Global slowdown has forced global business giants on its knees. Emerging economies like India and China were expected to escape it with little impact. However, it turned out to be an illusion. In fact as forecasting goes wrong their businesses are finding themselves in deeper trouble.

Tata Group, India’s most respected and one of the oldest business groups, which was taking giant strides till a year back is facing difficult times. Changing environment has put the group’s expanding global foot prints on hold.

This 150 year old group has 96 companies, operates on six continents and employs 350,000 people.

Till a couple of years back it was on aggressive growth path under the new plans of group chairman, Ratan Tata. It was expanding like never before touching new milestones regularly.

It brought steel giant Corus under Tata group through Tata Steel making Tata Steel sixth largest steel maker. However, the loans taken to fund USD 12.1 billion deal coupled with drastic slowdown in demand of steel have taken its toll. Company is in talks with UK government for bail out and also trying to cut cost.

Similiarly, Tata Motors which is counted  in top five commercial vehicle manufacturers in the world, has recently acquired  top brands Jaguar and Land Rover. Tata Motors is still struggling to refinance $3bn borrowed for its acquisition of  Land Rover and Jaguar from Ford.

Tata Consultancy Services is Asia’s largest IT company. With all global majors cutting their IT budget, it is also facing tough times. However, financially it is a strong entity and considered a cash cow for Tata group owing to its reliable business.

About a year back Tata Chemicals Ltd completed its $1-billion plus acquisition of US based General Chemical Industrial Products Inc . The move made it the second largest soda ash company in the world after Solvay. Tata Chemicals had in 2005-06 bought the Brunner Mond Group of Companies. The purchase had given it a presence in three countries namely the UK and The Netherlands and Kenya.

Other Tata companies like Tata Communication, Tata Power, Tata Elxsi, Tata Capital etc. are at various stages of their business life cycle and have their own strengths and weaknesses.
The brief above represent the state of most established business group operating in second fastest growing economy. Such is the power of globalization that none is insulated !
Shaveta Bansal

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