Spanish investment in India increases by 500%

Spain, which has a strong industrial base in the automotive and infrastructure sectors has witnessed a five-fold increase in its investments  

in India in 2008 calender year.

"Spanish investment in India in the first three quarters of 2008 calender year was USD 158 million (or 114 million euros). This had increased by 500 per cent from the previous year," Chief Executive Officer of Interes 'Invest in Spain', Javier Sanz told reporters here.

"Our companies have been investing in India in the automotive and infrastructure segment. One of our firms, Caf (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles SA), is working with Reliance on the Delhi metro project from the railway station to the airport," Embassy of Spain, Economic & Commercial Counsellor, Teresa Solbes, said.

She added that the cost of the 22-kilometre project cost was about 670 million euros. Spanish fashion retail giant Zara too has shown keenness in investing in India, she added.

'Invest in Spain', a government agency for promotion and attraction of foreign investment in the European country, today met with 14 well-known Indian entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities between the two countries.

Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, ICICI Bank, Essar Group, Navneet Publications, X L Telecom & Energy, Tata Motors, Kingfisher Airlines, Kalapuma Steel, Jupiter Infra Trade, Telcon, Wanbury Pharmaceuticals, Roha Dyechem, and ITNL IL&FS were part of the meet today.

Spain, which is seeking Indian investment in ICT, renewable energy, biotechnology, aerospace and logistics sectors, says Indian foreign investment in Spain has been fairly insignificant at 10.3 million euros.

Although India is not facing the slowdown as much as elsewhere, it has great potential for investment in Spain, Solbes said. "India has a special potential. The slowdown is less felt over here," Solbes said.

"With an astonishing economic growth rate of 9 per cent and IMF growth forecast at 6.7 per cent, India is a key market for us," Sanz said, adding they want morempanies like TCS to invest in Spain.

'Invest in Spain' has similarly approached US, Mexico, Japan and China among others with the key objective of enhancing economic and investment relations. Spain, he said is an open and globalised economy. "We are suffering the global crisis as well. Spain is in the middle of an economic slowdown," Sanz said.

Making a strong case for inviting Indian investments, he said, "We cannot overcome this (the slowdown) alone."

Asked whether Spain would give incentives like a five-year long tax holiday or rebates to Indian firms investing in its 70-odd tech parks, Sanz said, "It depends on the project. We cannot offer so many things for free."

He exuded confidence that Spain would maintain a high ranking in the growth index far above European for themost part, always concentrated on the US, Europe and Asia, leaving out Latin America. "Spain could act as a grid between both continents. We have a good stronghold over Latin America."

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