It seems like a celebrity is created out of an Indian everyday in the UK these days. We, here in India, were just beginning to suppress our shock and grins from news over the new-found British celebrityhood of Bollywood starlet Shilpa Shetty on the back of a race row that news has come in today of our very own national celebrity, Tata, shooting to instant stardom in Britain by clinching the Corus deal. True, the Tatas had entered British shores with the Tetley deal a few years ago, but yesterday’s acquisition of Anglo-Dutch steel giant Corus is India’s biggest grab overseas and has surely caused many in the British and European markets to sit up and take note of India Inc’s growing ambitions.
Shocks (pleasant though) and grins all round in India on this one too as a national hero has emerged. Yes, there are some concerns on whether Tata Steel has stretched its balance sheet a bit too much in quoting a far higher price (approx $12 billion) than its original offer in October, but knowing the market standing the Tatas enjoy in India, they’re all willingly put aside.
As an Indian, I’m proud of the Tatas too and India’s growing global presence, but it remains to be seen how the Tatas will handle the responsibilities that come with being the fifth largest steelmaker in the world now. First up to demand their attention will be British workers at Corus that fear job cuts will be an inevitable side-effect of this acquisition and seem all set to challenge it. Good luck to Ratan Tata!
Poulomi Saha, India Editor