DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg has praised the drive and innovation of a Yorkshire firm which plans to create jobs after opening a base in India.
The new Group Rhodes purpose-built facility in Bangalore, was officially opened yesterday by Mr Clegg, as part of a trade visit.
The Wakefield-based group has set up a 30,000 sq ft joint venture south of Bangalore with Indian firm, MEU Engineering, which makes cutting tools for the aerospace sector.
Around a third of the company’s £20m turnover, is linked to international markets.
In recent years, the company has secured a number of lucrative contracts, including a deal to supply forging presses to Asia.
It hopes to secure other work in the Indian aerospace sector.
Group Rhodes is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of special purpose machinery for advanced applications in sectors such as aerospace, metalforming, heavy ceramics, composites, environmental and deep-sea oil and gas.
Speaking about the new venture, Group Rhodes managing director, Mark Ridgway, said: “It is a great honour that the Deputy Prime Minister has agreed to inaugurate the Rhodes India facility in Bangalore.
“The Government has been very supportive of the advanced engineering sector in the UK, and in particular, has encouraged international trade through a number of new initiatives including UK Export Finance.
“We are confident that this investment by Group Rhodes in India will create new jobs and growth, both at home and abroad. Group Rhodes investigated several potential locations for its base in India, but settled on Bangalore for reasons of its skills, aerospace activity and strong international connectivity.
“It is also a city that works well as a central location for our heavy ceramics division, tapping into the huge potential for clay preparation machinery used in the production of bricks and clay pipes for infrastructure projects.”
He stressed that Group Rhodes wasn’t investing in India because it was looking to cut overhead costs. He added: “That time has gone. Our focus today is on servicing the great opportunity that this market offers across a number of advanced engineering sectors. India’s potential is truly phenomenal.
“Our factory in Bangalore will improve our support for Indian aerospace clients, including Hindustan Aeronautics, and create a competitive base from which to develop our heavy ceramics operations throughout the region and beyond.”
One of the group’s companies, Craven Fawcett, which makes clay preparation machinery, is expected to reap rewards from the Indian market as infrastructure improves there.
Mr Clegg is on a three-day visit to India with a 40-strong trade delegation to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the new Indian government’s focus on economic growth.
He has been joined by Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
It is one of the first high-level trade missions to India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in May.
Last year, Joseph Rhodes, which is part of Group Rhodes, was presented with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade by Dr Ingrid Roscoe, Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire.