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India Attracts Enough FDI to Join Global Top Ten


Even as most countries attracted less foreign direct investment last year, investment in India surged on hope its economy is set for take off. 

Asia’s third-largest economy received $34 billion as FDI in 2014, according to report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. That’s a 22% jump from the previous year, meaning India was the country that attracted the ninth largest amount of international investment last year. The year before the South Asian nation’s ranking was 15th.

Total global FDI fell 16% to $1.2 trillion during the year as a fragile global recovery and geopolitical risks hurt investor confidence. While much of Asia saw increased inflows, India was among the countries that showed the biggest increases.

The government’s efforts, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” program aimed at attracting global companies to produce locally, are helping strengthen interest the country’s manufacturing sector, the report said.

China attracted $129 billion in 2014, helping it dislodge the US as the highest FDI attracting nation.


Shell Looks to Expand in India


Global oil & gas giant Royal Dutch Shell Plc, a $421-billion company, is eyeing investment opportunities in the Indian downstream segment, especially with the recent deregulation of diesel prices and opening of the market. The company is planning to expand its retail outlet network utilising its existing licence to set up 2,000 fuel stations.

The Netherlands-based energy and petrochemical group might also look at the upstream exploration and production segment and is pinning its hopes on the indications that the government would introduce an open acreage licensing policy (OALP).

India had deregulated diesel prices in October last year, linking the domestic rates of the transport fuel with global benchmarks. Since then, multiple companies, including Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Essar and ONGC subsidiary Mangalore Refinery and petrochemicals (MRPL), have announced plans to set up retail pumps, even as existing retailers - public-sector firms Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum - brace for competition.

Shell has already invested close to $1 billion in India and is the only global major to have a fuel retail licence in the country. Against its licence from the Centre to set up a network of up to 2,000 outlets, it has around 75 outlets currently operational. Shell also operates the Rs 3,000 crore Hazira LNG storage and regasification terminal. Besides being a major private supplier of crude oil products, chemicals and technology to public- and private-sector oil companies, it has interests in the lubricants and bitumen segment.

Royal Dutch Shell was recently in the news for its $70-billion acquisition of the BG Group. The announcement, which came in April, was the first major oil-sector merger in about a decade. The deal is yet to be closed. The company had also recently announced setting up an information technology project development centre in Bengaluru, in addition to a research & development technology centre in that city.