By Marcus Leach
The UK’s enhanced partnership moved a step forward at the Economic and Financial Dialogue talks between the Chancellor, George Osborne and India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Both Ministers discussed growing UK-India commercial ties and a wide range of global economic issues.
Chancellor George Osborne said:
“A year ago the Prime Minister led the largest British trade delegation of British business leaders and politicians to India. I am delighted today to welcome my Indian counterpart to London; Britain is now making the largest foreign investment in India. It shows that British companies are competing with the best in the world, despite some sceptical voices, and is good for growth in Britain.”
The Business Secretary, Dr Vince Cable said:
“We have witnessed the real benefits this partnership can bring and I would like to congratulate the companies who have announced or signed deals. As our enhanced partnership continues to develop, I am delighted that innovative UK SMEs are also able to find commercial success in India and to see progress in investments between both countries.”
A number of commercial deals were signed during the talks. Representatives from the companies who have recently announced deals also attended a business lunch hosted the Chancellor for Finance Minister Mukherjee and his delegation of senior Indian officials.
Essar Energy announced an investment in the UK oil sector.
Ravi Ruia, vice chairman of Essar Group, said: “Essar is increasingly looking at the UK as one of its markets for investment. Within our Essar Energy business, which listed on the London Stock Exchange last year, we are acquiring the UK’s second biggest refinery at Stanlow from Shell for $350 million, while our Aegis business process outsourcing company has just announced its entry into the UK and European market, creating 600 jobs in Manchester. Meanwhile, Essar Steel has also acquired a steel processing and distribution business at Dudley in the West Midlands. Our aim is to continue developing a mutually beneficial business presence in the UK.”
UK banks have a played a key role in supporting financing for this deal:
Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered, Peter Sands, said: “Standard Chartered has a long history in India, and is pleased to have a strong and well established relationship with Essar, of which this deal is a good example. This deal is an example of the long standing and growing ties between India and the UK. The UK India CEO Forum looks to build on these links and further deepen the areas of commercial collaboration to the benefit of the two countries.”
The approval of the BP-Reliance deal by the Indian Cabinet was welcomed. This is the single largest foreign investment into India.
Bob Dudley Group CEO of BP said: “We welcome the Indian Government’s approval of our alliance with Reliance Industries, partnering with India in its quest for energy security. This transaction is part of BP’s strategy of creating long-term value through alliances with strong national partners, taking material positions in significant hydrocarbon basins and increasing our exposure to growing energy markets. We will now work to complete the commercial agreements for the deal in the next few weeks.”
Benoy signed a new contract, and announced two further contracts. This is a good example of opportunities for UK firms in the infrastructure sector, as India looks to invest $1 trillion on infrastructure development over the next five years.
Benoy Chairman Graham Cartledge CBE said: "We are delighted to be signing a contract with Indian Developer Supertech to design a major Mixed-Use Masterplan in Noida, India. Benoy is also pleased to announce new contracts with Prestige in Bangalore and Forum Projects in Adityapur. These projects will broaden and indeed enhance Benoy's India Portfolio and will lead to the creation of a dedicated India Team in our London office. I was honoured to join a delegation to India, with Prime Minister David Cameron in July 2010 to promote the UK Creative Industries. There is a unique historical connection between the UK and India and we are honoured to play a part in its continuing story."
Network Mapping Ltd
UK SME Network Mapping Ltd celebrated a new contract with Sterlite, a subsidiary of the Vedanta Group. This demonstrates that innovative British firms, including small and medium-sized enterprises, are finding success in India.
Network Mapping Ltd Chairman, David Langworth, said: “Network Mapping Ltd is delighted to confirm a UK-India initiative for the company to provide the first ever aerial laser survey (LiDAR) in India for 1,600 kilometres of Design-Build-Operate electricity transmission line projects. The technology will facilitate improvements in engineering quality for the new transmission lines while reducing project timescales, costs and mitigating risk. Network Mapping always maintains close contact with UKTI, in India and indeed in each of our markets to ensure that we have the best information with which to manage new country risks and opportunities.”
Aegis celebrated its recent investment creating six hundred new jobs in Manchester.
President Mergers & Acquisition and Strategic Initiatives, Sudhir Agarwal, said: "Aegis Ltd, an international outsourcing services provider which is part of the multinational conglomerate Essar Group, is delighted to have entered the UK and European outsourcing market. We are setting up our first European customer service centre in Manchester's City Tower. The UK is an ideal base for our UK and European operation as Aegis focuses on serving customers from service centers based in their own markets and employing people from that culture, rather than on off-shoring these services. Aegis UK will service a number of major blue chip clients across a range of industries, and we look forward to further expanding our presence in the UK."
Serco celebrated the approval of the recent £385 million acquisition of leading Indian Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provider Intelenet.
Serco CEO, Chris Hyman, said: “Serco has a long-standing and successful relationship with India, and our people deliver services across the country. Our recent acquisition of Intelenet, a leading Indian provider of business processing outsourcing services to both companies and the government in India, is a great example of how we are bringing together the skills and strengths of both the UK and India to help deliver growth and economic benefits for both our countries. This acquisition demonstrates both our continued commitment to India, and our broader ambitions as a leading, and growing, British-based international service company.”
A number of collaborations in education collaborations were also announced during the talks, including:
This is a long term knowledge sharing and delivery partnership between skills providers in the UK and India.
Roy Newey, Group Board Director, A4e said: “A4e is honoured to have the opportunity to work in true partnership with Centum Learning to develop this exciting initiative in India. Centum Learning have a wonderful vision for developing professionally skilled trainers who can spearhead the skills challenge in India. The UK skills consortium has been brought together by the leadership from UKIBC/UKISF and UKTI.”
Navin Bhatia Founder Director & Chief Mentor, Centum Work Skills India: “We consider A4e as an extremely valued partner for Centum Learning. Through this collaboration, we are keenly looking forward to working together with them to shape the pertinent requirement of bringing in occupational standards for the 'Skill Development industry' and thereby applying them to quickly scale the operations of creating a large and effective 'Skill Trainers' community' in India.”
This is a large scale programme to provide training and skills for commercial drivers across India, in partnership with the UK India Skills Forum.
Join us on