Flowton deal does not exist, says Tata

TATA Group of India has denied any agreement or understanding with MKI to produce the all-terrain vehicle known as the Flowton.

In a letter to Business Post, S Mualidharan, general manager of Tata Exports South-East Asia, a Hong Kong subsidiary of Tata, stated his company 'does not have knowledge of any vehicle by the name 'Flowton' nor does it manufacture vehicles under that name.

'Furthermore, at the present there is no understanding with MKI or its associates for undertaking manufacture of any commercial vehicle.' Mr Mualidharan was responding to a report of MKI's annual general meeting on September 29, at which its chief executive His Excellency Khundkar Khalid Ahmed Hossain stated 'Tata of India is ready to produce the Flowton'.

Mr Mualidharan added that he had entered some preliminary discussions with MKI, but these had started only after the original news item was printed.

MKI has been suspended since June 6 after the Securities and Futures Commission said that the company was making announcements not of the standard expected of a listed company.

Speaking of negotiations with Tata, Mr Hossain confirmed on Friday that 'no agreement has been signed, but we are in discussions'.

Mr Hossain said MKI Corp was also talking to Tata about distributing other Tata vehicles in China.

The original Flowton deal was announced by MKI Corp on May 4 via public relations company Hill and Knowlton, claiming it had reached an exclusive distribution agreement with the Albee Floton Corporation becoming exclusive distributor for the vehicle for China, Central Asia, ASEAN, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Burma.

Despite projected sales of 5,000 vehicles worth US$3.3 billion, no mention was made of the deal in the company's annual report issued last month.