Intellectual Thoughts by Sanjay Panda !!!!!: 2009


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Economy- Moving from the crossroads

The Union finance ministry’s mid-year fiscal Review, tabled in Parliament last week, notes very correctly that the “current period represents a crossroads for the Indian economy”. Having weathered the global economic downturn, the Indian economy has performed better than expected. The review offers an honest account of the challenges ahead, hence the view that India is at a crossroads.
Much of the near 7.0 per cent growth this year has come from the government’s fiscal stimulus packages. As the government gradually winds down the stimulus, which it must in the interests of fiscal prudence, private consumption and investment will have to step in to sustain the growth process. For this, the economy needs policy reform and sustained investment, especially in infrastructure, that can drive the growth process forward.
The Review also offers an honest assessment of the inflation challenge, noting that in the current phase, food price inflation is being driven both by supply constraints and the rising demand for food among the poorer classes — a consequence of the government’s pro-poor policies. By rejecting the view that inflation is being caused by rising aggregate demand, the Review seems to want to discourage a monetarist response to price rise.

A second concern that preoccupies the Review is the likely embarrassment of riches from a potential surge in capital inflows. The Review admits that such a surge could stoke inflationary pressures, firm up the rupee and reduce the competitiveness of Indian exports, entailing fiscal costs. Noting correctly that this could be a long-term challenge, but ruling out any early possibility of imposing a tax on capital inflows, the Review expresses the hope that such inflows could be channelised into productive investment in infrastructure. The government has also hinted that it can afford a deterioration in the current account deficit up to 2.5 per cent of GDP. Appreciating the policy dilemmas facing the Reserve Bank of India, the Review correctly takes the view that “the challenge is to support the recovery process without compromising on price stability and through a careful management of trade-offs”.
The most important trade-off is between growth and inflation, and between fiscal stimulus and fiscal rectitude. While underscoring the government’s commitment to fiscal rectitude, the Review is candid enough to state that the “timing of the exit and the pace at which it should be carried out will depend on the strength of the recovery and its sustainability without fiscal stimulus”. The Review is right to underscore the importance of reducing wasteful expenditure, especially on non-merit subsidies. This is an issue on which the government has remained at a crossroads for far too long, not taking the right path to fiscal rectitude. In the name of stimulus and growth, a range of subsidies are still dished out to a variety of vested interests. Till that bill is curtailed, not much can be done to move away from the crossroads on to the right path to sustainable growth.

BS

Ranbaxy US unit gets a violation notice

Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd said on 24th Dec that's its wholly-owned US-based unit Ohm Laboratories Inc has received a warning letter from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) relating to violations of good manufacturing practices. The FDA letter, dated December 21, mentions violations at Ohm's liquid manufacturing facility in Gloversville, New York,

The FDA conducted site inspections at the plant in July and August 2009. Ohm Laboratories operates three US-based manufacturing facilities and sells generic and branded private label drugs in the United States.

Ranbaxy said the FDA inspected Ohm's other two plants earlier this year but did not observe any material deviations.Late last year, Ranbaxy had received a US ban on some of its products.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Glaxo has taken 19 % share of Aspen

GlaxoSmithKline has taken a 19 per cent stake in Africa's biggest generic drugmaker, Aspen Pharmacare, after completing a strategic collaboration with the South African group. Earlier Glaxo had originally said it would have a 16 per cent holding when the deal was announced in May.

Aspen has issued 68.5 million new shares to Glaxo in exchange for Glaxo's manufacturing plant in Bad Oldesloe, Germany, and eight specialist medicines.

Selling branded generic drugs in emerging markets is a central plank to diversify Glaxo's business away from its traditional reliance on blockbuster medicines in Western countries. In addition to the tie-up with Aspen, Glaxo also has deals with Dr Reddy's Laboratories and a number of Chinese partners.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Indian inflation rises

The first monthly data released by the Government of india on 14th Nov 2009 showed inflation more than doubled to 1.34 per cent in October compared to 0.5 per cent a month earlier as essential food items turned costlier.


Interestingly, the build-up inflation in the financial year so far was 6.13 per cent compared to 5.99 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year.In variance with the earlier practice of a weekly release, this is the first time the government has come out with comprehensive inflation data on a monthly basis with 1993-94 as the base year.

On an annual basis, prices of potato have doubled since October last year, while onions were expensive by 37 per cent. At the same time other items like vegetable were costlier by 23 per cent, sugar by 45%. If the inflationary pressure continues then RBI likely to tighten the credit policy in early next year.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Norway is the best place to Live. UNDP report

Norway takes the number one spot in the annual United Nations human development index released. The index compiled by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) ranks 182 countries based on such criteria as life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.

Norway, Australia and Iceland took the first three spots while Niger ranks at the very bottom. The bottom three ranked countries in this year’s HDI, in order, are: Niger, Afghanistan (included for the first time since 1996) and Sierra Leone.


The UNDP said the index highlights the grave disparities between rich and poor countries. This year's index was based on data from 2007 and does not take into account the impact of the global economic crisis.


