Monday, February 19, 2007

India's Acquisition Spree From Steel To Roses

Recently, India proved that it has the nerves of steel by acquiring two steel giants of Europe - Arcelor and Corus to become the world's No. 1(Mittal-Arcelor) and No. 5(Tata-Corus) manufacturers .There might be a mistaken impression among some quarters that its most acquisitions have been made for manufacturing or services.
It all changed after I read a news report on St. Valentine's Day that a firm in Bangalore is negotiating with a Dutch flower company Sher - the biggest in the world for acquisition. Incidentally, it seems 40% of annual rose sales takes place on this occasion alone. It may be too early to speculate whether India will be catapulted to become the world's biggest grower of flowers; but already it is being reckoned as a flower power with exports touching $678 million which is expected to cross $1 billion by 2010.
Adding such feathers to India's cap would be truly admirable if one does not read daily about farmers' unabated suicides and grim struggles of tens of thousands of farmers. The stark reality is that even agriculture is not free of infrastructure weaknesses which have been impeding growth of manufacturing sector. Power has been a laggard for decades although other sectors have been scaling new heights.
Not surprisingly, the noted business school KnowledgeAtWharton and a consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group have said in a new study "India is on its way to becoming world-class manufacturer due to changing environment but poor infrastructure, bureaucratic red tape and restrictive labour laws have kept India's manufacturing a backwater while its services have become red-hot'.
'Sher' means tiger in Hindi and to capture big tigers including the Dutch one, India must firstly have power - to light homes, run factories, turn pumps and also to make roses bloom brilliantly.
Is it not?

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