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BW Businessworld

It’s All Greek For EU

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From afar, Greece might look like the Theatre of the Absurd. However, for the country itself, it is business as usual. Despite massive protests against further belt tightening, it has agreed to the stringent austerity measures sought by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund as a precondition for the second bailout package. Germany says Greece needs to do more; but Greek officials claim they have done everything demanded of them for the sign off on the e130-billion rescue package. Amid the cacophony, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has warned Europe not to "play with the default of Greece". The country is on the brink of collapse and needs to make e14.5 billion of debt repayments before 20 March. From the looks of it, it might take some time before Greece is bailed out finally.

Costly Metal
Has soaring prices affected India's appetite for gold? The latest numbers of World Gold Council (WGC) show a huge slump in India's gold imports during the October-December quarter. India, the world's largest consumer of gold, imported 157 tonne during the three months, down from 281 tonne in the same period in the previous year. Gold prices in India held firm during the period despite declining globally, as the rupee weakened against the dollar, making imports more expensive. Spot gold prices in Mumbai, the country's biggest bullion trading hub, hit a record Rs 29,270 ($595) per 10 gram on 16 November.

Mind Game
It was a good drama to watch while it lasted. After a series of hectic negotiations for weeks, the BCCI and the Sahara Group reached a compromise, paving the way for Pune Warriors' participation in the fifth edition of the IPL. On 4 February, Sahara had withdrawn the Team India sponsorship over a dispute with BCCI. Now, it seems, the mind game is all over.

King In Trouble
It's a flight from bad to worse. Kingfisher Airlines has posted a net loss of Rs 444 crore for the October-December quarter. This is a matter of concern for the cash-strapped airline whose net loss in the previous year was Rs 254 crore. Sales also fell about 25 per cent to Rs 1,342 crore from Rs 1,790 crore, while interest charges rose to Rs 350 crore from Rs 340 crore a year earlier.











NOT FOR SALE: Amazon won't sell iPad in China

iPad Out
Is the iPad you bought through Amazon legitimate? Apple says Amazon is authorised to sell only the iPhone and the iPod, and not the iPad. Following a directive from Apple, Amazon has yanked the iPad from its Chinese website. This unusual move by Apple is reportedly related to its feud with Proview International Holdings, a company that claims it owns the rights to the iPad brand name in China.

Labour Pain
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that the country needs to take a "critical look" at the labour laws to see if they are "unnecessarily" affecting employment growth and industry without contributing to labour welfare. Inaugurating the 44th Indian Labour Conference in Delhi, he asked the private sector to engage itself vigorously in skill development initiatives.











GOOD SHOW: Tata Motors's net profits jump 41 per cent (AFP)

Drive In Profits
Tata Motors has beaten market estimates with a 41 per cent rise in its quarterly net profit, thanks to robust sales at its Jaguar Land Rover unit in the UK and strong vehicle demand in India. The company, India's biggest automaker by revenues, posted a profit of Rs 3,406 crore ($695 million) in the three months ended 31 December 2011, compared to Rs 2,424 crore a year ago. Nine analysts on average had expected a consolidated net profit of Rs 2,615 crore. Sales rose 44 per cent to Rs 45,260 crore from Rs 31,442 crore.

Retail Fall
In the December quarter, Pantaloon Retail, the country's largest listed retail chain, showed its lowest same-store sales growth figures in two years, signalling a continued slowing in consumer spending and economic growth. Same-store sales show growth through stores in the business for more than a year. The home segment was down 3.2 per cent.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 27-02-2012)