Tut Tutting Over Tata's Way Of Doing Business

Some investors are edgy about its financial maneuvers

Foreign money managers looking for the best way to invest in India's murky but promising markets often end up buying shares in the various Tata companies. An empire of some 85 separately traded businesses all founded and run by Sir Jamsetji Tata and his descendants from 1868 until today, the Tata companies have combined revenues of $8.3 billion. They include some of the biggest names in corporate India: Tata Iron & Steel (Tisco), truckmaker Tata Electric & Locomotive (Telco), and premier watchmaker Titan. (The McGraw-Hill Cos., parent of BUSINESS WEEK, also has a publishing venture with a Tata company.) Foreign investors, who have sunk $1 billion into the shares of Tata companies, like their dominant market positions and appreciate the honest reputation the Tata family has cultivated.

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