Indian-Owned Companies in the UK Hits New High

Indian-Owned Companies in the UK Hits New High

New research from the 2023 Grant Thornton India meets Britain Tracker finds that the number of Indian-owned companies operating in the UK has reached a record high of 954.

This is a significant increase compared to 900 the previous year, and the highest number ever recorded by the research.

This is the tenth annual edition of the Grant Thornton India meets Britain Tracker, developed in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry, which analyses the data of UK-incorporated limited companies that are either owned or controlled by Indian interests, and has tracked the evolving ties between India and the UK for a decade.

The research finds that Indian-owned companies’ presence and contribution to the UK economy has increased significantly since the research began in 2014:

  • The number of companies qualifying for inclusion in the research has increased by almost one third: from 700 in 2014 to 954 in 2023
  • The number of Indian-owned companies in the UK increased significantly compared to last year alone: from 900 in 2022 to 954 in 2023
  • The combined turnover of Indian-owned companies in the UK has more than doubled: from £19 billion in 2014 to £50.5 billion in 2023
  • The top Indian-owned companies in the UK are significant employers in the market, consistently employing c.100,000 people over the last ten years

Commenting on the results, Anuj Chande, Head of South Asia Business Group, Grant Thornton UK LLP, said:

“The number of Indian-owned companies operating in the UK remained at its highest level over the past 12 months, despite businesses and economies worldwide still feeling the impact of the pandemic. The increase in the number of companies compared to last year alone is remarkable, amid ongoing operational challenges and rising costs.

“This increasing presence in the UK is reflective of the growing relationship between the two countries, with the past decade witnessing ever deepening ties between India and the UK. Bilateral trade, for example, has more than doubled from £16.4 billion in 2013 to £35.9 billion in 2022. The UK continues to have an attractive offering for Indian investors with a common business language, access to high quality education and strong brands all contributing to the pull of the UK to Indian business leaders. The significant Indian diaspora here is also believed to have encouraged more Indian companies to look at the UK as their natural home.”

Fastest growing Indian-owned companies in the UK revealed

The research also identifies the fastest growing Indian companies in the UK each year, measured by those with a turnover of more than £5 million, year-on-year revenue growth of at least 10% and a minimum two-year track record in the UK**.

Of the 954 companies included in the research, 79 met the qualifying criteria for appearing in the Tracker – more than double that of 2022 (37). This is the most companies that have met the qualifying growth criteria since 2018, demonstrating the clear post-pandemic recovery that’s now underway.

The average annual revenue growth rate among the Tracker companies also almost doubled compared to last year (38%), to hit a record high of 71%.

The three fastest growing companies in this year’s research by year-on-year revenue growth were: LT Foods International Ltd (807%), St James Court Hotel Ltd (491%) and Reliance Big Entertainment (UK) Private Ltd (364%).

Over the past decade, 22 fast-growing Indian-owned companies have featured in the Tracker at least five times, demonstrating the remarkable sustainable growth of Indian companies in the UK – Accord Healthcare Ltd and Secure Meters (UK) Ltd have both featured eight times.

Indian-owned companies start to look beyond London for growth

While London remains the preferred location in the UK – with 35 of the 79 companies in this year’s Tracker headquartered in the capital – as in last year’s research, many Indian-owned companies are starting to look beyond London for growth opportunities and those located outside of the capital now account for more than 50% of the total.

The North is the most popular region outside of London, with 20% of all Tracker companies located there. This year, for the first time, the Tracker also includes a company headquartered in Northern Ireland.

Technology, media, and telecommunications remains sector of choice

Technology, media and telecommunications companies continue to dominate the Tracker, recording an average growth rate of 51% and making up 24% of the fastest growing Indian-owned companies in the UK. This is followed by engineering and manufacturing (23%) and pharmaceuticals and chemicals companies (15%).

Anuj Chande added:

“This year’s Tracker has the highest number of companies qualifying for inclusion since 2018. The significant increase from just 37 companies in our 2022 research to 79 this year, demonstrates the impact the pandemic had on many businesses and the recovery that is now taking place as businesses return to achieving strong revenue growth.

“The anticipated UK-India Free Trade Agreement, expected to be concluded this year, will likely be a platform for further growth in the Indian footprint in the UK. And with the Indian economy forecast to become the third largest in the world by 2030, we expect to see a further boost to two-way trade and investment between India and the UK moving forward.”

Also commenting on the research, Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), said:
“Indian companies are key participants in the UK economy, both in terms of investment and in terms of trade. The tenth Grant Thornton-CII report shows that the UK remains a top market for Indian businesses, against the backdrop of recent global economic developments, and attests to the close economic partnership between the two countries.

“The rise in participation of Indian companies is a big step forward and we believe that the UK will continue to be a preferred destination for Indian companies seeking opportunities in Europe. This report is an important initiative that reinforces the contribution of Indian companies to the UK economy, in terms of investment and in providing employment. The CII looks forward to the early conclusion of the UK-India Free Trade Agreement, which would take this relationship to the next level and bring significant benefits to both sides.”

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