Indian companies have been fairly active in the African continents, which offers the country an extremely lucrative market. Given China's head-start in the region, India's state-owned enterprise interest in Africa is long-overdue. Here are just some recent snapshots of the India-Africa story. Kalpataru Power bags new Africa orders
Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd (KPTL), India's leading engineering player in the power and infrastructure contracting sector, has secured new orders worth nearly $172.86 million.The projects for the construction and supply of 225 KV & 90 KV overhead transmission lines worth an estimated $139.79 million in West Africa was awarded to KPTL and its wholly owned subsidiary named Kalpataru Power DMCC.Manish Mohnot, KPTL managing director, said: “We have visibility of order book in excess of Rs 10,000 crore ($1.5 billion), which will drive our growth for the next few years. We will continue to focus on sustaining profitable growth through efficiency and productivity improvement across the value chain.”KPTL claims to be one of the largest and fastest growing specialised EPC companies in India, engaged in power transmission and distribution, oil and gas pipeline, railways, infrastructure development, civil contracting and warehousing and logistics business with a strong international presence in power transmission and distribution. The company has a number of contract across Africa, the Middle East, Australia and the Far East, among other regions.Maruti plans base in Africa
Maruti Suzuki is conducting a feasibility study for a new assembly plant in Africa.Africa has a high demand for small, inexpensive cars along the lines of what Maruti can offer and the company sees a sales potential in that market. Establishing its own plant in the region could also help it contend with stricter rules on local sourcing, which have weighed on its exports to the region.R.C. Bhargava, chairman, Maruti, said: "We have a team in place now for land acquisition. We have allocated Rs 800 crore ($120 million) for building sales and marketing infrastructure. If required, we can step this up further."Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director, Maruti, said the firm is evaluating the suitability of different African markets for an assembly plant. Maruti would need to sell more than 50,000 vehicles a year in Africa to justify setting up an assembly plant, he added.Exports to African countries, including Algeria, Egypt and South Africa, made up about 8 per cent of Maruti′s exports of 123,897 vehicles in the previous year.Eye-Q to expand its Nigeria Operations
Eye-Q Super Specialty, an eye hospital chain based in India, is planning to expand its operation in Nigeria over the next few months. The company plans to invest $2 million in its Nigerian venture.Rajat Goel, co-founder and CEO, Eye-Q Vision, said: “We are in talks with Nigerian officials to venture out in Africa. They liked our model of operation and the final nod will be given soon.“Our philosophy is to go to places that are underserved and the situation in Nigeria is as basic as tier II and III cities in India. We are trying to figure out what will be the right model there.”Founded in 2007, the company currently has about 44 hospitals in small towns and cities and plans to focus on western India for the near future.Given the company's business model of tapping under-served markets, it is looking at going into villages and has started four vision centres as a model to increase access.The company employs tier pricing in different centres, based on the size of the market.Eye-Q claims to reach about 500,000 Indian patients and expects a 10 per cent annual growth in that number.Godrej takes Good Knight to Africa
Indian conglomerate Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL) has made plans to launch ular 'Good Knight', its popomosquito repellent brand, in the African continent.This will enhance the presence of the FMCG major in Africa as part of its expansion strategy focusing on the continent.Sunil Kataria, business head for India and SAARC, GPCL, said: “We will be rolling out brand Good Knight in Africa over the next couple of months. We would be focussing on Africa in a big way.“We are going to cross pollinate lot of ideas from various markets and decide about the strategy for Africa.”Talking about the application of learnings from one market to another, Kataria said that their learnings from the Indian and Indonesian markets will help them in Africa.GPCL is already well established in Indonesia.“Indonesia is a very big market for home insecticides (HI) for us and we are successfully doing lots of innovations there. Good Knight fast card was initially in Indonesia under Hit Magic name. We took our learning from Indonesian market and modified it for India,” Kataria added.India-Africa explore copter deal
India is in talks with a number of countries in Africa for the possible export of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd's (HAL) light combat helicopter (LCH).LCH is India's indigenous chopper, being developed by HAL to cater to the combat needs of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Army. The weapons trial of the LCH is planned in July-August this year.The helicopter is designed to carry out dedicated combat roles such as air defence, anti-tank, scout and support combat search & rescue missions. The Army has placed an order for 114 and the IAF has ordered 65 of the LCH with state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.India's defence minister, Manohar Parrikar, said: “Weapons and export of defence goods have double problems. One is whom you are exporting to and the second is one has to go on checking all international requirements.“From a meager $140-150 million dollars, this year, I think we have crossed $330 odd million. We have doubled the export. I have set a target for myself. In the next two years, why not touch $2 billion. It is not an impossible target.”The government is also looking at the Tejas fighter aircraft as part of this push for defence exports.Indian infrastructure fund eyes Africa
India's Overseas Infrastructure Alliance (OIA) has executed $1 billion worth of projects in eight African countries - Burkina Faso, Comoros, Ethiopia, the Maldives, Mozambique, Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania.Chinmay Shah of OIA, said: "OIA has expanded the capacity of its ethanol plant in Ethiopia from 45,000 litres production per day to 110,000 litres. Total cane crushed last year stood at 759,333 tonnes, while total sugar produced stood at 796,444 tonnes."As part of its CSR initiatives, the company has built a two-storey ophthalmology centre at a cost of $2.13 million in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has one of the highest prevalence of blindness rates in the world, with a total of 1.2 million blind people.OIA said in a statement: "In its long-term commitment to Ethiopia, OIA is determined to play a meaningful role in meeting the challenges of avoidable blindness. We at OIA seek to roll out the model of rural comprehensive eye care in more regions in Ethiopia to ensure no one goes blind from causes that are preventable, treatable and avoidable."The company first entered Africa with an electrification project at Mozambique′s Gaza province.Sarovar Hotel eyes Africa expansion
Indian hotel management firm Sarovar Hotels plans to operate 10 hotels in Africa in the next five years.It has kick-started in South Sudan, by taking over management of Panorama Hotel as part of its expansion plans.Ajay K. Bakaya, executive director, Sarovar Hotels, said: "This is a major step in our growth and expansion strategy and we are looking to operate 10 hotels in Africa in the next five years."Sarovar currently manages Heron Portico and Zehneria Portico in Nairobi, Kenya, and the New Africa Hotel in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania. The group said it sees immense growth potential in the African market with high demand and occupancy in most hotels.Sarovar Hotels Pvt currently operates over 75 hotels in India and abroad, with a total of 6,000 rooms under various brands.