Steelbird to expand capacity at Himachal, to launch Bluetooth helmets

Chennai, Nov 17 (IANS) Increasing production capacity to 50,000 helmets per day at an outlay of Rs 105 crore, exploring a new plant in Tamil Nadu, expanding its retail reach, launching a range premium helmets including a Bluetooth variant are work-in-progress at the 60 year old Steelbird Hi-Tech India Ltd, said a top company official.

Chennai: Increasing production capacity to 50,000 helmets per day at an outlay of Rs 105 crore, exploring a new plant in Tamil Nadu, expanding its retail reach, launching a range premium helmets including a Bluetooth variant are work-in-progress at the 60 year old Steelbird Hi-Tech India Ltd, said a top company official.

“We are investing Rs 105 crore in our Himachal Pradesh plant to increase the production capacity. By next year, we will be making 50,000 helmets per day from the current 30,000 helmets per day,” Rajeev Kapur, Managing Director told IANS.

According to Kapur, the company is also exploring the possibility of setting up a greenfield plant in Tamil Nadu’s Hosur in two phases.

In the first phase, the investment will be Rs100 crore and Rs150 crore in the second phase.

He said the company is scouting for land in Hosur for the proposed 30,000 helmets per day plant. The year 2024 will be a busy year for the Rs 550 crore turnover Steelbird, as it will be launching about 10 new helmets including the ones – made with carbon fibre, with built-in Bluetooth, for skaters, high end variants costing about Rs.15,000-20,000 and others, said Kapur.

According to him, the organised helmet market size in India will be about Rs 2,000 crore.

In terms of volumes, the Indian helmet market will be about 80 million units per year with organised and unorganized sharing it equally.

“However, with more awareness about the importance of quality helmets in saving lives in an accident, people are now switching over to branded ones,” Kapur said.

With more and more women driving two-wheelers, the sales of open face helmets have gone up and accounts for 40 per cent of the sales while the full face ones account for 60 per cent, largely bought by men, he added.

“The preference – full face: open face helmets-also differs from market to market,” Kapur said.

Apart from selling to two-wheeler makers, institutions, Steelbird retails its helmets and other accessories through franchisee owned 200 exclusive Steelbird outlets and the plan is to increase the retail network to 1,000 by 2025, Kapur said.

With certifications from Europe and US agencies, the company ships its helmets to different overseas markets and export revenue accounts for five per cent of the overall turnover.

According to Kapur, helmet imports are not a major threat now as they are highly priced.

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