The top ten countries listed on the index are: Norway, Australia, Iceland, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland and Japan.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chemical Industry on a path of muted recovery

Chemical makers have grown more confident that the global economy and industry demand are pulling out of one of the deepest dives since at least the early 1980s. Second-half economic forecasts issued recently by ACC and German chemical industry association VCI (Frankfurt) called an end to demand declines but warned of slow recovery. While the surge in energy and stock prices from early 2009 levels would seem to signal a strong rebound, chemical makers appear to be bracing for a slow recovery.

European petrochemical sector shows that the market has stabilized but producers acknowledge the need for further rationalization. For operating rates to come back to good levels, some capacity will have to shut down in Europe, claims leading producer . The same is true for the U.S. Dow Chemical announced earlier this month that it would end styrene production at Freeport, TX as it continues to trim North American olefins and styrenics production to match underlying demand and reduce its exposure to basic chemicals.

Industry challenges like overcapacity, weak demand, and broader economic concerns arising from high levels of unemployment and a still-fragile financial system are likely to mute recovery. The question is whether this development is a sustainable one and long lasting basis.There are still unsolved issues caused by the financial crisis and the chemical industry is not yet on a solid growth path at least as of now.

ACC’s recently released third-quarter outlook shows that conditions have stabilized but notes that 2009 activity will fall well below year-ago levels. U.S. chemical industry output is expected to fall 10.7% in 2009, before posting a gain of about 1.5% in 2010. Demand is clearly moving off the bottom but chemical makers could face a slow path to full recovery.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

WHO's New guidelines on swine flu

Issuing a new set of guidelines for the use of drugs against swine flu (H1N1), the World Health Organization(WHO) has said patients with uncomplicated illnesses do not need to take antiviral drugs.


Worldwide, most infected patients continue to display typical influenza symptoms and fully recover within a week without any form of medical treatment, the WHO said.According to the new guidelines, formed by consensus by a global group of experts, patients with uncomplicated illnesses do not need to be treated with antiviral medicines.

The guidelines emphasise using drugs such as oseltamivir and zanamivir, to which the pandemic virus is susceptible, to prevent severe illness and deaths, reduce the need for hospitalisation, and shorten hospital stays. When properly prescribed, oseltamivir is found to significantly curb the risk of pneumonia, a leading cause of death for both the pandemic and seasonal influenza, it said.

WHO recommends treatment with the drug as soon as possible among people who are severely or whose conditions begin to deteriorate. Where oseltamivir is not available, zanamivir can be given. The virus is currently resistant to a second class of antiviral, known as M2 inhibitors.As pregnant women are among the groups considered to be at increased risk, WHO recommends that they receive antiviral treatment as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms.

The guidelines call for prompt treatment for children including those under five years of age with severe or worsening illnesses, as well as those at risk of more severe or complicated illness.Otherwise healthy children over five years, WHO said, do not need antiviral treatment unless their conditions persist or worsen.

If someone with confirmed or suspected H1N1 infections shows symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain and high fever lasting beyond three days, they should seek immediate medical attention. Among children, warning signs include fast or difficult breathing, lack of alertness, difficulty in waking up and little or no desire to play..

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

symptoms of Swineflu (H1N1) A compilation

The typical symptoms are:

* a sudden fever (a high body temperature of 38°C/100.4°F or above), and
* a sudden cough.

Other symptoms may include:

* headache,
* tiredness,
* chills,
* aching muscles,
* limb or joint pain,
* diarrhea or stomach upset,
* sore throat,
* runny nose,
* sneezing, or
* loss of appetite.


Call your GP directly if:

* you have a serious existing illness that weakens your immune system, such as cancer,
* you are pregnant,
* you have a sick child under one year age,
* your condition suddenly gets much worse, or
* your condition is still getting worse after seven days (five for a child).

It is already known that you are particularly at risk if you have:

* chronic (long-term) lung disease,
* chronic heart disease,
* chronic kidney disease,
* chronic liver disease,
* chronic neurological disease (neurological disorders include motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease),
* immunosuppression (whether caused by disease or treatment) or
* diabetes mellitus.

Also at risk are:

* patients who have had drug treatment for asthma within the past three years,
* pregnant women,
* people aged 65 and older, and
* young children under five.

For most people, the illness appears to be mild. Cases have been confirmed in all age groups, but children and younger people seem much more likely to be affected.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

IMF Predicts Stronger 2010 Global Rebound After 09 Contraction

IMF predicts the global economic rebound next year will be stronger than it forecast in April as the financial system stabilizes and the pace of contractions from the U.S. to Japan moderates. IMF said in a revised forecast that the world economy will expand 2.5 percent in 2010, compared with its April projection of 1.9 percent growth. A contraction this year will be 1.4 percent, worse than an April forecast for a 1.3 percent drop..

The improved outlook for next year reflects differing stages of recovery across the globe, with emerging economies including China helping drive the world out of the worst recession in six decades, while Europe lags behind the U.S. and Japan. Still, the fund warned that the pickup is expected to be “sluggish” and called repairing the international banking system a priority.

Advanced economies will continue to lead the slump this year by shrinking 3.8 percent. They will grow 0.6 percent in 2010, more than forecast in April, when the fund expected no growth for next year.

