SML Isuzu Ltd (Swaraj Mazda)

Region

South Asia

Country

India

Deal type

Replacement

Investment date

2002

Exit date

2016

Status date

Realised

A growth engine since 1983

As India’s road network expands, people and products traverse the country more frequently and domestic demand for commercial vehicles rises.

SML Isuzu Ltd (‘SML’) is India’s third largest manufacturer of light commercial vehicles (five to ten tonnes) and is responding to the nation’s changing infrastructure and transport needs. Established in 1983, SML has become well regarded for its portfolio of products that include four-wheel drive trucks, ambulances and luxury buses. All are designed for the Indian market and are compliant with Bharat emissions standards.

Based in Chandigarh in North India, SML sells its products through an exclusive distribution network of 150 retailers located in the country’s major cities. With best-in-class technology and a strong marketing presence, SML can introduce new products to the market at a much lower cost than many newer entrants.

Actis (at that time CDC) invested in SML in 2003 to drive growth through a 50% increase in manufacturing capacity and the implementation of new technologies that would deliver greater volumes and economies of scale. Actis’ Environmental, Social and Governance team oversaw regular audits of SML’s paint shop, heat treatment shop and welding functions to ensure that all practices were safe and adhered to international standards.

Building SML’s brand profile and enhancing the scope of its marketing efforts was also a core project for the Actis investment team. With this in mind, they backed the more rapid delivery of new product ranges to the market as well as further expansion into luxury buses and larger trucks. The company also intends to establish an export function to propel further growth.