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India's Maruti restarts riot-hit car factory, shares advance
August 21, 2012 / 6:22 AM / 5 years ago

India's Maruti restarts riot-hit car factory, shares advance

* Shares rise as much as 1.7 pct in early Mumbai trade

* Limited production begins at northern India plant

* No timeline for full production to be reached

Aug 21 (Reuters) - Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest carmaker, restarted production at its Manesar factory on Tuesday after a deadly riot shut the plant more than a month ago at a cost of over $250 million in lost output.

Shares in Maruti, a unit of Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp , rose as much as 1.7 percent in early Mumbai trade. The stock has been down almost 4 percent since the closure.

Maruti will start producing 150 cars a day, less than 10 percent of its average daily output before the July 18 violence that killed a manager and injured more than 100 people, Chairman R.C. Bhargava said last week.

The restart at the 550,000 vehicles-a-year plant, which builds its best-selling Swift hatchback, comes just in time for India’s festival season, when people typically make expensive purchases.

The carmaker has sacked 500 workers from the plant in northern India and abandoned its policy of hiring contract workers after an investigation into the riot. The violence had thrown the spotlight on India’s decades-old labour laws that some industry groups say tie their hands.

Maruti will start hiring additional employees from Sept. 2, Bhargava said, without providing any details on when the plant will be back at full production.

The company lost $500 million in production last year because of labour unrest. (Reporting by Henry Foy in MUMBAI; Editing by Ryan Woo)

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