As per IMF the U.S. GDP will shrink 2.6 percent this year before expanding 0.8 percent in 2010 while for Japan likely to expand by 1.7 percent next year however this year its like to contract 6 percent.

Emerging and developing economies will grow 4.7 percent next year, a 0.7 percentage point increase from the previous forecasts. This year they will expand 1.5 percent, compared with a 1.6 percent expansion expected in April.

China’s growth is forecast to accelerate to 8.5 percent next year, a percentage point more than expected in April, after slowing to 7.5 percent this year. India’s economy will expand by 6.5 percent in 2010, compared with the April forecast of 5.6 percent, after a 5.4 increase percent this year that was higher than the IMF’s prior estimate.

Bloomberg

Monday, July 6, 2009

India Budget 2009, Highlights

* Govt plans to bring back economy to high growth of 9%
* GDP growth dipped to 6.7% in FY'09
* FM to make pre-budget talks with state FMs annual affair
* Fiscal deficit up from 2.7% to 6.8% of GDP
* Return to fiscal prudence at the earliest
* 'Aam admi' is focus of all programmes and schemes
* IT exemption limit raised; Rs 15,000 (rpt) 15,000 for Sr.Citizens
* Limit raised by Rs 10,000 for tax payers, including women
* 10% surcharge on personal income tax scrapped
* Fringe Benefit Tax abolished
* No change in corporate tax
* Defence gets Rs 1,41,703 cr, up 34%
* Total fiscal stimulus in 2008-09 amounts to Rs 1,86,000 cr
* IIFCL to evolve mechanism for increased funding of infra
* IIFCL to re-finance commercial bank loans up to 60 per cent in critical
projects through PPP to tune of Rs 1,00,000 cr
* Allocations for highways being stepped up by 23 per cent
* Funds for housing, amenities for urban poor up Rs 3,973 cr
* Funds for JN Urban Renewal Mission up 87% to Rs 12,887 cr
* Assistance for storm-water drainage project up by Rs 300 cr
* Farm credit target up at Rs 3,25,000 cr from Rs 2,87,000 cr
* Interest rates incentive to farmers to repay loans on time
* Additional Rs 1,000 crore for accelerated irrigation scheme
* Export Credit Guarantee scheme extended till March 2010
* 2% interest subvention (IS) scheme extended till March 2010
* IS scheme to cover 7 job-oriented sectors, including textile, handicrafts and handlooms.
* Commodity Transaction Tax abolished
* New pension system trust exempted from STT; DDT
* Minimum Alternate Tax hiked to 15% from 10%
* Tax holiday on petro sector extended to natural gas
* 100% tax deduction on political donation
* Stimulus for print media for another six months
* Fertiliser subsidy to be nutrient-based, not price
* Expert Grp to form viable pricing for imported petro goods
* Banks and insurance firms to remain in public sector
* Rs 100 cr one-time grant to expand banks in unbanked areas
* Govt committed to provide Rs 100 a day as wages under NREGA
* Allocation of Rs 39,100 cr to be made for NREGA
* NREGA coverage increased to 4.74 crore households in FY'09
* Work National Food Security scheme has begun
* Allocation for Bharat Nirman being raised by 45 per cent
* Rs 2,000 cr rural housing fund under National Housing Bank
* Mission for female literacy with focus on minorities, SC/ST
* 50% of all rural women to be brought into SHG programmes
* Full interest subsidy for students in select institutions
* Five lakh students to benefit
* Modernisation of national exployment exchanges
* Action for social security to unorganised sector workers
* New pension benefits for 12 lakh jawans and JCOs from July
* One lakh dwelling units for paramilitary forces personnel
* Unique Identification Card to citizens in 12-18 months
* Provision of Rs 120 crore for UIC project
* Rs 2,113 crore allocated for IITs and new IITs
* Rs 3472 cr for Commonwealth Games from Rs 2112 cr

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Update : Pharma Industry as per the latest Economical survey

The pharma industry in the country has grown from mere Rs 1500 crore turnover in 1980 to over Rs 78,000 crore in 2008, with about 10 per cent share in the volume of global production, according to the latest Economic Survey which called for decontrolling of prices.

High growth has been achieved through the creation of required infrastructure, capacity building in complex manufacturing technologies of active ingredients (APIs) and formulations, entering into drug discovery through original and contract research and manufacturing (CRAM) and clinical trials and product specific strategies of acquisition and mergers. The domestic sector had a production turnover of Rs 47,241 crore from about 10,000 small-scale and 300 large and medium manufacturing units in 2008, the survey said.

The survey, presented by finance minister on Thursday in the Parliament, also said price control should be limited to essential drugs in which there are less than five producers. All others should be decontrolled.

Pharmaceutical exports have grown from Rs 6,256 crore in 1998-99 to Rs 30,759 crore in 2008. Exports of pharmaceuticals have been consistently outstripping the value of corresponding imports in the period 1996-97 up to 2007-08. Exports registered a growth rate of 25 per cent in 2007-08 over 2006- 07. The sector attracted FDI amounting to US$1,401.60 million during 2000-01 to September 2008, of which, US$125.30 million occurred during April- September 2008, according to the survey.

