The Indian company TAFE signed an agreement on the purchase of Industrija Masina i Traktora (IMT) Belgrade today, in the presence of Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Minister of Agriculture Branislav Nedimovic and Ambassador of India Narinder Chauhan.
The sales and purchase agreement on one of the symbols of the former Yugoslavia was signed by the deputy manager of TAFE for Europe, Kamal Ahuja, and, on behalf of the Bankruptcy Supervision Agency, Dusan Dragojlovic.
On April 2, IMT was sold to the Indian tractor manufacturer for RSD 66.8 million
, the initial price, and TAFE was the only bidder.
The Indian company announced a multi-million investment and the production of at least 5,000 tractors in the next five years, with the aim of reaching the production of 10,000, with direct and indirect employment of around 800 workers, Beta reports.
Brnabic said that “an important job is finished” with the sale of IMT and that the Government of Serbia would help initiate the production of tractors in 2018.
– The activation of IMT is a big thing for the Serbian industry, as TAFE will bring new knowledge, technology and jobs – Brnabic said and added that “it is important that the Serbian brands that used to be the driving engine of the local economy are rising again”, Beta reports.
She pointed out that the relaunch of the tractor factory would benefit Serbia and enable agriculturists to acquire components more easily, whereas the state subsidies for the purchase of tractors would not be spent to buy imported tractors.
The minister of agriculture reminded that 95% of the tractor components that IMT used to produce were compatible with the model produced by TAFE.
– The entire Balkans region is looking for tractors, as there are no serious producers, and TAFE will probably alos export tractors made in Serbia to north Africa – Nedimovic said and noted that only 400 tractors had been produced in Serbia in 2017, Beta reports.
According to Tanjug, Ahuja said that they had been waiting for this day for a long time and that there was now finally an opportunity for the Indian factory to try to turn IMT into the kind of brand it used to be.
– We will use all our resources to make a good and competitive tractor under the IMT brand – Ahuja said and reminded that the Ferguson technology was common to IMT and TAFE. He also said that the cooperation with IMT had been going on since 1960, but that it had been paused due to the civil wars in the former Yugoslavia.
He said that TAFE had become the third biggest corporation in this field in the world in the meantime, producing around 180,000 tractors a year, of which 120,000 using the Ferguson technology.
When asked about the conflicting information presented in the media about the number of people to be employed by TAFE in Serbia, Ahija says that there's been a misunderstanding and adds that the company said in its letter that the number of 800 employees, through direct and indirect employment, that is, employment at subcontractors, could be expected.
– We will not employ 800 people, but there will be that many employees and more, indirectly, through subcontractors – he pointed out.
As the Serbian prime minister announced, the first tractor is expected to be presented in May, at the International Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad.