Mahindra seeks investors for electric vehicle business

Mahindra seeks investors for electric vehicle business
Mahindra seeks investors for electric vehicle business

Mahindra & Mahindra is seeking financial or strategic investors for Mahindra Electric.

Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra is looking for investment partners for its domestic electric vehicles business and is finalising investment plans for its Automobili Pininfarina unit, the group′s managing director said on Friday.

The automaker wants to be a key player in mass-market electric vehicles (EVs) through its unit Mahindra Electric and in the high-end segment through Europe-based Pininfarina, which is building an electric hyper car Battista, Pawan Goenka said.

For Pininfarina, it is finalising how much investment it needs for future projects and will then decide how to raise funds, Goenka said, adding that this could include taking a strategic partner.

Mahindra & Mahindra said in June that it was evaluating all its businesses and would continue to invest only in those where it sees a strategic advantage or can get an 18% return. It has said that EVs are strategic to its growth.

As part of this evaluation, Mahindra has also decided not to proceed with the bid made by its North American unit to supply vehicles to the U.S. Postal Service, group CFO Anish Shah told the same press conference, conducted online.

The project would have required an investment of close to $500 million and given "the current environment and the focus on capital allocation" it would not have met the company′s targeted return on investment, he said. Shah said the North America business is also under review and Mahindra will have more clarity on its future once litigation with carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) in that region ends.

Mahindra reported a sharp fall in profit for the April-June quarter to 1.12 billion rupees ($15 million), compared with 23.14 billion rupees a year earlier, due to lockdowns and disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The automakers′ shares have risen around 18% since the group announced on June 12 that it was reevaluating its businesses.

India′s plan to regulate "non-personal" data has jolted U.S. tech giants Amazon, Facebook and Google, and a group representing them is preparing to push back against the proposals, according to sources and a letter seen by Reuters.

A government-appointed panel in July recommended setting up a regulator for information that is anonymised or devoid of personal details but critical for companies to build their businesses.

The panel proposed a mechanism for firms to share data with other entities - even competitors - saying this would spur the digital ecosystem. The report, if adopted by the government, will form the basis of a new law to regulate such data.

But the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, calls imposed data sharing "anathema" to promoting competition and says this undermines investments made by companies to process and collect such information, according to a draft letter for the Indian government.

"USIBC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are categorically opposed to mandates that require the sharing of proprietary data," says the USIBC′s previously unreported letter, which is likely to be completed and submitted in coming weeks to India′s information-technology ministry. "It will also be tantamount to confiscation of investors′ assets and undermine intellectual property protections."

A USIBC spokeswoman had no comment on the draft letter. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce didn′t respond to Reuters queries.

The head of the panel, Kris Gopalakrishnan, a founder of Indian technology giant Infosys Ltd , said the group will work with the government to review input from the industry. India′s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Inc , Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc′s Google did not respond to requests for comment. The report is open for public comments until Sept. 13.

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