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Indian companies sought for London Olympics

By Dipankar De Sarkar, IANS,

London : London’s new mayor wants Indian companies to come over and help ensure the British capital delivers a “world class” Olympic games in 2012.

Conservative mayor Boris Johnson made his appeal Thursday as figures released by Think London – the city’s foreign investment agency – showed a record number of Indian firms invested in London last year, making the British capital a key centre for Indian companies looking to expand globally.

“Think London plays a crucial role in courting the interest of Indian companies and with the 2012 Games fast approaching the interest and support of these companies will be vital in ensuring London delivers a world class event,” Johnson told a large number of international investors at a reception in central London.

With a clear eye on Indian investors, Johnson also claimed London was a far more attractive investment destination than New York, having attracted 52 billion pounds of foreign investment last year compared to 25 billion pounds that went to its American rival.

Think London executives told IANS Johnson, elected in May, has a strong interest in India but is unlikely to visit the country immediately because his predecessor Ken Livingstone undertook a major visit as recently as in November last year.

The 2007-08 financial year saw India reinforce its position as the second largest investor in London after the United States, creating 825 jobs, accounting for 13 percent of the total 6,152 number of jobs created.

Sixteen Indian companies expanded or established business in London during the year, according to data released Thursday by Think London as part of its annual review.

The figures were welcomed by Think London Chief Executive Michael Charlton.

“London is still the most important gateway city to Europe for Indian companies… The strengths we have in emerging technologies can clearly be seen with companies such as Meticular India generating 45 jobs,” Charlton said.

“As the pace of convergence continues we predict further growth in technology and creative sectors next year and having on the ground support in Mumbai means we can support companies through the critical stages of international expansion,” he added.

“Another success to highlight is Haldiram, who set up a food plant in west London, creating 100 new manufacturing jobs,” he added.