Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Expanding work into Jordan

A visit to Jordan was fruitful as the writer met many merchants there. The 56th part of a series describing the unknown triumphs and travails of doing international business

 The Indian government had a bilateral agreement with Jordan whereby rock phosphates were regularly imported from this country and we had a great number of items to sell. This Hashemite kingdom had closer relations with Britain, as King Hussain was educated there and was a student of Sandhurst Military Academy.
He was friendly but tough and would not cave in for threats. He had to deal with the Palestinian problem; because of the occupation and expansion of Israeli Zionist rule, more and more people from Palestine became refugees in their own homeland and had to be accommodated in Jordan.  
The west bank of the Jordan River was occupied by force and the displaced people had to find shelter elsewhere. It was Jordan first which had to take the influx of refugees fleeing from their homes. They were welcomed and assisted, and thousands of families stayed in make-shift camps, which, over the years had become permanent features, not only in Jordan, but in Lebanon as well.
No doubt, the Palestinians had also settled down in Syria, as they crossed the land borders, but because of the political system and Syria itself had a large unemployed population, there was not much anything these people could do for their livelihood, as a result of which, they moved to Lebanon. Shatila camp was one of the largest and it lay close to the Beirut International Airport.
Our Ambassador AK Dar was also accredited to Jordan and Cyprus; there was no office as such for the Indian consulate in Nicosia, but we had one in Amman to look after our interests.  Consular work was done there and the representative would come down to meet the ambassador once in a fortnight or so.
There were lots of enquiries from Jordanian merchants, and I decided to make a brief visit to Amman. In the few days that I stayed there, I met a number of active merchants, all of whom spoke good English. I expanded my contacts there and encouraged them to meet us in Beirut, which they frequently visited. Engineer Khalifeh Abdullah was one of the regulars, through whom Indian cast iron industry, especially Kajeco of Agra, benefited the most. Abdullah's Indian visit was after his long discussion with me; he met the EEPC officials in Calcutta and also senior people from RSI (Haik Sookias), DN Singha (Diken), Grand Smithy Works and Vijay from Kajeco in Agra. In the end, after his own trial-and-error methods, it was a lucky connection for Vijay and Abdullah that they were able to strike deals beneficial to both.
On my return, I submitted my report to the Council, and this was to become the next book, "Opportunities for Engineering Goods in Jordan", which as published in December 1973.
The visit to the island nation of Cyprus did renew several contacts with buyers there.  This small island had some inherent political problems; roughly 70% of the population was Cypriot-Greek and the balance of Turkish origin. There was a separate Turkish quarter and although there was a lot of friendliness and movement, it was always a tense situation.
The Cypriot-Greeks spoke Greek and were associated with business and government jobs/contracts. I was able to meet a number of them and introduced the opportunities for getting goods from India. But the main problem remained that there was hardly enough cargo for stopping over to deliver Indian products in Famagusta, their only developed port. Our efforts to make a break-through in Cyprus were unsuccessful.

Meantime, VP Singh our commercial attaché in Beirut was promoted to posting in Canberra, Australia; NK Nair, the commercial attaché in Baghdad was transferred to Beirut; Sharma, the successor of Ganga Lal Casewa in STC was succeeded by Kamal K Mittal and SK Singh, the ambassador from Afghanistan took over from AK Dar.  
With NK Nair's arrival, we hit off well and on his encouragement and support, my visits to Baghdad began in 1973 with frequency, as our relations with this country began to develop on a more serious note than before.

(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US. He can be contacted at [email protected].)


RCom unit files preliminary prospectus for IPO in Singapore

RCom is looking at listing Flag Telecom through a business trust, Global Telecommunications Infrastructure Trust on Singapore Stock Exchange

New Delhi: Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) on Thursday said it has filed a preliminary prospectus with the regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore for listing its undersea unit, Flag Telecom, in Singapore, reports PTI.

