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Eurozone Accord

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This is the last ditch attempt. After marathon talks, Eurozone leaders on 9 December decided to make additional resources of e200 billion available to fight the current debt crisis and help the ailing currency, Euro. The funds will flow through an IMF war chest. European Union President Herman Van Rompuy says the new accord imposes strict norms on fiscal deficit, and erring countries will have to face punishment. He says 17 Euro area members and six more countries in the continent will benefit from the accord. The leaders have also agreed on permanent stability mechanism, to be launched in July 2012. But everything is not hunky-dory even now. Already, the UK and Hungary have said they do not agree with the new deal, while Sweden and the Czech Republic have also raised concerns over clauses in the new agreement. Signs of split, are they?

African Partner
Airtel Africa has found a new friend, Samsung. The African unit of Bharti Airtel says it will tie up with the South Korean electronics giant to offer a range of products in 17 countries in the continent. The tie-up gives Bharti exclusive distribution rights for certain Samsung products — including smart phones, tablets, dongles and routers — for six months after they are launched in Africa.

All For Mamata
Call it an act of appeasement. In an attempt to woo its angry ally, Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC), the UPA is doling out a Rs 8,750 crore package for West Bengal. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has cleared the package on 7 December. In fact, Banerjee had demanded Rs 19,000 crore. The package comes days after TMC opposed the UPA move to allow FDI in multi-brand retail.

Ad Spends Fall
Reports quoting data compiled by research firm TAM say advertisement volumes across radio, print and television have taken a beating this year. Advertising on television has grown only by 19 per cent during January and September this year, against 24 per cent last year. In print, the growth has been 17 per cent (from 27 per cent) and in radio, 14 per cent (from 44 per cent). Experts blame falling sales across industries and global uncertainties for the fall in ad spends.

HEAVY PRICE: Rising input costs trouble India's carmakers

Diesel's The Way?
Auto industry body Siam says India's car sales rose 7 per cent in November to 171,131 units, thanks to diesel models. Car sales for the corresponding period of 2010 stood at 159,939 units. Siam expects that the market share of diesel cars will cross 33 per cent in 2011-12, from about 27 per cent last fiscal. Despite the good show last month, the industry will miss out even on the modest growth forecast of 2-4 per cent this fiscal, warns Siam, owing to rising input costs and falling demand.

It's A Deal Now
More than a year after it was announced, Vedanta Resources finally completed its $8.7-billion acquisition of majority stake in Cairn Energy's Indian arm.

EXIT STRATEGY: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

Private Equity Exit
He is famed for his knack of spotting trends. And reports say billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is not bullish on India's private equity industry any longer; he is looking to exit his key PE investments in a phased manner over the next two-three years.

Compensation Blues
Times are bad for HSBC, it seems. Britain's financial regulator has slapped a record  £10.5 million ($16.4 million) fine on HSBC for mis-selling investments to pay home care costs for older customers. Besides, HSBC is expected to pay £29.3 million in compensation to ‘particularly vulnerable' elderly clients, who were given inappropriate advice by NHFA, a subsidiary of HSBC.

Credit worthiness
Standard Chartered Bank is set to acquire over half of Barclays Bank's credit card portfolio in India.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 19-12-2011)