Business Today

Cover story | Aug 5, 2012

Companies that came back from the brink

Companies that came back from the brink

Fourteen business leaders narrate their stories to Business Today on how they steered their companies through tough times and emerge stronger. FULL COVERAGE

How Whirlpool fended off Asian rivals

Whirpool Asia Pacific President Arvind Uppal tells Shamni Pande: "I realised that morale was the first thing that needed to be addressed. Get everyone on the same page and boost morale to create a winning team."

How HUL excelled during turbulent times

Nitin Paranjpe, CEO & MD of HUL, says to succeed, businesses have to recognise that both change and volatility are the new normal and find ways to address it.

How Idea Cellular is braving telecom headwinds

In spite of the uncertain regulatory environment and the sector reeling under pressure from a series of policy flip flops, Idea has performed consistently and set high standards of compliance and reporting, says Himanshu Kapania, Managing Director, Idea Cellular.

Jagran Prakashan sticks to basics

Jagran Prakashan has stuck to the basics, focusing on providing consumer differentiation in terms of content, offerings and innovation during the difficult phase.

How Aditya Birla Nuvo's survival instincts work

As worldwide economic recession affected Aditya Birla Nuvo's (ABNL) profitability, it took a number of proactive cost rationalisation initiatives across its businesses.

The turnaround story of Arvind Mills

Sanjay Lalbhai, Chairman and Managing Director of Arvind Ltd, says the transformation is the result of a strategic roadmap prepared four years ago.

How Star India changed the rules of the game

We challenged orthodoxy, took big risks, made shows like KBC with a big host, big prize money and great production values along with a few other soaps, says Peter Mukerjea, a former CEO of Star India.

How CESC became India's best-run power utilities

The company added 100,000 new customers last year and the average time taken to provide new connections has come down to 18 days from 28. It is now ready to add generating capacity, invest in improving distribution efficiency and increase the overall quality of its services.

Jain Irrigation's core lessons

Diversifying into unknown areas without required management bandwidth and eyeing disproportionate growth using debt is not sustainable. That was the lesson of a lifetime for me.

Shoppers Stop bets big on customer experience

"One of our chief learnings from the slowdown was to never compromise on customer experience. Customers should continue to get your best service and merchandise," writes Managing Director Govind Shrikhande.

How Greaves Cotton pulled back from the brink

We addressed myriad challenges such as cost reduction, increasing efficiency and improving margins, changing the way we did business, says Sunil Pahilajani, MD & CEO of Greaves Cotton.

How Anu Aga scripted Thermax's turnaround

The most difficult and yet the most important move was to change the mindset and the culture of the company, says the director and former Chairperson of Thermax.

How Dabur charted a new growth path

The packaging of our entire portfolio was refurbished to put it in sync with the needs and aspirations of the 21st century consumer and we pushed into new markets and product categories, says Sunil Duggal, CEO of Dabur India.

How India Cements tackled the debt burden

"The crisis that set India Cements back by a few years taught one thing - never expand in a fractured market using debt," says Vice Chairman and MD N Srinivasan.

Editor's Note

From the Editor: Aug 5, 2012

It is also illuminating to read about the journeys to the brink of the financial precipice and how companies - and more importantly the people who stand alone at the top, gazing at the gyrating compass - take that saving step back.

Book

Book review: Accountability Angst Awareness Action

The book analyses accountability in public life and suggests ways of increasing it.

People

People who made news last fortnight

Starring: Palaniappan Chidambaram, Franck Fortet and Tarja Visan, Pia Singh and Syed Safawi

Leadership Spotlight

Leaderspeak with Rajeev Mittal

Rajeev Mittal, MD, Avaya India shares his leadership style.

Features

Rapid growth poses new challenges for MCX

The commodities exchange has achieved much in a short span. But its dependence on precious metals has also risen: gold and silver accounted for 49 per cent of the MCX's turnover in 2007 which rose to 63.7 per cent by 2011.

