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Vedanta's Agarwal eyes 'hungry' Indian market, has no designs on Anglo post

India "is a hungry market" starved for investment and looking to maintain 7% to 8% annual economic growth, Vedanta Resources Plc founder and Chairman Anil Agarwal said March 29.

Speaking during the Financial Times Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, Agarwal said his Indian natural resources firm, which has interests in iron ore, metals, power, oil and gas, wants to feed that growth, particularly from a commodities perspective.

"People are pushing [open] the door — where can I invest in India?" he said. "It's an amazing market."

"You need at least 15 companies like Vedanta in India," Agarwal added.

An eager workforce and improving technology will underpin the nation's development, which is being accelerated by infrastructure plans and investment spearheaded by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration, Agarwal said.

The country's development will be mostly steel- and commodities-intensive, with sectors such as construction and the automotive industry seeing increased demand, he said.

"It will not be as fast as sometimes we think," Agarwal said of India's transformation, adding that in five years' time, "India will [look] very different."

Unlike China, which he characterized as a "good market" and said has "a mission" to expand its global influence, India's development will be mostly domestically focused.

"I don't think India has that mission," Agarwal said. "India will grow on its own pace."

From a company standpoint, he said Vedanta is looking to expand its zinc operations, and Agarwal said earlier this month that he plans to acquire a £2 billion stake in competitor Anglo American Plc.

Agarwal said he likes Anglo's current management team and has no designs on a board seat or leadership position, but wants to help the company expand its presence, particularly in India.

"From my side, there is no agenda," he said regarding the Anglo stake. "I believe this company will do well, and I have no doubt my investment will flourish."

Christopher Davis is a reporter for S&P Global Platts, which, like S&P Global Market Intelligence, is owned by S&P Global Inc.