Investments in pharmaceutical sector are now expanding into areas of innovative R&D focused outsourcing opportunities like clinical trials, data management services, pharmaceutical informatics, lead discovery and optimization, pharmaco-kinetics and pharmaco-dynamics and pre-clinical drug discovery in combinatorial chemistry, chiral chemistry, new drug delivery systems, bioinformatics and phyto-medicines. "The Indian pharma industry is taking leaping strides in innovative drug discovery with clinical trials underway in 34 molecules. Consequently, the Indian drug discovery market has grown from US$ 470 million in 2005 to US$ 800 million in 2007," it said.

Dow to close 3 Plants in US

Dow Chemical is closing three US manufacturing plants, including an ethylene production unit in Hahnville, Louisiana in a further bid expand its specialty chemicals business. The other facilities earmarked for closure, a second in Hahnville and one in nearby Plaquemine, make ethylene derivatives for plastics manufacture, including for the production of pharmaceutical packaging.

Dow said that the closures will cost around $700m (€497m), but will allow it to save $100m a year over the longer term. It added that the 100 or so workers who staff the three plants will be offered jobs elsewhere in the company.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Biosimilars- Future of cure

The future of pharmaceutical industry now seems lies with the biotechnology as there is a growing resistance to the use chemical based drugs world over. Biopharmaceuticals thus becoming the fastest growing segment of the pharmaceutical market today. Nearly a quarter of the top 100 drugs in 2007 were biologics and 13 of them achieved blockbuster status of more than $2 bn in worldwide sales. Both generic drug manufacturers and large pharma companies are angling for a share of this emerging niche in the $75 bn global market for biosimilars. Generic drug maker, Sandoz has already taken the lead on this segment with three biosimilars approved in Europe namely Omnitrope, Binocrit and Zarzio. Teva pharmaceuticals, a leading generics producer, has plans to become a major player in biosimilars. It has one product on the European market (Tevagrastim) and has improved its capabilities in biopharmaceuticals through the recent acquisitions of Barr Pharmaceuticals and CoGenesys in the US. Teva's strategic partnership with Lonza to jointly develop, manufacture and market biosimilars confirms its resolve to enter into biosimilar market in a big way. Merck & Co has recently established Merck BioVentures and agreed to purchase a portfolio of biosimilar candidates and commercial manufacturing facilities from US-based Insmed. Indian manufacturers such as Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy's Lab, Biocon and Wockhardt, have also plans to venture into biosimilar market by taking approvals in Europe and, ultimately, in the US.

Biosimilar products do attract a lot of interest and controversy. Because, biological drugs are complicated and expensive and used to treat complex conditions. A key point for developers of biosimilars is the issue of interchangeability. This is going to be a hard sell in the regulated markets where prescribing of chemical generics is already unpopular. The task will be more difficult for biosimilars where worries over equivalence will be greater and less easy to counter. With a regulatory framework already in place in the European Union to address the safety of biosimilars, the opportunity represented by these products has been proven and is growing there. Over 10 biosimilars have been approved in Europe, using the EU's specially adapted approval procedure. In Japan, the first biosimilar has been submitted for review recently. But, the US, the largest pharmaceutical market, is yet to open up for biosimilars as the biotech industry there is strongly opposed to the entry of biosimilar products. Introduction of biosimilars in the US market should bring down the cost of medicine substantially for critical diseases and make them available to a wider population. And that depends on the US government. If the proposed legislation before the US Congress is passed without much changes it should alter the whole look of the global biopharmaceutical industry to the advantage of millions of patients who are now denied of the benefits of advanced but expensive biologics.

Pharmabiz

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Factory Output Rise Adds To Revival Signs!!!! or just an effect of stimulus packages

India's industrial output rose in April, beating forecasts for a fall, driven by a pick-up in domestic demand that analysts said confirmed nascent signs of recovery and an end to the central bank's rate-cutting cycle. Factory output in April rose 1.4 per cent from a year earlier, recovering from a revised fall of 0.8 per cent in March and bettering forecasts for a decline of 0.2 per cent, adding to signs from China that activity in emerging economies was picking up.

Figures from China showed factory output growth rebounded in May alongside stronger expansion in credit and consumer spending, adding to hopes it can lead a global revival.

Manufacturing output, which accounts for 79 per cent of India's industrial production, rose an annual 0.7 per cent in the first month of the 2009/10 fiscal year.

The benchmark 10-year bond yield rose 6 basis points to a two-month high 6.94 per cent on the data, which was seen confirming an end to the central bank's aggressive rate cuts since last October.

Before the April rise, output had fallen in three of the previous four months. The data also reinforced other signs that domestic demand was picking up in India. Stronger-than-expected March quarter growth helped Asia's third-largest economy to expand by 6.7 per cent in 2008/09, although that was a six-year low and well below rates of 9 per cent or more for the previous three years.

The signs of a bottoming in growth and the re-election of the ruling coalition have seen economists revise up their forecasts for 2009-10, with the central bank's estimate of about 6 per cent now at the bottom of private sector economists' expectations.

Car sales rose an annual 2.5 per cent in May, climbing for the fourth month, and strong demand in rural and semi-urban areas pushed up motorcycle sales by 12.3 per cent from a year earlier.

