Booming and Bubbling India- XVI

India’s growth story remains intact. According to Subir Gokarn, chief economist, Standard & Poor, Asia Pacific, “I don’t see any surprises. The momentum of industrial growth in 2006-07 has continued.” “JP Morgan is likely to revise up the full year growth forecast for the year 2007-08 to 8.6 per cent from 8 per cent earlier,”

India’s economy in the April-June quarter grew a faster-than-expected 9.3 per cent from a year earlier, led by robust manufacturing and services. India’s wholesale price index rose 3.94 per cent in the 12 months to Aug. 18, lower than the previous week’s 4.10 per cent due to a decline in some manufactured product prices. Economic growth is changing caste-based deprivation logic.

Domestic companies outsmart MNC peers in profits: Indian companies have performed better than their multinational counterparts in India in the first quarter of FY08.

Breakthrough in bio-diesel process: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) in Hyderabad have discovered a way of using a well-known fungus to “substantially” accelerate the process and thereby reduce the cost of producing bio-diesel.

DRDO to take industry aboard unmanned flight: DRDO is in talks with several companies such as Larsen &Toubro Ltd, Godrej and Boyce Ltd, the Tata group and state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), India’s defence aircraft maker, to design and develop the MALE (short for medium altitude long endurance) UAV in five years.

Samsung to commission Chennai plant: Samsung India Electronics Private Limited is all set to commission its Sriperumbudur plant near Chennai built on a 50-acre plot in the SIPCOT Sriperumbudur Industrial Park that will initially manufacture colour televisions and monitors. It has a capacity to make 1.5 million TV sets and 1 million thin film transistor (TFT) monitors.

Fortis plans 40 hospitals by 2010: Ranbaxy promoter group company Fortis Healthcare is planning to invest Rs 1,800 crore for setting up a medicity in Gurgaon and intend to have 40 hospitals under the Fortis group across 14 states by 2010. As reported in TOI, the Mukesh Ambani group is working with his A-team on a plan to put into place at least 1,400 hospitals.

Tata Consultancy bags deal with Hawaiian Airlines: Tata Consultancy Services had signed a multi-year contract with Hawaiian Airlines to provide IT, business process outsourcing and infrastructure services of approx $40 million to provide maintenance and support services to the airline’s revenue accounting application.

At 100, Tata Steel aims to double output: India’s Tata Steel, the world’s sixth largest steel maker since its purchase of Britain’s Corus group, aims to more than double production by 2015 as it celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding on Sunday, 26 August. By 2015, Tata Steel hopes to add another 35 million tonnes to boost its worldwide annual production to 61.1 million tonnes. Tata Steel though signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Orissa government on November 17, 2004, aims to commission the Kalinga Nagar plant by 2010.

Nod for Noida: The civil aviation ministry has approved the setting up of a spanking new international airport at Jewar, a two-hour drive east from Delhi that will come up by 2010. Greater Noida to Varanasi in less than 10 hrs: 8-lane road project set to roll.

MNCs still bullish on India R&D: At least a dozen large-scale companies including Allergan, Eisai Pharma, Dupont, Astra Zeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pliva, Ratiopharm, Nektar Therapeutics, Sigma Aldrich and Teva-have chosen the country as a safe haven for investment in drug research and development (R&D) since January 2005, when the Indian Patent Act was amended.

Now, TV on Shatabdi Express: The railway ministry plans a major upgrade of entertainment in its Shatabdi Express coaches that will soon have flat-panel television touch-screens on each seat, equipped with head-phones offering passengers options of “live” and pre-recorded entertainment and movie channels. It is because of the competition from the aviation sector.

Mysore CAD firm to up headcount: iCAD Engineering Pvt Ltd, the Mysore-headquartered civil engineering services company specialising in designing and detailing steel structures as per American standards, plans to up headcount to 200 people in Mysore and the overall strength to 300 in the coming year. Interestingly, the SME firm, founded by the two alumni of the Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering, has been instrumental in hiring physically challenged people to its workforce. It is a success story with humane face.

Government to upgrade ITIs: The government would upgrade as many as 500 ITIs in the government sector and another 1,400 ITIs that function with private sector participation, to global standards. Can’t the number increase tenfold?

India set to overtake UK in VC investments: According to the report, “India’s VC market with a growth rate of around 90% is likely to overtake the UK by 2009.”

JSW Steel to up capacity ten-fold: JSW Steel plans to export 10 million tonnes of steel in the next 10 years. This is part of its plans to scale up its steel-making capacity nearly 10 times in the next ten years.

