Companies such as GVK, GMR and Lanco have all have made Singapore a hub for their international business operations. The list also includes Tata Capital, Tata Communications, Fortis, L&T and TCS. Some like HCL and Punj Lloyd are planning to expand their operations. This comes at a time when many PE firms, hedge funds and other investors are now seen shifting their bases from Mauritius to Singapore. The latest to look at Singapore closely is Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communications, which is planning to list its undersea cable business Flag Telecom in Singapore to raise $1.4 billion this quarter. During the last quarter, India’s biggest firm by market capitalization, Reliance Industries, raised over $1 billion through a bond issuance in Singapore to fund its US shale gas business as island nation emerged as a leading debt listing venue in Asia. Indian firms accounted for 14% of the total bond issuances after Korea.
Last year, Tata Communications made Singapore its international headquarters by investing S$210 million in a data centre and telecommunications facility and plans to invest over S$440 million in the next few years to beef up operations. Infosys, too, has a data centre there now. Fortis Healthcare is planning a secondary listing on the Singapore Stock Exchange and is also contemplating a real estate investment trust on the lines of India Bulls. Fortis has already acquired a specialized cancer hospital in Singapore and stakes in specialist health care practices in Australia, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Vietnam through its Singapore venture. According to Malvinder Singh, executive chairman, Fortis Global Healthcare, Singapore has a very strong public healthcare system that is probably among the leading ones in the world so Fortis international business is headquartered there.
Similarly, for Punj Lloyd, Singapore has become the resource and project management hub with 3,200 engineers in the region. HCL, too, has more than doubled its head count in Singapore to over 1,000 in the last one year while L&T Infotech launched its wealth management centre of excellence. GVK, on the other hand, acquired Hancock Coal in Australia for $1.2 billion through a Singapore entity to leverage on its financial markets for raising finances as also to leverage the treaty between Singapore and Australia