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June - July 2004


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India Business Update

WILL EU ENLARGEMENT BENEFIT INDIA?

 

With ten more countries joining the European Union on 1 May, the new entrants are going to impress upon India the fact that its business relationship with EU will be enhanced following the enlargement. This was the view of the Irish ambassador Philip McDonagh. It is bound too have an indirect impact across the world, especially on countries which are strong partner of the EU, such as India.

 

Mr. Francisco da Camara Gomes, head of delegation of the European Commission in India, elaborating the benefits of the enlargement in various spheres said that there would be an almost 20% increase in population with the addition of 76 million people. This would inevitably boost economic growth, as GDP of European |Union of 25 countries will increase by 5% and create jobs in both old and new membner states.

 

This would not bring a uniform currency for all 25 countries. "It will be a question of time before the Euro becomes legal tender in these countries as well", said the EU ambassador.
Recent export figures have shown that India's trade with the new entrant to the EU is already on the increase. In the last three years, exports have increased from Rs 10 billion to Rs. 13.7 billion. "Though the share of the ten new members in India's total exports was small, thwese figures only prove that the new members were a growing market, and needed to be explored further", said Mr. Da Camara.

 

IS PROGRESS DEVELOPMENT?

 

Is progress the same as development? Does culture make a difference? What are the implications for international cooperation of progress and development in India? These issues were discussed at a seminar organised recently in Kolkata by Goethe-Institut and Max Mueller Bhavan and the German agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ).Inaugurating the seminar, Dr. Martin Waelde, Director, Goethe-Institut and Max Mueller Bhavan, talked of how the idea originated at Alexandria, Egypt. The seminar will subsequently be held in Bolivia, Namibia, Russia and finally in Berlin. He spoke of the wonderful collaboration received in Kolkata from scientists, activists and intellectuals. Special thanks were offered to the Telegraph for its association with the event. In his erudite exposition, Waelde described India as a complex and diverse country full of contradictions.

Super highways, call centres and high rises co-existed with rural India which was slow moving. He also dwelt on the secular ideas in the country which flourished along with theocratic concepts. Modernity combined with tradition. The question arose as to whether western technology suited India. Could there be a balance between tradition and modernity? Ms. Franziska Donner of Berlin GTZ talked about the cost of German unification which had weakened her country's economy.Prof. Dr. Constantin Von Barlowen of Paris also presented a philosophical exposition of the issues under discussion. German Consul General Erhard Zander laid stress on India becoming an economic superpowers and promotion of education in the country. - BE Kol

 

"I DO NOT SEE INDIA SHINING" - MODY

 

Industry patriarch Russi Mody does not seed India shining the way it has been projected. On the other hand, the black shadow of the economy is all the more visible, though rays of light are there at the end of the tunnell. "I see no change of life-style of those people who live on the pavements and their hutments are in the same shape as it was long ago. Millions of people are there who have no water to drink. Again, they do not get proper treatment for their ailments, though India has developed in the health care sector a lot in recent times", he said while speaking at a seminar on 'Advanced Technologies in Air Conditioning & Refrigeration' organised by the Indian Society for Heating, Refrigerating & Air Conditioning, Kolkata Chapter. - BE Kol

 

CEO HEADS TO ROLL

 

Every year 20 pc CEOs of 200 companies, listed in the prestigious Fortune 500 list, get sacked by the management. This is because, they cannot perform upto the desired level and execute the task given to them. "This is going to happen in India soon", said Dr. Ranjan Das, Professor of Strategic & International Management, Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata at a seminar on 'Management of Human Resources & Business Strategy in a Globalised Economy' organised by Merchants' Chamber of Commerce.Having said that execution is a separate discipline, which has to be learnt to be a successful CEO, Dr. Das said that the job of a CEO was to handle his colleagues in the right manner, the tone in time of conversation with them had to be gentle and dialogue must be candid.

"Profiteering in business has little to do with strategy, only proper execution is what can show you the right way to success. How correctly you are positioned does matter most. It has nothing to do with the market condition, government support or anything like that", he said. At the same time, he said that companies put a lot of effort to prepare a strategy for the year or so. "But, when it comes to execution, it is really a bad show", he added.Speaking on the Indian scenario, he said there had to be a right culture in place. "The HR process is here in bad shape. Many heads do not deserve the post they hold. The right person should be in the right place", Dr. Das said.P K Chatterjee, Head of Personnel, Hindustan Lever Limited and Roy Joseph, Head, HRD, BOC India Limited also spoke on the occasion. - BE Kol

 

RUPEE APPRECIATION LEAVES DGFT UNFAZED

 

Director general of foreign trade L. Mansingh said that the appreciation of the rupee would not affect Indian exports. He was addressing an interactive session held by FICCI and the Indian Chamber of Commerce. On the contrary, it may gain by it. The country's main strength, however, lay in the widespread value-addition to many items, particularly agricultural products, which was higher than in China.India's export growth rate till the end of February was higher by 14 pc over the previous year's 22 pc, the second highest in the world.

