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GE Sets Ambitious India Growth Targets

GE's Jeff Immelt is a champion of "reverse innovation." Mukesh Ambani is an "extreme innovation" protagonist. Both minds think alike. They know that necessity is the mother of innovation and that India is the land of necessity.

That's why Mr. Immelt and GE have decided to build products for the world from India. They've made a start with an ultra-cheap electrocardiogram device—it sells for $1,000 and is made in India. That's why Mr. Ambani and his Reliance Industries have set up an innovation team led by RA Mashelkar, a former head of government research agency network CSIR.

Mr. Ambani cautions against "getting trapped" by the western model and to rely on "extreme innovation" instead to leapfrog to the next level of development. "What's needed is extreme innovation. Twenty years from now, people will not talk about garages in Silicon Valley, but projects in Indian villages and rural areas that will be scaled up."

"People perceive India as a land of a billion problems, but I see it as a land of a billion opportunities."

The GE CEO, made a case for "reverse innovation"—the flow of knowledge and products from the developing world to the developed world. For this, India must develop efficient business models that could be used by the rest of the world.

"We should get to a point where ideas start transporting back to the developed world," Mr. Immelt said. GE has decided to let all its business heads in India report to the country head, underscoring the importance India has in its scheme of things and how much the company feels that a flexible environment in India could be more conducive for growth here. "At GE, the only person who believes that it's a good idea is me," he joked.

GE has set itself a target of growing its nearly $3 billion India business by 30% a year for the next five years. Mr. Immelt, whose father worked at GE for 40 years, said his story represented the American dream. From discussing GE at our kitchen table to managing the company at the board level in just a generation is representative of the American culture."

"We are normal people who work together and do extraordinary things—and we like it that way." The panel discussion involving the two business leaders and moderated by CII chief mentor Tarun Das had its share of banter as Mr. Ambani shared his personal secrets.

"I'm from the chemical industry", he remarked when Mr. Das quizzed him about his jet-black hair. That his wife Neeta makes him work out regularly was an admission by Mr. Ambani. "Neeta makes sure that I work out though you don't get to see the obvious results."

Not too long ago, a call for Indian investment in the US by the CEO of GE would have raised more than an eyebrow. But when Mr. Immelt made that call on Thursday, it didn't seem surprising.

''The next generation of BPO jobs should be in the US,'' he said, and asked Indian businesses to see the world "from (US President Barack) Obama's eyes." Emphasising the importance of ensuring that politicians come on board, he said, "If globalisation is put to vote today in the US, it will lose 70:30."
Mr. Immelt was all praise for Indian entrepreneurs. "The business class in India is equal or better than the rest of the world." A regular practice at GE is for the top leadership to discuss their perceptions of CEOs from other countries, he said, and they often found that Indian CEOs cared more about their companies than they did for themselves.

On the new drive to give back to the society or bring in change where it's needed most, Mr. Ambani said the bulk of India's young people want to work for rural transformation.
The two corporate leaders were optimistic that the next five years would see India growing rapidly. In a lighter view, Mr. Immelt said he expected a good road between Mumbai airport and the city, mainly to highlight the need to focus on infrastructure.
In what he called his wish-list, Mr. Ambani said he hoped by 2014, India would have demonstrated to the world that it could register double-digit growth annually, create gainful employment for 12-15 million people every year and have in place world-class education and training infrastructure.

Reliance to Acquire Lyondell...?

India's Reliance Industries is looking at acquiring some or all of bankrupt petrochemicals maker LyondellBasell, a television network reported, citing sources.
India's CNBC-TV18 reported that its sources said Reliance could make a cash payment of $3.25 billion to Lyondell's vendors for the deal.

Lyondell spokesman David Harpole declined to comment on the report.

But he said the company is in the process of putting together a rights offering to provide the company with additional liquidity after it emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

"Whether that's what someone is speculating on or not, I don't know," Harpole said.

A Reliance spokesman also declined to comment on the report.

