India said to discuss S$8.1 billion investments from South Korea's Lotte, France's Peugeot

Lotte intends to invest in retail, chemicals, food processing and real estate, as well as develop railway platforms in India. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (BLOOMBERG) - South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group and French automotive group Peugeot SA have discussed proposals to invest as much as US$6 billion (S$8.1 billion) combined in India, a move that would boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi's attempts to attract foreign capital in Asia's third-largest economy, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Lotte may invest between US$3 billion and US$5 billion in the next five years, the person said asking not to be identified as the proposals are preliminary.

The South Korean firm intends to invest in retail, chemicals, food processing and real estate, as well as develop railway platforms in the country, the person said.

Separately, PSA Group, the maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars, plans to spend about 1 billion euros (S$1.6 billion) to build a car factory and an engine plant in southern India, the person said.

Modi's flagship "Make in India" plan encourages foreign firms to manufacture locally by offering easier land acquisition, pruning the number of approvals and, in some cases, offering incentives.

The efforts have helped India move up in the World Bank's ease of doing business survey and achieve an unexpected credit rating upgrade last week by Moody's Investors Services.

"Lotte is exploring various business opportunities in India and other countries, but there is nothing confirmed or discussed in detail as to which areas to enter and how much money to invest," Lotte said in a statement.

A Paris-based spokesman for PSA referred to a statement in January on the cooperation with CK Birla Group in India, which included an initial investment of 100 million euros.

Lotte plans to develop urban real estate by adopting railway stations and maintaining them, the person said. In return, the railways will allow the South Korean firm to operate restaurants, hotels and shops, the person said. The confectionery arm of Lotte is in the process of setting up a new factory in India, according to the person.

The Indian government is discussing more than 550 foreign investment proposals worth about US$85 billion, offering competitive terms to companies and ensuring uninterrupted supply of power and water to plants, the person said.

The proposed projects include setting up factories in the areas of food processing, electric vehicle components and electronics among others, the person said.

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