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Lixil lifting lid on toilet production in India

NEW DELHI -- Lixil Group plans to invest up to nearly 20 billion yen ($163 million) to launch Indian production of toilets and other sanitary ware within the next couple of years.

     By securing a means of local production, the Japanese housing equipment maker aims to double or even triple its overall business in India.

     President Yoshiaki Fujimori revealed the plans to The Nikkei on a trip here.

     Lixil currently does around 10 billion yen in business in India, mostly through sales of the products of German subsidiary Grohe. In a country where only half of the population has toilets in their homes, the company generates revenue of only 1 billion yen to 2 billion yen from toilets.

     But Fujimori noted that toilets will be rolled out rapidly over the next several years in India because the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a goal of making India 100% toilet accessible by 2019.

     "In order to boost our local sales to 20 or to 30 billion yen we need to manufacture products locally," Fujimori explained.

     Lixil will manufacture regular flush toilets as well as toilets that can be used in places in India where sewer infrastructure is unavailable.

     Fujimori said Lixil will invest as much as 10 billion yen to build a factory for flush toilets, and another 3 billion yen to 9 billion yen for a factory for nonflush toilets. The company has begun looking for sites and might consider acquiring a local company in order to secure a production base.

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