Monday, April 30, 2007

Links for 30/4

Solar loans light up rural India
BBC Online
More than 100,000 people in rural India have benefited from an innovative loan scheme that helps families buy home solar power systems, the UN has said.

Air India-Indian merger to take two years
Monsters and Critics
The formalities of the merger between Air India and Indian will take nearly two years to be completed, says V. Thulasidas, chairperson and managing director of Air India here.

India’s ICICI Bank to raise $5bn

Financial Times Alphaville
India’s ICICI Bank is to raise Rs200bn ($5bn) by selling new shares this year as the country’s largest private-sector lender prepares for an increase in investment by domestic companies of “historic” proportions. In what will be by far the largest share issuance by an Indian company, ICICI will raise three-quarters of the new capital through an American depositary receipt issue, with the remainder raised in India.

India ICICI Bank Q4 Net Below Expectations

India's second-largest lender, ICICI Bank (ICBK.BO: Quote, Profile , Research), lagged forecasts with a 4.4 percent rise in quarterly profits due partly to soaring provisions, and the bank said it would raise $5 billion in a sale of new shares.

Cairn India appoints UK-based JP Kenny to build 800 mln usd pipeline
Cairn India has hired UK-based JP Kenny to construct an 800 mln usd crude pipeline to evacuate crude from its Barmer fields in Rajasthan, the Economic Times reported.

India's "breadbasket" aims to be new IT hotspot

Fed up with traffic snarls and scarred roads, a software engineer in India's flagship IT hub of Bangalore took to the streets in protest last year -doodling on his laptop while trotting along on a bullock-cart.

Citi, Lehman lead race for India's IFCI stake: paper
Citigroup (C.N: Quote, Profile , Research) and Lehman Brothers (LEH.N: Quote, Profile , Research) are leading the race to acquire a 26 percent strategic stake in Indian long-term lender IFCI Ltd. (IFCI.BO: Quote, Profile , Research), the Hindustan Times reported on Monday.

Indians turn deaf ear to warning on troubles for economy
The Times Online
India was in celebratory mood last week as it became the twelfth country to pass the trillion-dollar mark in terms of gross domestic product. It was not quite so ready to listen to lurking concerns about the stability of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies . . . a case, perhaps, of not letting the bad news get in the way of a good news story.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Links for 24/4

India commercial rocket takes off
BBC Online
India's first commercial rocket has been launched into space.

India predicts further rapid growth
Financial Times
The Reserve Bank of India is expected on Tuesday to use its annual policy statement to predict another year of exceptionally rapid growth, but also to signal its determination to stamp out signs of overheating in the Indian economy.

Vedanta to spend $1.37 billion on India's Sesa Goa
India-focused miner Vedanta Resources Plc (VED.L: Quote, Profile , Research) said on Tuesday it planned to buy a 71 per cent stake in Indian iron ore exporter Sesa Goa Ltd for $1.37 billion, having already struck a deal to buy 51 per cent.

India's FIPB defers decision on Vodafone's Hutch-Essar deal again
India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board has once again deferred a decision on Vodafone's proposed acquisition of Hutch-Essar from Hutchison Telecommunication International Ltd and the board will now meet on April 27, the Business Standard reported.

LVMH to take 20 per cent in India's Hidesign
France's LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton is in talks to buy 20 percent in Indian leather goods maker Hidesign, the Economic Times said on Tuesday.

Reserve Bank of India keeps key rates unchanged
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept key short-term borrowing rates unchanged as it seeks to keep economic growth on track despite inflation running well above its comfort zone.

Lehman may invest up to $300 million in Indian Special Economic Zone

Lehman Brothers may invest up to 300 mln usd in two tranches in a Bangalore-based research and development Special Economic Zone (SEZ), the Economic Times reported, citing unnamed sources.

India signs energy deal
Times Online
Japan has signed a deal to help India fight global warming as the two countries look ahead to working together after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

India offers best 'no risk investment'
Asstez News
Those looking to invest in property beyond Europe may not have considered India, but now, according to Hena Kishore, a property consultant for Sternon, they should.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Links for 19/4

India's Essar buys Minnesota Steel for 100 million dollars
Monsters and Critics
India's Essar Steel has signed an agreement to buy US-based Minnesota Steel LLC for 100 million dollars in the second overseas acquisition by the Indian steelmaker this week, news reports said Thursday.

