The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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India Inc on US mission to showcase corporate wealth

Calcutta, Aug. 30: A team of government mandarins and corporate shoguns are flying out to the US to rustle up investment in India at a time when fund flow into the country’s capital markets from abroad has started drying up.

Aimed at showcasing India’s corporate wealth, the two-day event to be held in Boston next week will feature ITC chairman Y.C. Deveshwar, Godrej supremo Adi Godrej, Larsen & Toubro’s chief executive officer A.M. Naik, Tata Steel’s managing director B. Muthuraman, Gautam Thapar of Ballarpur Industries and K.K. Mistry, managing director of HDFC Bank, among others.

The Indian technology sector will be represented by Infosys, Satyam, Polaris, NIIT and Bharti Televentures. Mathew Panikar will represent Reliance, the country’s largest private sector company.

Top officials of public sector companies will also be attending the roadshow. These include Indian Oil chairman M.S. Ramachandran, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation supremo Subir Raha and K.G. Ramachandran, head of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.

The team of government officials will be lead by G.N. Bajpai, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). Disinvestment secretary Pradip Baijal had earlier promised his participation, but will not be able to make it.

Nevertheless technology will transport him to the US for a few minutes during the show. Baijal will address the roadshow through a videoconference. However, secretaries from the Union heavy industries and petroleum ministries will be attending the road show.

ICICI Securities — an arm of ICICI Bank Ltd — is organising the event. It has invited 50 institutional investors to attend the two-day road show. Its chairman K.V. Kamath will also be present at the event.

“Similar conferences have been organised in the past to promote a particular sector or a set of companies, but something of this grand scale, which aims to sell the country as an investment destination has never taken place in the past,” said Devesh Kumar, head of ICICI Securities’ equity group.

From now on, ICICI Securities will hold two such shows every year. One in Singapore every April, and another in the US, every September. A much smaller version of the show, focusing on the IT sector alone, was held in Singapore in April last.

Recently, Warburg Pincus, India’s largest equity investor, termed the country as “the best place outside the United States to invest in the world.”

It had said India’s steady move to market-based economy and successful efforts to deregulate key industrial sectors continues to make the country attractive to US private equity firms.

Warburg Pincus has invested over $ 670 million in Indian companies—its biggest exposure in the Asia-Pacific region.

Team India will be hoping that there will be more like Warburg Pincus that will be ready to shovel their surplus funds into the country.

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