With Corus in bag, Tatas eye brand building, more buys in UK

With Corus in bag, Tatas eye brand building, more buys in UK

London: India’s leading corporate house Tata Group is looking to expand its presence in the United Kingdom through inorganic growth route, including in new areas such as leather footwear, after its successful takeover of steel giant Corus earlier this year.

The group has also embarked upon a brand-building exercise in the country, which it considers as the gateway to doing business in Europe as well as rest of the world outside India. It has appointed financial public relations firm Financial Dynamics (FD) for augmenting this exercise, the group’s UK-based subsidiary Tata Ltd’s Managing Director S A Hasan told a group of visiting reporters here.

FD is a leading international business and financial communications consultancy firm and is known for providing services aimed at maximizing shareholder value, enhancing and protecting a company’s reputation and brand value.

“The Jaguar Land Rover deal is already in the offing in the automotive sector... we also see value proposition in a potential acquisition in the leather footwear segment in the UK. Besides, we could also look at possible inorganic growth opportunities in sectors we are already present as well as the new areas," Hasan said.

“UK is the largest market for the group after India and is generating revenue worth more than $7 billion per year... still there is lot of growth potential left here," he added.

“We expect this amount to increase to $9-$10 billion by 2010 with fair amount of contribution from all businesses including steel, Hasan noted.

Tata group’s $13 billion investment to acquire Corus Group Plc earlier this year is the largest by any business house from India. Besides steel, the company is already present in sectors like IT, chemicals, telecom, auto and consumer products in the country.

“However, the growth going forward would be more through inorganic route ...through the acquisitions," Hasan said.

“We are soon coming out with a new communications strategy for our UK businesses, for which we have already appointed PR firm Financial Dynamics," he said.

The mandate to FD is work toward building the Tata brand in the UK and to get it well-established.

“Despite being present here for 100 years, initially we did not do this (brand building exercise) as our presence was not big and there were not many products...today we have the size and the time has come to build our brand value here."

Work on the communications strategy was in final stages, Hasan said, adding the group was looking at acquisition opportunities mostly in sectors it was already operating in.

“There must be an India-advantage for any deal to take place... there must be something we can do that they (the target company) were not able to do alone," he said.

However, the group was also looking at new sectors for possible acquisitions, though not very selectively, he said.

Even in case of Corus, though it fitted with Tata Group’s business, not long ago steel was a struggling industry, the executive said. “Still we went ahead with it and the deal has proved to be successful... the idea is that it has to be something we are good at it."

“We may also look at investment at the IPO or pre-IPO stages as well as the small and medium enterprise segments and new-age areas like biotechnology, biogas and nano-technology," Hasan said.