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Rising lending rates, material costs and fuel prices have caused passenger car sales to drop. In July, the numbers fell 16 per cent to 133,747 units, from 158,767 units a year ago, says the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. The slump is the biggest since November 2008, and the first since January 2009. That the country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki recently lost 17,000 units due to changes in production process at its Manesar plant has also contributed to the fall. Still, the overall industry saw a 9 per cent rise (y-o-y) in sales powered by two-wheelers and commercial vehicles.

Robust Growth
Despite high interest rates, India's industrial production grew the fastest in three months in June. The Index of Industrial Production rose 8.8 per cent against a nine-month low of 5.6 per cent in May. Manufacturing output, which constitutes 76 per cent of the industrial production, grew 10 per cent during the same period.

Fortis In Vietnam

Singapore-based Fortis Healthcare International is on a buying spree. Soon, it will pick up 65 per cent in one of Vietnam's largest private hospital chains — Hoan My Medical Corp. — for $64 million. This is the sixth acquisition in eight months for the company.

Galaxy War
Ruling on an Apple plea that the Samsung Galaxy Tab is a slavish copy the iPad, a German patent court barred Samsung Electronics from selling its flagship product in the EU market, except the Netherlands. But Samsung says it will act immediately to lift the ban. It has countersued Apple in its home turf South Korea, Germany, Japan and the US.

Strike On
About 45,000 workers of Westminster-based Verizon  Communications are on strike against the company's move to cut benefits. Most of the strikers belong to Verizon's land-line business. Verizon is facing a decline in landline business and wants changes in worker rules and benefits.

Another Try
Arvind Jadhav, who had a turbulent tenure as head of ailing Air India, is repor-tedly on his way out. In all likelihood, civil aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi and joint secretary Rohit Nandan will take over. Last week, a CAG report said the AI management's decision to buy new aircraft caused a loss of Rs 200 crore.

Big Bro Watching
Next time you post on your FB wall, beware. The government may be reading it. The Centre wants to track conversations, including encrypted data, on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. It has asked the Department of Telecom to monitor such sites, communications and IT minister Milind Deora informed the Rajya Sabha.

Good Stakes
Giving a fillip to the partnership it started last year with Reliance Indu-stries, EIH will develop two properties, in Goa and Bangalore, jointly with the Mukesh Ambani-promoted company. EIH owns and runs the Oberoi and Trident chain of hotels. EIH promoters had sold a 14.12 stake to RIL a year ago for Rs 1,021 crore.

Business As Usual
Finally, it's calm inside the House. With the BJP ceasing its disruptive actions, Parliament was able to pass a few key Bills and approve extra spends of Rs 34,724 crore for this fiscal. The Bills include the Coinage Bill, 2009, (in the Rajya Sabha) and the State Bank of India (subsidiary banks) Amendment Bill (in the Lok Sabha).

Oil Worries
Indian Oil Corporation's net loss for the first quarter of 2011-12 rose 9 per cent to Rs 3,719 crore, courtesy selling diesel, LPG and kerosene below cost. The state giant had a net under-realisation of Rs 7,673 crore in the June quarter.

Getting In The Way
Kerala police raided nine stores of direct-marketing major Amway following charges of "money chain fraud". Meanwhile, the company has said that its sales grew 48 per cent in six months of this calendar.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 22-08-2011)