Lyondell, which filed for bankruptcy in January during a sudden cash crunch, filed its Chapter 11 reorganization plans with bankruptcy court in New York on Friday.

"We have the exclusive right to present a plan" to exit bankruptcy, Harpole said.

Under the reorganization plan, the company and its 94 bankrupt affiliates, will simplify its corporate structure and position the company to exit bankruptcy protection with significantly less debt.

LyondellBasell, was created out of a 2007 leveraged buyout led by New York-based investor Len Blavatnik's Access Industries, but it left the company with a heavy debt load.

Indian Petrochemical Report

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Indian Petrochemical Report (paid report)

Region has the right chemistry

TOP process industry leaders descended on the North-east to discuss the future of the global chemical industry.

The North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) attracted the event, which is organised by industry publication Chemical Week, to Northumberland’s Slaley Hall.

Topics under the spotlight at the Chemical Week CEO Roundtable included the global economy, climate change, and communication of the solutions that chemical and process industries can bring to global society.

Companies from the UK were joined by those from North America, Europe, South America and Asia.

NEPIC and regional development agency One North East - which helped bring the event to the region - used the meeting to showcase the region’s process industry capabilities to the visiting industrialists. In particular meetings were set up for visitors from India and Brazil, where the chemical industry is expanding rapidly.

Executives also had the opportunity to visit companies and industrial sites on Teesside, Tyneside and Northumberland. Latest technology developments in biotechnology and flexible electronics were also showcased by the Centre for Process Innovation at Wilton.

Lyn Tattum, publisher of Chemical Week, said: “We recognised the potential of bringing the event to Slaley Hall and Northumberland when we saw the esteem with which NEPIC and Stan Higgins (chief executive) in particular are held in India and other countries.

“Chemical Week helped cement relationships for NEPIC in India during our India 2020 Vision Event in Mumbai earlier this year, when we hosted the signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding between NEPIC and the Indian Chemical Council.”

Margaret Fay, who chairs ONE North East and joined the event, added: “Meetings like this one bring recognition that our process industries are important on a global scale. Most of the business leaders we met have never been to the region before, so we have made sure that are leaving in the knowledge that the North-east is a place where they can do business in future.”

Chemical and Telecom registered 227% & 103% Growth in FDI Inflows: ASSOCHAM

Despite 2008-09 was marked by global recession and liquidity crunch, Indian economy registered 11% rise in FDI with sectors like Chemicals and Telecommunication have recorded the robust growth of 227% and 103% during fiscal 2008-09, according to a Report carried out by The Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

The ASSOCHAM latest `Annual FDI Report’ has further revealed that FDI in Chemicals sector (other than fertilizers) registered maximum growth of 227 per cent during April 2008 – March 2009 as compared to 11.71 per cent during the last fiscal. The sector attracted USD 749 million FDI in FY ‘09 as compared to USD 229 million in FY ’08,

Releasing the Report, Chamber President, Mr. Sajjan Jindal said that during the year 2009 government had raised the FDI limit in telecom sector from 49 per cent to 74 per, which has contributed to the robust growth of FDI. The telecom sector registered a growth of 103 per cent during fiscal 2008-09 as compared to previous fiscal. The sector attracted USD 2558 million FDI in FY ‘09 as compared to the USD 1261 million in FY ’08, acquired 9.37 per cent share in total FDI inflow.

Even as the auto industry in developed countries faced serious financial problems bailed out by the government, the India automobile sector has been able to record 70 per cent growth in foreign investment. The FDI inflows in automobile sector has increased from USD 675 million to 1,152 million in FY ’09 over FY ’08.

The other sectors which registered growth in highest FDI inflow during April – March 2009 were housing & real estate (28.55 per cent), computer software & hardware (18.94 per cent), construction activities including road & highways (16.35 per cent) and power (1.86 per cent). Analysis shows, there were three sectors which registered fall in FDI inflows during the fiscal 2008-09 including services, metallurgical and petroleum & natural gas sectors.

