BOMBAY - Asian Paints (India) Ltd., the largest paint manufacturer in India, announced plans to acquire a controlling 50.1% stake in Berger International Ltd., a Singapore-based coatings producer with operations in 11 countries in Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean.

Asian Paints said the acquisition will be its largest outside India, and will expand its operations to 23 countries. Berger International manufactures a variety of coatings, including protective, industrial and marine products.

Asian Paints said the acquisition will make it one of the top 10 manufacturers of decorative coatings worldwide, and will provide entry into high-growth markets in China and Southeast Asia. Ashwin Dani, Asian Paints vice chairman and managing director, said the purchase is "in line with our vision of becoming a leading player in emerging markets."

Berger International is reported to be the largest paint manufacturer in Bahrain, Jamaica, Malta, Barbados, and Trinidad & Tobago, and holds a major market position in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. The company expanded its operations to China, Myanmar and Malaysia in the 1990s, but has not achieved a "significant presence in those countries," Asian Paints said.

Asian Paints said it sells more than 200,000 metric tons of paint annually in domestic and export markets in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.