Wednesday 12 December 2018

Indian companies urged to set up new bases in Ireland when UK quits EU

Nilakanthi Ford
Nilakanthi Ford

Colm Kelpie

Indian companies could look to Ireland as an alternative European base to the UK post-Brexit, it has been claimed.

The head of the Ireland-India Business Association (IIBA), Nilakanthi Ford, said Ireland had been "grossly under represented" in markets such as India, and argued that this needs to change.

"The fact is that Ireland has been grossly under-promoted, and under-represented in the emerging countries, with India being one," Ms Ford said.

"We really haven't leveraged the relationship between India and Ireland. Ireland and Irish businesses have really sourced, outside of the UK, the US as their next primary market. What we are saying is that there are opportunities for Indian companies to invest in Ireland."

According to the IDA, more than 30 Indian companies have already invested in Ireland, employing more than 3,000.

Those companies include Wockhardt, HCL, Infosys, and Crompton Greaves.

In terms of boosting Irish exports to India, Enterprise Ireland said that 181 of its clients reported sales in India last year. Kerry Group, CRH, PM Group and Shaw Academy are among the most successful Irish businesses in India. Next month, Minister of State Pat Breen will lead a trade mission to the country.

At a recent Oireachtas Committee, Enterprise Ireland executive director Kevin Sherry said it was "quite difficult" to conduct business in India.

"My recollection is that India is ranked 138th out of 160 countries in terms of the ease with which to do business," he said. "It is not easy to conduct business in India but it affords us huge opportunities."

The IIBA conference takes place today with key note speeches from industry and government figures.

"Again and again over the last few years I've met with companies who have been trying to identify locations for a European base, and they're considering Ireland as one of the options," Ms Ford said.

"In summary, for the next three years, Brexit will continue to bring uncertainty. Indian companies are still looking to the EU for business. Ireland has long links with India stretching back to India's fight for ndependence and shared heritage and common law."

Meanwhile, group companies in the salt-to-software Tata Sons conglomerate faces potential writedowns of almost $18bn due to investments in unprofitable businesses, according to a letter that ousted Chairman Cyrus Mistry sent to the company's board. Mr Mistry, who holds an Irish passport, was shunted out of the company on Monday by the Tata Sons board for reasons not officially made public. (Additional reporting Reuters)

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