Britains pan-India sweep

Britains pan-India sweep

UK auto firm to set up in Pune

Helical Auto Technology has set up a modern manufacturing unit in Pune which will cater to the growing demands of the Indian market. The company, which makes actuators and valve rotators, plans to cater for Indian engine manufacturers such as Cummins India, Honeywell and Turbo Energy.

The British-based firm will set up a dedicated assembly line to produce exhaust valves for luxury passenger and commercial vehicle makers. Clients are thought to include Porsche and Mercedes-Benz as well as other premium German car companies.

Manufacturing components in India will reduce costs by up to 30% when compared to the imported units from its two plants in China and the UK.

Winkworth open for business in Bangalore

London-based estate agents Winkworth have launched an expansion programme across the Indian subcontinent. The programme begins with the opening of offices in Bangalore. Chennai and Delhi branches are planned for later this year.

Winkworth plans a radical revision of the way Indians buy houses by working for only one party in each transaction. Other Indian estate agency companies traditionally represent both sides.

Narayanan Soundararajan, a former Royal Bank of Scotland banker, has taken on the franchise for India and says that he will be looking to build close relationships with credible property developers.

“India is a rapidly growing real estate market,” Soundararajan has said, “and there is a particularly large luxury segment. That creates a great deal of opportunity for an international brand like Winkworth that combines global expertise with local knowledge.”

Dominic Agace is the CEO of Winkworth and agreed with Soundararajan's comments. “The Indian property market has gone from strength to strength over the last decade,” he said, “and is now considered to be one of the world's most vibrant real estate markets.”

The Indian franchised offices will work with Winkworth's UK network to offer support and advice to prospective clients looking to buy in both countries.

M&S expand into India

Famous UK-based retail chain Marks & Spencer is accelerating its expansion in India with plans to add more stores in the next six to eight months. Existing stores will be revamped and redesigned in order to display the sub-brands and take on rival fashion retailers such as Zara and Mango.

The company currently operates in 46 countries and already has 24 stores in India through a 51/49 joint venture with Reliance Retail. It plans to increase these to over 34, although company officials said they have no plans to buy out its partner following India's decision to allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment in single brand retail. M&S has listed India, China, Russia and the Middle East as future growth areas for the chain.

Cox & Kings makes hotel plans

International travel company Cox & Kings is to bring its international hotel chain Meininger to India.

The company, based in London, acquired control of the German-based group in February this year. Meininger owners decided to sell the remaining 26% share to Holidaybreak, which has been part of Cox & Kings since 2011.

Meininger works by offering rooms that are part hostel and part hotel. It runs 16 businesses across 10 cities in Europe and occupies the budget segment of the market. This ties in with Cox & Kings' plans to expand the chain into more cities across Europe and add India to the franchise.

Recent years have seen a change in focus by many Indian chains towards building hotels in the mid-scale and budget segment, targeting domestic tourists and corporate travellers.

Smith & Nephew celebrate Indian acquisition

Medical technology company Smith & Nephew will acquire Indian firm Adler Mediequip as well as the brands and assets of SushrutSurgicals, which makes orthopaedic trauma products.

Smith & Nephew are presently based in the UK and the acquisition will help them enter the Indian market as well as providing a platform for export and product development. It reflects the company's expansion plan which seeks to tap emergent markets in the face of declining European sales. Around 10,500 people presently work for Smith & Nephew in 90 countries.

Thomas Cook acquires major Indian HR firm

Travel services giant Thomas Cook (India) is acquiring a 74% stake in IKYA Human Capital Solutions, a Bangalore-based HR company. The stake is estimated to cost around $47 million and is aimed at adding to Thomas Cook's existing suite of services.

IKYA offers specialised human resource services including recruitment, search and skill development to over 500 corporate clients in India. They have 32 offices, over 1,400 team members and manage 54,000 people.

The move would enable Thomas Cook to make a foray into one of the world's largest human resource markets, as the travel firm said in a statement to the stock exchanges. Thomas Cook (India), owned by the Indian affiliate of a Canadian investment firm, added that the latest transaction is subject to regulatory approvals. The acquisition will be funded through internal accruals while IKYA will be kept separate.

In 2012, UK-based Thomas Cook Group Plc sold off its investment in Thomas Cook (India) Limited. The firm is now part of the Fairfax Group based in Canada. It operates in over 75 cities in India and also has overseas operations in Sri Lanka.

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