Expat and Local Executives Say India on Growth Track

Top Indian industry executives who spoke at an  Economic Summit held in New Delhi from November 4 – 6, 2014, welcomed the Modi government’s initiatives in land and labor reforms. Quicker approvals for business would boost manufacturing and creation of jobs they said.

The government, which came to power promising to revive the economy, has raised foreign direct investment (FDI) limits in defense, real estate and railways, and freed diesel prices. Modi is aiming to replicate at the national level his success in bringing investments to Gujarat as the state’s chief minister by easing the country’s cumbersome labor laws and cutting red tape.

“I am extremely confident. A country in general needs leadership and there is a leadership; it needs direction and there is a direction; it needs confidence and there is confidence here in India,” said Etienne Benet, head of Nestlé South Asia Region and Nestlé India.

Inflation measured in terms of wholesale price index touched a five-year low of 2.4% in September. Retail inflation has also dropped to 6.5%, the lowest since the new series was released in January 2012.

“This is a large flywheel. It is not a jump-start, it takes a while to gain momentum. I see signs that the flywheel is beginning to move,” said Anand Mahindra, chairman and managing director of Mahindra & Mahindra the Indian multinational automobile manufacturing corporation headquartered in Mumbai.

 

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November 11, 2014   No Comments

Gov. Hayley’s India Trip to Attract Jobs to U.S.A.

The newly re-elected Republican governor of South Carolina, Ms. Nikki Hayley arrives in India on November 13 on a 10-day mission involving the state’s commerce and tourism agencies. Gov. Hayley will be traveling to the Indian cities of Amritsar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Mumbai, and New Delhi hoping to persuade companies to bring jobs to S. Carolina.

Haley is also slated to attend 40 of the delegation’s 90 scheduled meetings and events. The delegation’s 18 members, which also include representatives of businesses interested in exporting to India, are splitting their time between seven cities in six states. “It’s a brutal schedule, but we’ll work hard and hopefully have something to show for it when we get back,” she said. India, an emerging market with more than 1.2 billion people, ranks 16th in capital investment in South Carolina. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, South Carolina ranks 14th nationally in total exports to India, at $352 million last year, up from $110 million in 2005.

Ms. Nimrata (Nikki) Randhawa Haley, who is the first Indian American woman to become governor of a American state has mostly downplayed her gender and Indian-American heritage publicly.  She  was born to Sikh parents but converted to Christianity and is married to Michael since 1996.

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November 11, 2014   No Comments

Huntsman India Sales Cross $500 million

Peter R. Huntsman, President and Chief Executive of the $12 billion chemicals maker,  Huntsman Corporation, inaugurated a new India corporate office in Mumbai on November 4, 2014. Initially, the 220,000 square feet, seven story building will house about 300 Huntsman associates, including over 100 technical staff spread across three floors including  laboratory and research facilities.

Commenting on the importance of the new headquarters to Huntsman’s ambitions in the Indian subcontinent, Mr. Huntsman said, “This opening is an important milestone in our continued growth and commitment to the Indian market. Our family and employees have been building a business in the Indian subcontinent for over 25 years and today enjoy a strong, profitable and growing organization in excess of $500 million.”

Paul Hulme, Huntsman Senior Corporate Officer for the region, said, “I am confident that the investment we have made in facilities and people will stand us in good stead for many years as we continue to develop strong strategic partnerships with our customers and continue to grow our business across all five of Huntsman’s business divisions.” Huntsman has manufacturing facilities in  Vadodara (Baroda) and Ankleshwar in the state of  Gujarat that manufacture textile chemicals, dyes, and surfactants; the Pune facilities manufacture polyurethane systems in the state of Maharashtra about 150 miles from the Mumbai location.

 

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November 7, 2014   No Comments

Investors’ Growing Appetite for Vehicle-Rental Startups in India

Indian vehicle-rental startups focused on urban transportation needs are getting funding by US venture capitalists. With one of the world’s lowest car-ownership rates–18 out of 1,000 people, according to the World Bank — India has a large pent-up demand for vehicles.

Sequoia Capital has invested $8 million in Zoomcar, an Indian vehicle-rental startup, along with Empire Angels, FundersClub, Basset Investment Group, and funds advised by Triangle Growth Partners, who have increased their stake in the company. Zoomcar counts Larry Summers, the former U.S. Treasury Secretary, as well as Professor Ed George, chairman of the Statistics Department at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, as its early investors. It had previously raised about $3 million.  The Bangalore-based firm says it has grown to 250 cars at more than 40 locations, from seven cars when it launched. The company says it plans to use the funds to expand operations to other cities including New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Goa.

San-Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc., which counts Google Ventures and Goldman Sachs among its investors, has made a big bet on India since launching there in September 2013, operating in 10 Indian cities, more than in any country except the United States.

SoftBank Corp. this week said it will invest $210 million into ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd.’s Ola Cabs, which operates a digital taxi-hailing service in 19 Indian cities, and competes with Uber Technologies.

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November 3, 2014   No Comments

Valvoline adds R&D and training center to its manufacturing location

Valvoline Cummins Ltd. (VCL), a joint venture between Ashland Inc. and Cummins India Limited, opened a center for R&D and Product Development along with a training facility at its Ambernath plant, close to Mumbai according to Dr. Frances E. Lockwood, Senior Vice-President and Global Chief Technology Officer, Ashland Consumer markets.

Valvoline

The new R&D facility services the Valvoline Global R&D facility at Lexington, Kentucky.  This facility will undertake research and development for futuristic products and technologies according to   Sandeep Kalia, Chief Executive Officer, Valvoline Cummins Ltd. Last year, Valvoline inaugurated its own toll blending facility automotive lubricants for the consumer, industrial and heavy-duty markets.

 

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September 18, 2014   No Comments