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Caparo to Expand India Footprint, Make it Export Base for Global Biz

Published: 01st February 2015 12:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st February 2015 12:57 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

LONDON:  Identifying India as one of the biggest growth areas in the group's global operations, diversified Caparo Group CEO Angad Paul plans to expand footprint in the country and make it the export base for world markets.

The chief executive of the 1.5 billion-euro group also said there has been a lot of "positivity" in India after last year's general elections, unlike 2013 and early 2014 when there was uncertainty.

"We are really excited about growing our footprint in India, as well as utilising it as an export base," Paul said.

In an interview to the CEO Magazine, Paul, son of Caparo group founder Lord Swraj Paul, said India is one of the biggest growth areas for the group.

A diversified group with global presence, the London-headquartered Caparo has a turnover of more than 1.5 billion euros. It has good presence in India.

"One of the biggest areas of growth for us is India. We were really suffering from a complicated, uncertain situation there throughout 2013 and early 2014, due to the economic downturn. Following the elections, though, there was a lot more positivity," Paul, who took over as CEO in 2002, said.

The group's plan to make India an export base comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government is promoting the 'Make In India' campaign that seeks to make the country a key destination for manufacturing activities.

"Real growth is taking place in our rapidly expanding business in India. We started there in automotive components and we are now increasing our range of products, all of which add further value to the kind of steel products we were making," Paul noted.

Most recently, Paul said the group has added electric rickshaws, bio-digester toilets and low cost housing along with the installation of solar power facilities to its portfolio in India.

"I also see continued expansion in India's growth in the supply of many more products and services there... we would like to increase the numbers of products that can serve a rapidly developing India under its new political leadership," he said.

 According to Paul, the group is working on a number of contracts from India to Brazil which seems unusual but "it's what people want".

"This is a really interesting time to be moving our India strategy forward," he said.

Paul said the UK has been more challenging to use as an export base, particularly because of the strength of the pound. With regard to China, he said the group was yet to put more than a representative office there, although it was "the elephant in the room" where the group would like to be in the future.

"By and large, our expansion strategy is driven less by geography and more by particular opportunities," Paul said.

The group's interests are spread across design, manufacture and marketing of value- added steel and niche engineering products, hotels, media, financial services, energy, medical products, private equity investment, furniture and interior design, among others.

Founded by India-born British industrialist Lord Swraj Paul, who is the Chairman, Caparo and its associates employ more than 10,000 people globally.

In India, Caparo offers end-to-end solutions in the design, development and manufacture of automotive systems, assemblies, advanced composites, modules and components for automotive original equipment manufacturers, among others.

As per its website, Caparo India currently employs 5,000 direct and indirect employees across 27 world-class functional and upcoming facilities.

Noting that the group is continuously looking at possibilities in other geographies, Paul said "we realise that China is the elephant in the room and somewhere we would like to be in the future".

About future plans, Paul said the group would be looking to increase its scale and footprint.

"Overall, I would like to think that over the next seven-year period, we can increase Caparo's scale and footprint to at least two or three times its current size, at all times remembering we would want to improve rather than erode our profit margins," Paul said.

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