Indian companies keep expanding their contribution to UK economy

28 July 2021 3 min. read
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New research from Grant Thornton has explored the significant contribution Indian companies continue to make to the UK economy. The study has found that the contribution has increased in almost every measure compared to the previous year.

A trade deal between the UK and India remains a major priority for the Government, post-Brexit, having named the country as one of the top targets for a free trade agreement in the years to come. Even amid the pandemic, this has seen the UK Prime Minister prioritise forging ties with the rising economic power. To some extent, this strategy is already bearing fruit, as Indian investors have continued to invest in the UK.

According to Grant Thornton, Indian investors were involved in ten acquisitions throughout 2020 – the highest of any non-EU country. This included four deals in the technology and telecoms industry and two in manufacturing. While this is impressive, however, it does not do justice to the deepening bond between the two economies.

Indian companies keep expanding their contribution to UK economy

Grant Thornton’s annual research into Indian business in the UK has found that there are now 850 Indian companies operating in the UK – rising by eight from its 2020 benchmark. As well as growing in number, they are also significantly boosting their economic contribution to the UK too.

The 850 companies recorded a combined £50.8 billion total turnover in 2021, £9 billion more than they year before, while employing 116,046 people – a rise of almost 6,000. Overall, this saw them pay £459.2 million – though due to the pandemic, this did not expand year-on-year.

As has been the case in all eight of Grant Thornton’s reports into UK-Indian business, technology and telecoms companies dominate the proceedings. Birlasoft Solutions was found to be the fastest-growing company this year, recording 158% revenue growth, while Tata Sons-owned Diligenta was the largest company listed, with revenue of £388 million and a rapid growth rate of 62%. At the same time though, the proportion of pharmaceuticals and chemicals companies featuring in the report increased significantly this year, up to 27% of the total from 15% in the 2020 report.

Regional breakdown

London remains preferred location for fastest-growing companies. The UK capital has attracted 53% of the fastest-growing Indian companies in Grant Thornton’s study. There is some spread of this though, and the broader South of England was found to be growing in popularity, with the proportion based in this region up by almost half to just over 16%, from 11% in 2020.

Anuj Chande, Head of South Asia Business Group at Grant Thornton, suggested that Brexit will see the long-standing ties between Britain and India deepen in the coming years, driving further such growth. The number of Indian companies operating in the UK has increased and many continue to grow at a rapid rate – something which may play into the economic recovery of the UK.

Chande added, “As the UK government looks to supercharge the economic partnership to support growth, jobs and prosperity, and India continues its journey to becoming one of the world’s largest economies, the ‘living bridge’ between the two countries, formed by more than 1.5 million Indian diaspora living in the UK, will be more important than ever. India is also likely to benefit from the major modifications made to the UK’s immigration policy, with the new point-based system for visas for skilled workers likely to benefit India significantly due to the creation of a more level playing field.”