US concerned India stance on nuclear energy could jeopardise deal
ABC Money
The United States expressed concern over the progress of negotiations for a nuclear energy deal with India as New Delhi wants key clauses rewritten, the Financial Times reported, quoting a senior US official.

India's MGF, Dubai's Emaar group buy Singapore's RSH
Monsters and Critics
Indian real estate major MGF group and Dubai-based Emaar Properties have acquired a majority stake in Singapore-based retailer RSH Ltd, officials and reports said Thursday.

AIG unit likely to buy stake in India's Avasarala Tech for $20 million
American International Group's (AIG) private equity arm AIG Global Investments is set to buy a minority stake in India's Avasarala Technologies for 20 mln usd, reported the Economic Times, citing Avasarala.

Indian auto firms eye global markets
BBC Online
The drive across Kancheepuram's sprawling paddyfields, through rural villages and past small Hindu temples, does little to prepare for the lush greenery at the end of the dusty, single-track road.

Race to expand Delhi's Metro
Financial Times
Across Delhi metal signs are sprouting up to mark the spots where new metro stations will emerge.

BAE in discussions with Indian partners for army vehicle contract
The Business
BAE systems, the British defence giant, is in discussions with Indian partners to produce a new generation of armoured vehicles for the Indian army.

India's steel production set to triple by 2015 as demand booms
ABC Money
India said Wednesday it has raised its forecast for steel production, which it expects will expand threefold by 2015 as companies raise output to take advantage of surging domestic and overseas demand.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Links for 18/4

India's white collar party dreams of clean politics
In India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where corruption and caste have long dominated politics, a group of professionals from engineers to doctors are trying to challenge the grip of traditional parties.

General Motors plans to launch two new models in India
ABC Money
General Motors Corp is planning to launch two models in the Indian market in addition to the recently launched small car Spark, the Mint reported citing the company.

BMD Watch: India test-fires Agni-III IRBM
Monsters and Critics
India appears to have cleared the bugs out of Its ambitious Agni-III Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile. The Agni-III, which has the range to hit targets in China, was successfully test-launched for the first time last Thursday.

General Cable creates India ventures
General Cable Corp., which makes wire and cable products, said Tuesday it will form two joint venture companies in India with the Plaza Cable Group of Companies.

India's banks mull rival network to MasterCard and Visa
India's banks are considering setting up a domestic card payment settlement system to rival the networks operated by Visa and MasterCard, according to a Business Standard report.

Summer of discontent in Uttar Pradesh
BBC Online
Wednesday sees the next stage in voting in elections for the 175 million people of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. But do elections mean anything for the mass of rural poor?

Indian outsourcers make inroads into continental firms
Computer Weekly
Indian offshore service providers are now posing a serious challenge to continental European competitors, as enterprises across Europe increasingly seek to take advantage of global sourcing, said analyst Gartner.

Indian shares fall marginally
Monsters and Critics
Indian shares fell 0.6 percent Tuesday, pulled down by top technology companies including Satyam Computer, Infosys Technologies, and top software exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) which had reported handsome rise in net profit Monday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tata posts its revenues

TCS’ total annual income has broken the $4 billion ceiling for the first time, proving India as a key focus for the world’s biggest business strategies.

When Wipro releases its figures on Friday, the final act of the 2006 Indian IT success story will begin. With more than $3 billion in combined profit, the question that follows has to be where the triumvirate will decide to invest to continue its rate of growth.

Growth through acquisition of western companies by Indian firms, particularly those with public sector contracts, high-end consultancies, software products and infrastructure management such as Northgate, Misys and Xansa is another key area for business.

The success of these firms shows that India is by far the fiercest ‘Asian tiger’. It will only be a matter of time before Wipro, TCS or Infosys start on the acquisition trail. With such a strong financial footing, they must be plotting to get their claws into overseas investment.

Both Infosys and TCS have reported growth of over 40 per cent – in revenue and profit – despite the strengthening of the rupee playing against them. The results speak for themselves.

Links for 17/4

India's largest IT company TCS posts robust revenue
Monsters and Critics
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India's largest information technology (IT) company, reported new-clients-driven strong revenue growth for the last quarter, though below expectations due to stronger rupee, news reports said Tuesday.

New test to push India's legal process outsourcing industry
Monsters and Critics
The nascent legal process outsourcing (LPO) industry in India is set for a quantum leap with the introduction of a new Global Legal Professional (GLP) certification test for law graduates in the country.

GM seeks to source more auto parts from India: CEO
General Motors Corp. is looking to source more auto parts from India, Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said on Tuesday.

