DUBAI: Hinduja Group, a UK-based US $25 billion diversified conglomerate led by NRI Hinduja brothers, plans to rope in Gulf investors including UAE’s sovereign wealth funds as partners for power and other infrastructure projects in India.
“We would like the major Gulf investors, including the sovereign wealth funds to invest with us in large projects where return on investment will be very high,” Gopichand P Hinduja, Co-Chairman of Hinduja Group of Companies, has said.
“India is a major growth story and we want to participate in this in a much bigger way. As much as USD one trillion spending in infrastructure development has been planned in India over the next few years,” Hinduja told Gulf News.
The newspaper reported that Hinduja Group is in talks with UAE’s sovereign wealth funds for partnership as it plans to sell stake in its power and cable TV network businesses, while it also plans to double its USD 100 million investment in the UAE.
“We have a plan to develop 10,000 megawatts of power in India for which we are ready to forge partnership with the Gulf’s sovereign wealth funds, especially those of the UAE,” the report quoted Hinduja as saying.
G P Hinduja, the eldest of the four Hinduja brothers at the helm of affairs of the diversified global group with significant presence in India as well, held talks with at least three sovereign wealth funds for possible equity partnership during his recent visit to the UAE.
The group is setting up its first greenfield project, Hinduja National Power Plant – a 1,040 MW thermal power plant – in Andhra Pradesh at a cost of about US $1.65 billion.
Hinduja further said that the group is ready to partly divest equity stake in its power and cable TV business to UAE’s sovereign wealth funds, but did not give further details.
The group is also present in automotive sector in a big way in India through Ashok Leyland, which makes commercial vehicles.
The Hinduja group’s annual turnover is more than USD 25 billion while it has an enterprise value of over USD 35 billion.
In businesses spread across 35 countries, it has more than 72,000 employees and the group is present in sectors including oil and gas, power, automotive, trading, infrastructure, banking and financial services, real estate, healthcare, media and IT.
In 1984, the group acquired Gulf Oil, followed by takeover of then struggling Indian automotive manufacturer Ashok Leyland in 1987. Ashok Leyland is now a USD 2 billion company with an annual capacity of 1,50,000 units.
Indian and the UAE governments are currently working on a Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA) which will encourage greater investment from the UAE into India, Hinduja said.
He said the group has been careful with its investments and therefore it was not “much affected by the financial crisis of 2008. “While all major businesses suffered, we continued to grow and prosper,” he said.
The group last year invested US $1.1 billion to acquire Houghton, a leading US-based lubricant and specialised chemicals group.