Infrastructure output, accounting for a quarter of factory production, grew 4.3 per cent in April from a year earlier, data showed earlier this month.

A survey of purchasing managers last week showed manufacturing expanded for a second month in May to its highest in eight months.But exports remain in the doldrums, and the government expects their decline to continue until September. Exports fell 33.2 per cent in April from a year earlier to $10.74 billion.

Although India is less dependent on exports than China or other East Asian countries, with exports accounting for about 15 per cent of GDP, the sharp drop has offset some of the domestic gains.

Reuters

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Reliance Industries's German Unit Goes Bankrupt

The global economic downturn has hit India's most valued company Reliance Industries, forcing it to today to declare as insolvent its German unit Trevira, a specialty polyester manufacturer. Reliance Industries had acquired Trevira five years ago for Rs 440 crore. This acquisition in 2004 had propelled Reliance to the position of the world's largest polyester fiber and yarn producer. The German unit had 1,800 employees as of March 2009 and a turnover of Euro 323 million last year.

Trevira faced severe demand contraction in its principal market segments due to the global financial crisis .Trevira, which was part of German industrial conglomerate Hoechst AG before being acquired by Reliance, manufactures high-value branded polyester fibers and filament yarns or the automotive industries, home textiles as well as for technical applications. Trevira has production units in Germany, Denmark, Poland and Belgium.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tamiflu Vs Flu, who cld be the major threat

The cure may, at times, be worse than the disease. That would now seem to be the case with tamiflu, the drug used more than any other for treating and preventing the dreaded bird flu — caused by the pathogenic H5N1 virus.

Going by the findings of a study by researchers of the Oxford-based Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the consequences of large-scale consumption of tamiflu can be scarier than even those of a bird flu outbreak. The main fear is that the many tonnes of this drug that are in stock in various countries for combating a possible pandemic would, on consumption, play havoc with wildlife besides increasing human health hazards. Specifically, the scientists have warned that the bulk of this drug would get excreted through urine and flushed down sewers into natural water bodies and rivers, devastating aquatic bio-life. The worst hit would most likely be micro-organisms, including all manner of useful bacteria, present in these waters. This is because oseltamivir carboxylate, the active anti-viral ingredient of tamiflu that also kills bacteria, is resistant to bio-degradation and cannot be eliminated through normal sewer water treatment.

Its toxicity can, therefore, persist in water bodies for weeks, even if only treated water is released in them. As a result, fish, birds and other creatures that dwell in these tanks and rivers or feed on them could face ruin. Man, too, needs certain kinds of bacteria in the gut for the digestion of food. All these systems could go haywire if the need should arise to use tamiflu on a mass scale. As if this scenario were not alarming enough, the scientists have also pointed out that widespread consumption of this drug can create conditions in which the H5N1 virus, which normally infects only birds and some animals and does not get transmitted to humans, can mutate into forms capable of being passed on to humans.

Another likely fall-out could be the development of immunity against oseltamivir carboxylate in H5N1 virus itself, rendering tamiflu ineffective. This would further heighten the risk of a flu pandemic. And, what is worse, should this happen, mankind would find itself fighting a losing battle till an alternative vaccine targeted specifically at the new form of virus is developed, which might take months. Of course, it can be argued that these dreadful implications are hypothetical even though they emanate from a scientific study carried out on rivers in the US and UK. In any case, the possible hazards are far too serious and indeed unnerving to be disregarded.

The bird flu has not yet been eradicated and its incidence continues to be reported from the south-east Asian region. What needs to be remembered is that the flu outbreak of 1918, albeit of a different virus strain, had killed nearly 50 million people. Equally essential to bear in mind is the alarming decline in the population of vultures, which are nature’s scavengers, owing to the indiscriminate use of diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug, for the treatment of animals. Its residual toxicity in animal carcasses is killing the vultures who feed on them.

It is, therefore, imperative to revisit the strategies devised to cope with the bird flu menace and to look for safer drugs. An anti-influenza vaccine developed at the Bhopal-based high security laboratory of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research is believed to be a less harmful alternative to tamiflu. If that is indeed the case, enough stocks of this vaccine, as also adequate production capacity, need to be built up. Simultaneously, research needs to be initiated to evolve suitable biological and chemical treatments for sewer water to minimise its residual toxicity before the discharge is put out into natural water bodies.

Savings a/c will earn daily interest

Savings bank account can earn you more interest now. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued a directive in its policy document that will change the way interest is paid on the minimum amount present in a savings bank account each day.At present, the interest (3.5 per cent per annum) is calculated on the minimum balance held in the account from the 10th of each month to the last day of that month. So, if a bank customer has Rs 1 lakh in his savings account one day and then Rs 100 another day, the minimum balance taken for calculation of interest in the period would be Rs 100.

But, from April 1, 2010, the interest paid on the savings account will be on the daily minimum balance. In other words, even the Rs 1 lakh balance in the savings account will earn the customer interest, even if it’s withdrawn later on. As per the new directive issued by RBI, only commercial banks will need to follow this new method of interest payment on savings accounts. Commercial banks include all banks other than co-operative ones.

