Booming and Bubbling India- XIX

The economy is on song, (despite recent dat revealing a suspected slowdown in manufacturing growth), and India Inc. is in rapid expansion mode. This the way a report starts on a feature, ‘India is now world’s 7th largest IPO market’. It is not one sector or one institution that is on move. India is marching ahead with all its problems and speedbreakers.

From a count of zero last year, four Indian companies- Hindustan Unilever (HUL, ranked No 4), Infosys (10), ICICI Bank (19) and Wipro (20) have made it this year to the global list of Top Companies for Leaders -2007, a survey conducted by Hewitt associates in paternership with The RBL Group and Fortune Magazine.

Where to Next for India? The vast majority of the global Fortune 1000 companies agree that India is indeed worth the effort. Indian companies can innovate, build capacity in areas not generally seen as a strength, and be aggressive in expanding-beyond a predominantly U.S. focus-into Asian markets.

Sensex records single biggest gain: The Bombay Stock Exchange’s barometer Sensex on Wednesday crossed the magical 16,000-point in style, with the single biggest all-time gain of 653 points, as a cut in US interest rates triggered a buying spree in Mumbai. Experts predict it to reach 19K, and inflation slips to 3.32%, and the rupee hits a nine-year high as a sharp cut in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve increased appetite for emerging market assets and a surging stock market attracted capital inflows.

PE deals hit record $10.8 bn in 8 months: For the first time, private equity (PE) investments in India have already crossed the $10-billion mark in a calendar year, with over three months still to go in 2007, as against the total value of PE deals announced stood at $7.86 billion in 2006. The total value of equity deals involving Indian companies is now nudging the $60-billion mark.

Indian executives dread foreign postings: Gone are the days when an overseas posting would necessarily bring cheer. While Indian CEOs often don’t want to move, companies insist these postings are a means of giving their senior executives international exposure.

Organic farming changes fortune of Rajasthani farmers: Farmers in villages in Jhunjhunu district are experiencing the steady incomes generated by organic farming.

India-UK trade to cross 10 bn pounds: “There has been a step-up in the India-UK trade which is expected to cross 10 billion pounds this year.” With the surge in bilateral investment, trade between India and Germany is likely to double to 20 billion euro in the next five years and as a result, Germany would rise to become India’s second largest trade partner from its current fourth position after the US, UK and Japan, according to a FICCI-KPMG paper.

Indian financial mkts projected at $17 trillion:India’s financial markets size was estimated to race from under USD one trillion to 17 trillion by 2025 as globalisation led opportunities shift from veteran markets to emerging markets, according to an IBM study.

Rs46, 000 cr link to North-East planned: The Union government is proposing a massive investment of Rs46, 000 crore to set up new power transmission capacity, which, by 2012, could move 46,000MW of power from the North-East region and Bhutan; and will connects the North-East to the rest of India.

Left-ruled Kerala gets high on India’s IT boom: In a state that has shunned global corporate giants such as Microsoft Corp. and Coca-Cola Co, the tech industry raked in $60 million last year. Kerala’s fledgling tech industry has attracted hundreds of tech firms from the West, raking in more than $60 million (Rs243 crore) last year (may be tiny but growing slice of India’s $50 billion tech industry).

Omnitech Info enters into JV with Japanese firm: Omnitech Infosolutions Ltd has entered into an agreement with Japanese firm Sanwell Company Ltd (SWL) for setting up a Joint venture – Arham Technologies Company Ltd (ATCL) with a total investment of $ 1million (Rs 4crore) to undertake business in IT consultancy, software development for embedded systems, infrastructure management and performance management services for telecom, banking and financial services for Japanese market.

Moser plans Rs 2,000cr PV plant near Chennai: New Delhi-based leading optical storage media manufacturer Moser Baer (India) has chosen Chennai to set up a Rs 2,000 crore solar photovoltaic fabrication facility.

TutorVista expands global classroom: TutorVista, which broke new ground by offering personalised customer services through online tutoring to students in the US from India, has just extended its reach to the UK and Korea. English language tuition to Koreans is being seen as testing waters that also lap the shores of China and Japan. And its next target is teaching Spanish, the second most-spoken language in the world.

India’s largest power plant ahead of schedule: Mundra project that would comprise of five super-critical units of 800 Mw each is progressing on schedule, or rather “ahead of schedule.” Orders for equipment have already been placed with Japan’s Toshiba and Korea’s Doosan.

