Business Today

Cover story | August 23, 2009

Anil's spoilers

A number of power companies have struggled over the last few years, broke and without fuel. Now, they’re hoping that Anil Ambani loses his court case so they can survive the coming years.

Inside story of Ambani gas war

We bring you the most comprehensive insider account of the latest outbreak between the feuding Ambani brothers so far, write Puja Mehra and Suman Layak.

August 23, 2009

Money

Go for dividend stocks

Embracing the time-tested dividend-payout strategy could strengthen your portfolio’s performance.

Safe and sound

An additional password to guard against frauds for online credit-card transactions.

Outperforming the Sensex

Position your portfolio away from the index to muscle out higher gains.

Special

Networking pays!

SBI Life has used the huge branch network and brand of its parent to power ahead of the private-sector majors in the downturn. Can it maintain its lead?

Cut and thrust

The rate cuts that followed the de-regulation of premiums have crippled profitability of the players. How long will this last?

'Wider range of disclosures needed'

Jandhyala Hari Narayan, chairman of the IRDA, shares his views on some of the important issues facing the insurance sector.

Running for cover

The years of burning cash to get traction are over: players across sectors are busy cutting costs and looking for efficient distribution models as they focus on renewals instead of growth.

Correlate valuation with profits

Currently, every life insurance company is valued at three to four times the capital invested. Some have been making losses from Day 1, with no profitability in sight.

A different pitch

The second-generation private insurers try innovative strategies to make a mark, as profitability becomes more crucial than ever before.

Editor's Note

From the Editor: August 23, 2009

RIL versus RNRL or MDA versus ADA? In deciphering the distinction between the two lies the key to resolving the most high-pitched corporate battle of the day.

Book

Time to restructure, reinvest, reimagine

The current recession has many companies worldwide gasping for survival, unable to pay down debt or attract customers.

Features

Paramount's leading edge

M. Thiagarajan is a contrarian who is expanding his fleet and adding destinations as bigger rivals do the reverse. Has Paramount Airways’ growth reached its limit?

Picture of the future?

Azim Premji’s elder sonRishad is on the rise at Wipro. It may be early days yet to herald him as a successor, but the current joint CEO structure—which is going swimmingly for now—may be a stop-gap arrangement.

The existing and the forgotten

New residential projects are being launched by real estate developers across the country even as existing ones are some distance from their scheduled completion.

Rural magic

Media Magic’s pre-loaded content cards and kiosks - stocked with Bollywood movies, songs and games - are a hit in rural India. But can the company fight off competition and grow in a deeply fragmented market?

'Microsoft is still about the magic of software'

In an exclusive interview, Gates talked about everything from the Apollo moon landings and the controversial AIDS initiative of the foundation and even a passing reference to Google.

HBR exclusive: 7 ways to fail big

Lessons from the most inexcusable business failures of the past 25 years.

Who is Keki Gharda, and why is he being wooed?

Some of India’s biggest companies - and at least one global buyout firm - have trained their sights on the 80-year-old's chemicals business.

Warning for the bribe tribe

US MNCs whose Indian operations get sucked into the country’s flagrant vortex of corruption can get into big trouble back home.

Busy at the back of the office

Even as they went about creating a fully-integrated steel colossus, the Ruias of the Essar Group were also quietly building a global outsourcing model via a string of acquisitions.

CAG: Watchdog or nitpicker?

The Comptroller & Auditor General needs to abandon trivial issues and learn more about the business process in order to remain relevant.

Back of the Book

Green goes the auto

The humble auto-rickshaw may soon be reborn as a fuel conserving, truly green vehicle, thanks to some smart engineering work by Dutch and Indian students. Nitya Varadarajan spends a day with the participants and organisers of project ‘Tuk-Tuk’ to find out more.

Columns

India can gain from 'low carbon' growth

Mahatma Gandhi once asked: It took Britain half the resources of the planet to achieve this prosperity. How many planets will a country like India require!?

Jobs

Wanted: Green techies

There’s a growing demand for IT experts to address environmental concerns.

Letters

The Kotak moment

It takes a special kind of genius to keep things simple. Uday Kotak has this quality in heaping measure.

Utility

Creating a project plan

The secret sauce of a project is in its planning.

People, places and products

Get the who, what and where of this fortnight right here!

All about Harsh Goenka

Here's an insight into a little Q&A with the chairman of RPG Enterprises.

Focus

Double jeopardy

It is a case that will make business houses far more vigilant about intellectual property rights issues: one man, armed with a patent of a supposed new technology, is preventing large consumer electronic firms from importing dual-SIM technology mobile phones into India.

