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India second largest investor in UK

india Updated: Dec 06, 2006 14:24 IST
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As Indian companies continue to stalk British business with takeover bids, latest figures reveal that India has become the second biggest investor in London after the United States.

Indians are among the many overseas investors who are driving London's property prices, while the growing number of flights between India and Britain have been bringing an increasing number of professionals and entrepreneurs.

Indian investors are expected to contribute 33 million pounds to London's economy in 2006-2007, according to the foreign direct investment agency, Think London. Indian capital accounted for 18 per cent of foreign capital during the current year.

Since 2005, 36 Indian companies have set up office in London, voted the top European city to locate a business this year. On Tuesday, London mayor Ken Livingstone launched a 'Year of India' campaign to attract more Indian companies to London.

According to the latest edition of the European Cities Monitor, London is now the top-rated city in Europe for easy access to markets, qualified staff, external transport links, telecommunications, availability of office space, languages spoken and internal transport.

Recent demographic figures show that people of Indian origin constitute the largest single minority group in multicultural London.

Michael Charlton, chief executive of Think London, said: "These results confirm London's status as Europe's leading city for business and mirror Think London's success in attracting foreign investment. London's position means it ranks amongst the elite group of global cities along with New York and Tokyo.

"London attracts over half of all Indian investment into Europe and provides Indian businesses with a gateway to the continent".

Think London recently assisted The Export-Import Bank of India to relocate its European headquarters from Milan to London. Bank representative Samuel Joseph said: "We chose London because it is a more attractive place for Indian businesses.

"It really is the most important business centre in Europe and the financial services industry is very advanced in London. Another reason for choosing London was to take advantage of the excellent access to global capital markets."

Last year, Indian companies spent 228 million pounds buying British businesses, with the value of the average takeover rising to 28.5 million pounds compared with just 6 million pounds the year before.

Some of the biggest recent bids and acquisitions by Indian companies are:

1. The Tata Group trying to pull off the biggest-ever Indian takeover of a foreign company, offering 4.3 billion pounds for Corus, formerly known as British Steel. If it goes ahead, the deal will create the world's fifth-biggest steel company.

2. Tetley Tea, the company that invented the tea bag and remains the world's second-largest producer of tea bags, was bought by the Tata Group for 270 million pounds in 2000.

3. Apeejay International followed Tata into the market for British tea businesses last October when it bought Typhoo for 80 million pounds from Premier Foods.

4. Tyco Global Network, one of the world's most advanced submarine cable systems, was bought by Tata for 69 million pounds in November 2004.

5. Tata also bought Incat International, a British software company, for 53 million pounds last year.

6. Indian liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya's United Breweries is seeking to buy whisky major Whyte & Mackay, which it values at around 400 million pounds.

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