Media Labs Asia brings education to the doorsteps of tribals: Media Labs Asia is a body established by the Ministry of communication and Information Technology – in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Vigyan Ashram and Bhatke Vimukta Vikas Pratishthan to train over 100 children of denotified nomadic tribes in Maharashtra.

Visual effects, made in India: Prime Focus, transports the 1,400 VFX (visual effects) shots to London, there is a sense that Indian studios are coming of age and executing high-end shots for big international releases. Tata Elxsi’s visual computing lab (VCL) is working on an episodic 3D series for a North American client and doing visual effects for a project for one of the largest studios of Hollywood.

More Indians enrolling with Australia universities: India contributed 42,798 full-fee enrolments in Australian universities, demonstrating 60.9 per cent growth on YTD June 2006, higher than China’s growth on YTD June 2006, which stood at 13.8 per cent. Indians now are the third largest migrant group in Australia after the British and the New Zealanders.

Four Indian Americans make it to Forbes list: Four Indian Americans – Acoustics pioneer Amar Bose, Google founder director Kavitark Shriram, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla and Bharat Desai CEO of an info-tech outsourcing firm – have made it to the Forbes list of richest Americans.

OVL wins three exploration blocks in Myanmar: ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), has won three offshore exploration blocks in Myanmar.

Insurance BPO to create $2-bn revenue, one lakh jobs:
India has emerged as a net gainer with the country likely to generate $2-billion revenue and over one lakh jobs through insurance outsourcing business by 2010, according to a KPMG report. The size of the industry is over 1,500 property and casualty insurance companies and 1,300 health insurance firms in the US alone that makes insurance outsourcing an attractive market.

Jewellery exports post 24% growth: The domestic jewellery industry is glittering with exports posting more than 24% growth in the first five months of the fiscal with the demand for Indian jewellery surging and the global sales of diamond increasing manifold. In terms of value, the exports rose to $7,752.45 million in April-August 2007 against $6,237.32 million a year ago.

Skoda to set up turbine facility: Czech power company Skoda Power AS is setting up a turbine manufacturing facility at Hyderabad at an investment of around Rs2, 000 crore that will be set up in four phases, and will be completed by 2011 to help the fast growing power generation sector on the equipment supply front, as India has been coping with shortfalls in power generation equipment.

CAM man wins global recognition: Tapan Parikh, a doctoral student at the University of Washington and founder of Ekgaon Technologies, is the winner of the TR35 2007 Young Innovator award, instituted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published magazine Technology Review. Parikh received global recognition as the 2007 Humanitarian of the Year for his effort to help small business people by making mobile phones a more effective and result-oriented medium. Microfinance groups in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are using CAM, the mobile device developed by Parikh to increase productivity and earn more money in diverse as well as traditional businesses they are involved with.

Benetton to make India major hub: Apparel major the Benetton Group, which has a presence in 120 countries around the world and produces 130 million garments every year, will make India its major sourcing hub for fabrics to cater to markets like South America, Russia, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Japan.

Four Indian companies bag global corporate awards: Four Indian companies, Oil and Natural Gas Corp and NTPC Ltd from the public sector, and Jubilant Organosys and GTL from the private sector, have been selected for the Global Award for emerging economies as part of the annual Golden Peacock Awards for corporate excellence.

Closing the gap on developed countries: Outbound deals have been steadily increasing for the past three years, culminating in 32 deals being recorded in the first half of 2007. North America was by far the most popular destination for Indian acquirers, being responsible for 18 of those deals.

New car buyers seek design, performance: Nearly 45 per cent of buyers of recently launched vehicle models tend to evaluate at least one other new vehicle model during the shopping process, compared to buyers of models that have been on the market for two or more years (37 per cent), according to a JD Power study.

Canada names fossil after Lucknow-based geologist: Canadian government officials and scientists had recently met at Canada’s Portugal Cove South city where two top geologists – Guy Narbonne from Canada and Jim Gehling from Australia – announced the new name of one of the many fossils discovered by SB Misra in the late 1960s.

Jet Airways bags international award: India’s largest private air carrier Jet Airways has been honoured with the Avion Award for the Best Overall In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) for small airlines worldwide.

