India UK FTA negotiations to conclude by Diwali this year: Grimstone

Grant Thonton, CII launch India meet Britain tracker report as Indian companies’ contribution to the UK economy has increased manifold despite pandemic disruption, reports Rahul Laud

In the background of the visit of the Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal slated for round table meets end on this month , with nearly 1bn£ investments by India in the UK, and Serum Institute Poonawala’s plan inspired by Wockhardt here  to invest  240 mn£ investment in the UK, the Grant Thornton’s India Meets Britain Tracker report comes as an encouraging document for Indian companies.   

Climate, trade and Defence continue to remain three keys for relationships between the two nations said, Gayatri Issar Kumar, Indian High Commissioner to the UK. Based on the roadmap designed for 2030 the speed and targets for the Indian diaspora has been accelerated by the Government of India , she pointed out at the Tracker launch held last Thursday at the swanky Edwardian Suite , St James Court , Hotel Taj  in London. Top CEOs of the leading Indian banks in UK  – the ICICI and the State Bank of India and leading businessmen attended the VIP diner and launch. Kumar added, ‘’The growth in the number of Indian-owned companies in the UK, identified by this research, is remarkable and reflects the increasing appetite and appeal for Indian businesses to invest and set up operations in the UK.”

As the relationship between the UK and India continues to grow, following the launch of Free Trade Negotiations at the start of the year and the Prime Minister’s official visit last month, the latest research from the 2022 Grant Thornton India meets Britain Tracker in its 9th Edition finds that the number of Indian companies operating in the UK has increased, with 900 companies identified, up from 850 in the 2021 research. Grant Thornton India meets Britain Tracker is developed in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry, which analyses the data of UK-incorporated limited companies that are either owned or controlled by Indian interests.

This year’s report finds that the 900 companies identified:

–          reported combined revenues of £54.4billion, up from £50.8billion in 2021 research

–          employed 141,005 people, up from 116,046 in 2021 research

          paid £304.6million in corporation tax, compared with £459.2million in 2021 research

The research also identifies the fastest growing Indian companies in the UK, measured by those with a turnover of more than £5 million, year-on-year revenue growth of at least 10% and a minimum two-year track record in the UK. This year, 37 companies met the qualifying criteria for appearing in the Tracker – achieving an average growth rate of over 38%.

The three fastest growing companies by year-on-year revenue growth were: MSSL (GB) Ltd (248%), Prodapt (UK) Ltd (114%) and Route Mobile (UK) Ltd (98%). Of the 37 fastest-growing companies in this year’s research, 33 have featured in previous Trackers, demonstrating the sustainable growth being achieved by Indian companies.

The majority of the fastest growing companies included in this year’s Tracker are based in London (46%), continuing the trend seen in recent years. This is followed by the North (22%) and the South (14%). This clearly demonstrated the fact that the regions outside London, technology and telecoms sectors are hotspots for growth. The Manchester India Partnership and West midlands India Partnership had played a stellar role in this growth said, Laxmi Kaul, Head and Representative at The CII in UK. Hero Cycles (Insync Bikes Ltd) based in Manchester winner ranked 7th as a fast track company in the auto sector is a testimony to this fact.

For the ninth year in a row, technology and telecoms companies dominate the Tracker, accounting for 35% of those who qualified for inclusion this year. This is followed by the pharmaceuticals and chemicals sector (27%) and engineering and manufacturing (14%).

Ina passionate speech, Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone said:

“As one of our closest trading partners, Indian companies make an impressive contribution to the UK. I am confident our partnership will go from strength to strength as we advance negotiations for an ambitious, modern Free Trade Agreement and meet our goal to double trade between our nations by 2030.” Turnover figures have been annualised where periods of less or more than 12 months have been reported. As the research relies on published and filed accounts, there is inevitably a time lag between the recording of the performance of the companies and the publication of this report.

Anuj Chande, Partner and Head of South Asia Business Group, Grant Thornton UK LLP, also echoed similar sentiment. He commented:

“Our latest research finds that the number of Indian companies operating in the UK has increased and that many continue to grow at a rapid rate, with some recording triple digit growth. While London continues to dominate as the location of choice, for the first time, more of the fastest-growing companies are also starting to be located outside of the city, highlighting the appeal the whole of the UK holds to overseas investors.’’

“A free trade agreement, once concluded, would confirm the two nations as true partners. It paves the way for an enduring economic relationship that benefits the people of both countries and brings exciting opportunities for businesses in India and the UK for many years to come.”

Chandru Iyer, Head of Business Development, South Asian Business at Grant Thornton hosted the evening with absolute dignity, grace and professionalism. He shared that The UK GT member firm is part of a global network that employs 58,000 people in 135 countries. ‘’We combine global scale with local insight and understanding to build relationships and deliver the services you need to realise your ambitions,’’ he assured.

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