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BAJAJ ALLIANZ INVESTS EQUITY IN SKS MICROFINANCE

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Bajaj Allianz, one of India’s leading insurer offering general and life insurance products , has announced a strategic investment of INR 50 crore ($10 million) in SKS Microfinance, India’s largest microfinance institution. .

The equity deal claimed to be the first-ever investment by an insurance company in an Indian microfinance institution (MFI) and signals an important step in the evolution of SKS Microfinance, one of the fastest-growing MFIs in the world.

Announcing this milestone, SKS Microfinance Founder and Chairperson Dr. Vikram Akula said, “An investment in SKS by a mainstream investor such as Bajaj Allianz is a vote of confidence in the company and in microfinance. Investment from a leading private insurer gives SKS greater stability and credibility, as well as a stronger capital base to extend our reach to serve more poor customers.”

MFIs traditionally start off as non-profit organizations and then convert to non-banking finance companies in order to achieve scale. In the initial phase, they attract financing from development banks followed by venture capital and private equity funds. Investment from Bajaj Allianz, marks the next phase in the evolution of microfinance as a safe and mainstream asset class.

SKS Microfinance and Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance partnered in April 2008 to launch India’s first micro-insurance product for the rural poor.

“We are happy with SKS and its unique business model that makes it an ideal vehicle for serving customers at the bottom of the pyramid. It is also in line with our objective of providing security and protection to the most disadvantaged sections of the society through micro-insurance products,” said Kamesh Goyal, Country Manager, Allianz & CEO Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance. Mr Goyal added that the investment follows rigorous due diligence which has created confidence that the investment would generate shareholder value and help build a secure society.

With this investment, SKS Microfinance will further improve its Capital Adequacy Ratio requirements. In recent months, SKS Microfinance has introduced a range of mainstream financial instruments into microfinance. It has issued Non-Convertible Debentures worth INR 250 million that were fully subscribed by YES Bank and also completed a rated pool securitization deal worth INR 1 billion (the pool was rated P1+  by Crisil signifying  ‘highest safety’). SKS also issued Commercial Papers worth INR 250 Million and tied up with Standard Chartered to raise Rs 750 million from the Debt Capital Market and became the first MFI to list its debt security raising the bar on ‘accountability”.

SKS Microfinance currently has a membership base of 4.5 million households and has cumulatively disbursed loans worth over Rs. 8,000 crore.  It has a staff strength of 14,249 across 1,439 branches in 19 Indian states.


Written by sreelakshmi

2 July, 2009 at 10:00 pm

D&B Business Optimism Index for Q2 2009 declines by only 2% (q-o-q) as against a 31% drop in Q1 2009 (q-o-q)

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The Dun & Bradstreet Composite Business Optimism Index for Q2 2009 fell to a new low of 93.8, after touching 95.7 in Q1 2009. As compared to the previous quarter, the Composite Optimism Index declined by around 2%. However, the pace of contraction is lower as compared to the previous quarter; in Q1 2009 the Composite Optimism Index fell by 31% (q-o-q). On a y-o-y basis, the BOI for Q2 2009 recorded a decrease of 39% as against a decline of 43% in Q1 2009. Based on the responses received, it was observed that five out of the six optimism indices – namely, volume of sales, net profits, selling prices, new orders, and employee levels have registered a decline as compared to the previous quarter. Only one out of the six optimism indices – inventory levels – increased by seven percentage point as compared to the previous quarter. 

“While the BOI shows marginal improvement, sentiment continues to be dampened. Less than expected growth in GDP numbers is likely to have dented corporate confidence. Decline in industrial production for two consecutive months (Dec & Jan) and in exports for five months in a row (Oct-Jan) remains a cause for concern. However, 52% of BOI survey respondents expecting an increase in New Orders is a positive sign.”, said Kaushal Sampat, Chief Operating Officer, Dun & Bradstreet – India.”Going forward, the outcome of the forthcoming parliamentary elections and stability of the ensuing Government will play a key role in determining business expectations over the next quarter. The rapidly evolving dynamics of the global economy over the coming months will continue to have an impact on domestic business sentiment” he added.

Demand conditions are expected to remain subdued during Q2 2009. While about 50% of the respondents anticipate an increase in sales volume, as many as 27% of the respondents expect the sales volume to decline in Q2 2009. The resultant Optimism for Volume of Sales remained unchanged at 23% (this is the lowest value since Q1 2002) compared to the previous quarter. However, the resultant Optimism for Volume of Sales has declined by as much as 40 percentage points as compared to Q2 2008.

