SILICON VILLAGE

Saturday, January 10, 2009

As airline demand falls Boeing likely to axe 4,500 jobs

Boeing Co., the world's second-largest airplane maker, is planning to cut about 3 percent of its work force as jetliner demand falls, hurt by the global economic downturn.

The Chicago-based company on Friday said it expects to cut about 4,500 positions from its passenger jet business, which has factories in the Seattle area. Many of the cuts will be in areas not directly associated with aircraft production.

The news comes a day after Boeing reported a 15 percent decline in passenger jet deliveries for 2008, when it faced an eight-week strike by union workers and shrinking airline demand. The lower deliveries ensured Boeing's archrival, Europe's Airbus, retained its rank as the world's top plane maker.

Orders for Boeing planes, meanwhile, plunged by more than half last year, following three straight years of exceptionally strong bookings, a grim reminder that carriers have been scaling back spending since the summer to cope with fewer air travelers.

Most of the job cuts announced Friday are expected to occur in Washington state in the second quarter of the year, the company said. Boeing says employees will receive 60-day notices starting in late February.

"We have made significant strides in recent years to achieve greater efficiency and productivity, but we still face challenges that we must address," Scott Carson, president and chief executive of Boeing's commercial airplanes division, said in a statement.

Boeing said the cuts will enable it to continue focusing on development programs, airplane deliveries, productivity improvements and quality, as well as customer support.

The company said this year's cuts will eliminate roughly the number of positions added to its commercial aircraft operation in 2008, lowering the total number to 63,500. Boeing employed a total of 162,191 people as of Dec. 31.

Agencies

Canada layoffs 34,400 employees in December 2008

The Canadian economy lost 34,400 jobs in December, driving the unemployment rate to 6.6 percent, Statistics Canada said in a fresh sign of recession gripping the nation.

It was the second month of heavy job losses, after 70,600 were shed in November. The unemployment rate rose to 6.6 percent from 6.3 percent in the prior month.

The numbers were worse than most analysts's projections of 22,000 job losses and a 6.5 percent jobless rate in December.

And Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the situation will only get worse in the short term.

"We're in for a very difficult year," Flaherty told reporters. "We regrettably are going to have to expect continuing job losses in Canada.

"We are going to have substantial job losses," he added.

December's employment decline was led by a drop in construction, one of the biggest monthly losses for that industry in the past three decades.

Some 44,000 construction jobs were lost, as housing starts decreased to their lowest level in seven years the previous month, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

This was partially offset by an increase in transportation and warehousing.

"The job market is running out of steam," said analyst Pascal Gauthier of TD Securities.

"We believe that the Canadian economy entered a recession in the fourth quarter. Or if we're not there yet, we're knocking at the door," he told the media.

Sherry Cooper, chief economist of BMO Capital Markets, echoed in a research note: "Today's dismal data offer additional strong evidence that the Canadian economy has quickly waded knee-deep into the recession swamp."

For all of 2008, Canada's employment rate increased 0.6 percent with the creation of a total 98,000 jobs, significantly slower than the 2.2 percent job growth observed the previous year.

Gauthier too commented that the dismal December figures are "indicative of what's to come."

"In a typical recession, we can expect 15,000 to 30,000 jobs being cut each month," he said.

But Canada is still faring better than its neighbor and biggest trading partner, the United States, Flaherty and analysts agreed.

The United States lost 524,000 jobs in December.

Agencies

World's most expensive phone is out

An Austrian jeweller has given 'bling bling' a new definition by designing the world's most expensive phone.

The new Apple iPhone 3G 'Kings Button' is made of solid 18-carat yellow gold, white gold and rose gold!

Designed by Peter Aloisson the stunning diamond-encrusted iPhone comes for a whopping 1.8 million pounds.

The one-of-a-kind phone features a rare 6.6-carat diamond on its home button, reports The Sun.

Aloisson is credited as being the ultimate pioneer when it comes to blurring the lines between gadget, art and jewellery.

Intel assures employees: No more job cuts

Intel Corp said job cuts it made three years ago should help it ride out the economic slowdown, indicating that Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini won’t have to eliminate a significant number of workers.

“While we haven’t made specific projections on the size of the workforce, the restructuring we did in 2006 has put us in a good position to weather the current economic environment,” Intel spokesman Tom Beermann said today in an e-mailed statement.

Intel, the world’s top chipmaker, slashed jobs in 2006 and 2007 after losing market share to Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Those cuts helped set it apart from other technology companies, which are shedding workers now. Applied Materials Inc, National Semiconductor Corp and Sun Microsystems -- all based near Intel in Santa Clara, California -- have announced cutbacks.

“They are sufficiently profitable that even in a lousy economy they can hold on to people and sustain their new-market initiatives,” said David Wu, a San Francisco-based analyst for Global Crown Capital LLC. He has a neutral rating on the shares, which he doesn’t own. “The rich can afford to do things the poor cannot.”

Earlier this week, Intel said fourth-quarter sales dropped 23 percent, more than it projected, as the global recession stifled demand for personal computers. The company plans to give its full earnings report on Jan. 15.

Intel’s headcount
Intel had 83,500 employees at the end of the third quarter, down about 20,000 from its peak in 2006. When Otellini made those cuts, he said the company was too large for its revenue opportunities. That reduction helped profit rebound 38 percent in 2007, after a 42 percent decline in 2006.