This means that the money will start earning higher interest even as it remains liquid and safe.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Financial far sight

The ongoing financial crisis in the mature markets abroad has led to much introspection in the domain of policy-making and academia. Products must be made more transparent, with risk mitigation and prudential measures much better aligned. The quality and effectiveness of financial supervision must improve. It follows that the gaps and weaknesses in the prudential norms do need to be properly addressed, with proactive oversight and follow through. The crisis has much to do with the heavy issuance of credit-linked, mostly mortgage-backed, securities in the US, and subsequent large-scale default on the underlying assets, mainly housing.

The fact is that the push for increased sub-prime mortgages earlier this decade followed by securitisation of the receivables greatly compounded the problem.Of the trillions of dollars worth of asset-backed securities issued globally, roughly 60% had AAA credit-rating, the safest possible, according to Fitch Ratings. This is way, way too high. In sharp contrast, less than 1% of corporate bond issues are triple-A rated.

The structured products are particularly default prone in an economic downturn with substantial, correlated risks. It’s clear that the structured products were glaringly faulty. As we. in India moving for more reforms in the financial sector, which includes creating scope for new products, we need much more for skilled human resources and credible supervision . We do need to draw the right lessons from the crisis abroad and implement. Its the far sight that matters!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

5 Indian firms among world's 25 'unsung' innovative cos

As many as five Indian companies like Indian Hotels, footwear firm Bata India have been named in the list of world's 25 'unsung' innovative companies by the BusinessWeek magazine.According to a list compiled by the BusinessWeek 'The world's 25 unsung innovative companies' includes firms which have failed to get a position on the the list of world's most innovative companies but are likely to become household names like Apple, Google in the next 10-20 years.The other three Indian firms on the list are-- Bajaj Holdings & Investment,Godrej Industries and Yes Bank.

Apple, Google, Toyota, and Microsoft--the corporations at the top of this year's Most Innovative Companies ranking are household names the world over. But they wouldn't have all been winners 10 or 20 years ago. The same may be true 10 or 20 years from now," the magazine said.About Indian Hotels, which runs the luxury hotel chain of Taj Hotels & Resorts, the magazine said, "its slick and modern accommodations and attentive service, which it attributes to a merit system that links employee pay to customer satisfaction ratings.

About the footwear retailer Bata India the magazine said, "whether it be canvas sneakers, high heels, or rubber flip-flops, the products are known for their durability and Indian flair.Bajaj Holdings & Investment formerly known as Bajaj Auto, operates through two arms-- financial and investment services, while the other manufactures two-wheeled vehicles. Another Indian firm Godrej Industries which makes and sells bulk chemicals and edible oils has also been named among the unsung list.
About Godrej, the magazine stated that," the company is developing customer-relationship software that will enable buyers to track orders and transactions and receive updates through personalised Web pages.Further, about Yes Bank it stated that bank had carved out a niche in the India by using technology to keep costs low while providing "value added services" to its customers.

Apart from the five Indian entities, Bangladesh's Grameen Bank founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus has also reserved a seat on the list. Interestingly, 97 per cent of Grameen Bank's client are women.

Other companies on the list include Alibaba.com, women's apparel maker Bravissimo, vaccum cleaner firm Dyson Direct, publishing house Future, technology consultancy Grupo Inforges, video entertainment firm Hulu and design consultants Ideo.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lilly seals a R&D deal with Zydus

Lilly and Zydus established a collaboration to discover and develop potential drug candidates against a novel target, with the research primarily focused on cardiovascular diseases.

Zydus’ role within this covers drug discovery, lead identification and optimisation and conducting preclinical studies and clinical trials up to Phase II human proof-of-concept. In return Lilly will provide expertise and feedback regarding toxicology, ADME (adsorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion), chemistry, biology, clinical and regulatory aspects when deemed necessary to increase the probability of success. Lilly will also supply the chemical starting points.

The deal includes the option for Lilly to license any of the resulting molecules at different stages of development, with Zydus receiving up to $300m (€226m) in milestone payments. Zydus would also receive royalties from any product that reaches commercialisation.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

another wave of M & A in Pharma

So far three deals that topping $150 billion in value have been announced in the global pharma industry this year. Merck & Co. acquired Schering Plough for $41 billion and Roche announced $47 billion plans to buy an additional 44 per cent in Genentech, and earlier in January, Pfizer had announced the $68 billion purchase of Wyeth. Aimed at cutting costs and bolstering research pipelines, the mergers are reminiscent of the last round of dealmaking in the late 1990s. And at that time it had roiled some Indian subsidiaries.

In 1998, Germany’s Hoechst Marion Roussel merged with France’s Rhone Poulenc to form Aventis. In 2000, US’s Abbott acquired Knoll from Germany’s BASF. In the restructuring that followed, one Indian arm of each “combined” firm was sold. The Indian arms had little in common with their parent firm with decades-old products that had long fallen off the parent’s radar. It was clearly difficult to extrapolate synergies seen from a global merger. The Indian pharma market also figured low in Big Pharma’s priorities at that time but India has recently emerged as an important market. Every MNC knows they need an India piece. Some, such as Merck, that exited in the 1980s are back with a new focus. This time around, there may be no such sell-offs.