RCom is looking at listing Flag Telecom through a Singapore business trust, Global Telecommunications Infrastructure Trust (GTIT) on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is Singapore's central bank and financial regulatory authority.

"The business trust, GTIT, has lodged a copy of the preliminary prospectus with the Monetary Authority of Singapore," RCom said in a statement.

On 12 June 2012, the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Ltd had granted an "eligibility to list" to GTIT, subject to requisite conditions being satisfied.

The IPO is expected to raise about Rs5,000-Rs6,000 crore for the company.

RCom on 10 April 2012 announced that it was evaluating a potential IPO and listing in Singapore of its subsea telecommunications infrastructure network business.

RCom had appointed Deutsche Bank, DBS Singapore, Standard Chartered and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China as bankers to the issue.

Flag Telecom was acquired by the then undivided Reliance Group for $207 million (less than Rs1,000 crore) in 2003.

As part of the telecom portfolio of the erstwhile Reliance group, Flag Telecom later came into the fold of Anil Ambani-led group after the split between two Ambani brothers.

In recent past, RCom has been exploring various routes of raising funds, including selling stake in its telecom tower arm Reliance Infratel, a move that will help the company retire a major chunk of debt on its books.

As of 31 March 2012, the company has a net debt of Rs35,839.3 crore on its books.


Sensex, Nifty up on growth initiatives: Thursday Closing Report

Uptrend to continue with pauses


The range-bound market saw a sharp rise in the noon session on positive news from the government. The development ensured a green close for the third straight day. We had mentioned that uptrend on the Nifty will continue to the level of 5,450, subject to dips. We maintain the stance. Today the benchmark made a higher high and a higher low and closed in the positive. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a higher volume of 78.92 crore shares.

The Indian market opened flat with a mixed bias in the absence of cues from the US markets, which were closed on Wednesday for the Independence Day holiday. Investors also awaited policy decisions from the European Central Bank, which are expected later today.  The Nifty opened six points down at 5,297 and the Sensex resumed trade at 17,478, up 15 points over its previous close.

The indices fell to their intraday lows in initial trade itself on profit booking tracking a mixed trend across Asia. At the lows the Nifty went back to 5,289 and the Sensex fell to 17,423. The market was range-bound amid volatile trade in subsequent trade.

Meanwhile, the rupee recovered marginally in mid-morning trade and was seen at 54.90 to a dollar, after breaching the 55 level earlier. The Indian currency had closed at 54.49 on Wednesday.

Select buying lifted the indices into the positive in late morning trade. The market witnessed a sharp rise in the in the noon session following reports quoting Mauritius foreign ministry officials that the Indian government will not take any steps which would hinder Mauritius economic interests. This apart, the finance ministry is working on a proposal to reduce the incidence of withholding tax on external commercial borrowings (ECB) to encourage Indian companies to raise funds from overseas markets.

These developments helped the market hit its intraday high in the post-noon session. At this point, the Nifty climbed to 5,331 and the Sensex surged to 17,563. The market came off the highs as investors booked profits at higher levels.

The benchmarks settled off the highs with the Nifty gaining 25 points at 5,327 and the Sensex at 17,539, up 76 points over its Friday’s close.

The Asian pack closed mixed as investors awaited the outcome of the ECB policy meeting. Analysts opine that the central bank is likely to cut rates in a bid to spur growth in the crisis-ridden continent.

The Hang Seng gained 0.50%; the KLSE Composite added 0.04%; the Straits Times climbed 0.77% and the KOSPI Composite rose 0.06%. On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite declined 0.50%; the Jakarta Composite fell by 0.15%; the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.27% and the Taiwan Weighted declined 0.47%.

At the time of writing, two of the three key European indices were in the green while the US stock futures were mixed with a negative bias.

Back home, foreign institutional investors  were net buyers of shares totalling Rs239.19 crore on Wednesday while domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities amounting to Rs161.77 crore.


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