The DGFT, he said, would set up an online system in the demat format used in bourses to cut transaction costs.Ficci chairman K K Bangur was apprehensive that India might fail to achieve the target of one pc of global trade. This is because the government was gradually doing away with export incentives. He made specific reference to withdrawal of DEFB and Income Tax benefits under 80 HFC. This would depress exports. A K Chandra, chairman of Kolkata Port Trust, spoke of the decision to instal a mobile harbour crane to increase container handling capacity three times. An order has been placed with a foreign company.Manoj Kumar, Development Commissioner of Falta Export Processing Zone, M K De, Director of Industries, Government of West Bengal and Dr. Sabyasachi Sen, Principal Secretary, Government of West Bengal also spoke. - BE Kol

 

SENSEX BRIGHTENS ON NDA RERUN EXPECTATIONS

 

The expectations are based on predictions by market analysts on the basis of their presumptive findings. It is hoped that the thinking is not wishful, as political stability is the foundation of any economic progress. The market breadth is no doubt positive on most fronts. Heat seems to be off on the outsourcing scourge as the US deflation threat, according to Greenspan, is now past. Favourable meteorological forecast for 2004 predicts normal south west monsoon. India is ranked the 4th (after US, China and Japan) largest country in purchasing power. Germany comes after India. Our GDP growth for the last quarter has recorded a double digit surge.The Sensex opened at 5784 on 12/4 and closed at the special 3 hour session, on Saturday, 17/4, at 5862. The market opened on 19/4 at 5801 and steadily escalated to 5926 on 23/4. During the fortnight, Dow Jones, Nasdaq & FTSE remained steady, around 10450, 2050 and 4525 respectively. Similarly Nikkei's stable improvement propels its index just above 12000.

Technology stocks which were somewhat ignored recently came back strongly during the first week of the fortnight ie from 13/4. Infosys' announcement of 3:1 bonus and 2590 pc dividend pumped the price not only of its own shares but created an aura over other technology company shares. While Infosys brightened to Rs 5490 on 13/4 from Rs 5140 on 12/4, Wipro jumped to Rs 1605 on 13/4 from Rs 1452 on 12/4, Satyam also rose from Rs 316 on 12/4 to Rs 334 on 13/4. Even Zee tele moved from Rs 141 to Rs 144 on that day.

While Technology shares held the centre stage during the first week of the fortnight, banking and pharmaceutical sectors became the favourites in the second week of the fortnight. ICICI Bank shares after the successful IPO venture, advanced from Rs 300 on 19/4 to Rs 319 on 23/4. SBI shares escalated even faster from Rs 629 on 19/4 to Rs 658 on 23/4. At this level, it quoted the highest figure in recent history. HDFC or HDFC Bank, however, remained steady at Rs 620 and Rs 375 respectively. Pharma shares after months of hibernation showed encouraging movements. Ranbaxy from Rs 1055 to Rs 1084; Cipla from Rs 1250 to Rs 1302; Sun Pharma from Rs 703 to Rs 125; Wockhardt from Rs 675 to Rs 711. The buoyancy of the auto sector during the fortnight ie between 12/4 and 23/4, has been maintained. Tata Motors rose from Rs 497 to Rs 519; Bajaj Auto from Rs 883 to Rs 920; Hero Honda, however, quoted Rs 505 on 12/4 and closed at Rs 499 on 25/4. Mahindra & Mahindra maintained the trend brightening from Rs 473 on 12/4 to closing at Rs 486.

The wonder of the week however, was Bharti Tele which joined the Rs 5000 crore turnover club and recorded profit for the first time. Its shares, which were at a meagre Rs 169 at the beginning of the fortnight, closed the week ending 23/4 at Rs 177. It is destined to go overboard soon. Bicon IPO catapaulted Kiran Mazumder Shaw, as the richest woman in India. Further wonder is that the new scrips led by Bicon and Dishma Pharmaceuticals removed the old favourites from the top list of turnovers. On 21/4, the turn over of Bicon was Rs 145 crore while Tata Steel recorded a turnover of Rs 139 crore; Reliance Rs 119 crore; Maruti Rs 103 crore; Satyam Rs 101 crore; SBI Rs 99 crore.The surprise transformation took place in the FMCG shares which are steadily losing their lustre. HLL plummetted from Rs 175 to Rs 152. Brittania restored its share price to Rs 624 after being able to shut down its high cost productive centre at Ria Road manufacturing unit, Mumbai and out sourcing its production to nearby low cost smaller units.

The second transformation is the emergence of a Retailing Revolution making shares like Pantaloon and other Super market shares, investment worthy.Sebi is well on its way towards achieving the T+1 transaction model and has extended the working powers by an hour. These moves are attracting fresh foreign investment. The Forex balance is now at $118 bn. A record of Rs 6486 crore of FII inflow has been received in April 2004.Despite all the positives mentioned above, retail investors should hold their patience until the middle of May, by which time, wishfully political stability should be restored. The recommendation, for the present, is to pick low value shares in the sunrise and other sectors as Pantaloon, Titan, Bharat Earth Movers, Crisil etc.

The full version of this article can be found in the print edition.

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