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Indian companies’ contribution to the UK economy increases

As the relationship between the UK and India continues to grow, following the launch of Free Trade Negotiations at the start of the year and the Prime Minister’s official visit last month, the latest research from the 2022 Grant Thornton India meets Britain Tracker* finds that the number of Indian companies operating in the UK has increased, with 900 companies identified, up from 850 in the 2021 research.

This is the ninth 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.

This year’s report finds that, despite the uncertainty and disruption caused by the pandemic, Indian companies continue to make a significant contribution to the UK economy – a contribution that has increased in almost every measure compared to last year’s report. The 900 companies identified:

  • reported combined revenues of £54.4billion, up from £50.8billion in 2021 research
  • employed 141,005 people, up from 116,046 in 2021 research
  • paid £304.6million in corporation tax, compared with £459.2million in 2021 research.

Fastest growing companies in the UK identified

The research also identifies the fastest growing Indian companies in the UK, 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**. This year, 37 companies met the qualifying criteria for appearing in the Tracker - achieving an average growth rate of over 38%.

The three fastest growing companies by year-on-year revenue growth were: MSSL (GB) Ltd (248%), Prodapt (UK) Ltd (114%) and Route Mobile (UK) Ltd (98%).

Of the 37 fastest-growing companies in this year’s research, 33 have featured in previous Trackers, demonstrating the sustainable growth being achieved by Indian companies.

London and the technology and telecoms sectors are hotspots for growth

The majority of the fastest growing companies included in this year’s Tracker are based in London (46%), continuing the trend seen in recent years. This is followed by the North (22%) and the South (14%).

For the ninth year in a row, technology and telecoms companies dominate the Tracker, accounting for 35% of those who qualified for inclusion this year. This is followed by the pharmaceuticals and chemicals sector (27%) and engineering and manufacturing (14%).

Anuj Chande, Partner and Head of South Asia Business Group, Grant Thornton UK LLP, commented:

“Despite ongoing challenges faced by all companies over the past 12 months, our latest research finds that the number of Indian companies operating in the UK has increased and that many continue to grow at a rapid rate, with some recording triple digit growth. While London continues to dominate as the location of choice, for the first time, more of the fastest-growing companies are also starting to be located outside of the city, highlighting the appeal the whole of the UK holds to overseas investors.

“The difficult economic conditions of the past year have clearly favoured companies with a track record of fast growth, with almost all the businesses on this year’s list having featured in previous years.

“The year ahead provides many opportunities for India and the UK to continue to develop their close and mutually beneficial relationship, with negotiations on a future free trade deal having the potential to bring the two countries closer than ever. A free trade agreement, once concluded, would confirm the two nations as true partners. It paves the way for an enduring economic relationship that benefits the people of both countries and brings exciting opportunities for businesses in India and the UK for many years to come.”

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), added:

“The relationship between the UK and India continues to grow and it is encouraging to see that the number of Indian-owned companies operating in the UK has continued to grow since the last research, despite the disruption faced by the pandemic. Following the UK Prime Minister’s recent visit to India, the two countries can now focus on deepening their relationship further for the future, with the start of negotiations on a free trade agreement signalling long-term intent.”

High Commissioner of India to the UK, Ms. Gaitri Issar Kumar said:

“The pandemic has created uniquely challenging economic circumstances over the past two years. Despite this, Indian businesses in the UK have succeeded in expanding their combined turnover and increasing the number of jobs they support. The growth in the number of Indian-owned companies in the UK, identified by this research, is remarkable and reflects the increasing appetite and appeal for Indian businesses to invest and set up operations in the UK.”

Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone said:

“As one of our closest trading partners, Indian companies make an impressive contribution to the UK.

“As the Prime Minister announced in New Delhi last month, we’ve secured over £1 billion in new investment and export partnerships with India, creating almost 11,000 jobs in the UK in sectors from healthcare to electric vehicles, and adding to the 140,000 people employed by Indian firms here already.

“I am confident our partnership will go from strength to strength as we advance negotiations for an ambitious, modern Free Trade Agreement and meet our goal to double trade between our nations by 2030.”

*To compile the India meets Britain Tracker 2022, Grant Thornton analysed data from 900 UK-incorporated limited companies that are owned directly or indirectly, or controlled, by either an Indian-incorporated parent or an Indian citizen resident outside the UK.

**based on the latest published accounts filed as at 31 March 2022, where available. Turnover figures have been annualised where periods of less or more than 12 months have been reported. As the research relies on published and filed accounts, there is inevitably a time lag between the recording of the performance of the companies and the publication of this report.