Friday, March 30, 2007

Links for 30/3/07

‘Magik’ to revolutionise animation filmmaking in India
Monsters and Critics
Indian filmmakers, who have so far ignored animation films, are now endorsing them in a big way and the latest to join the race is Media Factory India which is going to invest $5 million in its animated 3-D film 'Magik'.

India to relax hedge fund restrictions
Financial Times
India plans to selectively allow hedge funds to invest in the markets, Forbes reported on Thursday.

Doing business in India
Indian High Commissioner H.E. Kamalesh Sharma hosted a business networking reception at India House in London, on Monday 26th March. At the event he and Richard Spring MP, Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, spoke of Britain and India's historically strong economic relationship.

India's FIPB again defers decision on Vodafone's Hutch Essar deal - report
India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has deferred a decision on Vodafone's proposed acquisition of Hutchison Telecom's (HTIL) stake in Hutch Essar for the second time, the Hindu Business Line reported.

Lanxess mulling greenfield plant, acquisitions in India
ABC Money
Lanxess is mulling setting up a greenfield ion exchange resin manufacturing plant in India and is also evaluating some chemical companies for prospective acquisitions, reported the Business Standard citing Dr Jorg StraBburger, country representative, Lanxess.

BMW’s first Indian plant in gear with rise in luxury tastes
Times Online
BMW, the German carmaker, yesterday opened its first factory in India to meet a rising demand for Western luxury brands in the world’s second fastest-growing economy.

RPT DaimlerChrysler to enter Indian market without local partner
German auto maker DaimlerChrysler AG has decided to venture into the Indian market alone, after talks to increase its stake in Eicher Motors Ltd seem to have failed, The Economic Times reported.

Merrill to Invest $1 Bln in India expansion
U.S. investment bank Merrill Lynch (MER.N: Quote, Profile , Research) plans to invest $1 billion to expand its Indian operations over in the next two years, the Financial Express reported on Friday, quoting unnamed government officials.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Links for 28/3/07

Indian in 30-year 'bonded labour'
BBC Online
Officials in India are investigating reports a man has been repaying a debt which began with a loan of 40kg of rice with nearly 30 years of bonded labour.
India to get a Daily Mail of its own
Guardian Unlimited
Associated Newspapers, the Daily Mail's publishers, have formed a joint venture with the Delhi-based India Today group to launch a daily newspaper in India.

Ceres can renew your faith in energy after Cairn’s Indian adventure turns political
The Telegraph
Cairn Energy appears to be losing its balance thanks to the slippery world of politics. The oil producer and explorer floated its Indian business on the Indian stock exchange in January, retaining a 69pc stake, and installing a local management team.

India to seek $1.9 bln in tax from Hutchison-report
India's tax department is claiming about $1.9 billion in capital gains tax from Hong Kong's Hutchison Telecoms on the sale of its stake in its Indian unit to Vodafone, the Economic Times reported on Wednesday.

China more complex for New Mexico than India: US official
Monster and Critics
With a growing middle class and increasing propensity to spend on goods and services, India offers a more conducive market than China, says Danielle Duran, international trade coordinator for New Mexico state in the United States.

Vodafone deal for Indian group faces review
Financial Times Alphaville
India’s foreign investment regulator is to review Vodafone’s $11bn deal for control of mobile operator Hutchison Essar today after the country’s central bank questioned whether its shareholding breaches legal limits, the FT reports.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Citigroup set to expand Indian workforce in move reminiscent of IBM

It was no coincidence that yesterday’s announcement by Citigroup’s Chairman and CEO Charles O. Prince that the company was going to shed 15,000 jobs and concentrate on streamlining the business happened during a meeting in Mumbai.

Today, news has broken as Mr Prince wraps up his tour of Asia that the plans involve relocating or elimination of many of the high-cost roles from London, New York and Hong Kong.

Citigroup has over 20,000 workers based in India, who are generally in admin and bill payment services, with just a small proportion in highly-skilled jobs. The balance, it seems, could be set to shift.

