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Tatas look to expand in Africa

March 18, 2013 17:35 IST

Africa's mapDiversified conglomerate Tata group is pressing for expansion in Africa through its various business verticals, expecting its revenue from the continent to grow by 30 per cent every year from the current level of $2.3 billion.

While Tata Motors is looking to set up new assembly facilities through local partners in countries like Tunisia and Kenya, the group's hospitality chain Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is also considering ‘proposals from three-four’ countries to set up new properties.

"The business models which work in India can work in Africa and we would like to widen and deepen our business in Africa," Tata Sons Ltd Brand Custodian and Chief Ethics Officer Mukund Govind Rajan told media persons in New Delhi.

He said the group is currently present in 20 countries in Africa through its nine different companies with a total revenue of $2.3 billion.

The group has so far invested a total of $1.7 billion in the continent.

Asked about revenue growth from the continent in future, Tata Africa Holdings Managing Director Raman Dhawan said: "It is expected to grow at around 30 per cent every year."

Tata Africa Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata International, serves as the headquarters for Tata operations in Africa.

Commenting on the plans for assembly operations, Tata Motors Head International Business (Commercial Vehicles Business Unit) R T Wasan said: "We are looking at new assembly operations in Tunisia and Kenya through local partners. “We are focusing on small, light and medium commercial vehicles."

At present, Tata Motors has a commercial vehicles assembly plant in South Africa.

Wasan said the company will also start bus body building in South Africa through its global partner Marcopolo soon.

He, however, said at present there were no plans for starting assembling passenger cars in Africa although the company is ‘evaluating’ options about the Nano in Africa.

On the hospitality front, Dhawan said Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces has a property at Lusaka in Zambia and Cape Town in South Africa.

"We are looking to expand in other African countries. . .We are considering proposals from 3-4 countries.

“All of these properties may not necessarily be in the luxury segment but they would be appropriate for the African market," he added.

The Tata group had entered Africa way back in 1977 in Zambia through its trading arm, Tata International by marketing Tata Motors vehicles imported from India.

Today nine of its companies, including Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Communications, Tata Chemicals and Tata Power, have presence in the continent.

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