One of Asia's largest IT companies is expanding in the Twin Cities, opening an office in Bloomington and adding 150 jobs.
Tata Consultancy Services, a Mumbai-based firm with $8.2 billion in worldwide revenue, says it will install 300 workers in the 8300 Tower at the Normandale Lake Office Park -- half of them new, half of them relocated from around the metro area, where the firm already employs 1,000 people.
Company officials say the location is attractive because it's close to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and because the southern suburbs are a nice place to live.
The state of Minnesota will make Tata a $500,000 loan, half of which will be forgiven if the company creates the promised 150 jobs and the jobs pay an average wage of $27 per hour.
Tata Consultancy helps companies "improve and better leverage the technology they use to run their companies," a spokesman said, mainly by building and maintaining business software. For instance, Tata announced a deal last month to install and maintain a finance and accounting software platform for Scandinavian Airlines.
Tata has 243,000 employees in the world and 20,000 in the United States. In 2007, officials at the company said about 90 percent of its 1,000 workers in Minnesota were not hired here, though the firm wanted to find more employees locally.
The Wall Street Journal published a story in August identifying Tata's Minnesota expansion as an example of a larger trend of Indian firms stepping up U.S. hiring. But while it's adding 150 jobs in Bloomington, the company also has said it plans to hire 50,000 people in India this fiscal year.
The firm is a classic Indian IT company, which treats software development as more of an engineering than creative discipline and performs a lot of unglamorous heavy lifting on back-end technology systems, said Isaac Cheifetz, an IT headhunter and consultant in the Twin Cities.
Tata Consultancy is a publicly traded branch of the Tata Group, a 144-year-old Indian industrial conglomerate. The business was established when a 30-year-old trader named Jamsetji Tata bought a bankrupt mill in Bombay in 1869, started milling cotton there and went on to help pioneer several industries in India.
The group is now involved in numerous businesses, making textiles, automobiles, consumer products, steel and chemicals. The IT division was founded to help the group's steel business in 1968. It set up its first office in the United States in 1979 and today has 18 offices across the country.
Minnesota officials have courted executives at the Tata Group for years, even inviting them to open a steel mill in northern Minnesota. Gov. Tim Pawlenty made the pitch in 2007 when he visited India.
Next spring, another large Indian conglomerate, the Essar Group, plans to open a $1.6 billion steel mill complex 20 miles northeast of Grand Rapids. The project could add as many as 500 permanent jobs, company officials have said.
In 2009, foreign-controlled companies employed 92,200 people in Minnesota, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Adam Belz • 612-673-4405