Indian govt's reform measures 'powerful message' for western investors: ATC Exec VP DiSanto

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Indian govt's reform measures 'powerful message' for western investors: ATC Exec VP DiSanto

Tuesday, 12 October 2021 | PTI | Boston

Indian govt's reform measures 'powerful message' for western investors: ATC Exec VP DiSanto

The measures undertaken by the Indian government on reforms has sent a “very powerful message” to the world of western investors, American Tower Corporation Executive Vice President Edmund DiSanto has said, stressing that the moves have cast India in a "very favourable light" when it comes to bringing in funding.

DiSanto, who is also the Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Secretary of the global provider of wireless communications infrastructure, met Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman here on Monday.

Sitharaman arrived in the US for a week-long trip to attend the annual meet of the World Bank and IMF in Washington as well as G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting. During the official visit to the US, Sitharaman is expected to meet US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

After arriving in New York, Sitharaman travelled to Boston where she will meet investors during a roundtable hosted by FICCI and US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and executives of global corporations and also address students at Harvard University.

“I see that the moves that the government of India has made recently has sent a very powerful message to the world of western investors, indicating a new receptivity and a new system that I think does encourage the opportunity” and cast India in a "very favourable light and welcoming light when it comes to bringing in investment, onboarding businesses,” DiSanto said.

With India attracting FDI inflows of USD 81.72 billion dollars during the financial year 2020-21, DiSanto said, “I do think that the policies have been pretty successful and we welcome the kind of reforms that they're considering to make it even better to encourage investment.”

Following his meeting with Sitharaman, DiSanto said that the ATC subsidiary in India currently has about 76,000 towers right now “throughout our cellular network” and "we think we're going to go to 4000 more.

“So we'll make an incremental investment in the ordinary course even in the pandemic that'll bring us to 80,000 (towers),” he said.

ATC India is among the passive telecom infrastructure providers in India and is an indirectly-held subsidiary of American Tower Corporation.

The Ministry of Finance said in a tweet that in her meeting with DiSanto, Sitharaman highlighted reforms including the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) for private sector investment “towards new #infrastructure creation in brownfield infrastructure assets. ATC aims to expand operations in the telecommunications sector.

“The opportunities steering foreign collaborations and attracting #ForeignDirectInvestment #FDI in the next five years under #NMP through investment in strategic sectors, including telecom, formed part of discussion,” the Ministry said.

It said that on the first day of her official visit to the US, Sitharaman met leaders of global corporations to discuss investment opportunities in India and other related issues.

On inclusive growth in emerging markets, DiSanto said, “it is a challenge in emerging markets because you do want to have the kind of growth that they perhaps have been missing historically. And to do that in a sustainable way does involve some extra steps and often extra costs.”

He said that there needs to be collaboration among businesses coming into the area and knowing that when they make investments, it's good not only to increase the economy but to do it in a more sustainable way.

He said the Indian government is supporting this and the CSR programmes that it has are aimed in that direction. “So I think, in a few years you will see the progress coming from that approach.”

PerkinElmer President and Chief Executive Officer Prahlad Singh said after his meeting with Sitharaman, that the finance minister elucidated the intent of the country to be more inclusive in development and growth.

Singh added that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, products that have been developed in the company's facilities in Goa are being used and exported outside the country for use for COVID-19 testing.

“So that's really a very good example of how we can use and leverage the inclusive growth that the Finance Minister pointed out and what the country has been doing for using the capabilities and skill sets from India for our development as a company but also from the country's perspective.”

The Finance Ministry in a tweet said that in her meeting with Singh, Sitharaman “mentioned government incentives & initiatives towards promoting innovation in life sciences and R&D in pharma sector” and acknowledged PerkinElmer's investment in India's healthcare sector.

“Singh opined that India's healthcare industry is ripe for investment. In a wide-ranging discussion with FM Smt. @nsitharaman, Mr Singh stated that some of the best science graduates and skill sets that @PerkinElmer as a company leverage, come out of India,” the Ministry said in a tweet.

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