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All Hands On Deck

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It was a candid admission. European Central Bank head Mario Draghi said the structure of the 17-member euro zone had become "unsustainable" and needed urgent steps to save the 10-year-old fraternity. With the threat of a debt-hit Greece exiting the group looming large, the ECB chief blamed the political leadership for its slow response to the intensifying sovereign bond crisis. Addressing a European Parliament panel in Brussels, Draghi said events such as Spain's bailout bid for ailing Bankia showed that national regulators were still reluctant to admit the magnitude of their woes. The need of the hour was a centralised banking system,  he said. European leaders should have a long-term plan on what kind of a euro zone they want, he added. Draghi's remarks came after rising bond yields in Spain and Italy shook markets across Europe and the US.  

Property Pause
It seems continuing inflation and expensive loans have taken a toll on India's largest property developer.  Delhi-based DLF has posted a 39 per cent fall in net profits for the fourth quarter. Its consolidated profit for January-March fell to Rs 212 crore from Rs 345 crore a year ago. Sales declined 2.5 per cent to Rs 2,617 crore from Rs 2,682 crore.

EXIT: Keshub Mahindra steps down


(BW Archive)

Passing The Baton
Keshub Mahindra, the 88-year-old chairman of utility vehicles maker Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) is calling it a day. His nephew Anand Mahindra is set to become chairman and managing director of the 1945-founded company in August. Keshub has steered the company for 48 years during which M&M  became the conglomerate it is now. M&M still has about 60 per cent market share in the domestic utility vehicle segment. Meanwhile, the company posted a net profit of Rs 911 crore, a growth of 36 per cent for the quarter ended March 2012.

Lacking In Spirit
UB Group's flagship firm United Spirits has posted an 83 per cent dip in net profit for the quarter ended March 2012. Its profits fell from Rs 59 crore a year ago to Rs 10 crore. The Vijay Mallya-controlled company's net revenues fell 4 per cent to Rs 1,881 crore due to a slew of causes — from regulatory hurdles to falling volumes to high input costs. Meanwhile, sister concern Kingfisher Airlines has seen a net loss of Rs 1,152 crore ($205 million) in January-March, from Rs 356 crore a year ago. 

Oil's Well
India's biggest energy explorer ONGC doubled its profit in the fourth quarter, with its net income rising to Rs 5,640 crore ($1 billion) in the quarter ended 31 March from Rs 2,790 crore a year ago. Meanwhile, another state-run energy major Indian Oil Corporation tripled its fourth quarter profit. Its net income rose to Rs 12,670 crore in the quarter ended March from Rs 3,910 crore. 

Roam Free
The Cabinet has cleared the National Telecom Policy 2012 with five changes. Telecom minister Kapil Sibal said the policy aims to offer mobile number portability and free roaming throughout the country. But he did not provide a timeline for its implementation. Meanwhile, Norway's Telenor has hinted that it had dropped plans to exit India and would participate in the upcoming spectrum auctions with a new partner.

ITV COMING: Apple chief executive Tim Cook (Bloomberg)

Apple TV

Amid rumours of Apple experimenting with television, the company's CEO Tim Cook said technology for television was of "intense interest", referring to Apple's television set-top box. He was quick to stress that the firm's efforts would unfold gradually.

Taking Credit
 The Reserve Bank of India says growth in credit disbursement to industry went up by 19.5 per cent against 25.9 per cent in April 2011, while that to agriculture rose by 14.6 per cent in April this year, up from 12 per cent a year ago. 

Lesson Learnt
The government has set up a panel under Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council chairman C. Rangarajan to review production-sharing contracts in the oil and gas sector. It will look at all "modifications necessary for future production-sharing contracts".

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 11-06-2012)