5 faces of India Inc

India Inc. delivers the goods in the first quarter in another indication of an incipient economic recovery.

CEO watch

India’s and the world’s most talked-about CEOs in the past 30 days.

Less thirsty rice

Thanks to a breakthrough by PepsiCo India, 6,000 acres of paddy fields now hope to save 5 billion kilo litres of water by using direct seeding for paddy, writes Shamni Pande.

Play your cards right

Very soon, you will be able to swipe your debit card to withdraw cash from any point of sale, thanks to a directive from the RBI.

Salary cut? Buy a home!

The pall of gloom over the state of the world’s financial condition may be lifting, but Indians are still wary about their financial health. Virendra Verma tells us more.

Buy American!

The End-Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) is controversial, but it only serves to highlight the amount of military hardware India is buying from the US.

'Understanding of risk low in India'

Martin Studer of EMEIA and Ram Sarvepalli of E&Y speak to Dhiman Chattopadhyay on why internal audit process and composition of boards in most Indian firms need to change.

'Outsourcing can weaken the company's sense of responsibility'

Pope Benedict XVI, in his Encyclical, on outsourcing, in The Economic Times, says outsourcing can weaken the company’s sense of responsibility towards stakeholders.

'Euro will give dollar a hard time'

Nobert Walter, Chief Economist, Deutsche Bank Group, believes not many understand the recession, and speaks to Shalini S. Dagar on the crisis.

'Open source software is gaining momentum'

Kim Polese shot to fame as the brand manager at Sun Microsystems, when she devised the name Java for the firm’s computer programming language. Currently, the CEO of SpikeSource, she spoke to Rahul Sachitanand on a recent visit to India.

Healthcare inequality

The Indian healthcare industry may grow by 50 per cent between 2006 and 2013.

BT More

What's cooking?

When you have a restaurant as authentic as China Kitchen, and a cuisine as broad as Cantonese, changing the menus is no simple affair.

The Independence special

On Independence Day this month, restaurants across the country are celebrating the flavours of India with a series of one-off brunches.

Appetite: Metro watch

Sevilla at the Claridges Hotel has been a romantic haunt for years. But how’s the food?

Not just for your 'lady wife'

It’s not for nothing that sherry is described as a neglected wine treasure.

Raima Sen on what men should be like

Raima Sen, the elder daughter of ’80s star Moon Moon Sen is single, living in Mumbai and carving her niche in Bengali cinema.

Finland: The day that never ends

Nudists, the Northern Lights and a sun that never sets — Finland is a wonderfully surreal country to visit.

Make a splash with water sports

Aqua training works for people of all ages and sizes. Go on, get your feet wet.

The art of patronage

Who said that corporations and art can never mix? Corporate patronage of the arts is a wonderful thing when it’s done right.

The books that shaped my life

Every issue, we ask prominent businessmen about the books that made them the people they are today. This month: Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group.

Review: Mrinal Sen, sixty years in search of cinema

In the usual debates on modern Indian and Bengali cinema, Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak are rightly praised for their unique vision and craft, but the man who most often gets left out is the legendary Mrinal Sen.

Launchpad calendar: Aug 9 - Sept 6

What’s new and what’s happening this month.

Earth song

In an ecologically unstable world, here’s a great chance to get under the skin of our blue planet.

High concept

Thirty years after The Wall, the concept album finds itself alive and kicking. Well, almost.

The joy of shopping

From suits and ties to strappy high-heels, the new collections from these designer brands make sure you step out in style.

Letter from the Editor

In the world of luxury goods, the watch obsessive is a rare and curious animal. He seems to understand that luxury speaks to not only the best aspects of our character, but also the worst.

Pack the perfect kit

It always pays to have a neatly-packed washbag.

Wet weather friends

Don’t be caught in the downpour without these stylish coats.

The beast

The new Toyota Land Cruiser might just be the greatest SUV on the market.

Complex characters

When a watch reveals its mechanism, the hundreds of moving parts, the intricate morass of cogs, levers and unspeakably rapid vibrations, the watchmaker is displaying his extravagant prowess.

The horolophile's handbook

Don’t know your Tourbillon from your Rattrapante? Don’t worry, help is on the way.

Bring on the bling

Slim wrists, expensive appetites and a fascination with sparkly objects—it’s little wonder that women are as obsessed with watches as men are.

The watchlist

Never again lament that there’s not enough beauty in the world.

The classic

When you want your watch to look, well, like a watch, with the 12 digits and the dial and the hands tick-tocking their way around, then you’re looking for a classic style.

Miniature marvels

Minute repeaters, perpetual calendars and the majestic gyrotourbillon—for the serious watch connoisseur, it’s all about la grande complication.