OOCL announce new China India Express service
Shipping Times
OOCL is pleased to announce that a new China-India Express Service (CIX), jointly operated with APL, will be launched with the first sailing from Xingang on May 13, an enhancement of existing NSS feeder service. OOCL will contribute two of the five 2000-2500 TEU vessels on the service.

Indian outsourcers must woo European firms
Indian IT outsourcing firms looking to expand have been told that they must attempt to attract more European business.

Phenomenal rise of India's savings
BBC Online
One economic variable that eludes popular attention but is arguably the most important indicator of an economy's long-term health is the savings rate.

Monday, April 16, 2007

InfoSys, WiPro and Tata figure releases spell competition

As the first Indian company to join the Nasdaq-100 in December, Infosys has consistently proved the success of an Indian-centric global model. Last week, the company saw staff costs and profits increase in parallel – both have leapt 40 per cent in the same timeframe. This news underlines the intrinsic value of the skilled Indian workforce and the potential it holds.

Infosys’ ongoing reliance on overseas income – with 90 per cent of its contracts from companies headquartered outside India – could result in the deceleration of its growth. As more Western IT services businesses look to invest in an Indian presence to meet growing demand, Infosys might find itself fighting for the Indian advantage it has held on to for so long.

A question that must be on everyone’s lips is ‘what will Infosys do next?’ A 40 per cent jump in profit on 2006 – to $989 million from $700 million – means Infosys could be looking to acquire at home or overseas in the near future.

World markets will be watching closely as Tata Consultancy Services releases its figures today, and as Wipro does the same on April 20. Infosys has set the bar high.

Links for 16/4/07

Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola seen bidding for Hutchison India tender
Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola are expected to bid for a $2 billion expansion tender to be launched by India's Hutchison Essar, the Economic Times reported citing unnamed sources.

Italy's Caleffi forms distribution joint venture in India
ABC Money
Italy-based Caleffi SpA has formed a joint venture in India, Caleffi Bed & Bath India Pvt Ltd, to distribute its products in the country, reported the Economic Times.

Nestle Waters bidding for Indian brand, Tata bidding for brand maker
ABC Money
Nestle Waters is bidding for Indian brand Himalayan water despite the Tata group being close to buying a majority stake in the manufacturer of the brand, Mount Everest Mineral Water, for 2 bln rupees, the Economic Times reported.

Baird links up with Indian adviser for help with portfolio companies
The Telegraph
A mid-market private equity house has become one of the first of its type to link up with an Indian partner to develop relationships in the region purely for its portfolio companies.

World poverty reduced by growth in India and China
The Guardian
Spectacular growth in China and India has pushed the number of people around the world living on less than a dollar a day below the 1 billion level, but masks entrenched poverty in Africa and Latin America, the World Bank said yesterday.

Vodafone yet to persuade Indian regulators on Essar deal
Vodafone Group is struggling to convince the Indian government that its proposed 5.5 bln stg acquisition of a 67 pct economic interest in Hutchison Essar, the country's fourth-largest mobile operator, does not breach rules on foreign direct investment, according to the Financial Times.

India's Essar to buy Canadian steelmaker Algoma
Essar Global said on Sunday it agreed to acquire Canadian steelmaker Algoma Steel Inc. (AGA.TO: Quote, Profile , Research) for C$1.85 billion (US$1.63 billion) in cash in the latest overseas steel acquisition by an Indian company.

UK firms ‘must look to potential’ of India
The Herald
India poses immense threats and offers extraordinary opportunities to British business, yet the greatest threat to India could be from internal pressures.

UAE firms eye Indian real estate pie
Monsters and Critics
With its booming economy, the Indian market is surely attracting a lot of attention, especially from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). At a major realty fair in the capital, eight UAE-based property developers showcased their properties and also checked investment options.

Friday, April 13, 2007

India turned on to high-end IT as UK cabinet minister visit ends

Yesterday concluded UK E-Government Minister Pat McFadden’s four-day business visit to India. He flew out on April 8 to talk about e-commerce with Indian businesses in New Delhi and Hyderabad.

While Mr McFadden concluded that India still has some way to go in the world of e-commerce, his visit marks a significant development for the expanding Indian market for global IT services.

His meetings with Tata and IT industry body Nasscom could indicate a key shift for IT services in India. While the traditional outsourcing computer programming to India is well established, it seems that we are now entering a new phase of growth in business IT. Reports suggest that IT services exports will have risen by a third to $31 billion by the end of this year, and by approaching double that by 2010.

