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From India to Catalonia: companies make the most of their trip to Asia

Catalan entrepreneurs and businesspeople are coming back home from India after making hundreds of contacts and discussing potential business opportunities that might help the Catalan economy to recover even faster. Motor, biofarma and IT enterprises have completed a very successful Asian tour and expect to open business on the continent within the next few months.

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29 November 2013 07:30 PM

by

Xavier Pi / ACN

Chennai (ACN).- Catalan businesspeople have made hundreds of contacts and meetings in the past week in India. They are now coming back home, and they deserve to be satisfied after a successful tour that could well generate new business opportunities for Catalan companies on the Asian continent. Nad S.L. motor cases brand Shad will start selling in India in the summer of 2014, while Motorbikes producer Rieju also expects to export there from next year onwards. Contacts and opportunities in the IT and biofarma sectors are mainly confidential, but many Indian companies have shown interest in these two Catalan sectors.


Starting business in India is not an easy task. It requires time and patience. But as many companies are starting to do business there, opportunities to grow are becoming more and more obvious. That’s why 40 Catalan companies have worked hard during the past week to get contacts and visit potential business partners in India that can help them to export in the country.

The first results of the trip, organized by the Catalan Government, are already visible. Most of the Catalan businessmen are leaving India with some kind of potential opportunity. One of the main examples is Nad S.L. Its brand for motor cases and motorcycle accessories will start doing business in India after signing an agreement with Royal Enfield, to start selling its products over there,from the summer of 2014. 

Also in the motorbikes sector, Girona producer Rieju has used the trip to prepare its market expansion in the Asian country. Up to 92% of the motorbikes produced by this company are sold every year abroad. Europe is its main market, but they are now also present in Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia and soon in India as well. “There are few European brands here and it is a good opportunity”, said the Director General of the company, Jordi Riera. Their plan is to start exports next year with an urban motorbike of 200 cubic capacities that will especially target the luxury market.

120 meetings with up to 60 companies

The 11 Catalan motor companies that have participated in the Indian tour have visited world-leaders in their sector such as Tata Motors or Hero MotoCorp. They have also arranged up to 120 meetings with 60 different Indian and international enterprises. During such meetings, they’ve been able to open discussions for new business opportunities or to expand current operations.

Manufactura Moderna de Metales (MMM), a company that produces up to 30.000 pipes for vehicles every year, is planning to use the plant of one of its partners in India to start production over there straight away. Similarly, the Indian company will be able to introduce its products to Europe through MMM.

“We would produce for the local market of India and, therefore, we would be able to offer our products to big car makers that are based here”, said the business development manager of MMM, Toni Durà. This businessman said that if the agreement is successful it will allow for their expansion to Asia “without a big investment”.

Confidentiality agreements for the biofarma sector

India is the 12th producer of drugs in the world, and the first in producing generic drugs. Major pharmaceutical companies such as Ranbaxy or Piramal are therefore based there. Thanks to the trip to India, they are now looking for opportunities to collaborate with Catalan companies. “To achieve agreements in bioscience, it is important to go to India and negotiate from here. That’s useful if you want to find providers that would help you get into the country as well as if you are planning to offer services to pharmaceutical companies that plan to export their drugs to Europe”, said Montserrat Vendrell, director of BioCat, the organization that promotes biotechnology and biomedicine in Catalonia.  

Eight companies from the biofarma sector travelled to India with the Government. One of the most successful has been Manremvc, founded by doctor and investigator Pere-Joan Cardona. The company sells a medicine called Nyaditum, which helps to prevent tuberculosis. Its main active ingredient is a microbacterium that can be found in the Catalan river Cardener. “Taking the medecine during 15 days is enough to avoid the infection that develops into tuberculosis”, said Cardona. The company plans to export Nyaditum to India as well as China, where the disease is still persistent.

The biofarma businesspeople have had around 100 meetings with 50 companies and have visited some laboratories and pharmaceutical companies that will help them reach some agreements. Most of them, though, are confidential.

“The pharmaceutical market in India has lots of potential, and we mustn’t forget that we are talking about a country with 1.200 million people”, said the director of Biocat. In fact, some of the Catalan companies that have travelled there are staying longer in the country so they can visit Mumbai next week and participate in an important fair.

Potential for IT companies

The trip to India has also resulted in four companies from the IT sector developing business opportunities. Barcelona has been presented in India as a leading city in the development of ‘smart cities’ and this will provide huge investment opportunities for major Indian corporations such as Reliance Telecom, Tata Consulting Services, Wipro and Tech Mahindra.

The Catalan companies that have travelled to the country have started negotiations with them and have also met 45 other enterprises. Most of them have agreed on confidential business plans that will be developed in the future. The trip has been deemed a success and now the next challenge is to sign contracts with the companies that were visited. BeMobile, for example, is looking for a local partner in India, while Tecsidel is trying to expand its presence in the Asian country.

Exporting Catalonia to the world

The Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig, said that the trip demonstrated that “Catalonia has its own market in the world”. “With the country starting to get out of recession, it is more necessary than ever to try to be present in the global market”, he said. He concluded that the trip to India has offered a “clear opportunity for Catalan companies to do business and expand their activities while exporting Catalonia to the world”. 

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  • Catalan Minister Felip Puig with businessmen in the centre of Mahindra R & D in Chennai

  • Catalan Minister Felip Puig with businessmen in the centre of Mahindra R & D in Chennai