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Showing posts from August, 2010

Do we need Vedanta's Aluminium ?

I remember peering through the rain lashed windscreen of a helicopter as we came in for landing at Enron's infamous power generation site at Dabhol. Despite the monsoon winds and accompanying turbulence, the ride was exhilirating, mostly for the amazing scenery just below us, the virgin Konkan coastline that is India's west coast. The year was 1995 I think.

The site was awash with activity, with the usual hubub of construction machinery, excavated earth and helmeted workers. The pace seemed impressive, though litigation would soon bring it to a grinding halt. As I looked around and now think back, one question has kept nagging me, in the air, on the ground, then and now. Why was this power plant here, in the middle of nowhere ?

There were many sound answers provided by the powers that be. One reason was the power plant would run on gas or naptha which could be best procured if the ships came right upto the coast and unloaded the energy source. Or it would come via pipelines fr…

The End of Making Money From Money ?

I had a young visitor from New York the other day. He was exploring openings and opportunities in investment banking. Back there, he told me, everyone was talking about India. And having landed here, he was struck by the exuberance and yet, couldn't help contrast the potholes against Mumbai's property prices. I thought as we spoke, that financial services, often the business of making money from money, depended on such exuberance. And give or take a few blimps, we've had it in abundance. But how long would it would last in the present form ?

In the past I have often pitied banks and their seemingly vulnerable savings accounts. After all, I am bombarded with a continuous stream of messages telling me how to make more money from money. "Take your money out of your bank, DON'T leave it lying there," is the essential text hammered consistently. Invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, gold, silver, property and of course, clever insurance schemes.

A Vast, Global Ind…