Private equity funds to focus on emerging sectors

About 80% of investments by 2015 in healthcare, education and clean energy sectors are likely to be contributed by private equity funds, says a study

Most investments in emerging sectors like healthcare, education and clean energy will come from private equity (PE) funds in the next five years, a study has said, reports PTI.

About 80% of investments in healthcare, education and clean energy by 2015 are likely to be constituted by PE funds since these are the emerging sectors, according to a joint study released by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Deloitte.

“The government has been laying substantial focus on building these sectors through public-private-partnership projects aimed at developing these areas,” said ASSOCHAM president Swati Piramal.

In 2009, PE investment in the healthcare sector was to the tune of $148 million and is expected to increase substantially in the next few years.

“Within healthcare, the most favoured areas for investments are diagnostic services, medical devices, hospital chains and wellness products,” the study said.

Currently, the size of the Indian education sector is estimated at $40 billion. It is expected to touch the $68-billion mark in the next three years, of which private equity investments would be more than three-fourth.

In the area of clean energy, there is a steady increase in the number of market players. Therefore, investments are expected to be more broad-based.

Besides renewable energy generation, areas including waste water, waste management, energy infrastructure and energy efficiency would also attract private equity investments, said the study.
 

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MTNL gears up for mobile number portability

The launch of the service has been delayed twice as various operators are still setting up the networks required for the service

Gearing up to meet the 15th May deadline for launching mobile number portability (MNP) services, State-run MTNL has invited bids for installing a gateway, crucial for the portability infrastructure, reports PTI.

Mobile portability service allows subscribers to change an operator while retaining the number. The launch of the service has been delayed twice as various operators are still setting up the networks required for the service.

MTNL has floated the Rs8-crore tender for supply, installation and testing for the number portability gateway.

An MTNL official said that the company hopes to reach the testing stage of the MNP network by mid-next month. MTNL plans to implement the number portability gateway (NPGW) to support MNP in Delhi & Mumbai.

A number of operators are currently in the process of setting up such gateways to support their MNP networks.

“Based on the successful completion of the action taken (tests), we will finally decide the dates for MNP implementation,” the Department of Telecom had said.

MNP was to be implemented by 31 December 2009, in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai as well as in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The deadline was later changed to 31st March for launch across the country. In February, DoT said that it was planning to launch MNP by the first week of May, with initial launches in Bangalore and Chennai.

But now there are indications that MNP may be delayed even beyond the latest scheduled roll-out date of 30th June.
 

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India Inc optimistic about growth: Dun & Bradstreet

While the overall business sentiment continues to remain optimistic, some cautiousness exists on account of high inflation and expected hardening of interest rates

Corporate India is upbeat about the robust growth prospects in the current quarter, with an index measuring business optimism levels rising sharply for the April-June period, though concerns remain over high inflation and a possible rise in interest rates, reports PTI.

“While the overall business sentiment continues to remain optimistic, some cautiousness (exists) on account of high inflation and expected hardening of interest rates,” research firm Dun & Bradstreet said today, while releasing its ‘Composite Business Optimism Index’.

It further said that policy announcements—both on the monetary and fiscal front—to tackle soaring inflation were likely to play a vital role in shaping business sentiment in the April to June quarter.

The monsoon is another crucial factor that will determine the business sentiment in the next quarter.

“While business confidence has continued to rise during Q2, 2010, some signs of cautiousness are visible in the relatively lower resultant optimism for volume of sales, net profits and new orders as compared to Q1, 2010,” Dun & Bradstreet India president and CEO Kaushal Sampat said.

The Business Optimism Index (BOI), which measures the pulse of the business community, increased by 3.8 on a quarter-on-quarter basis to 142.8 points in the April to June period of 2010.

As compared to the second quarter of 2009, the BOI witnessed a substantial increase of 52% from an all-time low of a level of 93.8.

For calculating the composite BOI, six parameters—net sales, net profits, selling prices, new orders, inventories and employee levels, are assigned a weight. The parameter weights are then applied to these ratios and the results aggregated to arrive at the index.

The index is arrived at on the basis of a quarterly survey of various business expectation parameters.

It was observed that all the six optimism indices have increased compared to the previous quarter, the release said.

According to the report, the employment scenario is likely to remain stable in the forthcoming quarter, with 47% of respondents expecting no change in the size of the workforce during the second quarter of 2010.

In comparison, 46% expect an increase in employment levels and another 7% anticipate a decline.
 

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