With India becoming a nascent and powerful force in IT services and consultancy – becoming an attractive destination for skilled workers from the West – and significant investment from the IT services giants, a high-profile visit such as this further underlines the strength of India’s proposition in the space.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Links for 12/4/07

India developing as hub for biotech research
International Herald Tribune
SINGAPORE: India's demand for vaccines has spurred growth in its biotechnology industry, now seen by overseas drugmakers as a lower-cost hub for research and manufacturing, the journal Nature Biotechnology reported Tuesday.

India industrial output growth slows for third month (Update2)
India's industrial production growth slowed for a third straight month in February as higher interest rates crimped demand for cars and homes.

India may seek equity rejig in Hutch Essar
The Scotsman
MUMBAI (Reuters) - An Indian government body appears to be taking a view that minority stakes held by two Indians in mobile firm Hutchison Essar should be seen as foreign holdings, the Mint paper said, quoting a government source.

Decision on India Sesa sale likely in 2 wks-source
Japan's Mitsui & Co. (8031.T: Quote, NEWS , Research) may take about two weeks to finalise the sale of its majority stake in Indian iron ore exporter Sesa Goa Ltd. (SESA.BO: Quote, Profile , Research), a source familiar with the situation said.

Rieter gets federal clearance for India unit-paper
MUMBAI, April 12 (Reuters) - Swiss textile machinery and auto parts maker Rieter (RIEN.S: Quote, Profile, Research) got the Foreign Investment Promotion Board's (FIPB) nod to set up an Indian subsidiary, the Businessline daily reported on Thursday.

Offshoring to India - top tips from CIOs
Offshoring - love it or hate it, if you have anything to do with decisions about technology in a large organisation you won't be able to avoid an opinion about it.

New Zealand minister aims to build ties with India
Monsters and Critics
Wellington - New Zealand Trade and Defence Minister Phil Goff announced Thursday that he will visit India next week for talks aimed at strengthening ties between the two countries.

Jet Airways resurrects deal to buy Air Sahara
Financial Times
Jet Airways has revived a controversial deal to buy Air Sahara nine months after a bid to create the largest domestic Indian airline fell through due to a pricing dispute.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Links for 5/4/07

Touting tourism
Financial Times
The magnificent Taj Mahal is deservedly one of India’s biggest tourist attractions. But the gleaming white marble tomb strikes a startling contrast with the decrepit surrounding city of Agra. Even the highly competent travel agent who coordinated my recent trip bluntly affirmed this view. ”I love my job - I meet people from all over the world,” he told my friend and me soberly. ”But I hate Agra.”

India Lupin gets $27million for patent deal, shares up
Indian drug maker Lupin Ltd. (LUPN.BO: Quote, Profile , Research) said on Thursday it had received 20 million euros ($26.7 million) from a patent deal, sending its shares up more than 5 per cent.

India court reserves order in Novartis patent case
A court in southern India on Wednesday reserved its verdict on a challenge by Novartis AG (NOVN.VX: Quote, Profile , Research) against an Indian law that blocks patenting of minor improvements in known molecules.

Vodafone says full Essar buy against India law
Vodafone (VOD.L: Quote, Profile, Research) says Indian law bars it from owning all of the 67 percent of Hutchison Essar it plans to buy in a controversial $11.1 bln deal, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

US trade chief to make maiden trip to India to step up trade, investment
ABC Money
US Trade Representative Susan Schwab is to make her first trip to India next week in a bid to step up bilateral trade and investment between the two countries.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Links for 4/4/07

Ethernet support in India with new locations
BBC Online
Ethernet Direct, a professional and primary provider of Industrial Networking and communication solutions, has announced the establishment of four support locations in India to serve the growing Industrial Ethernet market.

RBoS considering applying for banking licence in India
ABC Money
The Royal Bank of Scotland is considering applying for a banking licence in India, the Economic Times reported citing sources close to the matter.

Hershey Chief Says India Buy to Boost Business
U.S. chocolate maker Hershey Co. (HSY.N: Quote, Profile, Research), which has bought a 51 percent stake in an Indian confectionery maker, expects the foray to boost business in the coming years, Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Lenny said.

Robeco Group to launch $500 million India fund in 2008
ABC Money
The Robeco Group is set to launch a 500 mln usd India equity fund in the first quarter of 2008, the Business Standard reported citing chief executive George Moller, Robeco Group.

