Story in Pictures

Nobody’s baby

While Nokia may have sold out to Microsoft lock, stock and barrel, its Chennai factory has been left in the lurch

RA Chandroo

Like an unhappy reminder of an acrimonious relationship, Nokia’s once-celebrated factory at Sriperumbudur in Chennai is now stuck in a custody battle of epic proportions, and caught in the fray are its 7,500 workers. The factory, whose exports to 75 countries used to net it revenue of ₹1.5 lakh crore at one time, now barely churns out 2-4 million handsets a month compared with the earlier 13 million a month. The reason it is in a mess? In 2013, Nokia India received tax demands amounting to ₹23,400 crore and the authorities have thereby attached the factory. Thus, Microsoft’s glittering September 2013 takeover of Nokia’s handset business does not include this factory. Now, Nokia no longer needs the factory and other manufacturers are loath to take it, given its legal troubles. To make matters worse, Nokia has offered VRS to only a fraction of the employees, indicating possible closure in future. A tragic end, perhaps, to a $500-million success story.