Ketchum acquires majority stake in India’s Sampark PR

Global public relations consultancy, Ketchum has acquired a majority stake in Sampark PR.

Sampark PR, one of the leading PR networks in India, has broad national reach with offices located in Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad and a network of 80 associate offices that extends throughout the country's 25 states, providing greater inroads into India for Ketchum's roster of international client businesses and global brands. In turn, Ketchum will provide greater access to international markets for blue-chip and burgeoning Indian companies and brands, many of which are turning to communications to help build and support their reputations.

Sampark PR was founded in 1994 by Bela Rajan and NS Rajan, who, as director and managing director, will continue to lead the India business and will retain a significant holding in the agency going forward. It will operate as Ketchum Sampark.

Ketchum Sampark handles a combination of Indian domestic clients and Ketchum global network clients across a broad range of industries, including automotive, finance, healthcare, technology and travel, among others.


FIIs invest over $1.5 billion in Indian equities in 5 sessions

Till 11th April, FIIs were gross buyers of shares worth Rs23,202.20 crore, while they sold equities amounting to Rs16,095.80 crore, resulting in a net investment of Rs7,106.50 crore or $1.6 billion, as per SEBI data

Mumbai: Bullish foreign fund houses have invested over $1.5 billion (about Rs7,100 crore) in the Indian equity market in the first five trading sessions of this month, reports PTI.

Till 11th April, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were gross buyers of shares worth Rs23,202.20 crore, while they sold equities amounting to Rs16,095.80 crore, resulting in a net investment of Rs7,106.50 crore or $1.6 billion, as per the data available with the capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

According to analysts, FIIs have been pumping funds into India because of its strong growth potential and feels that in the coming days too, the foreign fund houses are likely to infuse money in the Indian bourses.

"The FII continued to witness inflows in April after having a good supply of money in the last month. One reason could be the expectation of good corporate earnings," SMC Capitals equity head Jagannathan Thunuguntla said.

Besides, foreign fund houses were negative on the debt market and pulled out Rs1,227 crore or $275.94 million. This takes the overall net investments by FIIs into stocks and bonds to a total of Rs5,879.50 crore or about $1.32 billion.

In January 2011, overseas investors had pulled out Rs4,813.20 crore from the stock market. The outflow continued in February, too, with Rs4,585.50 crore being taken out from equities but the scenario changed in March, when they were net investors of equities worth Rs6,749.60 crore.

This has taken the gross purchases of equities in the country by FIIs so far this year to over Rs1.91 lakh crore. After taking into account the outgo of Rs1.86 lakh crore, overseas investors have made a net investment of Rs4,605.60 crore.


Households expect high inflation to persist, climb to over 13% by end 2011, says RBI survey

Quarterly survey discovers urban households believe that higher food prices will continue to keep inflation high

Mumbai: Urban households expect inflationary pressure to continue through 2011 and they feel there may not be any softening of food prices, according to a survey by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

While household inflation is expected to touch 13.1% by the end of 2011, up from the perceived 11.8% in December 2010, daily-wage workers and housewives expect higher inflation rates to continue, PTI reports.

As per the 'Inflation Expectations Survey of Households: December 2010 (Round 22)' conducted by the RBI, the rise will be mainly on account of higher food prices.

"Households expect inflation to rise further by... 130 basis points during... next year (13.1%) from the perceived current rate of 11.8%," it said. While housewives surveyed said they expect year-end 2011 inflation to be 13.2%, daily wage workers said it would be 13.5%. On the other hand, financial sector employees and self-employed persons projected the inflation to be at 12.4% and 13%, respectively, by the year-end.

"Households' expectations of general price rise were mainly influenced by movements in food prices," the survey report said.

Overall inflation, as per the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) has been above 8% since February 2010. Food inflation also remained in double-digits for most of 2011, barring a few isolated weeks. In the October-December 2010 period, the WPI hovered between 8.08% and 9.41%.

Besides, retail inflation for industrial workers, measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at between 8.33% and 9.7% in the quarter.

"In the current survey round, household inflation expectations are higher than the official inflation rates. It can be seen that even though the official indicators are moving in the downward direction, expectations are showing an upward swing," the survey said.

The RBI found that 98.6% of the respondents believe that prices will increase. This shows that more urban households have come to the view that inflation is on the upswing, than during the previous survey when 96.5% respondents felt that way.

"In case of one-year ahead price expectations, the percentage of respondents expecting food price increase has gone up. A similar trend is observed for non-food products as well," the survey said. While 91.7% of the respondents said they expect food prices to rise during 2011, 83.5% had a similar opinion regarding price rise of non-food items.

"For household durables and housing, more respondents are expecting prices to increase as compared to the previous round... the same is expected to increase for the next one year." In all cases, except with respect to the cost of services, the percentage of households expecting prices to rise in 2011 has increased during the 22nd survey as against the previous one.

The survey was conducted in October-December 2010 and covered 4,000 urban households across 12 cities for the January-March 2011 quarter and the 2011 calendar year. The latest survey was the 22nd such exercise conducted by the RBI, to find out inflation expectations of Indian households. The RBI has conducted such surveys on a quarterly basis since 2005.


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