According to ASSOCHAM, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karanataka, New Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh emerged as top six states which together attracted about 81 per cent of total FDI during FY ’09.

Maharashtra has emerged as the top state in attracting highest inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) during the financial year 2008-09. The state attracted foreign direct investment of USD 12,409.2 million, making up for 45.4 per cent of the total FDI in India. The state registered a growth of 22.14 per cent as compared to the FY ’08.

Sector wise FDI inflow

(value in USD million)
Sector 2007-08
(April-March) 2008-09
(April-March) Growth Rate
(in per cent)
(Other than fertilizers) 229 749 227.07
(including radio paging, cellular mobile, Basic telephone services) 1,261 2,558 102.85
Automobiles Industries 675 1,152 70.67
Housing & Real Estate 2,179 2,801 28.55
Computer Software & Hardware 1,410 1,677 18.94
Construction Activities (Including road & highways) 1,743 2,028 16.35

Gujarat with its aggressive marketing of investor friendly policies and fast developing infrastructure became the second highest state in terms of foreign investment. It acquired 10.35 per cent of total FDI inflows in India during FY 2008-09 and registered an impressive growth rate of 57 per cent.

The other states which registered highest share in FDI inflow during April – March 2009 were Karnataka (7.42 per cent), New Delhi (6.84 per cent), Tamil Nadu (6.31 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (4.53 per cent)

Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Orissa, West Bengal and North-East states have registered a positive growth in FDI inflows during FY ’09 as compared to the FY ’08. However, the combined share of these states was less than 4 per cent in total FDI inflows in the country.

Other states such as Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh could not attract any foreign investment during the year.

India Chemical Industry Overview

Click on the link below to see an interesting overview of Indian Chemical Industry by KPMG,

China ban to boost Gujarat chemical firms

China ban to boost Gujarat chemical firms
Sachin Kumar/ DNA MONEY
Tuesday, 06 May , 2008, 15:25

It's a pre-Olympic win for the state's chemical industry. With the Beijing's Municipal Public Security Bureau regulating the production and sale of as many as 257chemicals in and around the capital ahead of the Olympics, the next five months are likely to open new avenues for chemical firms here.

The blanket ban will remain in place from May 1 through October 17, in regions falling within a 500km radius of Beijing. This is to ensure a drop in pollution levels in the run up to the August Olympics.

Caustic soda, proplylene, ethylene, diethylene glycol (DEG), polystyrene, acrylonitrile-butadine-styrene are among the listed chemicals under the ban.

Currently, China is the largest exporter of chemical products, driven by cheaper prices. The average import duty on chemicals in China is 6.5%, leading Chinese chemical firms to procure raw materials domestically. The ban will result in a hike in production costs and a gap in the supply chain, which India hopes to fill.

The secretary of the Indian Chemical Council, Y P Saxena says that a rise in prices will favour Indian chemical exporting companies in the short run.

If prices in the China's domestic market rise enough to nullify the import duty, manufacturers are likely to import raw materials from India.

"In the short term, the ban will give exporters more leg room, boosting chemical exports from Gujarat," says Manish Kiri, secretary of Gujarat Dyestuffs Manufacturers Association and managing director of Kiri Dyes and chemicals.

Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd and Tata Chemicals are among the major producers of caustic soda. Propylene, ethylene, diethylene glycol (DEG), polystyrene are also produced in Gujarat.

"Countries which bought chemicals from China, will now turn to India due to the rising prices in China. This is also an opportunity for Indian firms to consolidate their presence in export," Saxena says.

According to industry sources, India's total turnover in the chemical sector was Rs 1,50,000 crore, while exports were estimated at Rs 28,000 crore during 2007.

However, not everyone is happy. President of the Naroda Industries Association, Shailesh Patwari says prices of chemicals used as raw materials have shot up due to the Beijing Olympics.

Prices of sulphur, para tolludene base, caustic flex, soda ash etc. are up 30-50%. Manufactures were expecting this move due to the Olympics, he adds.
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