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

Cades is planning to invest close to $300 million in an assembly plant for producing the family of 75-, 90- and 100-seater aircraft in India, industry sources said told DNA Money

“We are in talks to produce the Fokker aircraft in India. But we have not had any commitments,” Cades Digitech managing director and CEO Dataram Mishra said.

NHIC has invested $6.5 million in the 350-member Cades, which focuses on R&D and engineering services to aerospace and auto firms globally.

The Fokker family of aircraft once ruled the European and Asian skies, but after the original Dutch firm went bankrupt in 1996, it has made way to rival regional jets like Brazilian Embraer and French ATR aircraft, which dominate the segment, including the Indian skies.

Aviation industry sources estimate a requirement of around 350 aircraft in the regional jet category in India over the next two decades.

Several plans to build a 50- to 100-seater regional jet aircraft for the Indian market, including one of HAL with Franco Italian maker ATR, have not taken off in the past two decades.

A small group of private investors own Rekkof, which produces the work in a limited scale. The Fokker aircraft, whose initial designs go back to the early 1980s, has to be upgraded with new avionics and family of engines to meet the current requirements.

“The assembly line for the Fokker aircraft is likely to be located in Bangalore,” industry sources said, but Mishra declined to comment.

With revenues of $ 12 million in 2005-06, Cades hopes to grow almost double to touch a turnover of $ 20 million this fiscal.

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