Corporate sector sees big ticket deals in 2013

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 31 2013, 02:03am hrs
Corporate HousesIf Narayana Murthy made a comeback to revive the sagging fortunes of Infosys, neo rich Jignesh Shah found himself in the cross hairs of brewing Rs 5,600 crore payment fiasco at the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL). Reuters
As 2013 slips into history, alleged deeds and misdemeanours pushed corporate honchos into the limelight.

If Narayana Murthy made a comeback to revive the sagging fortunes of Infosys, neo rich Jignesh Shah found himself in the cross hairs of brewing Rs 5,600 crore payment fiasco at the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL).

Heads of regulatory and investigative agencies -- Raghuram Rajan and Ranjit Sinha -- to name a few, symbolised the no-nonsense approach towards pressing work on their plates.

If the former is key to chiselling monetary policies for sustainable economic growth as the RBI governor, the latter is leading CBI fearlessly in cases such as coal allocation scam that have significant political ramifications.

Modi, BJP's prime ministerial candidate, is seen as a business-friendly person while Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's words and actions too are being closely watched by the corporate community amid persisting economic sluggishness.

Moving away from political and business links, a few big ticket deals in the highly competitive aviation space too put the limelight on certain business leaders.

In a culmination of a long-nursed dream, Tata group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata and his successor Cyrus Mistry saw the conglomerate clinching joint ventures with Singapore Airlines and AirAsia.

Again the founder of AirAsia, the Malaysian budget carrier, Tony Fernandes made headlines with his dexterous move to enter the Indian market.

Staying with aviation, Naresh Goyal seems to be tackling tough times with his Jet Airways' Rs 2,056 crore stake sale deal with Etihad still facing regulatory as well as legal hurdles.

Meanwhile, under the stewardship of Cyrus Mistry, Tatas has made many key decisions including group firm Indian Hotels Company abandoning the USD 1.86 billion bid to acquire Orient Express Hotels.

Never short of coming up with big bang plans, billionaire siblings -- Mukesh and Anil -- this year too had surprises up their sleeve.

The brothers, in June, announced a Rs 12,000 crore transaction that would see Mukesh utilising the towers owned by younger sibling Anil for launching his telecom venture.

On the other hand, ongoing issues related to gas production from KG-D6 fields kept Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries in the news.

Well known industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla came into focus after his name found its way in the FIR filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) related to coal allocation scam.

India-origin chief of Pepsico Indra Nooyi hogged headlines towards the end of this year with the beverages major unveiling plans to invest a staggering Rs 33,000 crore in the country.

Amid persisting uncertainties over economic growth and compelling need to ensure positive investment climate, many a regulatory heads made their presence felt.

Inflationary pressures kept Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan busy in making efforts to strike a balance between price rise and growth. Contrary to expectations, the new RBI chief's approach almost reflected that of his predecessor D Subba Rao, who had attracted brick bats from business community for his hawkish monetary policy.

Far away, the US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who is all set to hang his boots early next year, kept markets on tenterhooks with expectations and concerns over his easy money regime. Starting the process of tapering, the Federal Reserve this month announced cutting down of monthly bond purchases.

U K Sinha, the chief of capital market watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), steered ahead with a plethora of reform-oriented measures for investors as well as corporates. Equipped with new powers, he is also leading the way in clamping down on fraudulent money pooling schemes.

Apart from political heat, a few ministers had their share of limelight this year. While Finance Minister P Chidambaram went all out to take measures to revitalise the economy and contain fiscal deficit, his Commerce counterpart Anand Sharma played tough before clinching the WTO deal in India's favour. Both were also instrumental in getting norms relaxed for foreign direct investments in many sectors.

Young turk and Corporate Affairs Minister Sachin Pilot managed to get the Parliament approval for the long pending new companies law that promises a paradigm shift.

Meanwhile, controversies continued to dog IT professional Phaneesh Murthy, who this year had to quit iGate following revelations that he was in a relationship with a female colleague.

With the election year round the corner, it is hoped that good deeds would overshadow uncertainties.