Vedanta Group, a global leader in oil & gas and metals industries, is stepping up Gulf operations by establishing a regional base in the UAE as part of its $20 billion expansion drive across key markets.
Anil Agarwal, founder and chairman of the $15 billion Vedanta Resources Limited, said out of the $20 billion earmarked for global expansion, $10 billion will be in the oil and gas sector. The group is also looking at boosting investments in India, including in the privatisation of BPCL, Shipping Corporation of India and Hindustan Copper.
On Vedanta’s move to set up its regional HQ in Dubai, he said the London-based conglomerate is looking at the UAE not only as a regional hub but also as a global gateway. “Therefore, we can be here even on an international basis too. People love to come here, and this region is also developing beautifully on the education and entertainment side.”
Speaking to Khaleej Times during a visit to Dubai for the inauguration of India Pavilion, Agarwal said he saw great value in partnerships with the UAE because the nation is today the best global hub for trade & investments. Earlier it used to be London and Singapore. “But the UAE is emerging as a hub because it is less expensive and more business-friendly. Things move faster; there is greater accessibility and connectivity. And for tax reasons too as the law is very favourable,” he said.
The Vedanta chief said the UAE is developing as a huge tourism destination. “People who used to go to the West from India can come for a holiday here at half the cost. They can also benefit from the education scene here given the way UAE is developing the sector. I think about 25 per cent of the cost in a Western nation, Indians can send their children to be educated here.”
Agarwal said his group’s Fujairah subsidiary is getting very favourable deals in the UAE from those who are into drilling and creating surface facilities. “The region has huge experience, and we would like to take that experience in energy to India.”
“India only produces 15 per cent of its energy needs. The government is focused on increasing oil & gas exploration and production. We will play an important role from here by working with the Indian government and partners such as the UAE,” he said.
On Vedanta’s plans to boost production capacity across all its core operating sectors, he said there are two sides to the group’s operations: One is the natural resources, and two, technology. Both sectors are growing. “We are expanding our production capacity in core operational areas such as oil and gas, zinc, silver, copper, steel and iron ore. In fact, we have just acquired two companies in the ferro-alloys sector, because stainless steel is a strong market. We are also interested in the nickel business.”
Alongside, the group also sees growth opportunities in advanced technology. “We are already in software development, and we are expanding our business to be a total solution provider to support the fibre optic industry.”
On the move to acquire Videocon, Agarwal said a Vedanta subsidiary has secured the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approval. “The company has oil assets which have a synergy with our assets and is also into electronics – another of our strong areas. We will see how it evolves as the matter is in court.”
On India’s dreams of being a global powerhouse, he said the country would be a $10 trillion economy by 2030. “I have no doubt that global companies will come to India and invest in India. They will make money in India. The Indian stock market index has crossed 60,000 points; ours is the best-governed stock market in the world. So, people love to invest.”
Agarwal, who has been ranked among the top philanthropists from India, said India has three big advantages. “One, its geology is great; we have enough natural resources to support our growth. Two, our human resources are unparalleled and thirdly, we have four seasons — meaning four harvests — so we will have plenty of food.” — email@example.com
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