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Rediff.com  » Business » 'Think London' is the new mantra

'Think London' is the new mantra

February 20, 2008 14:21 IST
The trend of India Inc seeking more foreign investment and collaboration with companies from the developed world is gradually changing.

Now, the developed countries are focusing on India. The proposed acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover cars by the Tatas, is just a recent example of how the whole perspective has changed.As India Inc extends its footprint across the globe, many countries are now seeking investment from Indian companies.

A 15-member team from the London Chamber of Commerce was in Chennai to lure Indian investors to London. 'Think London' was their mantra. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) organised a seminar on 'Business Opportunities for Indian Investors in UK' in Chennai.

The delegation was in Chennai to explore opportunities for collaboration in a range of business services such as financial services, legal services, education and training, and immigration consultancy.

Michael Gourlay, director, Asia Pacific, Europe & Africa, 'Think London' (London's official foreign direct investment agency), said that London is the best place for Indian companies for mergers and acquisitions, corporate social responsibility, environmental best practices and ethnic diversity.

"The companies based in London generate a better return on investment, grow faster, diversify more as compared to those who chose to operate from rest of Europe," he pointed out.

 "London is also the location of choice for Indian executives, who say that they could gain global perspective and exposure to international business while working from London," he said.

Over 32 per cent of UK's creative workforce is in London. With its population of seven million, London is also the fastest growing capital city in Europe.

The economic forecast says that London's economy will grow from 198 billion pounds in 2006 to 241 billion pounds by 2012, a growth of 43 billion pounds or Rs 3,50,000 crore.

Speaking at the seminar, Teja Picton Howell, Partner, Picton Howelll LLP, UK said, "There has been a positive enthusiasm and marked evolution of attitudes about Indian companies among the UK government, British businesses and British workers in the last few years, as evident from the enormous growth of business between India and the UK in the last seven years."

In his overview of the UK legal services sector, Howell said that Indian companies are very welcome in the UK.  Howell pointed out that last year, India became the second biggest direct investor into the UK (after only the US).

In London alone there are more than 160 multinational Indian companies. If businesses owned by persons of Indian origin are included, there are over 10,000 Indian owned businesses in London, turning over 7.5 billion pounds, representing 5 per cent of the city's economy.

In 2006, over 70 Indian companies made new investment in the UK, which created 5000 new jobs, making India the second largest foreign creator of jobs in the UK, after the US. Some of the Indian companies that have already established base in London include Infosys, Wipro, YRJ Films, Polaris, several public sector banks, Sahara, ICICI Bank, etc.

Mike Connor, British deputy high commissioner, Chennai, said that the total two-way trade of goods grew by 13.2 per cent in January-August 2007 compared to January-August 2006. UK is India's third largest investor in India during the period between April 2000 and August 2007.

Connor said that South Indian states, especially Tamil Nadu, is catching the attention of UK companies for new ventures. That is why the team chose Chennai as the only place in India to urge Indian industry to collaborate with their UK counterparts.

Shobha Warrier in Chennai