Sunday, December 13, 2009


Despite poor participation from retail investors, India Inc raised $16.7 billion (Rs 78,000 crore) through equity issues in the first eight months of the current fiscal, five times that in the entire financial year ended March 2009, as foreign investors returned and companies resumed expansion activities.

The pick-up in fund-raising coincided with the economy showing clear signs of revival and the sharp rebound in stock market valuations after they hit a low in early March.

However, the amount raised so far in the current fiscal is still far lower than in the corresponding period of 2007-08, a boom year for the stock markets. India Inc raised Rs 125,526 crore between April and November 2007.

The Economic Times

India’s telecom tower industry is set for a wave of consolidation with small and medium sized firms opting for mergers or alliances to take on larger rivals and hasten rollouts in the face of rising demand. India’s position as the fastest growing wireless market in the world has attracted several global players such as UK’s Vodafone Plc, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo and UAE’s Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat).

“Under the current circumstances, when competition is so severe at operators’ end, the tower companies have to become much more efficient,” said Ravi Sharma, executive chairman of industry body CMAI Association of India. “They will only survive, provided they have more than three tenants per tower,” he said. “Now to get to that, there will be consolidation amongst companies.”

Earlier this month, two sources had told Reuters that GTL Infrastructure Ltd was leading the race to buy the tower holdings of Aircel, the Indian unit of Malaysia’s Maxis, in a deal valued at $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion. Private equity firm New Silk Route, which owns a stake in tower leasing firm Aster Infrastructure, is reportedly in talks with Essar Telecom Infrastructure to buy a stake in the latter. The consolidation spree was kicked off in 2007 when India’s top mobile operator Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular decided to pool their resources and hived off their towers into an independent firm, Indus Towers.


As India is all set to take a final call on the spectrum allocations in January 2010 for the much-awaited 3G and WiMax licenses, Intel hopes for more demand of its products and solutions in the computing and Internet space.

Recently, Intel has come out with new devices and solutions that provide mobile and wireless broadband Internet access. For instance its Nettops with Atom processor is a low-cost computing device with a good computing performance, available at the market price of around Rs.10,000 in India.

The company considers Nettops as a key affordable computing device along with boosting Internet penetration in the rural parts of the country. Since its launch, Intel already has sold over half a million units.

Besides, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in association with HCL, Intel and Microsoft has launched BharatPC to boost Internet penetration under the National Broadband Penetration Project (NBPP).

Ahead of the upcoming 3G spectrum auctions, the department of telecommunications (DoT) is working on a policy on drawing up a priority list to allocate 2G spectrum. The matter has assumed significance because the DoT needs to clarify who would first get 2G spectrum —the successful 3G bidders or the companies whose applications for licences to operate 2G services are still pending before it. Around 343 applications by 16 companies are still pending before the DoT.

The Financial Express

Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja on Friday said the auction of spectrum for 3G mobile service would be held as scheduled. “There is no change in the schedule,” he told journalists here.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has set January 14, 2010 as the date of auction.

Referring to the number of slots to be auctioned per circle, Mr. Raja said: “It would be decided by the empowered-Group of Ministers (eGoM).” Initially, it was planned to auction four slots a circle, apart from a State-run telecom firm, but the DoT now wanted only three players due to shortage of spectrum.
Reserve Price

The DoT had fixed the reserve price of spectrum at Rs.3,500 crore for the pan-Indian 3G spectrum and Rs.1,750 crore for wireless broadband (WiMAX). However, with a cut in the number of slots, revenue generation from the auction process could fall short by around Rs.5,000 crore from the earlier estimated Rs.25,000-Rs.30,000 crore.

The Hindu

Close on the heels of celebrating 500 million mobile customer mark, the country’s cellular phone market has now crossed another major landmark: The average urban teledensity in India has now crossed the 100 per cent mark as per latest figures released by the department of telecom (DoT). This implies the country’s towns, cities and metros, all of which are classified as ‘urban’ by the government, now have as many mobile connections as that of their population. In March 2008, the country’s urban teledensity was about 60 per cent, which jumped to over 85 per cent in March 2009 and it has now crossed the 100 per cent mark.

The Economic Times

Friday, December 04, 2009


The flow of foreign direct investments into the country saw a major increase in October, registering a 56 per cent jump to touch $2.3 billion in October against the same period last year, an official said.

In October 2008, the FDI stood at $1.5 billion. However, the consolidated inflow during the April-October period of this fiscal saw a decline of $1.1 billion to $17.6 billion from $18.7 billion in the year-ago period.

The Financial Express

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


India’s economy grew at its fastest rate in 18 months in the quarter through September, smashing expectations and adding pressure to bring forward an interest rate rise and cut stimulus spending as inflation mounts.

Asia’s third-largest economy grew 7.9% in the past quarter from a year earlier, far above forecasts of 6.3%, but growth was expected to slow this quarter when the impact of a weak monsoon would be seen on crops.

The expansion was driven by government spending, manufacturing, services, and a better-than-forecast farming output, sending bond yields and swap rates higher as investors bet on a rise in rates and the finance minister said growth could hit 7% in the fiscal year ending in March 2010.

“This data could be a green light for the Reserve Bank of India to hike rates, and there are greater chances of this by end of the calendar year,” said Robert Prior-Wandesforde, senior Asia economist at HSBC in Singapore.

“The exit from the fiscal stimulus by the government may also be earlier post the GDP data.”
Prior to the data, most economists had predicted a rate rise sometime between January and April 2010.

In the June quarter, India’s economy grew 6.1% from a year earlier, and Prior-Wandesforde said that by his calculation the last quarter’s growth was the sharpest on a quarter-by-quarter basis since quarterly data began in 1996.

Manufacturing output grew 9.2% in the quarter as consumers bought more cars and other goods.

Larger neighbour China, which along with India is helping to pull the global economy out of its worst recession in decades, clocked growth of 8.9% during the same quarter.