Booming and Blooming India-XXXIII

Sensex hovering around 20K and India Inc scaling up in almost all sectors, the boom appears to continue even in 2008. Investors’ wealth on the Indian bourses has crossed Rs 70,00,000-crore milestone for the first time in history, with an average increase of over Rs 40 crore in every minute of trading during 2007.

Bharti Infratel sells $1 b stake to global investors: Bharti Infratel, the wholly owned telecom infrastructure subsidiary of Bharti Airtel Ltd, will sell off about 10 per cent stake to international investors for $1 billion. The investors who have agreed to invest are Temasek Holdings, The Investment Corporation of Dubai, Goldman Sachs, Macquarie, AIF Capital, Citigroup and India Equity Partners (IEP), with Temasek Holdings being the largest investor.

Cisco chooses Bangalore for first business unit outside US: Cisco Systems, the world’s biggest maker of data networking equipment, plans to launch a business group, based in Bangalore, India, that will wire new buildings and even entirely new cities with state-of-the-art networking technology. The group would be Cisco’s first business unit to have its headquarters based outside the US.

Indian chip design firms acquiring for scale, R&D: Indian information technology companies, such as Wipro Ltd, Sasken Communication Technologies Ltd and MindTree Consulting Ltd, which offer chip-design services, are in an acquisitive mode to consolidate their position in the global market. In the last two years, these firms have together made five acquisitions totalling Rs502 crore, mainly to broaden their customer base and intellectual property (IP) assets.

B’lore, H’bad high-speed airport link: Paving way for Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to going ahead with the construction of high-speed metro links to connect their capitals with airports, Delhi Metro Rail Corp. has submitted its detailed project report (DPR) to the states.

Tatas bid $1.5 bn for Liberian mines: Tata Steel is looking for raw material security at a frenetic pace and the world’s sixth largest steel maker is now eyeing the Western Cluster Iron Ore deposits in Liberia, that consist of several deposits spread over 207.58 sq km and the investment is likely to be around $1.5 billion. A bid has already been submitted.

Gujarat NRE wraps up Australian acquisition: Gujarat NRE Coke has completed the acquisition of Australia-based Elouera mine from BHP Billiton, a part of the Australia-based Illawarra Coal Business.

Maruti to export 2.5 lakh cars: Maruti Suzuki India may export around 2.5 lakh cars per annum from the Mundra port, operated by the Ahmedabad-based Adani group.

Kerala declared ‘Total Banking State’: Kerala was declared “Total Banking State” providing at least one bank account for every household. Kerala is the third state to achieve the status after Himachal Pradesh and Goa.

India top investor in US govt securities among BRIC nations: India increased its exposure to the American treasury bills by more than four billion dollars in the month of October, which is higher than Brazil, Russia and China, according to the latest data available with the US Department of Treasury.

E-tendering to check mafia: The Uttar Pradesh government decided to implement e-procurement scheme under the national e-governance plan to check mafia and criminal elements in tender and contract activities.

India cellphone base to cross US in New Year: From all indications, India’s mobile phone market in terms of number of subscribers is set to overtake the United States and take its spot as the biggest after China.

Telecos add 8.3 million wireless users in November: India added 8.3 million wireless users, a record in November, taking the total subscriber base to 225.5 million. Including fixed-line users, total telephone subscriber base grew to 264.8 million by November. India’s total telephone user base is expected to top 500 million by 2010.

Health hub on Bypass stretch: Seven private hospitals, with over 2,000 beds, are set to come up on a 2.5-km stretch of the EM Bypass, from Ruby General Hospital to the Garia connector, by 2008, involving an investment of around Rs 500 crore.

Nagpur set to become `bin-free`: The Nagpur Municipal Corporation has cleared a proposal to award the work of collecting trash from the doorsteps of citizens to Infrastructure Leasing & Finance Services (IL&FS), New Delhi, and the Centre for Development Communication (CDC), Nagpur, for a period of ten years to make Nagpur a ‘bin-free’ city.

60 car launches are planned through 2008. In 2008, air travellers will be able to use mobile phones in flight. A new technology that creates micro cellular sites called `picocells’, within an aircraft, without interfering with the airplanes communication or other systems will make this possible.

Microfinance firm from Bengal makes it to Forbes’ list: Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, founder and chief executive officer of Bandhan, has made it to the Forbes magazine’s first-ever listing of the world’s top 50 Microfinance Institutions, next to only ASA of Bangladesh and way above Nobel laureate Mohammed Yunus’ Grameen Bank.India tops list of top microfinance institutions. Forbes has named seven such entities in the list of world’s top 50 – highest for a country. Bangalore- based Bandhan at the second position.

Videocon to invest $5 billion on power projects: Consumer electronic maker Videocon Industries will set up thermal power projects aggregating 5,000 MW in Gujarat, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh along with a international player, investing about $5 billion on building three power plants.

XL Telecom building solar farms in Spain, Portugal: XL Telecom through its subsidiary Saptashva Solar Ltd has firmed up a forward integration project to establish grid connected ‘solar farms’ in Spain and Portugal with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore.

OVL to take 40% stake in Venezuelan oilfield: ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), will take a 40% stake in San Cristobal oilfield in Venezuela at a total investment of $355.738 million comprising signature bonus of $173.1 million for the stake.l ONGC will develop a war chest of $20 billion to acquire stakes in major oil and gas properties abroad.

India emerging as an attractive investment destination for US SMEs: Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are set to go global with opportunities flowing in from all corners. After SMEs from Germany and the UK, the US has expressed willingness to invest and explore possibilities of technology transfer to Indian SMEs.

India ranks 7th in IPO proceeds: E&Y According to data compiled by international consultancy firm Ernst and Young. India was the fifth largest market in terms of number of IPOs and seventh largest in terms of the proceeds for the year.

India-born Malik in Forbes` Web Celeb 25 list: India-born Om Malik has been named as one of the global web celebrities by the American magazine Forbes. A chemistry graduate from St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, 41-year-old Malik is the brain behind the website ‘http://gigaom.com’ and has also served as a technology journalist for various publications.

Let us hope the boom in economy to continue in 2008. Wishing a prosperous New Year.

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