Profit expectations of the Indian corporate sector continued to taper further with as many as 28% of the respondents anticipating a fall in their net profits in the forthcoming quarter. Approximately 46% of the respondents expect an increase in profits during Q2 2009, while as many as 26% expect no change in profits. The resultant Optimism for Net Profits declined by around 5 percentage points compared to the previous quarter and stands at 18% (a 27 quarter low).

With moderating demand conditions, lowering input costs and the extension of excise duty cuts beyond 31-Mar-09, as many as 78% of the respondents expect the selling prices of their products to decline or remain unchanged in Q2 2009. While about 22% of the respondents expect selling prices of their products to increase, about 26% expect to witness a decline in their selling prices during Q2 2009. The resultant Optimism for Selling Prices stands at -4%, the lowest value registered since Q1 2002.

Approximately 52% of the respondents expect their order book position to improve (an increase of 4 percentage points from the previous quarter), while around 27% anticipate a decrease in the number of new orders during Q2 2009. The resultant Optimism for New Orders stands at 25% (a 27 quarter low) marginally lower compared to 26% in the previous quarter.

While about 34% of the respondents expect their level of stock to increase, around 48% expect to witness no change in their inventory levels during the Apr-Jun 09 quarter. Approximately 18% expect their level of stock to decline during Q2 2009 as compared to 22% during the previous quarter. The resultant Optimism for Inventory Levels stands at 16% an increase of around 7 percentage points as compared to Q1 2009.

The majority of respondents anticipate no change in the size of the workforce employed during Q2 2009. Approximately 65% of the respondents intend to keep the number of employees unchanged. While 24% of the respondents expect an increase in the number of employees, 11% expect a decline. The resultant Optimism for Employees stands at 13% for the Apr-Jun 09 quarter, a decrease of around 8 percentage points as compared to the previous quarter.

For more information see boi-q2-apr09-final

Take advantage of the opportunities the British Midlands offers Indian companies

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The British Midlands is a UK government-funded organisation, that comprises two of the nine UK-based regional development agencies East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) and Advantage West Midlands (AWM) who work together to offer support to all international businesses looking to invest in the British Midlands region. The British Midlands region, which is the largest commercial centre outside London, has always been a favoured investment destination for Indian engineering, manufacturing and automotive companies. India is among the top ten countries to have invested into the UK in the last couple of years. At present there are over 50 Indian-owned companies in the British Midlands region and this is expected to double in the next few years.

The benefits of investing in British Midlands

  • UK’s primary manufacturing region with a GDP of $ 176 billion which is 15% of GDP is the British Midlands
  • Proximity to the city of London
  • 25% cheaper than London with same quality of skill sets and standard of living
  • Strategic location for access to Europe’s 400 million inhabitants
  • Property rates – 28% less than that of London
  • Excellent linkages – air, water, road and rail transportation – 180 plus flights to Europe, US and Middle East
  • Excellent Research facilities with 17 world class universities
  • Largest freight hub outside London in UK
  • Largest concentration of Indian population in the region in UK

The region has expertise in the following sectors which enables it to be the primary manufacturing region in the UK:

Engineering Cluster in The British Midlands

The Engineering Sector in The British Midlands is part of the Transportation technologies cluster. This broad cluster includes many sub-clusters such as Automotive and Performance Engineering, Railways and Aerospace.

Credentials in Automotive and Performance Engineering Cluster

About 900 automotive companies (1/3rd of UK) are in The British Midlands. 51% of all UK car production takes place in The British Midlands. 25% of all motorsport companies in UK are based in the British Midlands, including engine manufacturers, race and rally preparation companies, and race car construction teams. 40% of all Formula One engines are made in the British Midlands. The region’s racing circuits include Silverstone (the UK’s premier motorsport venue and home to Formula 1), Donington Park, Mallory Park, Rockingham Motor Speedway and Santa Pod Raceway (the UK’s leading drag racing venue) and the British Midlands has established an international reputation in motorsport engineering and technology.

Europe’s largest road distribution centre, Magna Park, is located here, along with three dedicated rail freight terminals providing intermodal road and rail transportation and customs facilities.