This deal is reminiscent of IBM’s similar decision in June last year, which we covered in The IndusView. At its AGM in Bangalore, a year on from boosting its workforce in India by over 15,000 while reducing headcount worldwide by a similar number, IBM announced a long-term strategy to align with India.

Since then, IBM’s headcount in the country has swollen to 53,000 while large deals with domestic telcos have spurned it to plan $6 billion in investment by 2009.

Links for 27/3/07

The financial cost of India’s failure
BBC Online
With cricket-crazy India now out of the first round of the World Cup, the financial fallout is starting to become apparent.

Cairn proposes to pay for India pipeline
The Scotsman
Oil explorer Cairn Energy said on Tuesday its Indian unit would propose to pay the majority of the cost to build a pipeline to transport crude from its Rajasthan fields.

Rise in Indian students helps offset drop in Chinese intake
Financial Times
An increase in students coming to UK universities from India has helped to offset continued falls in numbers from China and Hong Kong.

India's Hutch inquiry may delay Vodafone deal-paper
Vodafone Group Plc's deal to buy control of India's Hutchison Essar could be delayed as the government investigates the structure of Hutchison Telecommunication's stake, the Economic Times reported on Tuesday.

India's Reliance lead bidder for Guatemala project, may form Chevron jv
India's Reliance Industries is in the lead in the pre-selection bidding for a 7.73 bln usd greenfield refinery-cum-power project in Guatemala which will have a capacity to refine 360,000 barrels of oil a day, India's Financial Express reported.

Citigroup plans more branches in India
Guardian Unlimited
Citigroup Inc. plans to open more branches and increase its work force in India, Charles Prince, the chairman and chief executive of the New York-based bank, said here Monday.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Links for 26/3/07

Indian fashion industry is still very young, says Ritu Kumar
Monsters and Critics
Fashion doyen Ritu Kumar, who is overjoyed with the growth of the country's
fashion industry, says that the gap between the European fashion industry
and the Indian fashion industry cannot be bridged fast.

Caledonia Investment buys 19.67 per cent in Indian broker for 330 million

Caledonia Investments has picked up a 19.67 pct stake in Gujarat-based
brokerage Marwadi Shares and Finance for 330 mln rupees, reported the
Financial Express.

India's go-ahead for Singapore banks expected by July
Monsters and Critics
Final approval from Indian regulators is expected to be granted by July 1
for Singapore banks to expand in India, a senior official said in published
remarks Monday.

British Gas' Indian JV to invest 12 bln rupees in 5 yrs to expand reach
ABC Money
British Gas' joint venture with GAIL India and the Maharashtra government,
Mahanagar Gas Ltd, plans to invest 12 bln rupees over the next five years to
expand its reach, the Business Standard reported.

New listing taps Indian private equity
Financial Times
Evolvence India Holdings has listed on London's Alternative Investment
Market, raising $65 million in new funds for a vehicle that offers retail
investors access to the Indian private equity market.

AMD and Intel slog it out in India
The Register
Two simultaneous large scale ad campaigns are raging in the subcontinent,
with Lenovo majoring on AMD microprocessors while HP is happy to run the
Intel Inside anthem on its TV adverts.

Norwich Union's Indian disaster
This is Money
Norwich Union has unearthed massive shortcomings in its Indian call centres,
including failure to follow City watchdog rules and exposing customers to
potential fraud.

HTIL's indirect stake in Hutch-Essar breaches FDI rules, says RBI
ABC Money
Hutchison Telecom's (HTIL) indirect 12.26 pct stake in Hutch-Essar may have
breached the telecom sector's foreign investment guidelines, according to
the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India's Economic Times reported.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

UK Budget 2007: £200 million pounds goes to India to improve education for the under-10s

The donation of £200 million to India to help ensure all under 10s are in full-time education is a feature of Chancellor Brown's Budget that was not widely publicised, but supports the fact that India will become increasingly critical in filling the UK skills gap.

There is set to be a great need for skills in Britain, both in the manufacturing and services sectors, as the economy accelerates past what the workforce can support. In a decade from now, those children that are helped by UK investment will be paying back the British economy many times over.

