Business Today

2008: 26/11

On November 26, 2008, Mumbai stopped for almost four days, although train services were resumed within six hours of the attacks on CST.

Print Edition: Jan 9, 2011

Mumbai had seen bloodshed in the past. The serial blasts of 1993 and the train blasts of 2006 claimed hundreds of lives. But the urgency of commerce and the work ethos of Mumbai ensured that the maximum city never paused for more than a day. On November 26, 2008, 10 terrorists changed all that as they opened fire and set off bombs at public places and the docks. After the attacks at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, the Oberoi Trident and Café Leopold, the terrorists took people hostage.

This time, the city stopped for almost four days, although train services were resumed within six hours of the attacks on CST. By the time commandos ended the siege on November 29, the death toll was 190 with over 300 people injured.

Café Leopold reopened five days later. The Taj and the Oberoi were back in business a month later. But the attacks took their toll on the economy, which was already down because of the recession. According to one estimate, the city lost Rs 4,000 crore in revenues as shops and other establishments downed shutters. Businesses in aviation, insurance, tourism and hospitality were hit and shed jobs.

Tata snaps up jag
This was the last big-ticket acquisition before the recession hit Indian shores. Tata Motors forked out $2.3 billion to acquire the marquee brands of Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) from Ford in March. By mid-2009, that move looked like a colossal blunder as Tata Motors posted a net annual loss of Rs 2,500 crore - its first loss in seven years - with sales of JLR luxury cars plummeting. As the economic sentiment improved and buyers in new markets, like China, went on a binge, JLR sales picked up and now account for more than half of business at Tata Motors.

Recession hits India
The US's nasty cold had India sneezing. As US financial giant Lehman Brothers went belly up and others courted bankruptcy, a full-blown recession in India seemed all too real. By Diwali eve, the Sensex was down to 8,701 points from an all-time high of 21,000 in January 2008. Banks refused to lend, which led to a liquidity crunch. India's economic growth slowed down to 5.3 per cent in the third quarter to December, from 8.9 per cent a year ago. Over five lakh jobs were lost between October and December 2008, the government estimated.

Did you know?
The Sensex lost points, or a little more than 52 per cent, in 2008.

Quote of the year
Even if there is money available, nobody wants to take the risk of buying or investing.
Sumant Sinha, COO, Suzlon, on the liquidity crunch

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