UPDATE 1-Blackstone invests $100 mln in Indian tractor manufacturer

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MUMBAI, Oct 8 (Reuters) - U.S. private equity firmBlackstone Group has paid $100 million for a 12.5 percentstake in India's International Tractors Ltd (ITL), it said onMonday, in a bet on the modernisation of India's farms.

India is one of the world's leading producers and consumersof agricultural commodities, and the farm sector accounts forabout 15 percent of the economy, Asia's third largest.

"Trends such as ... rising labour costs are leading toincreased adoption of mechanisation by farmers," BlackstoneIndia chairman and managing director Akhil Gupta said.

Blackstone, the world's largest private equity fund, has todate invested about $2.7 billion in India.

ITL will use the $100 million partly to increase production,said LD Mittal, the firm's chairman. "We are also looking atbuying out smaller component manufacturing companies mainly inEurope," he said without giving details.

ITL has annual turnover of around $500 million, and holds a10 percent share of the domestic tractor market. It exportstractors to over 70 countries.

(Reporting by Indulal PM; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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