Coromandel International, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Coromandel Technology Limited (CTL), is acquiring an additional 32.68 per cent equity stake in Dhaksha Unmanned Systems (Dhaksha), a Chennai-based differentiated drone start-up at an outlay of Rs 204 crore.
The Murugappa Group had earlier acquired 18.34 per cent in Daksha through its investment arm Dare Ventures. With this acquisition, Coromandel will be holding a majority (51 per cent) stake in Dhaksha.
Dhaksha, incorporated in 2019 and headquartered in Chennai, is a leading player in drone space in India, providing complete range of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) technology solutions across agriculture, defence, surveillance and enterprise applications. It also offers remote pilot training services and has trained over 950 pilots till date. Currently, it is the only player in the country to receive type certificate from DGCA for three drone models in medium and small categories for agriculture and surveillance applications.
"We are delighted to partner with Dhaksha having been associated from the early start-up stage and accelerate its growth journey to become a player of scale. Our investment in Dhaksha marks a significant foray into next-generation cutting-edge UAS technology applications. In addition to driving resource efficiency and sustainable practices in Agriculture, Dhaksha drones have high potential in defence and enterprise applications," said Arun Alagappan, Executive Vice Chairman, Coromandel International.
"The recent decision by the Government of India towards liberalising the policy for the export of drones meant for civilian use will help in further tapping the export potential for Dhaksha’s drones. We are committed to drive Atma Nirbhar Bharat vision in Drones manufacturing and intend to improvedomestic value creation opportunities and build frontier technologies in this space," he added.
Besides operating in the electric drone segment, Dhaksha is the only player in India to offer type-certified petrol engine-based Hybrid Agri Drones. The company has been shortlisted under the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for promoting the manufacturing of drones and drone components in the country in 2022 and is building a strong order book.
Investment in Dhaksha is in continuation with Coromandel’s strategy to identify promising avenues of growth outside its core operations in Agri-inputs which would be value accretive for its shareholders. It will facilitate Coromandel’s presence in the fast-growing UAS segment where drones and its applications are expected to exponentially grow and reach a global market size of $90 billion by 2030. This investment follows the company’s recent announcement of its entry into Specialty Chemicals and Contract Manufacturing (CDMO) businesses.
“Our strong research lineage, technology partnerships and UAS capabilities have positioned us amongst the leading differentiated drone players in the country. We are excited to partner with Coromandel and we see significant value-creation opportunities for Dhaksha going forward. We remain committed to our nation-building endeavours and will work towards adopting world-class drone technology solutions for Agriculture and Defence sectors," said Ramanathan Narayanan, director and chief executive officer of Dhaksha.