Tuesday, September 30, 2008

'Indian companies making outbound investments have their own wish-list'

Top tax issues MNCs face in cross-border transactions

While there has been an upsurge in the general level of cross-border transactions, both inbound as well as outbound, the tax law dealing with the same has not kept pace with the increase in the complexity and growth in the level of sophistication of such transactions, bemoans Ms Shefali Goradia, a partner with BMR Advisors (www.bmradvisors.com).


'European companies have been slower to outsource and offshore as compared to the US...'

‘Discretionary IT spends down’

Niteen Tulpule, Director-Corporate Finance, KPMG, decided to play it safe when eWorld asked him about the recovery from the US slowdown. “It is still early to comment on the timeframe for a turnaround at this point. The full impact of the sub-prime crisis has still to play out.”
However, he sees positives in commodity prices coming off their recent highs and oil prices declining as well as some positive economic data trickling in from the US.


'In India, offsets are applicable for all contracts above Rs 300 crore'

Positives in the new procedures for defence procurement

When speaking at a recent seminar in New Delhi, the Defence Minister, Mr A. K. Antony, spoke of increased transparency in defence deals and tendering process. He highlighted that a major change in DPP-08 (Defence Procurement Procedure-2008) was the inclusion of broad details of the trial methodology forming part of the RFP (request for proposal) so that vendors were aware right at the outset about the modalities for product evaluation.
The much-awaited DPP-08, which supersedes the 2006 policy, carries several key amendments, effective from September 1, 2008, informs Mr K. Ganesh Raj, Industry leader - Defence & Aerospace, Ernst & Young P Ltd.


Friday, September 26, 2008

‘Revenue Recognition’

‘Accounting guidance needed on revenue recognition in layaway sales’

Not only is the retail sector in India seeing a number of new entrants, but also new and interesting formats like home shopping via television channel and online portals (e-commerce).
Layaway sale — a popular concept in countries such as the US, the UK and Canada, with big retailers and small-time stores, alike, promoting such sales and attracting customers through this model — is gaining momentum in India and one is li kely to hear a lot more of this in the future, says Mr Rajiv Goyal, Director, Ernst & Young India Pvt. Ltd.


Monday, September 22, 2008

'The online astrology market is in its nascent stage'

Astrology, online

GaneshaSpeaks.com is an emerging online astrology service firm that provides astrological guidance using Indian Vedic astrology principles via mobile, the Internet, telephony as well as offline.
Hemang Arun Pandeet, Founder, GaneshaSpeaks.com, while acknowledging that offline is where astrology finds the largest market and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future, is confident that online astrology services have the potential to become a good alternative for the serious Net user and believes it can become an industry by itself within the next five years.


'FedEx leads the air express transportation market in India'

‘Outlook is bright for express sector’

The face of the logistics industry is changing, feels Mr Rajesh Subramaniam, Senior Vice-President, International Marketing, FedEx Services. “Previously logistics managers were focused on reducing costs. The decision today has become more marketing-focused, with enhanced services and customer satisfaction being the key,” he explains during the course of a recent interaction with Business Line.


'Our Indian standards are very largely based on the IFRS'

Accounting is like scorekeeping

All of a sudden, conferences and seminars on IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) are the in-thing, where you can find accounting professionals busy taking notes and asking questions, so that they are ready for the 2011 deadline when India will be converging with IFRS.
But why should we be focussing on the IFRS now? When posed that query, Dr Kamal Gupta, former Technical Director of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), asks in response, "Can India be isolated, if more than 100 countries already adopt IFRS, and more than 150 will adopt it by 2011?"


'How can India better its rankings?'

Franking boosts ranking

Doing business in India is not getting easier. Our rank in the World Bank's recent report `Doing Business 2009' (www.doingbusiness.org) is 122, a fall from 120 last year, in a list of 181 countries, ending with Congo. Among the countries ahead of India are Mauritius (24), Colombia (53), Pakistan (77), Kenya (82), China (83), Sri Lanka (102), and Nepal (121). It may be a consolation, though, that Brazil (125), Indonesia (129), Sudan (147), Iraq (152) and Afghanistan (162) are behind us in the tally.
The country's performance in the sub-indicators has seen a major fall, especially in `trading across borders' (minus 9), `starting a business' (minus 7, from 121 last year to 114 now), `dealing with construction permits' (minus 5), and `protecting investors' (minus 5).
"On the overall ranking, India went down by two places from 120 to 122, especially because other countries reformed more and moved up faster," says Ms Sabine Hertveldt of the Doing Business Project, IFC (the International Finance Corporation), Washington DC, speaking to Business Line over the phone, shortly after the release of the report.