BW

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

World economy to shrink below zero: IMF chief

The world economy is likely to shrink to "below zero" this year, in what many are now referring to as the "Great Recession". "The IMF expects global growth to slow below zero this year, the worst performance in most of our lifetimes," IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn told African political and financial leaders in the Tanzanian capital.

"Continued de-leveraging by world financial institutions, combined with a collapse in consumer and business confidence is depressing domestic demand across the globe, while world trade is falling at an alarming rate and commodity prices have tumbled" Strauss-Kahn added.

As advanced countries focus on problems in their own economies, Strauss-Kahn called on the international community not to forget Africa, where regional growth is expected to slow sharply to 3 percent this year, half the rate of the past five years.

Strauss-Kahn warned the projection for 3 percent "may be too optimistic".

"Even though the crisis has been slow in reaching Africa's shores, we all know it is coming and its impact will be severe," he said. "We must ensure that the voices of the poor are heard. We must ensure that Africa is not left out," he added.

He said the crisis threatens to unravel Africa's economic and social success over the last decade and that millions of people will be thrown back into poverty.

"This is not only about protecting economic growth and household incomes - it is also about containing the threat of civil unrest, perhaps even war. It is about people and their futures," he added.

He said the combined impact of economic and financials shocks on Africa's growth will be severe. Financial flows are becoming more scarce, trade financing even scarcer and more expensive and foreign investment in Africa's stock and bond markets has fallen, he added.

"As growth around the world has almost come to a halt, demand for Africa's products is plunging. Tourism revenue is likely to decline as consumers around the world are tightening their belts," Strauss-Kahn said.

Reuters

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is Piramal healthcare on sale!!!!!!!!!!

Piramal healthcare, india’s fifth largest pharmaceutical company by revenues (Rs 2,873 crore in FY 2007-08), may sell its branded generics business, Healthcare Solutions, to focus on contract research and manufacturing services (CRAMS). This is contrary to the perception that promoter Ajay Piramal is selling the entire company.
Its being remoured that Piramal appointed Zurich-headquartered Credit Suisse to look for prospective buyers. UK drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), France’s Sanofi-Aventis and Germany’s Merck KGaA are believed to have shown interest.

Recent media reports suggested that Piramal was in talks for the sale of the entire company. However, Piramal denied this in a 7 February communiqué: “Certain sections of the media have been speculating about a potential sale of the company.

Healthcare Solutions that recorded revenues of Rs 1,291 crore in fiscal 2008, or about 40 per cent of the company’s total revenues, includes a portfolio of products in therapeutic segments ranging from respiratory and anti-infectives to diabetes, marketed only in India.

According to a recent McKinsey study, the Indian market is likely to triple to $20 billion by 2015. While Sanofi-Aventis and Merck have a relatively small presence in India, GSK is one the largest companies in the domestic market after Ranbaxy Laboratories and Cipla. However, GSK’s sales have witnessed poor growth over the last year, at just 2 per cent to Rs 1,752 crore in 2008.

Piramal started investing in Crams, a market estimated at about $800 million in India and growing at 40 per cent every year, almost a decade ago and has made several acquisitions abroad, including Pfizer’s Morpeth plant in the UK in 2006 and Avecia’s custom manufacturing business in 2005, to expand its customer base. The group still needs to transfer more business to India to improve the overall margins of that business.” The process may take longer than expected.

BW

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pfizer bid for Wyeth set to spur consolidation in drug industry

Pfizer Inc's bid to buy rival Wyeth for more than $60 billion is expected to increase the level of competition for capturing the generic drugs market, especially in economies like India. However, before the deal can go through here, it would need an independent valuation of the companies to determine how much shares the investor of each company would hold in a new entity.

New York-based Pfizer, the world's biggest drugmaker, and Wyeth, of Madison, New Jersey, have been negotiating for months, media reports say. The combined company would have annual sales of more than $70 billion, a 45% increase for Pfizer. The deal makes sense in an industry attempting to consolidate to take on the impact of a thinner pipeline of new products and increasing generic competition.

In India, Wyeth is active in antibiotics, steroids, vitamins, vaccines and drugs for the central nervous system and cardiovascular system. For the year ended March 31, 2008, Wyeth Ltd, the Indian arm of the MNC, had sales of Rs 332 crore with a profit after tax of Rs 81 crore. Pfizer India, had a net profit of Rs 340 crore on an income of Rs 1019.76 crore for FY 07. The company will announce its FY08 results this February.

Pfizer has launched five patented products in India after 2005 Vfend, Viagra, Lyrica, Caduet and Macugen. Two of Pfizer India's brands, Corex (cough formulation) and Becosules (multivitamin), continue to rank as the No1 and 2 brands amongst all pharmaceutical drugs produced in India.

Although a buyout of Wyeth will enable Pfizer to enter new segments like antibiotics and women's health in India, some analysts feel the deal will have a minimal impact since Wyeth is selling just a few patented drugs here.

Most MNCs have been reluctant to launch patented products in the Indian market because of slack patent norms in the country.

If one big company makes a move, one can absolutely imagine that triggering off a series of moves..The industry has historically, habitually demonstrated its inability to sit on its hands when someone moves. The question is whether somebody big is going to finally pull the trigger."

