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Cover Story

  • This is the 16th edition of the BT 500 list and with each year there has been value addition to the list in terms of data and various other parameters used to judge the value of a company.
  • It has been a great 12 months for Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and an even better first half for 2008-09. The company has reported a 76 per cent year-on-year growth in sales and a 134 per cent growth in net profits for the quarter ended on September 30, 2008. Suman Layak says that it stays ahead of the pack with a clear focus on consistency, profitability and some clever moves in its main market, the US.
  • While a general price rationalisation was on the cards as the end of the boom cycle neared, the financial meltdown across economies has left real estate companies gasping. The optimism is all but gone as real estate developers get real about their survival chances in a buyer’s market. Tejeesh N.S. Behl reports.
  • The global credit crunch has sent yesterday’s outbound heroes scurrying for funds to close their billion-dollar M&A transactions. India Inc.’s cross-border action has ebbed, for now.
  • Export-dependent IT, biotech and pharma firms have their backs to the wall with the rupee gyrating and their overseas markets in turmoil. When will the markets look up again? T.V. Mahalingam goes into the details.
  • Being big in value, sale profits ar assets in one way to get entry into the BT 500 universes. But that's not all.
Nov 30, 2008
Editors note From The Editor

From The Editor

The leader isn't late. It's the others who have arrived too soon. This assurance goes to the readers who await this special issue of Business Today every year. With many publications already out with their versions of annual company listings, some of you may rightly be wondering why BT is late with this annual compendium of corporate India.
Trends Meltdown contagion

Meltdown contagion

Globally, economic events (read: bad news) are moving faster than most of us can comprehend. Here’s an update on the major events that took place last fortnight in the wake of financial crisis.

To be precise

How times have changed

Force India gets serious. Sort of

Cost overruns plague projests

How to vote profitably

Here’s a primer that will help you vote rationally in the forthcoming assembly and general elections.

Indian youth's call for change

An NGO and Tata Tea have launched a campaign to get more youth to register as voters.

Numbers of note

1.5 million: Accounts at US President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign site, The campaign raised over $600 million (Rs 3,000 crore) contributed by three million supporters, many of whom donated through the Internet

Recession all around

More than half of the world’s economy appears to be shrinking. It’s bad news for India.

Instan tip

The fortnight’s burning question. Was the Left right in placing roadblocks in the path of economic reforms?

India is truly shining

Established in 1847, cartier has now set up operations in India. BT’s Anamika Butalia spoke to Bernard Fornas, President and CEO of Cartier, during the Cartier “Travel With Style” Vintage event held in Mumbai last fortnight.

Slowdown vs recession vs depression

Taco Bell will open in India early next year'

In India to push through some aggressive growth initiatives, Graham D. Allan, President, Yum! Restaurants International, met BT’s Shamni Pande for a discussion. Excerpts:
In This Issue Smart companies gain market share during difficult times?

Smart companies gain market share during difficult times?

Shelly Lazarus, Chairman and CEO, O&M Worldwide, speaks to Anusha Subramanian about how the global advertising industry is gearing up to cope with recession and her views about Indian advertising and India's creative abilities. Excerpts from the interview:

On a high in hard times

Clearly, the downturn has forced many people to prioritise and scale back, but resilient consumers are still spending and going for affordable entertainment options. They are putting off purchases, downgrading their consumption pattern and tweaking their leisure expenditure, such as drinking and travelling. A report by Kushan Mitra & Anusha Subramanian.

Life in a bear market

With Asian markets down and little hope that Indian markets will behave differently, the lives of dealers have turned upside down. Rachna Monga, who spent a day at a broker's office in Mumbai, says that cricket seems to have taken precedence over market moves.

From boom to bust

After years of rollicking appreciation, companies that make up the BT 500 are going through one of their toughest phases in a long, long time. As stocks get mercilessly hammered, this may just be the time when the men are separated from the boys. Virendra Verma reports.
Leadership Spotlight High flier

High flier

When most domestic airlines in India were counting their losses in 2007-08, this was one airline that posted a profit. Today, when others are cutting back on routes and frequency of flights, he has (since September) expanded Paramount’s operations into western India.
Letters More marketers

More marketers

Your cover story on India’s best marketers (BT, November 16) could not have been more poignant, especially in the light of the financial crisis that threatens to derail the best of strategies.
Jobs We will continue to hire

We will continue to hire

Recent developments in the US financial markets have had a direct impact on other sectors and countries across the world. Economies like India’s are slightly more insulated than others owing to the tight regulatory environment.

An opportunity in risk

Credit analysts and risk managers are in demand.
Features The new Ad-venturers

The new Ad-venturers

Given the deepening economic slowdown, is this the right time to start a new venture? Most of the professionals-turned-entrepreneurs in the world of advertsing featured say it is. Some of them even dismiss the slowdown as a phenomenon that will not, or only peripherally, impact them. Anusha Subramanian reports.

Pricing in an inflationary downturn

Low demand and high inflation has led the companies to determine the right price that strikes a balance between sales growth and profit margins.

