Power, Hotels, Auto To Drive Tata Global Foray

Mumbai, Aug 25 | Updated: Aug 26 2004, 05:30am hrs
The Tata group will look at increasing its presence in the overseas markets by focusing on three sectors: power, automobiles and hotels.

Addressing the media at the share listing ceremony of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) at the National Stock Exchange, group chairman Ratan Tata said the objective of the group was now to look beyond India.

At this stage, a $2 billion (approximately Rs 9,200 crore) investment has already been proposed for a gas project in Bangladesh. Responding to a query, Mr Tata said, The Bangladesh government has confirmed a 20-year gas supply.

He is expected to be in Bangladesh next month to finalise the details of the project. On the possibility of merging all the infotech companies in the Tata group with TCS, Mr Tata pointed out that it was a continuous process and will always be looked at.

This can be done keeping in mind the interests of TCS and those companies, he explained. Significantly, Mr Tata said that this may not be restricted to just a merger within IT companies in the Tata group. We will also look at inorganic growth through mergers and acquisitions (M&As), he added.

Responding to a query on an overseas listing for TCS, the companys managing director S Ramadorai said the company was looking at the option. On the issue of the promoters diluting their stake, which is in excess of 80 per cent now, he explained that the promoters were open to doing so. We cannot speculate on when it will take place. We will consider it if growth can be achieved, added Mr Ramadorai.

Mr Tata expressed happiness about the reponse to the TCS issue from investors. The price has been encouraging and we really did not expect the retail investor to be so enthusiastic, he said, visibly delighted.

According to Mr Ramadorai, the way forward for TCS will be to grow the business with the right margins. Our key differentiator is our strength in the domestic market. Our expansion will comprise growing in other geographies like China, Eastern Europe, US and the Asia Pacific. This will be apart from the projects in India.

Referring to the current rate of inflation which is close to 8 per cent, Mr Tata said everyone should be concerned about rising prices. We should be concerned about the resultant increasing raw material prices and that of intermediaries. This is at a time when we are on the growth path. The increased prices should not have a bearing on demand, he added.

On the cut in steel prices, Mr Tata clarified that there was no pressure from the government to cut prices. All steel companies are making good profits and should be in a position to reduce prices, he said.