Mahindra-Renault launches Logan in India
Monsters and Critics
Marking its entry into the passenger car market, India's top multi-utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) Tuesday launched the Mahindra Renault Logan in India.

Links for 3/4/07

India's Tata Steel completes acquisition of European steelmaker Corus
International Herald Tribune
NEW DELHI: India's Tata Steel has completed its US$11.3 billion (€8.5 billion) acquisition of European steel maker Corus Group PLC, a takeover that makes the Indian company the world's fifth-largest steel producer.

Peeling back the layers of booming India
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Down by the customs house, past an unpaved road and the cows munching at piles of rubbish, the booming new India unceremoniously stopped in its tracks.

Hershey to buy 51 pct in India's Godrej Beverages
MUMBAI, April 2 (Reuters) - U.S. chocolate maker Hershey Co. (HSY.N: Quote, Profile, Research) will buy 51 percent in Godrej Beverages & Foods Ltd., in a deal that values the Indian firm at about $100 million, a source close to the deal said on Monday.

India stocks fall on shock rate rise
Financial Times
Indian shares tumbled almost 5 per cent on Monday, after the central bank raised interest rates after markets closed on Friday in its latest attempt to cool an overheating economy.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

India and China FDI: behind the figures

The news that the Indian government has boosted its projections for foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2007 to $15 billion has attracted a lot of comparison with China.

While the coverage has been accurate and complimentary of India’s positive position, it’s important to highlight some of the differences between the FDI of India and China.

While China’s FDI may have been $63 billion last year (almost four times that of India), we need to look a bit more closely at how the two countries measure FDI.

To begin with, China not only includes imported equipment in its FDI calculations (unlike India, which includes this in separate trade data), but it also factors in domestic money flow from Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan – the so-called ‘roundtripping’ of funds. This roundtripping has, by some, been shown to represent 40%-60% of the country’s total FDI.

If one is looking at the overall direct inflow of capital, it will be worth looking at direct investments made by private investors and remittances – transferred money by Indian expatriates and emigrants back into the country – that makes up a significant part of the funding of small-scale industry.

The India corridor for international remittances is the largest in the world at $21.7 billion in 2005, according to the World Bank Global Economic Prospects Report 2006. Estimated at $23 billion in 2006, it is also expected to grow to $26 billion in 2007.

Again, this won’t be covered by the official FDI figures.

And while the reporting of Indian FDI could be skewed, there is also the growth to factor in. Five year ago, India was responsible for 1/10 of the FDI of China. Today, it represents almost a quarter.

One other way to measure the success of an economy is to cast your eye over the world’s rich list – India now leads Asia with the highest number of dollar billionaires, having recently overtaken Japan.

With the creation of Special Economic Zones in India to attract more long-term investment coupled with high-profile visits by global leaders such as His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai cementing the future of inbound investment to India, comparisons between the two ‘Asian tigers’ are set to continue.

It’s critical to remember that there is often a greater truth than what’s selectively culled by the media from statistical reports.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Are investors with Indian aspirations circling Chrysler?

Speculation is mounting over a potential Asian partner for the Chrysler Group.

The Group has already reportedly been looking to take advantage of the cost-effective manufacturing of automotive parts in India and China. It has been indicated that the moving of some of Chrysler Groups manufacturing operations to Asia could be the trump card the private equity firms looking to invest could play at any point.

The American automotive market has been having a comparatively tough time of it lately. First Ford was forced to sell off Aston Martin, and now Chrysler is struggling to recover from a $1.5-billion loss in 2006. A strategic outsourcing plan to Asia could provide a lifeline for America’s ailing automotive sector, and some low-cost cars are already finding their way in to the US from India. Driven by outside investment, and not from within Chrysler itself, also makes it an easier decision for a fiercely patriotic brand.

As IndusView reported in September 2006, India is on track to become the world’s third biggest car manufacturer by 2030. So it’s unsurprising that a group like Chrysler might want to improve its revenues by harnessing Asian manufacturing power.

A partnership between American business and Indian manufacture would, of course, be mutually beneficial. For American automotives, Indian manufacturing would be cost-effective, enhancing competitiveness in a market that’s going through changes. From India’s perspective, the more high-profile Western companies invest in Indian manufacture and technology, the more the country’s economy will benefit.

Perhaps the much-hyped article from The Globalist on Tata’s $1 acquisition of Chrysler might not be closer to the mark all…