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India third largest investor in Britain

According to the UK Inward Investment Report, Indian companies invested 1.02 billion pounds during the year.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2006 19:07 IST

Indian companies nearly doubled their investments in Britain during 2005-06 to emerge as the third largest overseas investor in that country.

According to the UK Inward Investment Report, Indian companies invested 1.02 billion pounds during the year.

"India is now the third largest investor in the UK with Indian foreign investment projects into the UK increasing by a staggering 110 per cent in 2005-06," Mark Dolan, British trade and investment deputy director (inward investment) for India, told a news conference while releasing the report Mumbai.

"During 2005-06, the UK recorded a total of 76 investment projects from India, creating 1,449 jobs.

"The flow of Indian investments into the UK has turned from a trickle in the late 1990s to a flood, with the scope and breadth of projects rapidly expanding. While ICT (information and communication technology) remains the dominant sector for investment, there was strong growth in investments in pharmaceuticals and engineering too," Dolan said.

"At the same time, more Indian companies are looking outside London reflecting the deepening of our investment relationship."

The big rise was due to the Indian investors taking advantage of Britain's expertise in high-value activities such as R&D, science, cutting-edge technology, innovative design and as a base for European headquarters, he said.

The report said 1,217 foreign companies from around the world chose to invest in Britain during 2005-06, which was a 14.3 percent increase over the previous year.

"The US with 446 projects, Japan with 84 projects and India with 76 projects are the top three investors," it said.

The 76 new projects from India include 39 from Mumbai-based firms, 10 from New Delhi, 22 from Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, and 5 from Kolkata.

"Indian investment into the UK is now being given the recognition it deserves. This inward investment is amply exemplified by HCL that has created local employment of over 2,000 people and has contributed and made a tangible difference to the local economies in its own way," said HCL corporate vice-president (Europe) Rajeev Sawhney.

Other major Indian investors in Britain include Nicholas Piramal, Mahindra & Mahindra, State Bank of India, the Apeejay Surrendra Group, Essel Propack and the Godrej Group.

Nicholas Piramal, one of India's largest innovative healthcare and pharma solutions firm, acquired the global marketing rights and technical know-how of Inhalation Anaesthetics business from Rhodia Organique Fine Ltd of Britain for 8.9 million pounds in 2005.

It also completed a 100 per cent acquisition of another British company, Avecia Pharmaceuticals Ltd, for 9.5 million pounds during the same year. It also bought 25 per cent equity in Reaxa Ltd, a technology company based in Manchester.

Nicholas Piramal recently acquired a manufacturing plant from drug giant Pfizer in Northumberland, gaining a strong foothold in the British bio-pharma sector.

Mahindra & Mahindra, the flagship company of the Mahindra Group, recently acquired British firm Stokes Forgings for an estimated 7.5 million pounds.

Essel Propack Ltd, the largest speciality packaging company in the world with an estimated 32 percent global market share, acquired Arista Tubes and Telcon Packaging in Britain for a combined value in excess of 6.4 million pounds.

"Essel plans fresh investments worth 2.7 million pounds in Britain to manufacture laminated and seamless tubes catering to the oral care, cosmetics, personal care, pharmaceutical, food and industrial sectors," Dolan said.

The Godrej Group, a leading name in engineering and consumer products in India, has a presence in Britain through Godrej International, its trading arm.

Godrej Consumer Products recently acquired Keyline Brands, a London-based consumer products company, for 16 million pounds.

Dolan said that companies from Kolkata too see Britain as an investment destination with great potential.

"The Apeejay Surrendra Group, one of the largest producers of tea in India with a workforce of 40,000, acquired Typhoo, a 100-year-old iconic British brand, at 80 million pounds," he said.

"This was India's second largest global FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) acquisition and the seventh biggest corporate takeover by an Indian company to date," he added.