The Indian bailout

Increased government spending can help fight economic slowdown. But it won’t. And the reason is not lack of funds. What is needed is a comprehensive booster dose of steroids to resuscitate the economy. Manmohan Singh’s diagnosis is not off the mark, but the delivery is. A report by Puja Mehra.
Printed Circuit Starship enterprise

Starship enterprise

An enterprise phone is much, much more than a phone.
Money Begin tax planning now

Begin tax planning now

The sooner you start planning for taxes, the better it will be for you. Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

Down, but not out

Both sectoral and diversified funds have taken a beating. But, this is a good opportunity to invest in top-rated funds.

The Rupee and your investments

Currency movements can affect your returns when you invest in international funds and commodities. How can you play it safe?
Book Breakthrough lessons for CEOs

Breakthrough lessons for CEOs

Two consultants—who graduated out of Harvard as Baker scholars—unveil four simple laws to put companies on the high growth path.
Current Lessons from slowdown survivors

Lessons from slowdown survivors

Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Founder & CEO of Info Edge ( and Deep Kalra, Founder & CEO,, are in an enviable situation.

Coming of age

The Indian microfinance sector is growing by leaps and bounds but concerns remain over high costs and the direction in which it is headed.

Bharti goes blue!

The Mittal brothers are giving the conglomerate a makeover.

Blazing a trail

IndiGo manages to avoid getting caught in the turbulence in the aviation industry.

A secure view

Global IT security solutions major RSA is bullish on growth prospects in India.
Noted Noted


By SEBI, norms to set up dedicated stock exchanges for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Such exchanges will be corporate entities and will have to de-mutualise within two years, according to the new norms.

Just launched

Audi’s R8 might cost A pretty penny at Rs 1.17 crore, have a ground clearance that would bottom out on 95 per cent of India’s roads and look like something from Doctor Who, but God, it’s fun to drive.

Indian CEOs will be global leaders?

Treadmill Become your own personal trainer

Become your own personal trainer

Fitness novices are often intimidated by the thought of being trapped inside a gym full of men and women with great physiques and perfect-form exercises, and are embarrassed about how they may look like the weaklings, who know little or nothing about how to keep fit.
BT More Vegetarians welcome

Vegetarians welcome

I would ask for an herbaceous New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a good match for vegetarian preparations with my Spaghetti Alio Olio. It may make me look less posh, but at least I can tell myself I have made a sensible wine selection.

Sleepless in Macau

The Venetian Macao-Resort Hotel has a golf course, 300 designer shops, an artificial lake with gondola rides and the world’s largest casino. Dhiman Chattopadhyay goes on a holiday that every man must go on, at least once in his lifetime.

City centric

The new Honda City is now sleeker, but is it any better?

Blemish the thought!

There’s no doubting that high-definition makes for a super-sharp image. But do you really want to see yourself in that much detail?

Diego's big idea

The arrival of Tod’s in Delhi is the latest chapter in the global expansion of the brand. But it all began with just one shoe.

Bombers ahoy

Brit attack!

Brit Pop thrilled the music world for a few years in the mid-nineties before becoming a cliché for bad music and big gimmicks. This year, some of the era’s biggest bands are back. And they sound completely different.

Watches to watch out for

Come spring 2009 and these beauties from some of the world’s best-known fashion brands will be in stores. choose which label you want to sport.

Why does this watch cost Rs 125,00,000?

It’s made out of scraps from the Titanic, that’s why.

About time for a brand invasion

The biggest names from the world of high fashion have launched stunning designer watches which don’t cost a hand and a foot.will it change the luxury watch market forever?

Being Arjun Atwal

If Jeev Milkha Singh is the man of many firsts in Indian golf, Atwal is right up there, too. A few weeks ago, he became the first of his countrymen to win a professional golf event in the US.

Winners' dinners

There are few grander dinner parties than the nobel banquet in stockholm on December 10. but as the man behind it all, chef Mark Phoenix, tells ore, “it’s bloody hard work.”

Fighting fit

If your idea of fitness is learning how to deliver an effective kick to the groin, try Krav Maga.

A surreal tale

Neil White’s second novel Lost Souls deals with blood and gore and a lot more. This murder mystery is not for the faint-hearted.

Olive king

A rock and roller, feted by the Italian government and an avid aviator— V.N. Dalmia, chairman of india’s biggest olive company, talks about all this, and more.

The best buys

Recession? What recession? Here’s some shopping therapy to get you through the downturn.
Editorial An emotional recession

An emotional recession

In times of panic, rationality goes out of the window. Reading the papers, one can be forgiven for thinking that India is in the midst of a full-blown recession.
People Obama's India connect

Obama's India connect

Her techno-savvy credentials are what endeared Sonal Shah, 40, to US President-elect Barack Hussein Obama, who roped in the Director, Global Development,, to be a member of his Transition Advisory Board.
The BT 50 Index Markets heading downhill

Markets heading downhill

Policy Watch Tapping dried up sources

Tapping dried up sources

A bird’s eye view of what’s hot and what’s not on the government’s policy radar.
Top Mind Now, a BPO network

Now, a BPO network

What is it? BPO Sutra, a social and professional networking site purely for the fast-growing BPO industry.
Special How the crisis came home

How the crisis came home

How badly will the economy be hurt this year and the next as a result of the financial whirlwind? Is demand slackening?... Our experts analyse the impact of the global financial crisis.