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18. September 2007

Tata Motors eyes Jaguar, but experts sceptical

NEW DELHI: For this former British colony, an Indian takeover of Jaguar and Land Rover would be a boost to local pride and a sign of India's economic rise.
But many investors and automotive industry analysts question whether a bid by India's Tata Motors - maker of workhorse trucks and low-end mass market cars - for the two luxury brands would make much business sense.

Chairman Ratan Tata confirmed last month that he is clearly interested in entering the competition for the iconic Britain-based carmakers, which have been put on the auction block by financially-troubled Ford Motor Co.

Several US private equity firms are also expected to submit bids.

The graying, distinguished Tata has said such an acquisition would help bring global visibility to his group - a sprawling conglomerate that makes everything from automobiles to steel and software, and a name that until recently was little-known outside India.

Tata Steel made a splash in January when it won a bidding war to buy Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus Group plc for US$12.1 billion (US$1 = RM3.48).

That deal, India's biggest foreign acquisition, highlights the country's recent outward expansion into the global economy.

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