Ericsson in push for rural broadband: Swedish telecom equipment maker Telefon AB LM Ericsson has launched a trial project in Tamil Nadu to showcase its rural broadband offering, which could enable the delivery of telemedicine and interactive education services at an affordable price in India’s villages.

India’s M&A average: two deals a day: India Inc continued with its M&A frenzy in August, striking an average of two deals a day, a marginal increase over the previous month’s deal numbers, but over three-fold jump in value terms. A total of 62 M&A deals valued at $3.37 billion were announced in August, against 59 deals worth about $0.94 billion in July, according to data compiled by Grant Thornton.

India new launchpad for auto giants: India is turning out to be the new launch pad for global car models as major carmakers prefer India to Europe and the American markets.

US cos could save $9.9 b thru outsourcing: Estimating that US businesses could be sitting on $9.9 billion in potential infrastructure savings through outsourcing, a latest Forrester study has found that companies that have outsourced, in the past, ended up with 12-17 per cent cost savings.

Refining capacity to be raised by 92 million tons: The government would augment the country’s oil refining capacity by 92 million tons from the present 149 million tons in the 11th plan through installation of four grass-root refineries.

Electronics hardware exports up 30% in FY07: The country exported electronics hardware worth Rs12,500 crore in 2006-07, up 30% from 2005-06, with North America accounting for more than a quarter of it at Rs3,410.95 crore.As per estimates of Department of Information Technology, 125 countries imported software while 191 countries imported hardware from India in 2006-07. In 2005-06, the electronics hardware export was worth Rs9,625 crore.

Reliance Energy eyes coal mines abroad: India’s No. 2 private power producer, Reliance Energy Ltd, is scouting for coal mines overseas.”We are looking at opportunities to acquire coalmines in Indonesia, Australia, Africa and Mozambique,

Selling Computers to India: Lately, China’s growth has started to slow, and the industry’s leaders have started to recognize the potential of the region’s other giant market, India. This year, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, and Acer have all announced major initiatives there, making India one of their key battlegrounds. Best of all, the demand is coming not just from multinationals and big Indian companies, but also from consumers and small businesses.

Young Indians are Happiest in the world: Young middle-class Indians are the happiest people of all and much more satisfied with all aspects of their lives compared with other nationalities, according to a new global survey by Swedish research and consulting firm Kairos Future. Further, work comes as top priority for Indian youth, followed by a good career and higher status. In contrast, for those in Europe, a good living environment comes on top and above all work-related aspects, Kairos Future said.

FDI inflow outpaces portfolio investment: Reversing the past trend, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the country outpaced portfolio investment by almost $5.6 billion in 2006-07. The FDI inflows during the fiscal worked out to be $21.19 billion, while portfolio investments touched $15.62 billion, according to a report on the International Investment Position (IIP) of India released by the RBI.

BSE market cap breaches Rs50-trillion mark: The record breaking rally in the country’s stock market today pushed the total investor wealth past the Rs50,00,000 crore milestone for the first time in its history. The cumulative market capitalisation of all the 4,500-odd companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, the world’s biggest bourse in terms of listed firms, soared to a new peak of Rs 50,18,265.06 crore on 21 September.

India’s retail to create 20 lakh jobs in 2 years: Organised retail, which is growing at 30 per cent annually on strong income growth and favourable government policies, is expected to create up to 20 lakh jobs in the next two years, says a study.

A new study on income inequalities in India says average incomes have risen sharply for the bottom 20% of the population by nearly 10% in rural and urban areas, between 1993-94 and 2004-05

Vienna push for small reactor export: The IAEA today adopted a landmark resolution moved by India to promote the development and deployment of small and medium nuclear reactors for countries with small electricity grids. The resolution is in line with India’s goals of exporting homegrown 220MW pressurised heavy water reactors to developing countries. India is the only country that produces such small reactors suitable for small electricity grids.

India’s Cell-Phone Ride Out of Poverty: Struggling artisans and tradespeople in rural India are finding that mobile phones are their ticket to better sales and better lives. Dominating the mobile handset landscape in India is Nokia with a 74% market share. As for service providers, at last count, there were 13 mobile-phone operators, with Bharti Airtel leading the pack with a 24% share and Vodafone (VOD ) in third place with a 17% share.

And India wins, India in final: India swept to a stunning victory over Australia to earn the right to take on Pakistan in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 in Johannesburg on Monday.
Chak De! India.

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