Tata Steel’s acquisition of Anglo-Dutch steel maker Corus for $12 billion created a flutter in London and in the global steel sector. Tata Steel suddenly became the fifth largest steel company of the world by hop-step-jump technique from its backbencher rank. CSN of Brazil lost. It was not only a win for a company but it was a great success of Indian management talent that is gradually getting recognized.
And then came the Hindalco’s acquisition of Canadian aluminium major Novelis for $6 billion that makes Hindalco to be the 5th largest aluminium company in the world (currently ranked at 13). It is the world’s ninth largest copper producer with 0.5mtpa capacity. Hindalco will also be the world’s largest flat rolled product company, and will control over 20% of the world flat rolled capacity in aluminium. It will get an operating presence in 11 countries with 36 facilities, and will add nearly 13,000 employees to its rolls. With Novelis annual turnover of $8.4 billion, Hindalco will have a turnover of approximately $11 billion.
The story of the recent acquisitions by Indian companies doesn’t end there. Acquisition of a forge shop by Mahindra and Mahindra and the other acquisition a subsidiary of Philips Netherlands by Moser Baer are smaller but very significant for the Indian companies. Videocon and Suzlon have already made bigger deals for organic growth to get into global club and ranking. And many more acquisitions by companies such as Wipro, Ranbaxy, and even the smaller ones, are at planning and negotiation stage.
But more important is the story from telecom sector. It was two months after Li Ka-Shing’s Hong Kong headquartered Hutchison Whampoa expressed its intention to put its 67% stake in its Indian joint venture with the Ruias of Essar for sale, Vodafone, the world’s largest telecom company, has won the bidding war with an aggressive price of $18.8 billion (more than the combined payouts by Tata and Birla for Corus and Novelis respectively) for the whole of Hutch Essar, India’s third largest private sector mobile operator. The UK-headquartered Vodafone and its India-born CEO Arun Sarin went for this huge amount to enter the Indian telecom market, as India is now growing at a faster pace than even China. Could anyone think of this happening few years ago? And the entry of Vodafone will mean lot for the people of India. It will mean further reduction in the tariff that is already the lowest in the world. It will increase the competition among the major players and so consumers will get better services. Vodafone is already talking of expanding in rural India and working on a $25 handset. Is it not something exciting for the Indian economy? I don’t know how leftists react to this development.
Many foreign companies are now looking at the Indian market with great interest. Could one even imagine that an Indian brand of food industry will make the Americans and Europeans interested in buying it? US spice king McCormick was to buy MTR Foods of Bangalore for Rs 350 crore. But as per the latest information, it is the Norwegian foods-to-metal group Orkla is buying it for $100 million (Rs 450 crore) nearly three times MTR’s current turnover of about Rs 150 crore. Orkla will use MTR’s manufacturing facilities to lower its costs by outsourcing manufacturing to India. And perhaps all the inputs will come from the farmers of the country.
It is good that the big Indian companies are buying out to come in global club of the big ten in its sector fast. However, the people of India would have been more benefited if they had been setting up plants and facilities in the country. These acquisitions abroad will not create the employment, direct and indirect, for the teeming millions, which is the biggest priority of the nation.
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