'Indian companies have been typically carrying significant bench strength for future projects'

Extend the tax holiday for SMEs in IT

Even as those in the IT (information technology) industry clamour for tax incentives, others wonder if IT has not matured enough to be able to sustain itself without any further fiscal support of tax incentives from the Government.
"Over the period, Indian IT/ITeS companies have definitely moved up the value chain, and the sector is currently poised at the `growth stage' of its lifecycle," says Mr K. R. Girish, a Bangalore-based chartered accountant with KPMG, and also the Convener for Economic Affairs and Public Policy, CII, Karnataka.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

'Cricket is certainly at the forefront of growth of sports in the country'

“The law should protect investments in sport”

Earlier this year, the Indian sports industry saw one of the biggest financial investments, to date, with the launch of the Indian Premier League (IPL). With it also came concepts such as ‘auction of players’, ‘franchisee model expansion’ and direct corporate involvement, into the Indian sports market. With India’s recent success in the non-cricketing arena at the Beijing Olympics, financial investment into other sports is also likely to increase.
“The first season of the IPL has given us a glimpse of what is possible,” says Nandan Kamath, a sports lawyer and Director at the Bangalore-based sports career management firm GoSports and adds that the pace of growth in other sports will primarily be determined by how well our Indian sportsmen, sportswomen and teams perform in those disciplines.


Monday, September 15, 2008

'Seven changes in business model can be undertaken by the bank management'

‘India growth story is intact’

Mr Saurabh Tripathi, Partner and Director of Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Mumbai, reminds us that India, for long, was a 5-6 per cent growth story, and that a dip to 7.5 per cent (from 9 per cent) is not such a bad state to be in. He believes the India growth story is intact and says that there are many areas where Indian companies will show the world a different way of doing business.
While consulting has not matured as an industry in the country with huge under-penetration compared to more mature economies, he says the consulting share of emerging markets (including India) will go up in the future.


'Both accounting and teaching are knowledge-based service professions'

Smart learning

Chennai-based learning and mobile technology company Valued Epistemics Private Ltd (VEPL), through Wizdom.in, offers online learning programmes to develop verbal and quantitative skills for GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and delivers this ‘adaptive learning’ programme to one’s mobile phone or PC. In line with its strategy of perfecting the platform and using it to launch multiple programmes over a period of time, the company is re-launching its GRE off ering as http://www.greedge.com/, while retaining Wizdom.in as the brand name for the learning platform that powers it.
VEPL Managing Director Anand Kannan holds a Ph.D from Purdue University, US. He worked with Nokia in the US for several years as a research engineer and has been involved in projects in wireless LAN research, GSM and CDMA radio technology, entry-level mobile application development and business model development for low income markets.


'Absence of clarity on tax treatment of overseas M&A transactions is a key issue'

Issues that tax companies

The new direct tax code that the Government is planning to introduce, to replace the current Income-tax Act, is expected to emphasise transparency and taxpayer-friendliness. Similarly, making suitable amendments in the indirect tax provisions would be a welcome step towards getting more clarity and achieving simplification and transparency.

While such moves encourage not only tax compliance but also convey the right messages to the tax paying community, there is a need, in the interregnum, to look at a few current issues that worry corporates, says Mr Uday Ved, Head of tax and regulatory services, KPMG India.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

'Most PE players are apprehensive about investing in listed companies'

Negotiations and due diligence are taking longer than usual

What is the outlook for cross-border deals in the coming 12-15 months? "There is likely to be a decline in cross-border deals," feels Mr Ranjan Biswas, National Director, Transaction Advisory Services, Ernst & Young. "Outbound deals (Indian firms acquiring overseas), which has so far been very strong for Indian companies, will be a challenge in the coming times, given the low business confidence and the rising cost of funding," he explains, during the course of a recent email interaction with Business Line.


