* Maruti stands to lose $15 million a day during shutdown
* Violent clashes damaged assembly line -source
* One dead, scores injured, 90 in jail after riot
* Market value chopped by $570 mln on Thursday
By Henry Foy
MUMBAI, July 20 Indian carmaker Maruti Suzuki
, a manager killed and 90 employees in jail after
workers rioted at its second-largest factory, faces a lengthy
shutdown that could cost it $15 million a day and disrupt
supplies of its most popular hatchback.
Police said they want to detain the entire workforce of
3,000 at the Manesar factory in northern India, where workers
rampaged on Wednesday after a disciplinary incident with a
single employee. Scores were injured and a portion of the
factory's vehicle assembly line was burned out.
The violence, just nine months after the end of strikes at
the facility that cost more than $500 million in lost
production, spooked investors worried that Maruti has failed to
resolve labour tensions at the 550,000 vehicle per year plant.
"This definitely mars the overall investment sentiment for
the stock," said Navin Matta, auto analyst at Daiwa Capital
Markets in Mumbai, adding that the lack of clarity on the length
of the slowdown was a cause for concern.
More than $570 million was wiped off the company's market
value on Thursday, while shares of its Japanese parent Suzuki
Motor Corp fell 5.7 percent over the past two sessions
to their lowest in three and a half years.
"After being terrorised, abused and attacked in this manner
by the mob, recovery for the injured will not be easy," Maruti
said in a statement late on Thursday.
A spokesman for the carmaker declined to comment on the
possible length of the factory closure, although an official
told Reuters the factory would not reopen on Monday.
"Part of the manufacturing area is burned, the whole
building is burned, and the people who are running the factory
are injured and admitted in the hospital, so it will take a
little time," said the official, who was not permitted to speak
to the media and declined to be identified.
The state government of Haryana, where the plant is located,
is considering a prolonged shutdown of the factory, the Economic
Times newspaper reported on Friday, citing unnamed government
The office of the chief secretary and labour minister
declined to comment on the report when contacted by Reuters.
Police said on Thursday that they are seeking to detain all
of the plant's 3,000 workers for investigation, creating a
logistical nightmare for Maruti's managers -- many of whom were
injured in the riot -- to get the factory working again.
"Nobody knows when the plant might restart," said Ashish
Nigam, auto analyst at Antique Stockbroking in Mumbai.
"The only concern (Maruti) have is the people who are in the
hospital ... the business has taken a back seat for the time
being," Nigam said.
Maruti lost around $15 million per day in missed production
during the strikes last year, and analysts polled by Reuters
said the company stands to lose $12-$16 million per day during
the current shutdown.
Maruti manufactures its best-selling Swift hatchback -- the
leader in its segment -- at the Manesar plant. A spokesman for
the company confirmed that it would not build any more Swifts
while the factory was closed but declined to give details on
inventories or back orders for the vehicle.
Workers armed with iron rods and wooden sticks rioted
through the plant in Manesar, around 40 km (25 miles) south of
New Delhi, attacking managers, smashing equipment and setting
fire to parts of the factory, the company said.
"Most executives sit at the mezzanine floor. They attacked
that floor and targeted the most senior officers. They came
armed with lathis and iron rods, and also picked up other sharp
tools in the factory," said a Maruti official, who had a broken
hand and head injuries and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Labour unrest is not uncommon in India, which has a strong
tradition of street protests and sit-in demonstrations by
workers' unions, political parties and campaign groups, although
the level of violence seen at the Maruti plant sparked a chorus
of condemnation from politicians, the media and industry groups.
(Additional reporting by Anurag Kotoky in New Delhi; Editing by