EIH plans Rs 4,500 crore expansion: The Oberoi Group, which owns or manages the Oberoi Hotels and Resorts and Trident Hilton brands, plans to invest Rs 4,500 crore to increase its room capacity in the super-premium segment by over 60 per cent over the next five years, from a room capacity of 4,100 to 6,800, through new hotels in India and abroad. And all the hotel tariffs will be now in Rupees for even the foreigners.

Indian executives get behind MNC wheel: Many MNCs such as Sapient, Xansa, Aricent, and Cognizant, have been hiring people aggressively in India and now have more than 50% of their workforce working out of this country. Will it not make the market of graduates hot and the middle class bulge?

Govt sure of meeting $160bn export target: “We are confident of meeting the export target of $160 billion set for 2007-08 if the rupee remains at 40-41 to a dollar.” Ensure quality, improve productivity, and be innovative. Who can stop India?

HRD Ministry for first virtual technical university: The HRD Ministry is working on proposal to put in place India’s first virtual IIT Technical University, where students who have appeared in JEE and have taken admission in engineering colleges, can opt for this course along with the regular engineering course.

10% ethanol blending in fuel to be mandated: While blending-at 5%-is currently optional for individual states, the 10% blending of ethanol will be made mandatory by October 2008. And let us start calculating the savings to national exchequer.

Creating The Farmer’s Convenience: Farmers will be able to use WRs from accredited warehouses after delivering their produce as collateral for short-term borrowing for working capital. Farmers can hope to maximize profits by selling when prices are favourable.

Govt invites $10-bn global tenders for 126 aircraft: Though it could be six years before the first planes start arriving, 18 of the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) will be purchased in flyaway condition and the remaining 108 manufactured in the country under a ToT agreement. The Indian defense sector keeps Western countries tempted.

Ashok Leyland, Nissan ink pact: Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. has tied up with Indian truck and bus maker Ashok Leyland Ltd to jointly manufacture small trucks and other light commercial vehicles in India. I wish the venture to bloom and blast the competition.

Indian movies likely to earn $213 million: Indian movies are gaining popularity in the overseas market and are expected to fetch Rs8.5 billion this year with the market growing by 18% annually, mainly because of the growing Indian diasporas around the world. Chak De! India.

Pvt firms invest record $3.8 bn in India: Global private equity firms, including Blackstone and Carlyle Group, have made an investment of USD 3.8 billion in 2007 so far in the country, up 50 per cent from the year-ago period.

NSE becomes world’s 2nd fastest growing stock exchange: The National Stock Exchange has become the world’s second fastest-growing bourse in terms of number of listed companies, while Bombay Stock Exchange has consolidated its position as the biggest bourse. NSE recorded a 16.6 per cent jump in the number of listings to 1,274 during one-year period ended July 2007, while BSE has become home to a total of 4,853 companies.

Firstsource acquires MedAssist for $330 mn: Mumbai-based Firstsource Solutions, a pure-play business-process-outsourcing provider, has acquired US-based MedAssist Holding for $330 million (Rs 1,353 crore). It is the second-largest acquisition after Wipro bought out Infocrossing for about $600 million.

Karuturi’s bed of roses in full bloom: Bangalore-based Karuturi Networks has acquired Dutch floriculture major Sher Agencies in a e50-million ($69 million) deal to become the world’s biggest rose producer. After the takeover, the company’s top line will bloom from Rs 100 crore to Rs 400 crore. Karuturi’s rose-producing capacity will also grow from about 150 million stems to around 650 million. It reminds of earlier reports on Andhra floriculturists going in Ethiopia for rose growing.

Apollo Hospitals arm buys US firm Zavata: Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd’s associate firm, Apollo Health Street Ltd, has acquired Atlanta-based Zavata for about $180 million. Zavata is a healthcare-focussed business-process-outsourcing firm with about 1,000 employees. Even the doctors are great entrepreneurs these days.

Now, mid-sized cos on acquisition spree: Of the 126 outbound deals worth of $29.78 billion made during January to June 2007, several transactions were done by mid-sized companies, says a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

13 Indian cos in Red Herring top 100 in Asia list: Thirteen Indian technology firms have come among the top 100 in the Asia-Pacific region by global media company Red Herring. The ‘2007 Red Herring 100 Asia´ awards recognise private companies with cutting edge technologies in the Asia-Pacific region.

India-born reign high on innovative start-up list in US: The three companies — Bloom Energy, Expensr and Vanu — have been featured in “The Next Disruptors — 15 companies that will change the world” list of Business 2.0, a magazine published by global media giant CNN-Time Warner group, which also publishes magazines like Fortune. All the three have an Indian-origin US national as the founder.

