Forster’s exit not to impact JLR turnaround: Tata Motors

Reacting to market speculation that Forster's exit could have an impact on its two brands and their turnaround, a company spokesperson said: "It would be wrong to credit Jaguar Land Rover's turnaround to Carl-Peter Forster"

New Delhi: Tata Motors today said the sudden exit of its Group CEO and managing director Carl-Peter Forster will not impact the future of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), stating that "it would be wrong to credit" the former executive for turning around the British marquee, reports PTI.

Reacting to market speculation that Forster's exit, at a time when sales of JLR have not been encouraging, could have an impact on its two brands and their turnaround, a company spokesperson said: "It would be wrong to credit Jaguar Land Rover's turnaround to Carl-Peter Forster."

He said the turnaround in JLR commenced 24 months ago, while Mr Forster had joined Tata Motors in February 2010.

After the downturn of 2008-09, JLR made operating profit of Rs325.27 crore in the quarter ended September 2009 that propelled Tata Motors' consolidated net profit to Rs21.78 crore, as against a loss of Rs941.75 crore in the same period a year ago.

According to the spokesperson, the turnaround of JLR was "following the successful efforts made by the management team to cut costs and the successful introduction of the new Jaguar XJ and XF sedans".

"The Jaguar Land Rover business has been following the operating plans put in place after Tatas took over the business," he added.

For the first quarter ended 30 June 2011, Tata Motors group posted a net profit of Rs1,999.62 crore as compared to Rs1,988.73 crore for the quarter ended 30 June 2010.

Reacting to Mr Forster's resignation, whose exit was announced after the market hours last Friday, the Tata Motors' scrip fell 0.41% on the BSE to Rs145.35 per share.

Market watchers had pointed out that his exit has not come at the right time as JLR sales have been not so encouraging this fiscal.

In the April-July period this fiscal, sales of Jaguar Land Rover were 81,209 units, up 6%. During the period, Jaguar sales were down 26% at 15,715 units while that of Land Rover were at 65,494 units, up 18%.

When he joined Tata Motors in February 2010, Mr Forster was given the overall responsibility of Tata Motors operations globally, including Jaguar Land Rover.


Explosion at nuclear plant in southern France

It was not immediately clear how serious the accident was or whether there were any victims. The Marcoule site is located in Langedoc Roussillon, in southern France, near the Mediterranean Sea

Paris: An explosion rocked the Marcoule nuclear plant in southern France today, reports PTI quoting the country's nuclear safety body and local authorities.

It was not immediately clear how serious the accident was or whether there were any victims. The Marcoule site is located in Langedoc Roussillon, in southern France, near the Mediterranean Sea.

Evangelia Petit of the Agency for Nuclear Safety said Monday an explosion had taken place but declined to provide any further details. Officials in the Gard region confirmed Monday's explosion but also would not elaborate.

The local Midi Libre newspaper, on its website, said an oven exploded at the plant, killing one person and seriously injuring another.

No radiation leak was reported, the report said, adding that no quarantine or evacuation orders were issued for neighbouring towns.

Three other people have been hospitalized with lighter injuries in the explosion, the paper said.

The accident occurred at 11:45am (0945 GMT, 5:45am EDT) in a plant that treats nuclear waste operated by a subsidiary of France's EDF electricity company, the report said.

In Vienna, an official at the IAEA, who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on record, said the agency was in contact with French authorities "trying to learn more on the nature of the explosion."


Asset allocation rules can turn out to be terribly misleading

Whether it’s equity versus debt, or debt and gold, perhaps even developed markets against emerging markets, the allocation formulas just don’t seem to be working as well as before. Models based on past data which are validated only against that past data, it seems, have limited validity

The concept of allocation is usually considered one of the main guiding principles for safe investing. The idea is that you are supposed to be diversified in various stocks or asset classes. This elementary risk management tool seems to be common sense. It is even reflected in the English expression "don't put all of your eggs in one basket". It is not only English. Almost the exact phase exists in French. The Chinese follow the example of an animal; the smart rabbit has three holes. There is no question that in life it is always a good idea to have alternatives. But for investors, especially recently, the practice may not always result in achieving its goal.

Money managers, financial analysts, and even courts are fond of asset allocation rules. One of the most common involves the allocation between stocks and bonds. The 'safe allocation' is supposed to be 60% of a portfolio in equity and 40% in bonds. So sacred is this allocation that it has a corollary based on age. At age 25 you are supposed to have 75% of your assets in stocks and 25% in bonds. By age 50 the portfolios should be balanced, because as you approach retirement you naturally want less risk. I recently saw a form from a US bank that went even further. It had about eight categories of risk tolerance each, with its own set of allocations from 'no risk' which would be 100% cash, to 'high risk' which would be 100% equities.
The problem with these rules is that they can be terribly misleading. For example, a solid portfolio is supposed to be made up of different stocks. The theory is that the movement of an individual stock is supposed to be based on an individual company's financial fundamentals. This concept is the basis of a vast industry of stock analysis and stock picking. Recently this has not been the case. Stocks have risen and fallen together without regard to their fundamentals. The correlation of the 250 biggest stocks in the US S&P stock index over the past month had been the highest since 1987 at 81%.

Other relationships have exhibited some novel patterns. In theory, owning government bonds and gold should be a good allocation because they tend to move in opposite directions. Gold is traditionally a hedge against inflation. When an economy is growing rapidly and inflation is rising, you should own gold. In contrast, inflation is the enemy of government bonds since their value is diminished and the returns may result in negative yields.

But recently, US treasuries and gold have risen together. The explanation is that they are both supposed to be "safe havens". Although I can't think of anything safe about buying either asset. Gold may be at the top of a bubble. Deflation may be more of a problem than inflation, while the value of dollar-denominated US treasuries continues to fall relative to other currencies.

Owning both emerging and developed markets is a recommended allocation. The idea is based on the theory that emerging markets have somehow 'decoupled' from developed markets. Emerging markets are supposedly growing rapidly regardless of recessions in developed markets. The reality is that they are closely correlated. A perfect match would yield a beta of 1. An ETF that tracks the MSCI Emerging Market Index has a beta of 1.14. Emerging markets track developed markets, but are more volatile. They outperform when the S&P is in a bull market and underperform during bear markets.

According to a recent theory, commodities like oil, metals, or agriculture are supposed to be negatively correlated with markets. Such a negative correlation should make them ideal for asset allocation as a good hedge. Sadly this is not the case. Over some periods they are negatively correlated, but over the past three years booming equity markets have also meant booming commodities prices.

Alternative investments like hedge funds and private equity are another asset class that are supposed to be a good place to put your eggs. This strategy gained popularity among pension funds due to the success in the 1980s of a manager of the endowment of Yale, a prestigious American university. What may have worked then, does not necessarily work now. As many as 89% of hedge funds are below their 2006-2007 highs. It is difficult to value private equity except for the listed funds. Some famous ones like 3i has fallen 30% and Blackstone has fallen 64% since it was listed in 2007.

Markets are dynamic systems. Creating models based on past data which are validated only against that past data have limited validity. In science we can create the theories with general applications because the rules are consistent and inviolable. Markets do not have this luxury as long as governments continue to introduce chaos into a system constantly changed by financial innovation.

(The writer is president of Emerging Market Strategies and can be contacted at [email protected]  or [email protected].)



Narendra Doshi

5 years ago

Very true William.
One must constantly review and learn to swim (make money)in the environment market puts you in. Pl learn to live in the present. Past is only a guide. Also, different people (even with the SAME ASSET ALLOCATION) may react differently. Have confidence in your rationale and keep continuously testing the same to have more wealth created, over time.

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