Mile-long trains can travel from Eurohub in Corby direct to Paris.

Credentials in Railways

Over 1000 companies are directly involved in the rail industry. Derbyshire is the focal point for the UK rail industry. It is uniquely placed to offer virtually all of the skills needed to design, build and run a modern transportation network. University of Birmingham has a dedicated Railway Research Centre, involved in industry-wide research to improve the safety and efficiency of rail travel.

Credentials in Aerospace

There are more than 600 aerospace companies located here. The British Midlands is home to nearly 27% of all suppliers to the UK aerospace industry and contributes over 43% of the value of the country’s supplies. The region’s long association with the aerospace industry began with the development of the jet engine, RADAR and the Spitfire Credentials in Research & Development Credentials. Motor Industry Research Association, Europe’s leading independent automotive research, design and development centre houses test facilities in the region.

It has 26 test laboratories and 50 m of test tracks, used by over 800 companies worldwide. It has conducted research for MG (Lola Le Mans cars), Rob Beere Racing, T-Cars formula, Peugeot Rally and Prodrive’s Subaru team.

Coventry is a magnet for companies carrying out R&D for the automotive industry – Lotus, Corus and Lear have all established major bases here. The Ford College in Loughborough is a ground-breaking initiative which is benchmarking standards of professionalism for the auto dealerships industry. The Motorsport Industry Association has over 220 members, who do over $ 960 m of motorsport business worldwide. QinetiQ, the largest research and development organization in Western Europe, has 8,000 scientists in the region. Toyota has established its own Training Centre on a 1.2 acre site within the grounds of Nottingham Trent University.

Loughborough University and Warwick University offer leading edge research, development and test facilities specific to the motorsports industry. The British Midlands is internationally acknowledged as a world centre of automotive technology innovation. Its expertise extends across design, fabrication, engine technology, transmission, electronic systems, components and chassis. The Rolls Royce University Technology Centre in Birmingham carries out ground-breaking research and development work on titanium based materials for the aerospace industry. The Rolls Royce University Technology Centre in Nottingham researches advanced aero engine technologies. Research at Warwick Manufacturing Group has led to numerous breakthroughs and innovations for the aerospace industry. Warwick is a partner in ENHANCE (Enhanced Aeronautical Concurrent Engineering) which aims to reduce the time-to-market and cost of development of aeronautical products.

Apart from this, the region has 17 universities that produce 7,000 engineering and technology graduates annually.

For more details visit: www.thebritishmidlands.com

Written by sreelakshmi

16 March, 2009 at 5:46 pm

iSOFT reports First Half Year Revenue Up by 168%

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iSOFT, an IBA Health Group Company (ASX: IBA), Australia’s largest listed health information technology company announced its release of first-half yearly results ending on 31 December, 2008. iSOFT follows the financial year from July to June.

For the half year ended 31 December 2008, the total revenue of iSOFT on a standalone basis, stood at A$275.4 (US$176.7) million, up by 168% from the first half yearly revenue of A$102.8 (US$66) million. The company’s net profit for the first six months increased to A$10.3 (US$6.6) million, compared to a loss of A$1.1 (US$0.7) million in the previous corresponding period. Underlying EBITDA was A$67.5 (US$43.3) million, up 161% from A$25.8 (US$16.6) million.

Executive Chairman and CEO of iSOFT, Gary Cohen said: “We have achieved profitable revenue growth in the first half, driven by solid recurring revenues across all our geographies. We are continuing to benefit from global investment in health IT by governments worldwide, and the computerisation of healthcare records”.

“We have been able to sustain continual all round business growth considering both financials as well as human resource factors”, said Mr. S Govind, Managing Director, iSOFT. “iSOFT’s business proposition arises from our experience and deep understanding of the healthcare vertical which generally faces minimal impact while other industries might be affected by the turbulent economies”.

iSOFT Financial Highlights: H1-09 VS H1-08:


H1-09

Million A$

H1-08

Million A$

% Change

Revenue

275.4

102.8

168%

Reported EBITDA

67.5

25.8

161%

Underlying EBITDA

68.5

33.7

103%

Reported EBIT

41.9

12.6

232%

Reported NPAT

10.3

(1.1)

N/A

Underlying NPAT (after minorities)

25.8

12.9

100%

Earnings per share (basic) in cts

1.20

(0.20)

