The strengthening value of the Indian rupee will cause sales by Indian parts maker Rico Auto Industries to remain flat or drop slightly, a top official has said.

"We should be about same as last year or may be little less because of the drop in dollar rate," managing director Arvind Kapur told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference.

Reuters said the company, which makes 20% of its revenue from exports, reported sales of INR7.7bn rupees in fiscal 2006/07 and expects export revenue of INR1.6-1.7bn for the year to the end of March 2007.

The Indian rupee rose 12.3% against the US dollar in 2007, the news agency noted.

Kapur told Reuters he was looking at setting up plants in Thailand and China to enjoy the benefits of other low-cost centres - the plants may be either fully owned or partnerships.

The company is in investing heavily in a variety of joint ventures.