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Ambani eyeing North Sea firms in UK

The Reliance group looks to expand exploration and production in Africa and S America, writes Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Oct 15, 2006 22:57 IST
Vijay Dutt

The Reliance group is eyeing oil companies in the North Sea, and is also planning to acquire an oil drilling and engineering firm to expand the exploration and production business in Africa, South America, the Middle East and India, Sunday Times quoted group chairman Mukesh Ambani as saying.

Ambani believes British companies working in the North Sea will become increasingly vulnerable to takeover bids as reserves dwindle.

He told the paper, “We’re looking at buying companies in North Sea oil, in Scotland. As years go by, North Sea [reserves] are depleting, but there’s a lot of talent there and this industry is short of talent...We now have to get experienced talent in Europe to go and find oil in the more frontier areas. There is more than 20 years of North Sea experience in the UK, and we could deploy it globally.” 

Ambani's eyeing prize assets in the North Sea comes amid a keen interest by Indian companies to make acquisitions overseas.

The recent UK-India Summit during which around 95 business leaders from both countries deliberated at Lancaster House—some attended discussions at Downing Street as well— on ways to increase collaborations and investments could lead to a surge in bilateral trade, but a number of investors from India are already on the move to take over British and European companies.

Indian firms, between January and September this year, spent more than $7 billion acquiring 112 foreign companies as against $4.5 billion last year, according to the estimate given in the Sunday Times report.