Former Satyam chief declared a ‘pauper’ in the US

A United States court has declared the disgraced former chief of Satyam Computer, Ramalinga Raju, as a pauper, which exempts him from paying court costs

Ramalinga Raju, the infamous former Satyam chief—who last year confessed to having cooked the books of the Indian IT company—has been declared a ‘pauper’ by a US court, exempting him from paying court costs, reports PTI.

The ‘pauper’ status was also conferred on Raju’s brother, Rama Raju, Satyam's former chief executive officer, and Srinivas Vadlamani, the company's former head of finance, by New York judge Barabara S Jones.

The defendants had in October 2009, filed an ‘in forma pauperis’ and for the appointment for a pro bono counsel.

According to court documents, the accused stated they are "unable to engage an attorney in the US to defend (themselves) in the class-action litigation and to pay any court fees or to meet any financial obligations which might be imposed by this court".

"The court finds that (the) defendants have adequately demonstrated that they are unable to pay costs as described in the federal law," US District Judge Jones said and proceeded to approve the ‘pauper’ status on the trio.

The judge, however, denied the request for a pro bono counsel as the "defendants are incarcerated in a foreign country and it would be unusually difficult for the appointed counsel to meet and otherwise competently represent (the) defendants under the circumstances".

The IT company, which has now been taken over by Tech Mahindra, was mired in an unprecedented controversy early in 2009, when its then chief Mr Raju had admitted to falsifying Satyam’s books by more than $1 billion.

In November last year, a CBI probe found that the fraud was 40% larger than originally estimated.

The former CEO of Satyam is since being held in India.




7 years ago

They say law is an .................................

14 stocks that fell even as Sensex rose 100%

While most stocks successfully rode piggyback on the market rally last year, some stocks actually fell. One of the reasons these stocks have failed to capture the upsurge in the market is their dubious antecedents. 

From a low of 8,160 on 9 March 2009, the Sensex has surged over 100%, taking with it most companies on a dizzying price rise. However, several companies have missed the boat completely, actually moving in the opposite direction. With the overall rally now losing steam, these stocks look set to ride the cold wave a while longer.

Between 9 March 2009 and 27 January 2010, the Sensex has shot upwards from 8,160 to 16,290, a phenomenal rise of 100%. However, out of the 1,328 companies in the Moneylife database, 14 companies have shown negative stock price growth.

Among the prominent losers are Austral Coke & Projects and Ackruti City, which have crashed 56% and 51%, respectively, during this bull phase. Vishal Information Technologies, Anu’s Laboratories and Bang Overseas have also lost out in a big way, having declined 45%, 43% and 39%, respectively.

Cranes Software, which was trading at Rs38.70 on 9 March 2009, is now at Rs23.85, a fall of 38% despite its fame as a different kind of software company. K Sera Sera Productions and Northgate Technologies also shared the same fate, having shot downwards by 26% and 22%, respectively.

Among the larger companies, Tata Communications and Orissa Sponge Iron & Steel have disappointed investors. Tata Communications has slipped 21% to Rs322.70 from Rs406.50 at the start of the period. Orissa Sponge Iron & Steel has fallen 18% over the same period.

Other laggards include Rasoi, Disa India and GSL Nova Petrochemicals, which have fallen 13%, 11% and 10%, respectively over this period. The share price of Lotus Eye Care Hospital remained virtually unchanged during this period.

One of the reasons these stocks have failed to capture the upsurge in the markets since last year is their dubious antecedents. Austral Coke made an IPO under a controversy—its promoters were seemingly locked in a legal war with the promoters of Gujarat NRE Coke. Ackruti City’s accounting was impenetrable.
Bang Overseas and K Sera Sera were never known for high quality of management. 


Kaya impact still remains skin deep for Marico

With 100 centres under its belt, Kaya has penetrated the best of Indian urban locations. And yet, it is still making losses

Marico’s experiment with services business is still not bearing fruit. Kaya clinic, its speciality skin-care business, again made losses in the December quarter. Marico has been expanding its Kaya business steadily but this has not yet added much to the bottom-line. It opened the 100th Kaya clinic in Guwahati recently, with its services now spanning 27 cities in India and nine cities in the Middle East.

Having penetrated 100 cities, Kaya may have reached a saturation level in India. If so, it is worrying that it continues to lose money heavily. During Q3FY10, Kaya’s skin-care turnover grew by just 10% to Rs44 crore over Q3FY09.

However, this meant a sequential decline of about 9% over the turnover achieved during Q2FY10. The Kaya skin-care business incurred a loss of Rs 3.7 crore during Q3FY10. Marico argues that this business has been impacted by the overall economic downturn, given the discretionary nature of consumer spending on skin care. However, this does not ring true, since there was no slowdown in sales in the December quarter.

Meanwhile, Marico’s overall operating margin has risen to 16% from 15% in the same quarter last year. This was mainly due to a decline in the input commodity prices. The price of copra, which accounts for about 40% of the company’s raw material cost, was 22% lower than in Q3FY09. Similarly, market prices of safflower oil, comprising about 13% of the company’s raw material cost, were 28% lower than in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Marico’s flagship brand, Parachute, achieved a volume growth of about 8% (in rigid packs) over Q3FY09. Parachute’s share in the coconut oil segment now stands at a healthy 45.9%.

The refined edible oils franchise of Saffola, Marico’s second flagship brand, continued to show healthy volume growth. During Q3FY10, the franchise grew by about 18%.

During the quarter, Marico’s hair-oils segment grew 10% in volume over the same period in the previous year. Marico’s basket of hair oils—including Parachute Jasmine, Nihar perfumed hair oil, Hair & Care and Shanti Badam Amla—maintained its market share at 21% during the 12 months ending December 2009.
Marico’s international business, which accounts for 23% of its turnover, grew by over 24% in Q3FY10.

During the Q3FY10 quarter, Marico managed a turnover of Rs670 crore, a growth of 8% over Q3FY09. Pre-tax profit was up 24%.


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