General Electric is pinning its India strategy on the country’s economic growth. The American conglomerate will expand even when India’s growth is five per cent, GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey R Immelt, who flew into New Delhi on Friday, told journalists. Immelt, also an advisor on economic issues to the US administration, said the Indian government was complicated, with overlapping agencies. Excerpts:
Our business will continue to expand, even when India grows only at around five per cent. But we will grow faster when the economy picks up.
On what if India does not return to a eight to nine per cent GDP curve:
We have a more long-term perspective. Our business standpoint is that we will allow for innovation even when economy is at five per cent. Innovation in Indian health care is particularly striking... Also, five per cent growth is as unsustainable as nine per cent.
On revenue growth projection:
Around 15-20 per cent (for India).
On retrospective taxation:
If I had my Budget wish list, everything will be clear... Tax laws have triggered investor concern, which is a negative. It’s a positive that P Chidambaram is back as the finance minister... I see signs of correction. Transparency and stability are key. Other things can follow.
On the outsourcing landscape:
From the manufacturing standpoint, you cannot beat the US. In business process outsourcing, India is still competitive. There is a paranoia around the issue.
On the recent GE deal with Reliance Power:
Since it was a gas-driven project, it had to be downsized.... There’s been a little bit of shake-out in gas.
We are looking at acquisitions worth $1 billion to $4 billion.
On stepping up hiring from 14,000 in India:
As market prospects grow, we will grow, too.
On likely defence budget cut:
Military business is very small, just three per cent of the total for us. But a defence budget cut will impact us.