Pfizer  must replace more than $12 billion in revenue the company may lose within three years when its Lipitor cholesterol pill, the best-selling medicine in history, faces generic competition. With Wyeth in its fold, Pfizer's earnings may fall as little as 10%, unlike the 23% expected drop when Lipitor loses patent protection in 2011.

IE

A national security index

India  has survived many crises and tackled many challenges over the past 59 years: wars, famines and food shortages, near-bankruptcy on the external account, and the like. Some endemic problems remain, like grinding poverty and poor human development indicators. Another continuing worry, which shows the likelihood of being there for some time to come, is the broad issue of internal security, linked increasingly to the even broader issue of national security (because, for instance, Pakistan has to be part of any internal security calculus). Over the past year, India has suffered many setbacks on this score: there have been the terrorist attacks in a series of cities, culminating with the outrage in Mumbai two months ago. The Maoist challenge has also grown over time, and spread. Uncontrolled illegal immigration from Bangladesh into the border states of West Bengal and Assam certainly poses a security challenge as well as a communal threat. There was also the sudden uprising in the Kashmir valley in the summer, not to mention the question of how good the security detail really is at strategic points like airports. But, of course, the issue goes well beyond these conventional stereotypes.

Global warming is a national security issue—what happens if the sea level rises, or if the melting of Himalayan glaciers dries up some of the country's most important rivers? Energy security is another issue which was driven home this past year, when oil prices at one stage reached $147 per barrel and threatened to derail the economy. Control of strategic industries would be a factor, as would the country's technological capabilities in key areas. When the elements that go into a national security calculus are so varied and complex, how does the country even begin to know whether national security is improving or getting worse? The first step in any managerial challenge is to measure the problem, because only then can anyone track how it is being tackled. This points to the need to construct an annual index with a range of sub-indices, in a manner that carries credibility.

Admittedly, such indices are qualitative and hence a matter of opinion—as is the case with the international rankings that have sprouted on everything from competitiveness to corruption. But measuring the problem is a way of focusing the mind, and that is the first requirement if the country is to get to grips with the issue. For instance, the country is uninformed on the nature of its preparedness, and the quality of equipment, training and manpower in the security forces—until an episode like the one at Mumbai lays the whole thing bare to a shocked public. While some issues will remain secret, as they should, that should not prevent annual reviews. The publication of an annual index incorporating all known elements would lead to discussions, newspaper articles and a general raising of consciousness levels, which would then (hopefully) lead to the required action.


BS



A national security index

India  has survived many crises and tackled many challenges over the past 59 years: wars, famines and food shortages, near-bankruptcy on the external account, and the like. Some endemic problems remain, like grinding poverty and poor human development indicators. Another continuing worry, which shows the likelihood of being there for some time to come, is the broad issue of internal security, linked increasingly to the even broader issue of national security (because, for instance, Pakistan has to be part of any internal security calculus). Over the past year, India has suffered many setbacks on this score: there have been the terrorist attacks in a series of cities, culminating with the outrage in Mumbai two months ago. The Maoist challenge has also grown over time, and spread. Uncontrolled illegal immigration from Bangladesh into the border states of West Bengal and Assam certainly poses a security challenge as well as a communal threat. There was also the sudden uprising in the Kashmir valley in the summer, not to mention the question of how good the security detail really is at strategic points like airports. But, of course, the issue goes well beyond these conventional stereotypes.

Global warming is a national security issue—what happens if the sea level rises, or if the melting of Himalayan glaciers dries up some of the country's most important rivers? Energy security is another issue which was driven home this past year, when oil prices at one stage reached $147 per barrel and threatened to derail the economy. Control of strategic industries would be a factor, as would the country's technological capabilities in key areas. When the elements that go into a national security calculus are so varied and complex, how does the country even begin to know whether national security is improving or getting worse? The first step in any managerial challenge is to measure the problem, because only then can anyone track how it is being tackled. This points to the need to construct an annual index with a range of sub-indices, in a manner that carries credibility.

Admittedly, such indices are qualitative and hence a matter of opinion—as is the case with the international rankings that have sprouted on everything from competitiveness to corruption. But measuring the problem is a way of focusing the mind, and that is the first requirement if the country is to get to grips with the issue. For instance, the country is uninformed on the nature of its preparedness, and the quality of equipment, training and manpower in the security forces—until an episode like the one at Mumbai lays the whole thing bare to a shocked public. While some issues will remain secret, as they should, that should not prevent annual reviews. The publication of an annual index incorporating all known elements would lead to discussions, newspaper articles and a general raising of consciousness levels, which would then (hopefully) lead to the required action.


BS



The road ahead- No where to go???

With the economic slowdown in full throttle, defaults on commercial vehicle loans are on the rise. This will not only hit the fourth quarter results of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) but also affect their ratings.

To avoid further defaults, NBFCs have tightened their purses — some are even demanding down payment of 35 per cent.

With no sign of the recession ending, and with defaults rising, NBFCs are stuck between a rock and a hard place. But some firms are banking on the rural economy. “There was a bumper crop in tier-III cities and was large enough to carry cargo on state highways,” believes some firms.