Mumbai: The Tata group’s agrochemicals company, Rallis India Ltd, is following the lead of other group companies such as Tata Steel Ltd, Tata Motors Ltd and Tata Tea Ltd and is looking for strategic acquisitions and licensing deals in the international market.

Apart from buying companies outright, Rallis is also looking for acquisitions of brands and distribution networks or licensing deals for technology and brands.

Multinational consulting firm Monitor Ma’nagement Control Systems Ltd has just completed a study on global business expansion for Rallis, according to a person familiar with the matter, who did not wish to be identified.

Workers at a paddy field in Gariba Khasa village in Punjab. Rallis currently enjoys about 14% market share in the local pesticide and crop-protection market

“Strengthening international operations is one of the main focuses for the company now. We have realized that it is time to look at the huge $35 billion (Rs1.37 trillion) global agrochemicals business of which more than two-thirds is off-patented (without patent exclusivity) products," said Rallis managing director V. Shankar. Shankar added that the company’s global initiative would be implemented in phases by 2010.

A senior executive at Rallis, who did not wish to be identified, said that the company has already given a mandate to some investment bankers to look for possible acquisitions in Europe and Latin America. “A suitable deal can be expected at any time," he added.

Rallis, which ended 2006-07 with Rs700.83 crore in sales and Rs58.11 crore in net profit, is one of the largest companies in the domestic agrochemicals market, which is collectively valued at around Rs4,000 crore, according to industry estimates. The company has effected a financial turnaround since 2003, when it made a net loss of Rs77.27 crore on sales of Rs885.08 crore. Rallis, which currently enjoys about 14% market share in the local pesticide and crop-protection market, posted a 26% quarter-on-quarter growth in revenues to Rs334 crore in the second quarter of 2007-08.

While it is a big presence domestically, international business currently accounts for just 22% of the company’s revenues. “We want to increase the foreign sales to a much higher proportion by 2010 by implementing the newly proposed global expansion plan," says Shankar.

Over the past few years, the Tata group has looked to expand its global presence largely through acquisitions. In January, Tata Steel acquired Anglo-Dutch steel maker Corus Group for $12 billion.

Rallis’ wholly-owned subsidiary in Australia already caters to the certain European markets with sales and distribution services and research and development support. In the domestic market, Rallis is now the second largest player after Bayer CropScience Ltd.