Haworth To Invest 10M In India

April 5, 2005
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HOLLAND — Haworth Inc. today will announce its plans to invest $10 million in a manufacturing facility and three new showrooms in India, all wholly owned by the Holland-based furniture manufacturer.

While not yet released stateside, Haworth Asia Pacific Vice President and General Manager Frank Rexach detailed the plan this past weekend at a press conference in downtown Pune, India.

As reported by India’s Sify Finance, the manufacturing facility will be built at Pune’s Hinjewadi technology park at a cost of $5 million. It will begin production of office chairs in October and workstations in November.

“With the rapid expansion of global and domestic companies in India, there is a huge potential to grow our business here, especially since these companies are now moving towards professional workspace solutions,” Rexach said.

Rexach said the company’s decision to invest in a manufacturing facility in India is in line with its global plans to develop India as a key strategic region that will eventually service markets in Southeast Asia and West Asia.

Since entering the Indian market in 1998, Haworth has sold more than 30,000 workstations and 50,000 ergonomic client locations there. Most of these were imported from China and Australia.

Plans are being finalized for the creation of an Indian Ideation team, said Kapil Agarwal, managing director of Haworth India. Ideation teams are a group of scientists and industrial designers focused on redesigning the office with respect to occupant comfort zone.

Likely to be in place by October, the team will be responsible for developing new product lines and consulting services aimed at Indian customers. China is the only other country to host one of Haworth’s Ideation teams.

“Our business in India has grown … to the level of $20 million, which we will cross in 2005,” said Agarwal.

A showroom already is functional in New Delhi, he added, and others in Mumbai and Bangalore will be operational by June. Another $5 million is being invested in this portion of the business.

Haworth chose Pune for its technology infrastructure, Agarwal said.

“It’s going to be used as a more seamless business experience to our customers in the Asia Pacific sector,” said Haworth spokesperson Julie Smith.    

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