Tata International, the global trading arm of the Tata Group and India's leading exporter of leather and shoes, is taking a first step into the European footwear retail market after buying a 51% stake in Portugal's MoveOn Shoes.

The deal is the culmination of discussions that began late last year according to The Economic Times, and also gives Tata the option of acquiring the remaining stake in MoveOn, which has a presence in Portugal, France, Spain and Belgium.

The deal to buy into MoveOn – which has a presence in Portugal, France, Spain and Belgium – would enable Tata to use cheaper production costs in India to launch a bigger European retail push.

Tata's leather unit manages one of the world's largest tanneries at Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.

It also has design studios in Italy and Spain and manufacturing facilities in India, China and Indonesia that produce a wide range of leathers, shoes, garments and leather articles. It supplies to global brands like Marks & Spencer, Hush Puppies, Escada and Zara.

At the end of last year the Indian firm launched its first footwear chain, with plans to open 250-300 Tashi stores in the next four years.