November 4, 2006

Globalising swadeshi management

Indian companies gobbling up competitors around the world is no longer news. So Bhupesh Bhandari turns the spotlight on the early acquisitions to see how well they've fared in their new environment.
The carillon is as far removed from India as the igloo. The musical instrument, composed of at least 23 cup-shaped bells played from a baton keyboard using fists and feet, has its origins in the Low Countries of the 15th century when it was mounted on churches as a token of civic pride and status.
But on this pleasant October afternoon, it was the Indian national anthem that Jo Haazen, the foremost carillonneur in the world, was playing at the town square of Mechelen, a small town halfway between Antwerp and Brussels. The mayor had thrown a reception for Gautam Thapar for saving the jobs of thousands in the town; Haazen and hundreds of others were expressing their gratitude.
In 2004, Thapar's Crompton Greaves had acquired the Pauwels Group for ¤28 million. Its mother plant at Mechelen (it has four others around the globe) had about 1,300 locals on its rolls and provided indirect employment to at least another 7,000 in the town. These people faced a bleak future with the company in financial distress and on the verge of closure — it had reported a loss on a turnover of ¤245 million in 2004.

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