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Foreign investors need perspective shift on India: Ruia

business Updated: Apr 12, 2010 21:22 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

The scion of Essar, the group that caused a stir in Britain by unveiling plans for a £1.6 bn (Rs 7112 crore) flotation on the London Stock Exchange, says British investors do not fully appreciate the extent of changes that have swept Indian corporations.

Underpinning the story of recent high-profile acquisitions abroad are the “metamorphosis and mind shift” that Indian companies have embraced over a decade, said Prashant Ruia, chief executive, Essar Group.

Ruia has been appointed vice-chairman of Essar Energy, which drew plaudits in Britain last week after announcing plans for the largest flotation on the LSE in nearly 10 years.

With the move coming just as Britain shows signs of recovering from its most bruising recession since World War I, the Daily Telegraph said “London’s reputation as a leading financial centre has received a welcome boost.”

“The size of the listing reflects a resurgent corporate India,” echoed the Financial Times. But Prashant Ruia said despite the growing Indian financial presence in Britain — Indian companies are now the second largest investors in the country after Americans — he had noticed a “perception gap” among the British.

“Indian companies have raised the bar in every way. What we are doing today is no different from what companies are doing here in London, but there remains a perception gap among investors here when it comes to India,” Ruia told HT, speaking in his upscale offices at Berkley Square.

“People sitting in London don’t have an appreciation that we have already changed — that our accounting standards are no different from accounting standards here, that the quality of our auditors is the same as those of PWC, Deloitte or Ernst and Young.

“Those who have been to India, interacted with our companies, they understand and appreciate. But the people who haven’t… they need to come and change.”