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A Lion’s eye on the Bulls and Bears

“In India, companies may fall sick, but promoters rarely do!”

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January 24, 2009

Just saw ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.. I was disappointed… It ‘craftily’ translates, onto the Screen, a host of negative Indian Images entrenched deeply in Western Minds !

This Saturday afternoon I saw the highly acclaimed ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, winner of Four Golden Globe Awards and just nominated for the Oscars in Ten categories. It was released in Mumbai just yesterday

The Movie did not tug at my heart like ‘Taare Zameen Par’ which was not shortlisted in the Oscars in the Foreign Films Category… I was disappointed.

Amitabh Bachchan’s Blog raised controversy as media played up that the ‘Big B’ slammed the Film for portraying poverty…. ‘Big B’ accuses the Media and especially two Delhi based Indian journalists of the Gaurdian, Uk for their incontinence

Relevant Extracts of  what Amitabh Bachchan actually blogged from Paris on January 13, 2009, for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ are as below:

A couple of hours, a few damp smelling minutes of those under the English Channel, self mobile operated pictures, early morning French countryside and PARIS..!!

The Salon du Cinema team meets me at the entrance to Paris-Nord station and after an exchange of greetings and flowers and video and stills, out into the wet and cold Paris streets, chased by a huge group of women, who scream and shout and clap, making you wonder what it is that I may have done to receive such an enthusiastic welcome in a country that hardly knows who I am. But, Fouad my driver and sincere personal guide during all my recent visits to the city, gathers me quickly into his car and drives off. They are migrants or asylum seekers from nearby or distant country and are begging he informs me. My ego brought into place I am saddened by their plight. Conditions the world over are so similar. Perceptions differ, but the reality of life and existence, unchanged.

On blog, comments for the film ‘SlumDog Millionaire’ and the anger by some on its contents, prompt me to say the above. If SM projects India as Third World dirty under belly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky under belly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations. Its just that the SM idea authored by an Indian and conceived and cinematically put together by a Westerner, gets creative Globe recognition. The other would perhaps not.

The commercial escapist world of Indian Cinema had vociferously battled for years , on the attention paid and the adulation given to the legendary Satyajit Ray at all the prestigious Film Festivals of the West, and not a word of appreciation for the entertaining mass oriented box office block busters that were being churned out from Mumbai. The argument. Ray portrayed reality. The other escapism,  fantasy and incredulous posturing. Unimpressive for Cannes and Berlin and Venice. But look how rapidly all that is changing.  read more

Travelled in several Modes of Public Transport in Mumbai within hours yesterday

I had to vist Bandra from my office in Fountain for meetings late afternoon yesterday

With Mumbai’s notorious Traffic and Car Parking Woes and the fact that it was not peak hour,I bravely,like Millions of Mumbaikars do daily,ventured by the Local Train on the Western Line

Fortunately Churchgate is the originating Station so I got a seat easily in Class II of the 2.51 pm “Virar Fast”…Just as the Train was to commence it’s run,an announcement made be get off would not stop at Bandra….I switched to a Slow Train which commenced it’s run a few minutes later and within half an hour had reached Bandra

After finishing off one meeting at an Office near the Station on the West Side,I crossed over to the East Side through the Station again.

After over Ten Auto-rickshaw rejects,I managed to flag one to take me to my destination across the Western Express Highway, on the east side from Bandra Station…Later returning Home I reached Bandra Station by Auto,then got onto a Fast return train,switched to another at Mumbai Central as an announcement reverberated through the train that it would be running non stop to Churchgate and I needed to alight at Grant Road

Alighting at Grant Road,I has planned to cab it but instead hopped on to a waiting Bus ‘155’.This runs a circular route that originates and terminates at the Station.So easily got a Seat.It deposited me within Ten Minutes at the Bustop right at the lane where I reside

Rs 12 Return Train Ticket…Rs 15 and Rs 10 for Auto-rickshaw rides and Rs 5 for the Bus Ticket…That’s an aggregate of Rs 42 spend on three common modes of Public Transport and I finished my work and round trip inside Two Hours….A car or a cab ride to and fro,with time for my work too, would have taken over three hours and cost me over Rs 300 + traffic and parking woes

Mumbai Bus and Train Routes are well organised and run pretty much punctually and are the cheapest and fairly quick modes of Public Transport…..truly the Lifeline of Mumbai….so next time you ‘status’ conscious and ‘used to car and driver’ types…don’t snigger at Train or Bus Travel….you’ll save both Time and Money,and at not too much of a compromise,unless it’s peak morning and evening hours…..Remember how the heads of the US Auto majors got the US Public mad…they flew into Washington from Detroit in their private planes with a begging bowl to plead for government bail-outs of billions of dollars to survive….Next time they drove down !     read more

Is Larsen courageous or foolish to hike Satyam Stake to 12%!?

Just two days ago,on January 22,2009,I blogged that Larsen, to save itself, is trying to save Satyam..I had opined that it would be foolish to spend an additional @ Rs 1000 crs to take a controlling stake unless some protection was provided from contingent liabilities of the class action law suits in USA which could materilaise into hundreds of millions of dollars of Liability

And what does Mr A M Naik,CMD of Larsen do !?…Yesterday,he goes and raises Larsen’s stake in Satyam to 12%…39 million shares were purchased on the NSE at Rs 34.52 per share,aggregating Rs 134.73 crs and another 12 million shares were obtained at Rs 35.07 per share on th BSE,aggregating @ Rs 42 crs….So that’s another Rs 177 crs spend on Satyam Shares

This brings down the Larsen’s Average Holding cost per Satyam Share to Rs 80 from the earlier Rs 157… The total exposure is now over Rs 600 crs

So why did Mr Naik do this !?…After canvassing for political support for his Buy-Out Bid of Satyam,does he know something we don’t ? Is there some assurance or some tacit understanding between him and the government that some protection will be provided to insulate the Acquirer of Satyam from being exposed to the Contingent Liabilities of Hundreds of Millions of Dollars !…Would this not then be Insider Trading !?

This could explain his courage…otherwise unless there is clarity on protection from the contingent liabilities,it is foolish to buy More into Satyam

A Larsen Spokesman stated that the idea of rasing the stake was to average the Holding Cost and to strengthen it’s position to influence the Satyam Board….Real Reasons could well be to pre-empt any other Bids for Satyam as well as some prior understanding as spelled out above.

Shareholders have not taken it kindly and Larsen’s Share Price has dropped to Rs sub Rs 650 levels

If it purchases another Two Million Shares or 3% in Satyam to take it’s stake to 15%, Larsen will trigger the mandatory Open Offer to acquire atleast another 20% of Satyam’s equity from the Shareholders..that’s another 134 million shares…As per SEBI Formula the Offer has to be at the Highest of several Price parameters,which include the highest price it has paid to acquire Satyam…I believe this to be Rs 167…Therefore Larsen will have to shell out over Rs 2200 crs to acquire these 134 million shares….Surely it must be mad !

Media Reports suggest they have approached,or will approach SEBI to waive this Open Offer or allow the Offer Price adjustment to current Market Price of Satyam of @ Rs 40,at which Larsen will have to shell out only another Rs 536 crs for the Open Offer…..Even then the Exposure of Larsen would be close to Rs 1200 crs for a 35% quity stake…otherwise it would have been @ Rs 3000 crs read more

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