Toyota shifts gears to boost India share

India contributed less than one per cent of Toyota's revenues last year, but it is crucial to the carmaker's plans for the Asia-Pacific region.

Should PDS be replaced with direct cash transfer?

Perhaps a mix of both cash transfers and the traditional PDS would be the best solution. As Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh have shown, PDS is not beyond repair and can function efficiently if there is the will to make it work.

How the midnight gift delivery business works

Deliveries at the stroke of the midnight hour are a still more recent phenomenon, barely a decade old. But they are rapidly growing in popularity. There are both trials - and the rewards - of taking gifts to people's doorsteps late at night.

Why Bain Capital went for Genpact stake buyout

N.V. 'Tiger' Tyagarajan, President and CEO, Genpact says PE firms like Bain Cap love companies with strong cash flows and revenue growth, as well as a business model that focuses on understanding clients' requirements and delivering accordingly - all of which his company has.

Is India still a monsoon economy?

The monsoon in June was 29 per cent below its 50-year average for the month. The full impact of inadequate rainfall will only be visible over the next few months but analysts are already pointing out that the monsoon's importance has diminished.

Business confidence slumps to a new low

Stagflation concerns mount as businesses struggle with rising input costs and slowing growth.

The importance of being Jignesh Shah

The man who controls more than a quarter of all assets traded in India eyes even greater dominance.

Jobs

Hiring sentiment at middle level remains upbeat

According to the latest BT-TeamLease Employment Outlook survey even companies that are stuck or facing a slowdown are not cutting back on hiring key talent in the middle to senior positions.

Letters

Reader's forum

The cover story (Deal Chahta Hai, July 22) on the rise of boutique investment banks was an excellent one. The main advantage of dealing with these banks is the access they provide clients to experienced financial professionals.

Technology

Face recognition: Inescapable part of future

By making face recognition an optional security feature, Android Ice Cream Sandwich has followed the growing trend of using human attributes as passwords to allow access to private information.

Focus

How different things work

Scientists have broken fresh ground in their quest to unearth the basic building blocks of the universe with the discovery of the Higgs boson - known as the 'God particle'.

Roundup: Events of the fortnight

In a tough year, TCS reported results in line with estimates, with profit after tax rising 14.6 per cent from the last quarter to Rs 3,318 crore, and reaffirming its position as India's top IT company.

More reforms needed for MF industry to grow

The mutual fund industry has witnessed several reforms in the last two decades. These have helped it expand. But lately, reforms have focused more on investor protection than on taking a balanced view of the institution.

Review: Sony Vaio SVE14A and Adobe CS 6

A flashy full-sized laptop and advanced software to add more life to pictures.

On Record/Time labels Manmohan Singh an 'underachiever'

The common man of the country has been saying this for a long time that he (the PM) has practically no achievement to his credit...The legacy of Manmohan Singh is [making] India suffer and insecure, Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP spokesperson, to wire agencies.

Still a long haul

While poverty levels are falling, developing regions lag far behind on most human development indicators, says the United Nation's The Millennium Development Goals Report, 2012.

Airport Express: Reliance Infra eyeing exit route?

It was an urban infrastructure showpiece for the country until recently, but the sudden suspension of services has turned the Delhi Airport Metro Express into an expensive eyesore.

New service tax regime: Timely but needs more

Days before stepping down as finance minister to become the UPA's Presidential candidate, Pranab Mukherjee paved the way for introduction of a new service tax regime in India, which is expected to swell the government coffers by Rs 27,000 crore.

Is it too late for the PM to save economy?

The prime minister is an astute and experienced politician who undoubtedly recognises the challenges facing the economy. He appears emboldened with his new duties as finance minister, willing to tackle some of the tough issues. The next couple of months will be crucial for him.

Setbacks to the economy are temporary: Moily

In a candid chat, the corporate affairs minister says he is confident that some important reforms, such as the much-awaited new Companies Bill, will soon see the light of the day.

Smart executive

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