The US government's strained relations with former chief minister Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government on the visa denial issue since 2005 notwithstanding, the state became home to several US businesses, many of them concentrated in the emerging Motown, Sanand, 35 kms from Ahmedabad.
The latest in the list of American majors is Mars International India Ltd, the makers of chocolate brands like Mars, Snickers, Twix and Bounty, which has recently zeroed in on Sanand. The company which is a wholly owned arm of US-based global leading chocolate maker Mars Inc - is planning to set up a Rs 515 crore unit at Gujarat's emerging Motown, located about 40 kilometers from Ahmedabad.
Now with Prime Minister Modi set to visit the US in September, the US presence in the state is only set to increase.
"Mars has applied to the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) to acquired 1.5 lakh square meters (about 16.14 lakh square feet) of land in Sanand recently. They plan to for manufacture confectioneries in Gujarat," a state government official told The Indian Express while talking about how US-based companies were interested in setting up at Sanand where 70 percent of the investments that have come in the last five years have been from auto and auto ancillary units.
By putting up an unit in India, Mars is looking to make inroads in to the Rs 5000 crore chocolate industry in India. Cadbury leads the market with 70 percent share, followed by Swiss-dairy-maker Nestle (already setting up a Rs 87 crore unit in Sanand) and Amul.
Similarly, a few weeks ago, US multinational soft-drink giant Coca Cola has been alloted 1.85 lakh square meters of land at Sanand to set up a Rs 500 crore bottling plant to manufacture Coke, Sprite, Fanta and Thums Up, sources in the GIDC said. Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd is a company owned bottling partner of the Coca-Cola Company in India will operate the plant that will produce 450 kilo litres of effluent discharge per day.
"Coca-Cola is the latest company for whom land has been allocated at Sanand. Now as Sanand is a no-effluent zone, the company has been asked to set up treatment plants to manage their daily effluent discharge," a senior government official said about the company for whom India is seventh largest market globally.
Another US-based FMCG player who has pitched tent at Sanand a couple of