Blog: Olly WehringIndia - the wider the coverage, the bigger the potential

Olly Wehring | 7 February 2007

Last year, when we suggested that the UB Group were our company to watch on the international scene, a few people scoffed, pointing out that UB’s base was confined to India, which, whilst big, didn’t seem to be a market from which to launch global aspirations.

UB’s business, we were told, was too geared to the low margin Indian market to succeed on an international scale.

Of course, that story has moved on somewhat, with UB’s well-documented aspirations to acquire the UK drinks group Whyte & Mackay.

One of the advantages of working in a newsroom that also includes automotive, clothing, retail and food journalists is the perspective from outside the drinks industry this affords us - a perspective all too often lacking in the drinks industry I think, but that’s a blog for another day.

Anyway, an article on our automotive site - - caught my eye last week, which serves as a reminder of India’s growing power on the global scene. It covered the victory of Indian company Tata in a stock market auction for the European company Corus. The result has created the fifth biggest steel producer in the world.

If further evidence is needed of India’s growing reputation as a financial powerhouse, then watch out for a series of programmes on the BBC World Service this week, which asks whether India is set to be a world power. In one of these reports, Gerard Walsh, regional director for Asia at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London, says India is already close to being a US$1 trillion economy.

And if you measure it using purchasing-power parities - an alternative to exchange rates which accounts for different price levels between countries - India is already the third-largest economy in the world, behind only the US and China.

All the more reason, I’d say, to continue to watch this market and, perhaps more importantly, the companies that are already dominating there.


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