News you may have missed over the past fortnight

News you may have missed over the past fortnight

News you may have missed over the fortnight - ArcelorMittal third quarter loss, Walt Disney buying out Lucasfilms and more.

News you may have missed over the fortnight -


  • Governance, decisionmaking, reforms and policy paralysis were the buzzwords at the 10th India Today State of the States Conclave 2012 held in New Delhi on November 1. Gujarat topped the list of best performers among big states. Delhi was the top performer among small states.


  • Caricature by Santosh
    The world's largest steelmaker, L.N. Mittal's ArcelorMittal, plunged to a third quarter net loss of $709 million, as compared to a $659 million net profit during the third quarter in 2011, due to a slump in Chinese demand and operating losses in Europe. ArcelorMittal's results and guidance may provide clues for Tata Steel's European operations, which contribute nearly 53 per cent of its total production capacity.
  • In a relief to incumbent telecom operators, a panel of ministers has allowed them to retain up to 2.5 megahertz of spectrum in the 900-MHz band, provided they pay market rates for it while renewing their licences. An earlier decision by the department of telecom, directing that operators should return all the 900 MHz spectrum they have and buy it back during auctions if they want to, would have cost the firms Rs 1 trillion.
  • The Wipro board has approved separation of its non-IT business - Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, Medical Diagnostic Product and Services, and Wipro Infrastructure Engineering - into a separate entity called Wipro Enterprises Ltd.
  • Caricature by Santosh
    Founder of India's first low-cost airline Air Deccan G.R. Gopinath has kicked up a storm by charging domestic airlines with price manipulation at a recent meet organised by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation. Gopinath claimed airlines fix prices and the Federation of Indian Airlines works as a cartel. IndiGo's president Aditya Ghosh, SpiceJet CEO Neil Mills and Jet Airways' Chief Commercial Officer Sudheer Raghavan, among others, who were present, were not amused.
  • Walt Disney will buy George Lucas's Lucasfilm and its Star Wars franchise for $4.05 billion in cash and stock. The deal includes a new film in the Star Wars saga in 2015. This is the third time in less than seven years Disney has signed a deal to take over a studio or character portfolio. In 2006, Disney acquired Toy Story creator Pixar, and in 2009 bought the comic book powerhouse Marvel.
  • The 100 richest people on the planet lost $17.7 billion of their collective net worth after disappointing corporate earnings in the US, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim remains the richest man on earth, with a fortune of $75.6 billion, down $2 billion. Microsoft Corp cofounder Bill Gates is second, with $62.5 billion.


  • India's fiscal deficit in the April-September period rose to Rs 3.37 trillion ($62.6 billion), or 65.6 per cent of the full fiscal year 2012/13 target. During the same period in the previous fiscal year, the deficit was 68 per cent of the budget target. The net tax receipts during the April-September period stood at Rs 2.94 trillion and the total expenditure was about Rs 6.94 trillion. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has said he is aiming to keep the deficit at 5.3 per cent of GDP this fiscal year, a revision to the previous target of 5.1 per cent, projected in the last Budget.
  • Private cargo handler ABG Haldia Bulk Terminals (HBT) has decided to pull out from West Bengal, after three company officials were forced to leave Haldia, a port town around 100 km south of Kolkata, at gunpoint. The company claims police were no help. The decision is another big loss for the state, which had four years ago lost Tata's Nano car project in Singur.
  • India is among the fastest growing Internet markets in the world, adding over 18 million Internet users and growing at an annual rate of 41 per cent, according to a study by Assocham and ComScore. In comparison, China added a little over 14 million users to reach 336 million users by the end of July. The Indian government plans to invest more than Rs 20,000 crore over the next few years to strengthen the broadband network. Broadband penetration is expected to rise to 600 million by 2020 from 20 million now, according to telecom secretary R. Chandrasekhar.
  • $200 mn: Planned government spending on cyber security over the next four years, according to Kapil Sibal.
  • 10.24 crore: Mobile phone units shipped to India during the first half of 2012, registering a growth of 16.6 per cent over the same period the previous year. Nokia, with 22.2 per cent share and Samsung at 13 per cent were the leaders in the overall shipments. In the smartphone category, Samsung, with 41.6 per cent share, is followed by Nokia and Researchin-Motion with 19.2 per cent and 12.1 per cent share, respectively.


  • Foreign institutional investor purchases in top Indian companies are fast increasing. The FIIs are attracted by valuations and the reforms initiated by the government since mid-September. They had upped their stake in 75 top companies by 1.4 per cent to a sixyear high of 21.6 per cent as of September 2012, according to Morgan Stanley, which is just short of the record of 22 per cent reached in mid-2005. In June 2012, the corresponding figure was 19.3 per cent.
  • Swiss banking major UBS is slashing 10,000 jobs worldwide, including some in India, as part of a massive cost cutting exercise. UBS's head of India investment banking, Ashok Mittal, has resigned.


  • The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill is likely to be presented in Parliament during the coming winter session. The Central government is pushing the states to give long-term bankable property rights to urban slum dwellers, according to Minister for Housing Ajay Maken.
  • Citibank, HSBC and Kotak Securities are likely to manage the auction of the government 10 per cent equity in state-run Oil India. The offer for sale is likely to kick-start the disinvestment programme for this financial year before December end. It is expected to fetch about Rs 3,500 crore.