The Hero Group has unveiled a new global entity, Hero Eco, under which its multiple businesses will be consolidated. It has also acquired Ultra Motors of the UK.
Ultra Motors has operations in the UK, Germany, Taiwan and China, with a distribution network across 22 countries, including Switzerland, Benelux, Japan and Australia.
“This new brand identity gives us the opportunity to present a single powerful and dynamic face to our customers, stakeholders and partners around the world,” says chairman Vijay Munjal.
Hero has acquired a 100-percent stake and will take over the operations of Ultra’s mid to high-end A2B and F4W brands, including pedelecs, folding bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters. The acquisition is expected to catapult Hero Eco as a company with the largest range of electric two-wheeler vehicles in the world, according to managing director Naveen Munjal.
It would have otherwise taken the company about four years to reach this position individually. Hero had an earlier collaboration with Ultra Motors, but it did not prove successful and Ultra Motors shut its India operations two years ago.
Hero Eco is mulling an R&D centre in Taiwan for propulsion technologies like motors, chargers and electricals over the next three years as it taps the annual 30 to 50 percent growth in the European market.
A new Hero Eco 83 scooter with lithium-ion batteries has also been homologated, with exports to commence within the next two months. A domestic version may be considered in two years’ time, depending on cost dynamics, as lithium-ion batteries are very expensive in the country at present.
Hero has lined up a Rs 500-crore capital expenditure over the next five years for brownfield expansions and establishing assembly plants in Taiwan and India. It will be funded through internal accruals while the acquisition has been funded through UK banks, says CEO Sohinder Gill.
The company will also be stepping up production capacity at its Ludhiana plant that currently produces 220 e-scooters per shift.
With this acquisition under its belt, Hero Eco is targeting a revenue of Rs 1,500 crore in five years, up from its existing Rs 450 crore.
Meanwhile, the group’s new brand identity will group existing companies Hero Exports, Hero Electric and manufacturing units under Hero Eco.
Hero is also entering into medical equipment production under the brand name Mediva and a joint venture is proposed in Canada for manufacturing EVs for the North American market. Besides this, the introduction of the Winn brand of bikes is also in the pipeline.