N/A

Underlying EPS

3.17

2.07

53%

Cash at end of period

44.1

55.7

(21)%

Net cash from operating activities

(12.9)

8.2

N/A

iSOFT Financial Highlights – 12 Months YTD


H1 09 + H2 08

Million A$

H1 09

Million A$

Revenue 533.5 275.4
Reported EBITDA 138.0 67.5
EBITDA Margin 26% 25%
Underlying EBITDA 140.4 68.5
Depreciation (8.7) (4.5)
Amortisation (40.2) (21.1)
Impairment (2) (5.1) –
Reported EBIT 83.9 41.9
Finance cost (46.2) (26.6)
Income tax (11.6) (4.9)
Reported NPAT 26.1 10.3
Underlying NPAT (after minorities) 56.4 25.8
Earnings per share (basic) in cts 3.35 1.20
Underlying EPS

7.12

3.17

Net cash from operating activities 46.4 (12.9)

Written by sreelakshmi

12 March, 2009 at 10:30 am

Fortis announces yet another buoyant quarter

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Fortis Healthcare Ltd., one of India’s leading chain of private hospitals with a network of 26 hospitals (including 11 satellite and heart command centres)* with a capacity of ~ 3000 beds, today announced its unaudited consolidated results for the 3rd quarter and 9 months ended 31st December 2008.

Quarter ended 31st December 2008 (Q3 FY09)

  • For the third quarter, the Company reported 33% growth in operating revenue as compared to corresponding quarter in the last fiscal. Aggressive strategies adopted to increase number of facilities and specialties across Fortis network have lead to the buoyant growth.
  • EBIDTA margins for the quarter stood at 18%, up from 15% in the corresponding quarter. On absolute basis the EBIDTA grew by 47%.
  • The net profit stood at Rs 5.1 Crore as compared to a loss of Rs 6.8 Crore in the corresponding quarter last year. On a trailing quarter basis, the net profit before exceptional items grew by 38%.
  • Escorts Delhi completed 20 years in providing tertiary care in the field of Cardiac Sciences. Earlier during the financial year, Escorts was awarded “Super Brand” status by Super Brand India, as acknowledgement of its strong brand equity.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Shivinder Mohan Singh, Managing Director, Fortis Healthcare Ltd., said, “A continuous strong focus on delivering consistent quality care and operating efficiencies across the network is leading to a higher level of patient trust and FORTIS brand recognition. This brand recognition has also led us to expand our network aggressively”.

9 Months ended 31st December 2008 (9MFY09)

  • Operating revenues of the company grew by 22% over the corresponding period to Rs 458 Crore. All the hospitals recorded increase in revenues ranging from 13% to 53%, with notable performance by Amritsar, Mohali, Noida and Escorts Delhi.
  • For the same period, the operating revenues for the entire network hospitals stood at Rs 542 Crore, registering a growth of 24%.
  • EBIDTA grew by 77% from Rs 47 Crore to Rs 83 Crore. EBIDTA margins for the period stood at 17%, up from 12% for the corresponding period.
  • Growth in revenues together with expanded gross margins and optimization of operating costs has resulted into a net profit of Rs 16 Crore as compared to a loss of Rs 45.6 Crore in the corresponding period last year.

The company, in line with its vision to become a globally respected Healthcare Organization, continues to add new hospitals to its network in an aggressive manner. Fortis Clinique Darne a 120 bedded hospital in Mauritius, the first international foray of the Company is expected to provide firsthand experience of managing healthcare delivery in developed market and will go a long way in attracting Medical Value Travel to India.

Consequent to acquisition of majority stake, Fortis Hospital Seshadripuram has started to re-position its medical program in order to add new specialties and elevate the level of medical care. This is Fortis’s second venture in South. With the strategy to expand its network rapidly and to strengthen presence in west, Fortis recently took over the operation and management of a 200 bedded hospital (now known as Fortis Modi Hospital) in Kota.