Brown's decision to put money aside to invest in a country's future - even though it one that is many thousands of miles away from his own - is an indicator of how important it will be to source additional skills.

In order to remain competitive, Britain will rely on workers from overseas. India, it seems, is set to play a bigger role in the maintenance of Britain as a global leader than even we could have predicted.

Response to the Budget 2007: How India can fill the UK skills gap

It's a positive move by the Government to invest in the UK workforce. The UK is facing a skills crisis, and unless we address the issue directly, the British economy will not sustain its recent growth. It will be prudent for British companies to think of filling jobs by sourcing talent on a global basis - much the same as they look at business opportunities worldwide.

Large organisations will be well advised to acquire or invest in Indian companies with talented employees to bridge the UK skills shortage. A balanced approach to outsourcing work is the healthiest option and one that will complement the UK economy and create new jobs in the UK workforce.

India is already the third largest investor in the UK, after the US and Japan, that generated 1,449 new jobs in the year to March 2006, according to the UK Inward Investment Report 2005-06. Indian companies invested around $2 billion in 76 projects during that period. Indian companies also accounted for 30% of all foreign investment in London last year creating 400 new jobs, making it the second largest overseas investor in the city after the US,
according to Think London.

Companies have already seen the value in Indian employees. Rather than outsourcing jobs, many businesses are instead taking the acquisition route
and buying skills overseas. With a GDP growth rate of 9 per cent and 70 per cent of 1.1 billion people still under 35 years of age, tapping India's domestic market is also critical for the future growth of UK corporations."

Investing or acquiring in India helps solves two problems at once: address the skills crisis and provide an engine of future growth in an increasingly globally competitive marketplace.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Massive Merck bids consolidate Indian growth

The world-class status of acquisitive Indian companies has been further underlined this week with battle breaking out in the pharmaceutical sector.

India's Cipla Ltd. and Torrent Pharmaceuticals are among a host of companies set to bid for Germany's Merck KGaA, a generic drug-making giant valued at around $7 billion.

If the deal for Merck's drug business goes to an Idian entity, it will be the biggest acquisition in the history of Indian pharmaceuticals, and more than three times the value of M&A deals in the sector in 2006.The pharmaceutical sector will build on its vast previous expansion – deals totalling $2.5 billion in 2006 compared with just $364 million the previous year.

But this week's developments will not only have an impact on India's budding pharmaceutical market, but on Indian business growth in general. The acquisition of Merck's generic drug business would propel the Indian company into the global league. This is another example of how Indian business opportunities have been nurtured through first-class skills and low-cost production. Domestic production costs in India are a staggering 50% less than in developed countries.

This deal is against the backdrop of the successful acquisition of Corus Group by Tata Steel; Hindalco Industries' acquisition of Novelis; and the ongoing bidding war for German wind turbine company REpower Systems between Suzlon Energy and French nuclear-reactor maker Areva.

As one of the last areas of uncharted territory for Indian M&A, a large-scale pharmaceutical acquisition seems to be the next logical step.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Links for 21/3/07

Capgemini says 40 per cent of its staff will be in India
Financial Times
Capgemini will have more employees in India than in any other country by
2010 in the latest sign of India‚s emergence as the epicentre of the global
information technology industry.

Accounting curbs 'hold back India's economy'
Financial Times
The development of India's economy is being held back by protectionist
restrictions on the accounting profession, according to one of the
industry's most senior global figures.

Ricardo and Caepro sign Indian auto software deal
Computer Business Review
Ricardo UK and Caepro Technologies Pvt have entered into an agreement that
will enable the Indian automotive industry to gain access to advanced
powertrain computer-aided engineering software together with training and
support services.

KPMG calls for reform in India
Financial Times
India‚s economy is being held back by protectionist restrictions on the
accounting profession, according to one of the industry‚s most senior global

India units help HTIL report its first ever net profit
Financial Times
Hutchison Telecommunications International has reported its first ever net
profit, in what will be the group‚s last set of results to include a
full-year contribution from its coveted India operations.

