Despite Nokia’s woes with Indian tax authorities, Finland is keen to invest in India as it finds tremendous business opportunities here.
However, Finland has taken up Nokia’s tax dispute with the Centre, and hopes to resolve it at the earliest. “I am hopeful that it (Nokia’s tax dispute) will be resolved soon. Of course it is part and parcel of the investment climate, and international investors will not come down if they feel that a particular company like Nokia or Vodafone has not been rightly treated. Then there will be quick thumbs down, and it will lead to loss of foreign direct investment (FDI),” Alexander Stubb, Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, Government of Finland, told The Hindu.
“People want to have safe investment. The Nokia issue is basically about interpretation….I am quite hopeful that it will be resolved,” Mr. Stubb, who met several ministers in New Delhi, said. He is leading a delegation of 20 Finnish companies that are looking at investing in India.
Nokia has its biggest manufacturing facility at Channai, and has employed 30,000 people in India, the minister said. “ We want more of our companies to invest here,” Mr Stubb said. He did not specify the quantum of investment.
Nokia is facing a tax demand of Rs. 2,080 crore from Indian revenue authorities, and the matter is in court.
Mr Stubb said that 130 Finish companies had invested about 1 billion euros in India, including 650 million Euros by Nokia.
Twenty six companies from Finland are now exploring the possibility of working in the areas of clean technology in India. These include sectors such as mining, renewable energy, power plant, bio composts and even outdoor toilets.
On the other hand, only 25 Indian companies have invested in Finland so far.
“We want more Indian companies to come and invest in Finland. During my visit to Mumbai, I met Nikhil Meswani, Executive Director, Reliance Industries and Deepak Parekh, Chairman of HDFC. I believe they are potential investors in Finland.” Mr. Stubb said.