The overall performance for the period has been encouraging and tracking as per plan with most of the hospitals constantly setting new milestones in terms of operating and financial parameters. The continuous endeavour to deliver high quality medical care coupled with patient centric approach shall remain the core foundation for strengthening the FORTIS Brand

The Muthoot Group opens its 1000th branch at Vazhakkala

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The Muthoot Group, A Muthoot M George Enterprise, today announced the opening of their 1000th branch at Vazhakkala, Kochi, Kerala. The 122 year old Rs. 20,000 crores business conglomerate today has diverse interests in 16 business verticals ranging from Financial Services, Infrastructure & Housing, Information Technology, Power Generation, Hospitality to Healthcare & Education. The group has a presence in 20 states across the country and international presence in the UK and UAE.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. M. G. George Muthoot, Chairman, The Muthoot Group, A Muthoot M George Enterprise, said “It is a matter of extreme pride for us to have grown from 450 to 1000 branches in a span of less than three years. With every new branch, and with the addition of every new Muthoot customer, we re-iterate our commitment to ensuring trustworthy flawless services coupled with our unblemished track record of 122 years. We aim to operationalize 1500 branches by the end of FY 2010.” “Our steadfast resilience and complete dedication towards our customers spread across India and even overseas has provided us the zeal to innovate constantly and to offer customer-centric products & services,” he added.


Mr. M. G. George Muthoot, Chairman, The Muthoot Group, A Muthoot M George Enterprise addressing the media at the opening of the group’s 1000th Branch

The group established in the year 1887 by Mr. Ninan Mathai Muthoot, whose ‘2 elephants in unison’ logo denotes strength & stability, The Muthoot Group, A Muthoot M George Enterprise firmly believes in its values of honesty, integrity and determination.

The financial services division of the Group, Muthoot Finance was established in 1939 under the leadership of Mr. M. George Muthoot. It offers multiple services including retail gold finance, deposits, money transfer, insurance, precious metals and foreign exchange to name a few. Muthoot Finance has served over 250 million customers and has a customer footfall of around 30,000 every day seeking retail gold finance. The vast branch network of Muthoot Finance enables the Group to cross and up-sell various products and services of the other verticals of the Group.

Muthoot Finance is the pioneer in ‘Retail Gold Finance’ and is the largest player in this segment worldwide. In continuation of its tradition in revolutionizing the retail gold finance, it has conceptualized ‘5-Minute Gold Power Loans’. This is the fastest and the most hassle-free way to avail loans at the most attractive rates against Gold.

The Muthoot Group, A Muthoot M George Enterprise is actively looking at opportunities for inorganic growth in healthcare, travel related services and entertainment. The Hospitality division of the group has plans of launching a 7-Star Deluxe Hotel in Kochi amongst its other plans for the current fiscal. The Group has also launched its global arm “Muthoot Global“, which mainly deals in Wealth Management, Cash Transfer & Gifting and has a presence in the UK and UAE and plans to expand the network and diversify its foreign operations in the immediate future to more shores outside the country.

For more information, please visit www.muthootgroup.com

iSOFT signs deals for US $11.3m with two hospitals in Netherlands

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iSOFT, an IBA Health Group company, announced that it has signed contracts with two major hospital groups in the Netherlands totalling US $ 11.3 million.

In the largest deal, Erasmus MC (medical centre) in Rotterdam has renewed its contract for iSOFT’s hospital information systems for a further five years. The US $ 8.24 million contract includes licenses, maintenance and support. Erasmus MC is the university hospital of Rotterdam and the country’s largest medical school with 1,500 students.

Hospital Diaconessenhuis Leiden, a major teaching hospital in Leiden, has also renewed its contract for iSOFT’s hospital information systems and support in a three-year agreement worth US $ 3.06 million. During the contract period, Hospital Diaconessenhuis Leiden will work with iSOFT to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of patients’ treatment.

Gary Cohen, IBA’s Executive Chairman and CEO, said: “We are now seeing the benefits of our renewed commitment to servicing our customers in the Netherlands since the acquisition of iSOFT 15 months ago. We are winning their confidence, and expect more customers to follow.”

Dr J G Den Hollander, the Diaconessenhuis Leiden Hospital’s Director of Operations, said: “iSOFT is a proven supplier providing trusted software applications, reliable support and trouble-free service. iSOFT’s systems help us to improve the quality of information for clinical staff and quality of care for patients. These are also fundamental to improving efficiency and effectiveness while driving down costs.”

Peter Herrmann, Managing Director of iSOFT Central Europe, said: “Our technologies not only create connections between existing systems, they create value by adding new functionality, and they’re also designed to integrate perfectly with developing technologies over the coming years. That’s the winning combination we provide – products that are both highly efficient and future-proof.”