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Events of the fortnight and upcoming ones

Events of the fortnight and upcoming ones

New wheels for tech town: Bangalore becomes the first city in south India to get a modern metro system. One up on Delhi, the network provides Wi-Fi connectivity on-board, in keeping with the city's image as the one that stole tech jobs from the West.

New wheels for tech town: Bangalore becomes the first city in south India to get a modern metro system. One up on Delhi, the network provides Wi-Fi connectivity on-board, in keeping with the city's image as the one that stole tech jobs from the West.

Days after the Sahara Group announced its purchase of a stake in Vijay Mallya's F1 team for $100 million, it suffered a blowout. The Securities Appellate Tribunal, which hears appeals against SEBI's orders, upheld the market regulator's ruling asking Sahara to return Rs 24,000 crore to nearly 30 million investors. The investors had shown unusual trust in buying bonds floated by two Sahara companies even though they were unsecured, came at a stiff premium, and may not have followed all disclosure norms.

The latest strike at Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant ended on October 21 after 14 days of nearly zero production. Three spells of labour unrest this year have already robbed the company of at least Rs 2,000 crore as it will produce 64,000 fewer cars this year.

In these times of gathering gloom, Infosys Technologies provided a flicker of hope by reporting better than expected results for the second quarter, then quickly snuffed it out by sounding a cautionary note, citing - what else - the uncertain global macroeconomic environment. Over 70 per cent of the Indian IT industry's $76 billion revenues come from the US and European markets.

In contrast, Tata Consultancy Services reported a slightly lower increase in quarterly net profit than estimated, but matched Infosys's tone in giving the outlook. It does not expect to increases its prices in the near term owing to - sigh! - global economic uncertainty. The good thing is that it has not seen any project cancellations or cutbacks in client spending on technology.

Reliance Industries, under scrutiny of the Comptroller and Auditor General on production sharing contracts with the government in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, posted its highest net profit ever, thanks to higher gross refining margins. The company posted a 15.8 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 5,703 crore for the July to September quarter. RIL's gross refining margins, or GRMs, on turning every barrel of crude oil into fuel, were up 27.8 per cent at $10.1 - $1 higher than the benchmark Singapore GRM. "All our manufacturing facilities operated at record levels," said RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani.

The death of the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will expedite the return to normal oil output levels, according to the state-run National Oil Corp. His killing in his hometown of Sirte may help in getting a lot of fields back into production as soon as possible according to National Oil Corp. The country's output fell to 45,000 barrels a day in August from pre-crisis levels of about 1.6 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Raj Rajaratnam, the Galleon Group LLC co-founder, was given an 11-year sentence, the longest for insider trading in the US. Prosecutors said Rajaratnam made more than $72 million by using illegal tips to trade in stocks of companies including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Intel Corp., Google Inc., ATI Technolgies Inc. and Clearwire Corp.

iPhone 4S is flying off the shelves in the US, selling more than four million devices in the first three days after it was introduced on October 14. But the company missed analysts' estimates as new Chief Executive Tim Cook reported a $6.62 billion net profit in his first earnings report. Rival Samsung launched the first smartphone running on Google's latest version of Android, combining software used in tablets and smartphones.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee admitted that the global uncertainty and the rise in oil and commodity prices are affecting economic growth, which could fall short of the expected eight per cent. It will also be difficult to meet the budgeted fiscal deficit target of 4.6 per cent of gross domestic product in 2011/12.

This is a different realty show. The Bharatiya Janata Party's first Chief Minister in south India, B.S. Yeddyurappa, was sent to judicial custody by the Lokayukta Special Court in Bangalore. His bail plea was rejected in two cases relating to denotification of land for monetary gains.

The finance ministry ruled out a rights issue by State Bank of India in the current financial year. SBI had sought permission for a rights issue of at least Rs 20,000 crore. Even as ratings agency Moody's downgraded the bank citing low core capital and weak asset quality, Pranab Mukherjee said the government would infuse sufficient capital into SBI and other public sector banks.

$100 Value of free premium apps being offered by Research in Motion to appease each BlackBerry customer after massive service disruption. Though late, Indian telecom carriers extended the offer to their customers. BlackBerry App World has 26,000-odd developers from India, against 5,000 two years ago, with over 40,000 apps.

Rs 45 cr Ad hoc payment to be shelled out by BSES Rajdhani Power and BSES Yamuna Power to clear Damodar Valley Corporation dues by November 30. This follows a Supreme Court warning that the power distribution companies were not indispensable. Delhi was staring at a dark Diwali as the discoms claimed to be broke


Ahead of the Diwali season, what do the Euro debt crisis, slowing global growth and the bearish equity markets mean for gold? Demand for gold exchange traded funds in India, the world's largest consumer of the metal, is set to explode, says a Reuters report. In the last four years, volumes in gold ETFs have grown over 164 per cent. In India it is currently more than 15 tonnes. The annual physical gold demand is 900 tonnes.

Occupy Wall Street, a term fi rst coined by Canadian magazine Adbusters, which described Wall Street as the financial Gomorrah of the US after the Biblical city synonymous with vice, is gaining currency. The movement against corporate greed, which began on September 17, and has so far been non-violent, is drawing thousands across the US, Asia and Europe.

Coming Up

Finally, India's first ever Formula I race is all set to blast off on October 30. Whether the trend will push Indians to favour sports other than cricket remains to be seen (see New Kid Off the Block, BT, Oct 30). As the excitement builds up, private sector general insurer HDFC ERGO is providing a $15 million cover. The insurance is against adverse weather, non-appearance of teams, riots, strikes and civil commotion leading to cancellation of the event, its postponement or relocation.

Published on: Oct 25, 2011, 12:06 PM IST
Posted by: Navneeta N, Oct 25, 2011, 12:06 PM IST