Honda revs up motorcycle capacity
Financial Times
Honda Motor‚s wholly- owned Indian motorcycle manufacturing unit is planning
to invest Rs3bn ($68.4m) to upgrade capacity as global manufacturers try to
keep pace with soaring demand in the country.

Private equity finds an object of envy
Financial Times
Some companies call in the consultants when they need a new name.
Flextronics Software Systems, a company that develops software for the
telecoms industry, decided instead to tap its employees for ideas.

A place for placements
Financial Times
The alliance between the New York and Tokyo stock exchanges announced in
January came against a backdrop of consolidation and collaboration among
stock markets worldwide.

BM close to securing $600-$700 million deal from India‚s Idea Cellular
ABC Money
IBM is close to securing a 10-year contract worth 600-700 mln usd from
India‚s Idea Cellular to consolidate and manage its IT infrastructure and
applications, reported Economic Times, citing sources close to the deal.

Michael Dell slams India‚s PC taxes
The Register
Dell Computers wants to expand its PC market in India, but insists that the
country's high tariffs on PCs must go.

India's Essar ties up with Virgin Group for mobile retail chain
India‚s Essar Telecom Retail, a unit of the Essar group, has tied up with
Virgin Group for brand licensing, technical and consultancy services for its
mobile phone retail chain, The Hindu Business Line reported.

Open source computing desktop in Indian languages
Monsters and Critics
Bigger language groups are especially better off, like Assamese, Gujarati,
Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu, according to an
article in the New Delhi-based trade magazine Linux For You.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Link for 20/3/07

Eastern Europe competes for share of the IT outsourcing cake
Times Online
The rise and rise of Bangalore as the centre of outsourcing could be under threat from new challengers nearer to Europe’s commercial heart. Increasingly, companies are being attracted to workforces in countries such as Romania, which, a report suggests, have better language skills and a keener understanding of their clients than competitors further east.

India to ‘consult’ on zone policy
BBC Online
The Indian government has said it will "refine" its policy of buying up land for industrial development after recent violence over the controversial plan.

Indian stocks: Not cheap, but still attractive
Indian stocks are anything by cheap after five years of gains, but they still look attractive thanks to healthy corporate earnings driven by robust economic growth second only to booming China in Asia.

India: Ricardo signs licensing agreement with Caepro Technologies
Automotive World
Ricardo Software has entered into a licensing agreement with Pune-based Caepro Technologies in order to provide advanced powertrain computer aided engineering (CAE) software products to OEMs in India.

India's Ranbaxy pulls out of bid for Merck's generic ops
ABC Money
India's Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd has pulled out of the race to buy Merck KGaAs generic operations unit due to what it considers irrational valuation, sources close to Ranbaxy told AFX News.

Rabobank unit buys half of India's Canara Bank mutual fund arm
ABC Money
Robeco Groep NV, part of Rabobank Groep, will buy a 49 pct stake in India's Canbank Investment Management Services (CIMS), an arm of state-owned Canara Bank, for 1.15 bln rupees, the Economic Times reported.

RPT Trinity Capital hikes stake in India's Fortis Healthcare to 4 pct
Trinity Capital has hiked its stake in India's Fortis Healthcare Ltd (FHL) to 4 pct from 1 pct with the acquisition of an additional 6 mln shares for 870 mln rupees in its second private placement agreement with the company, Business Standard reported, citing FHL.

India's Reliance, Italy's Eni in talks for ETimor oil block stake swap
ABC Money
Reliance Industries Ltd is in talks with Italy's Eni SpA for a stake swap in oil exploration blocks in East Timor, the Economic Times reported, citing a Reliance official.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Links for 19/3/07

Ten held over India police firing
BBC Online
Investigators in India have arrested 10 people in connection with police violence on Wednesday in West Bengal.

Sainsbury war looms as suitors test waters
Financial Times
Prospects of a full-scale bidding war for J Sainsbury grew yesterday as the supermarket group attracted fresh predators and the original CVC-led consortium met pension trustees.

