Finding success in booming Asian markets like India has been one of the keys to success for companies looking to expand beyond their borders. The highly specialised steel company SSAB did just that.
They wanted to expand into India, but were aware that the incorporation process is cumbersome, that the taxation and regulatory laws change often, and that it is hard to identify and retain key personnel. With the help of Business Sweden, who minimised risk, they found new revenue streams by opening up an Indian entity, recruiting the right people to manage it, and expanding a key division of the company to India.
SSAB realised the potential in the Indian market early. It has been successful because of its close customer relationships, so it was vital that it would be able to develop these strong ties locally in order to find new deals and overcome potential challenges.We decided to have SSAB in India so we could penetrate deeper into the market. With on-ground support, we have been able to move faster – both strategically and practically.
SSAB asked Business Sweden for help opening an Indian entity, recruiting the right people to manage it. Up until 2014, sales and delivery were still managed directly from Sweden, while the Indian entity managed marketing and promotion locally. But with increased customer demand – and the cultivation of new customer relationships – the Indian operation needed to expand even further.
Business Sweden helped SSAB set up a local stock point. Then in 2015, SSAB expanded its Special Steels Division to India, offering the world’s widest product portfolio of wear, protection, tool and high-strength structural steels. SSAB was able to ensure this move was a feasible and profitable one with the help of Business Sweden.
As India continues to transform, so do its regulations and tax systems. SSAB has adapted to the new business climate with Business Sweden’s help, which included taking over SSAB’s bookkeeping and accounting, so the company can focus on its core business and grow sales. SSAB is propelling growth knowing that all Indian taxation and accounting standards are upheld, as well as its own stringent standards for finance and control.
“Business Sweden has been like our on-ground CFO,” says Jörgen Gustafsson, the chief financial officer and head of finance for SSAB Special Steels Division in Asia & Pacific. “By maintaining control over the finances, growing the business, and acting as management advisors, Business Sweden has helped us meet our financial and regulatory responsibilities in India, allowing us to grow our business there tenfold since 2009.”
The Swedish company SSAB develops high-strength steels and provides services for better performance and sustainability. The company, whose roots date back to 1878 and the Domnarvet Ironworks, employs about 15,000 people in more than 50 countries. Its production plants in Sweden, Finland and the USA have an annual steel production capacity of approximately 8.8 million tonnes.