SAP opens new facility in Bangalore: German software firm SAP opened a new facility in Bangalore with a capacity to seat over 2,000 employees as part of its future strategy. For SAP, “This new facility is both a sign of SAP’s acknowledgement of the breadth and quality of work being delivered by our colleagues in India, and our commitment to deepen our engagement with Indian engineering talent further.” Is it the recognition of the India’s talent pool?

100mn cell phones to be made in India: According to a recent Gartner research, Mobile phone production in India is expected to reach 107 million units by 2011 from 31 million units in 2006 a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.3%. Mobile phone production revenue is expected to reach $13.6 billion (Rs 55,760 crore) by 2011 from $ 4.9 billion (Rs 20,090 crore) in 2006, a CAGR of 26.6%. And a better-connected India means prosperous India too. It will mean a mobile phone in every pocket.

Indian Americans better off:
In America, the official poverty level for a family of four with two children is $20,444 (over Rs 800,000) per annum, and one in eight Americans is poor. However, Indian American families have an average income of $ 61,322.

Mahindras doing due diligence on Jaguar, Land Rover: Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd is doing due diligence on Ford’s Jaguar and Land Rover units, the Financial Times said on Thursday, citing people close to the situation. Tata Motors also wishes to acquire Ford’s prestigious companies. I don’t know how serious are they.

Tubular, Malaysia’s UMW to form Rs565 crore JV: The promoters of Oil Country Tubular Ltd (OCTL), a specialized Indian pipes and tubes manufacturer for oil and gas industry, are joining hands with UMW Holdings Bhd, a Malaysian oil and gas equipment company, in a Rs565 crore (50:50) joint venture to make so-called “green pipes” that are used to make casings, drill pipes and production tubing.

Emerson sets up design engineering centre in Mohali: Emerson Electric Company inaugurated its Design Engineering Centre at Quark city in Mohali today. This is the second corporate centre of Emerson in India, after the first one set in Pune.

Industrialising India: Last year, Indian manufacturing grew by over 12% and by almost 14% in the last quarter of fiscal 2006-07. Will India make into manufacturing sector as big as in IT/ITeS?

Indian Institute of Space Science & Tech takes off: The Rs 270-crore Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) will quietly get going from September 14, according to ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair. “IIST is planned to emerge as the world’s biggest space institute.”

PM’s Nuclear Plan: “We have set a modest target of 20,000 MW of nuclear power generation by the year 2020. This can be doubled with the opening up of international cooperation. This cooperation will not be dependent on any one country and we will source supplies from many of the countries in the Nuclear Suppliers Group including the United States, Russia, France and Japan.” I wish the leftists and BJP would agree.

Four more countries to guzzle Kingfisher bear: India’s top-selling beer brand, Kingfisher will be available in markets in France, Finland, Portugal and Canada that is currently available in UK.

Footwear production to touch 1mn pairs: Footwear exports will go up to 300 million pairs in another five years from the present 100 million pairs, thanks to two big investments from Taiwan. Footwear exports increased 16 per cent to $1.2 billion in 2006-07 from $1.04 billion in 2005-06 and has set a target of $4.5 billion in footwear exports from India by 2010-11 when total leather exports are expected to reach about $7 billion.

Praxair to open facility in Coimbatore: Praxair Surface Technologies, which manufactures high-performance industrial coatings for aviation, oil, power generation and printing industries, will establish a facility in Coimbatore by mid-2008 for manufacturing thermal spray coatings for gate valve components used in oil and natural gas production. It will serve the growing high end-manufacturing sector.

Finnish firm plans foray into medical textiles: Ahlstrom Corporation, a Finnish company, is entering India with plans to make medical textiles that provide protection against diseases in operating theatres and external environments and is going to set up a factory at the Mundra SEZ in Gujarat in October. Health care sector is racing forward.

A boom is on: The ISRO launched its latest communication satellite, INSAT-4CR, from Sriharikota and made up for the launch failure of INSAT-4C. Let ISRO be more commercial.

Indian private companies attracting talent from govt establishments: Companies in the steel, oil and gas, telecom, banking, insurance and aviation sectors, in particular, have hired extensively from government-run organizations. Who will be losers?

Air India flies Bangalore-San Francisco direct: Air India will be operating its non-stop silicon route linking Bangalore and San Francisco probably in the first half of 2008, taking off from the new international airport, which is to open at Devanahalli by April next year. When will be a direct flight between Delhi and San Francisco?

Let the Indian industry take some tips from Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilkeni to keep growing faster than expected and booming under all odds.

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