India Media Fund to float on AIM in a fortnight
India Media Fund, which plans to offer international investors controlled access to India's media market, will float on the AIM in a fortnight, Indian newspaper The Hindu Business Line reported quoting the Press Trust of India.

Land battles threaten POSCO’s Indian steel project
A tense stand-off with farmers unwilling to give up their land threatens India's largest-ever foreign investment project, a $12 billion steel plant planned by South Korea's POSCO.

DCS market is thriving in Asia
Processing talk
Strong economic activity in Asia is spurring the growth of manufacturing, which in turn is propelling the growth of the automation market in the region, creating a thriving market for DCS systems.

France’s Danone, India's Wadia Group likely to dismantle Indian JVs
ABC Money
Groupe Danone and India's Wadia Group may soon decide to part ways amicably resulting in the dismantling of their two Indian joint ventures, Britannia Industries and Wadia BSN, the Indian daily Business Standard reported citing a source familiar with the negotiations.

Pfizer India Sells Property for $63 Million
Pfizer Ltd. (PFIZ.BO: Quote, Profile , Research), the Indian unit of drug maker Pfizer Inc. (PFE.N: Quote, Profile , Research), said late on Saturday it had sold a property in north India for 2.78 billion rupees ($63 million).

China, India rise a spur for ASEAN members to grow closer
Monsters and Critics
The rise of China and India has presented ASEAN with an 'overriding interest' in cooperating and growing closer, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in remarks published on Sunday.

India beats UK at capital game
Indian investment into the UK is poised to outstrip British investment in the sub-continent, reversing the flow of capital for the first time since the days of the Raj.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Web voice means business as Microsoft buys Tellme and Cisco acquires WebEx

Unified communications, the combination of enterprise voice and data that is currently making sweeping changes to the way businesses operate, has seen two significant moves this week.

Firstly, Microsoft announced its acquisition of Tellme Networks on Wednesday for a reported $800 million. The voice recognition specialist powers voice-enabled directory enquiries and phone services for a customer roster including Cingular, FedEx, Verizon, Merrill Lynch and Dominos (and handles upwards of 100 million voice searches per month).

Not to be outdone, Cisco announced its plans to purchase on-demand collaboration company WebEx for $3.2 billion. As Cisco ramps up its unified communications roadmap, launched last year just before Microsoft did the same, WebEx will bring a ready-made fan base and suite of hosted applications (such as calendar, email and collaborative documents) to the Cisco catalogue.

Both of these deals are indicators that there is life in the traditional enterprise technology vendors yet. Just as Google, eBay and Yahoo! stole the headlines in the last couple of years through high profile and (even higher cost) acquisitions – of YouTube, Skype and Flickr respectively, to name just three that made it to their extensive shopping lists – MS and Cisco are back in acquisition mode.

But while these doyennes of ‘web 2.0’ have been building their product stacks from a consumer angle with a view to selling to the corporations once their product lines were complete, MS and Cisco have been positioning themselves to make strategic, considered and selective deals.

After all – if you were the CTO of a multinational, multi-billion dollar enterprise and were tasked with choosing a unified communications platform, you might think twice before walking into your CEO’s office and suggesting running it on Google technology. The perception of Google being a corporate tool just isn’t there yet. For Microsoft and Cisco, that isn’t a problem.

The only problem they have got – as unified communications start to top the board-level agenda – is each other. And this is just the start.

However Microsoft and Cisco decide to fight each other in the race to corner the market for collaboration technology, it seems that, after a period of relative hibernation, the giants have at last woken up. And they’re hungry.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Links for 16/3/07

This week in India
Retail Bulletin
James Durston, our correspondent in Delhi, brings you the last seven days' news from India's burgeoning retail industry

India pockets highest salary hikes in Asia-Pacific
Monsters and Critics
Salaries in India last year recorded double-digit growth for the fourth year running at 14.4 per cent, the highest in the Asia Pacific region, with HR consulting firm Hewitt Associates forecasting an average of 14.5 per cent wage hike in India in 2007, media reports said Friday.