'Financial institutions find us attractive because we give their customers a great experience'

‘Indian market is ready for loan applications online’

One is once again witnessing a proliferation of online offerings, with newer companies targeting niche verticals. BankBazaar.com claims to be the first neutral company worldwide to provide customised competing loan offers from leading banks and NBFCs.
Mr Arjun Shetty, COO, BankBazaar.com, says, “We provide loan applicants with an easy platform to compare rates between different financial institutions and to apply for the loan online, all within 15 minutes and without needing to speak to anybody.”


'We see a strong potential for our electrical business in India'

‘Hybrid engines definitely need some push in India’

Eaton India, part of the global $13-billion diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation has introduced the diesel electric hybrid power systems and is the first company to make the technology commercially available for trucks and buses. “Our hybrid customers are reporting fuel savings of 30 to 60 per cent.
“With the growing road network in India, the impetus on improving infrastructure and the increasing concerns over the environment, there is scope to make use of the technology for a more fuel efficient and safe environment around us,” said Mr Shyam P. Kambeyanda, Managing Director, Eaton India, during a recent interaction with Business Line.


Monday, September 8, 2008

'India's KPO segment spells a huge opportunity area in the technology space'

BPOs: Tremendous headroom

"Global demand for offshore (BPO) delivery will continue to remain strong in the long term and there is tremendous headroom for growth" says Mr Niteen Tulpule, Director-Corporate Finance, KPMG, in an email interview with Business Line. "Demand for jobs is likely to remain high and this will be on a pan-India basis in the future."
He believes that there is a big opportunity in the KPO (knowledge process outsourcing) space and that one will witness a lot of M&A (mergers and acquisitions) activities, especially in the analytics segment.


'SMS forwarding is a bottleneck, which other handsets are easily integrated with'

‘iPhone poses security challenges’

Looks like the iPhone, which was launched recently in India with a lot of fanfare, may not be without its own set of hitches.
Rajat Khare, CEO, Appin Security Group (ASG) — an Information Security R&D organisation offering security services such as protection from hackers, application security, and piracy prevention — sees several challenges in the use of iP hone, at least in the early stages. He is of the view that without a proper convergent network in place, all the features that the iPhone has on offer cannot be fully utilised.


'Trademarks may be created either by publicity and advertisements or by continuous R&D'

When the going gets tough for foreign taxpayers

Globalisation has brought in not just newer methods of conducting business but also controversies, in the taxation space. Of late, one has seen a spurt in the number of taxation-related decisions by various tribunals and courts.
An expert in the field of international taxation, Mr S. P. Singh, Senior Director with Deloitte Haskins & Sells, India, has been closely associated with the development of transfer pricing and international taxation in India.


'The southern consumers are very brand conscious and prefer super premium teas'

‘Tea industry challenged by supply crisis, climatic hurdles’

India is one of the largest tea producers in the world, with last year’s production exceeding 900 million kgs. However, this year, the tea industry is going through a supply crisis, especially from the north-east region. There has been a very small carry-forward stock from last year, and the current crop has been delayed due to climatic reasons. Crop from South India, while good, has not able to make good for the shortfall.
Mr M.C. Appaiah, Chief Operating Officer of the Kolkata-based Duncans Tea Ltd, told Business Line in an interview that he expects a big shortfall in the domestic industry, thereby creating pricing pressure in the second half of the year.


Monday, September 1, 2008

'Being an entrepreneur and helping other people become entrepreneurs drives me'

`Weekend start-up'

Sashi Chimala was probably among the first 100 engineers to be shipped from India to work onsite in the IT (information technology) industry in the US. His first assignment was with Burroughs Corporation (later renamed Unisys). This was almost three decades ago, when outsourcing and offshoring was unheard of, and IT had not yet become a `fashionable' industry to work in.
Talking about those early days in the IT Industry, Chimala says ...


Time to fill a position is a specific metric

Turn passive job seekers into active ones

While the offshore growth story has seen Indian IT and ITeS companies hiring in a big way in the last few years, it has brought its own set of challenges, with ‘talent’ being one of the key issues.
“Innovative techniques will improve an organisation’s cost per hire and retention rates,” says Dr Cabot Jaffee, Chairman, Global Talent Metrics, US, a provider of HR products and services that help organisations combat human capital challenges, including talent acquisition, selection, engagement and retention.