The objective of the conference, which was held on January 28 and 29, 2008, was to promote India as a destination for investments from Middle East, understand opportunities, risks, benefits and formalities of investing in India.
Opening the conference, Mr Ajay Sharma, Country Head, ICICI Bank Bahrain opined that with GDP growth rates of close to 9% for the past four years and the government’s determination to provide further boost the economic growth, India is poised for a leap ahead. Companies are getting aggressive with their expansion plans and are now looking for various sources to raise capital to fund these expansion plans. This is reflected in the fact that India attracted around $18bn of private equity investments in 2007.
According to Mr. Kalpesh Kikani, ICICI Bank’s Global Head of Investment Banking, the India growth story is based on strong fundamentals and the current consumption cycle would continue or even accelerate. Even though there would be challenges in the form of rising oil prices and high interest rates, the Indian economy is largely insulated from global weaknesses and is strongly poised to continue the robust growth.
The conference also highlighted opportunities and sectors with high growth potential such as Infrastructure, Financial Services, logistics & SMEs. Speakers included specialists including Mr. Kannan S, Executive Director, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, Mr. Vijay Chandok, Head, Small Enterprises Group, ICICI Bank, as well as business leaders from corporates such as Mr. Anil Devli, ED, Shreyas Shipping, Mr Tushar Jani, Chairman, Bluedart Aviation, Mr Rajendra Ganatra, Director, Abhijeet Group etc.
The event, the second by ICICI Bank, was attended by around 40 delegates from premier financial institutions in the Middle East. Mr Dinesh Dhume, Sr. VP, Adeem Investment Co, who participated in the panel discussion on “Overcoming Challenges while investing in Indian businesses”, commented that Gulf investors are upbeat about Indian opportunities and are willing to adopt a partnership approach with Indian promoters while coming on board as investors.
Mr. Tareq Al Saleh, Vice-Chairman & Managing Director, Massaleh Investments, commented that the conference provided an excellent platform for Gulf -based investors to gain exposure to India and the regulatory & procedural aspects of investing in the country, besides providing excellent networking opportunities.
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