India’s Reliance Industries to buy 59 pct in Dow Chemical spin-off ops
ABC Money
India's Reliance Industries is close to buying a 59 pct stake in a company to be spun off by Dow Chemical Co for 12 bln usd, reported the Times of India without citing any sources.

Essar to receive $415m to clear India deal
Financial Times
Essar is set to be paid $415m (£214.3m) under a settlement aimed at ending the threat of legal action hanging over Vodafone’s takeover of Hutchison Essar, India’s fourth largest mobile operator.

India’s Suzlon Energy likely to raise REpower bid to 1.7 bln usd
ABC Money
India's Suzlon Energy Ltd may revise its offer for Germany's REpower Systems AG to 1.7 bln usd following Areva's counter offer of 1.5 bln usd, the Economic Times reported, citing unnamed sources.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Links for 15/3/07

Bulls not raging
Financial Times
India’s booming stock market has been one of the most obvious indicators of the rapid rise of the country’s economy over the past few years.

DuPont to set up biotech research centre in India
Biofuel Review
DuPont will locate its first plant biotechnology research centre outside the United States at the recently announced DuPont Knowledge Center, in Hyderabad, India.

India to become second largest economy of world by 2050
PR NewsWire
India will emerge as the 2nd largest economy throughout the world by the year 2050, ahead of US, said Goldman Sachs in a statement that Economics Times published on 24 January 2007 broadening the estimates of the prospects of India in its October ’03 research paper “BRIC’s report”.

India’s Reliance eyes Carrefour stake
Financial Times Alphaville
Reliance Industries is looking to buy a stake in France’s Carrefour in a move that would catapult India’s largest private sector group into the ranks of the world’s top retailers. Reliance was looking at the possibility of buying the 13 per cent stake held by the Halley family, Carrefour’s largest shareholder, although talks had not yet been initiated, according to a person familiar with the situation. The Halleys’ stake in Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer by sales, was worth nearly €5bn on Wednesday night. The family controls 20 per cent of the group’s voting rights thanks to a convention that allows longer-term investors to have a larger say in its affairs.

India’s ITC to bid for UK’s Patak’s brand
India's ITC Ltd.'s foods unit is likely to bid for Britain's Patak's, valued at about 200 million pounds ($387 million), the Economic Times newspaper said on Thursday.

Australia urged to enlist India in security alliance
Monsters and Critics
The United States wants India to join with fellow democracies Australia and Japan in a security pact that would counter the growing military and economic might of China, news reports said Thursday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Links for 14/3/07

Indian benchmark stock index tanks on global trends
Monsters and Critics, 14/3
India's 30-share sensitive Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) index Sensex plunged by more than 400 points in early trade on Wednesday as funds sold heavily taking cues from weakening global markets.

Reliance Industries' ratings affirmed on news of IPCL merger
Hemscott, 14/3
Fitch Ratings has affirmed India's Reliance Industries Ltd's ratings following the company's announcement that it will merge Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited (IPCL) with itself.

RPT Mittal Steel in lead to buy Mitsui & Co's 51 per cent stake in Sesa Goa
Hemscott, 14/3
Mittal Steel is leading the race to buy Mitsui & Co's 51 pct stake in Indian iron ore producer Sesa Goa for 41 bln rupees (48 mln stg) or 2,050 rupees per share, Indian daily Hindustan Times reported, citing investment bankers close to the deal.

EDS to acquire Indian software testing company
Financial Director, 14/3
The acquisition is to accelerate EDS' existing global software testing, validation and verification services for enterprise clients.

U.S. nuclear deal won't power India's boom
Reuters, 14/3
Nuclear energy will remain a small part of India's power supply for the next 25 years even if the country seals a civil nuclear deal with the United States, a member of India's top policy making body said on Tuesday.

India leapfrogs the UK for Nokia
Silicon, 14/3
India has overtaken the UK in terms of mobile sales for the world's biggest handset manufacturer, Nokia.