The $6 billion purchase of the Canadian, Atlanta headquartered Novelis Inc. that supplies rolled aluminum sheeting for the manufacture of Coke cans and many other products across a wide variety of industries, was engineered by Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the Indian conglomerate, the Aditya Birla Group, in 2007.
When announcing the deal, the second largest in India’s history, Mr. Birla said that the acquisition fit his group’s long-term strategy of expanding its global presence across its various businesses and was consistent with the group’s vision of taking India to the world.
Mr. Birla’s father, Aditya Birla, would have been proud of his son’s accomplishment. The senior Mr. Birla, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was one of the first Indian industrialists to expand his companies abroad, a mission that he left to his son when he died at age 52 in 1995.
It was this vision of “Unleashing Indo-U./S. economic synergy,” the headline for the annual Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) held in Mumbai, India, in late August, that propelled members of the Georgia-Indo American Chamber of Commerce to attend the conference.
An IACC delegation had visited Atlanta in July 2005, and attendance at the IACC conference seemed appropriate in view of a 2009 memorandum of understanding to work more closely together.
The annual two-day affair is attended by top policy and decision makers of Indian and U.S companies in a variety of sectors including banking, insurance and financial services, oil and gas, infrastructure, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, digital arts and energy.
Anita Ninan, of counsel, at the Atlanta-based law firm Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, told Global Atlanta that members of the Georgia Indo-American chamber formed the delegation with a four-fold purpose.
They wanted, she said, to attend a ceremony scheduled to honor the accomplishments of the late Aditya Birla with a lifetime achievement award, and went one further by organizing a special event where Aditya Birla’s wife, Rajshri Birla, was presented with a letter from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed commemorating her late husband’s achievements.
In addition to the Georgia delegation, the dinner and reception, presided over by the governor of the State of Maharashtra where Mumbai is located, was attended by representatives of Indian businesses and officials.
In addition, Ms. Ninan presented at the conference a powerpoint focused on Georgia’s incentives for foreign direct investment. “Indians mostly aren’t as aware of Atlanta and Georgia as they are of other places like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles so this was a good opportunity to let them know about our state’s advantages.” she said.
She added that delegations from New York and Maryland failed to show up for the conference so Georgia had even better recognition than anticipated.
And following the conference the delegation promoted the “Bollywood Meets Georgia” film festival that is being planned to take place at Kennesaw State University in April 2017 to bring together Bollywood and Georgia film producers.
Nagesh Singh, India’s consul general in Atlanta, arranged for the delegation to meet with actors, producers, directors and well-known Bollywood film studies so they could present the opportunities and incentives that Atlanta and Georgia offer for film production.
Included in their visits were the Western India Film Producers Association, Yashraj Film studio, Film and Television Institute of India, Sangli Shikhan Sanstha (Sanghli) and Deccan Education Society (DES), Pune.
The GIACC delegation consisted of Ms. Ninan, and board member Siva Nathan, associate professor, Georgia State University; Dr. Pamila Dembla, executive director, ICA (India, China, America Institute), and associate professor, Kennesaw State University; Kirtan Patel, commercial attorneys and founding partner of Kuman, Prabhu, Patel & Banerjee (KPPB Law) and Beeraj Patel, immigration attorney, KPPB law.
To learn more about the Georgia-Indo American Chamber of Commerce, click here.