The company will report a profit of $999.5 million for last quarter, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. That would be the first quarterly net income below $1 billion since 2003.

Intel fell 40 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $14.15 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares lost 45 percent of their value last year.

Job cuts might have hindered Intel’s efforts to expand into new areas, Wu said. The company announced an agreement this week to get its chips into television equipment from Toshiba Corp and Samsung Electronics Co.

“They are pretty committed to going into new markets, and they don’t want to have to say, ‘Oops, a recession. Everything stop,’” Wu said. “That wastes a lot of money.”

Agencies

Motorola India issues pinkslips to employees

Seems the predictions of a tough 2009 for the cellphone market have started coming true. According to a report in a leading daily, more than 200 people Motorola India had hired just a few months ago to drive its mobile handsets business have been laid off.

The company has decided to stick to its current model of doing business through distributors, says the report.

Industry sources said that Motorola paid all the laid-off sales personnel two months salary in lieu of the notice period.

The company is also reported to have issued pink slips to at least 100 of its 4,000 employees in India in December. It is, however, not clear if the current number of employees given pinkslips includes these.

The December move was said to be a part of the Illinois-based company's earlier announced strategy of slashing 3,000 jobs, or about 5 per cent of its global workforce.

This week the company also launched MotoYuva EM325. The eighth MotoYuva mobile phone in India offers a one-touch access to MP3 library, a universal 3.5 mm jack, 2 GB of removable microSD memory and drag-and-drop USB 2.0 technology. The phone is available in India at a price of approximately Rs 5,149.

In an interview to a news agency, Sony Ericsson CEO, Hideki Komiyama said that the company expects a challenging year 2009 as the handset sales are expected to be down by 5-6 percent.

Sony Ericsson's predictions follow similar ones from Nokia and Gartner according to which the global handset market is set for a slowdown in 2009.

Indiatimes

Friday, January 9, 2009

Satyam's Ramalinga Raju surrenders

The disgraced chairman of Satyam Computer Services B Ramalinga Raju has surrendered on late Friday night before the Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police, two days after he confessed to perpetrating a Rs 7,000-crore financial fraud. The CID had registered a case based on Raju's confessional statement.

B Ramalinga Raju tonight surrendered before the Director General of Andhra Pradesh Police S S P Yadav, a police spokesperson said.

"I am prepared to subject myself to the laws of the land and face the consequences thereof" Raju had said in a confessional statement.

Agencies

Is the Apple founder Steve Jobs dead?

Hijacking a Web feed of the Macworld 2009 conference, hackers have made spoof announcements about the death of Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple.

Earlier this week, Jobs clarified persistent rumours about his health saying that he is suffering from health problems caused by a hormone imbalance.

However, the entire Web world was inundated with false claims of his demise via a fabricated live feed from Macworld Expo after hackers managed to breach security on a well-respected website.

The hackers fiddled with the micro-blogging feed at Macrumorslive.com, which was running smoothly through the first 23 minutes of the keynote speech given by Phil Schiller, senior vice president of marketing at Apple.

But, out of nowhere a message was posted that said, "Steve Jobs just died."

While the micro-blogging feed continued with developments about iPhoto, it was after three minutes that the feed came up with a clarification.

"Retraction on Steve Jobs comment ... we don't know how that got in our feed. Steve did not die," The Telegraph quoted the feed, as saying.

Another message came soon after, and said, "Oh wait, sorry, Steve did die. Our condolences."

The hackers were found to have affiliation with a website called 4Chan.The anonymous participants of 4Chan have discussed a number of high-profile online pranks, including attacks on the Church of Scientology and the breach of a Yahoo email account belonging to vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

"Our MacRumorsLive keynote coverage was hacked today, inserting inappropriate content into the text and photo feeds. We apologise for the inconvenience and are working to restore our services," read an item on Macrumors.com.

While bloggers have claimed that the site's passwords have been out on 4Chan since a day before the hack, but the claims have not been confirmed as yet.

Agencies

Satyam CFO attempts suicide

Srinivas Vadlamani, CFO of Satyam, who is thought to be involved in one of the major IT company's scam, has attempted a suicide in a house in Ameerpet near Hyderabad.

Significantly, in Raju's letter to Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the company's board of directors, the name of CFO is missing from the list of those who were 'unaware of the real situation'.

Meanwhile the Andhra Pradesh state police may register a suicide case today. K. Arvind Rao, Addl DG, (intelligence) declined to comment, when CXOtoday contacted him over phone. "I can't speak on this issue right now," said Arvind.

Srinivas Vadlamani, has been reported 'missing' from his home in Malkajgiri for the last couple of days. However, interim CEO -- Ram Mynampati in a press conference on Thursday said that Vadlamani had put in his papers. The decision on his resignation will be taken in board's meeting to be held tomorrow, the media had been informed.

Source: CXOtoday

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Satyam likely to layoff 10,000 employees in 2009

With a big questions mark on its cash position and a minimum outgo on salary estimated at Rs 500 crore a month, Satyam may lay off over 10,000 employees next month, says a recruitment firm.

"It is most likely that Satyam will cut 10,000 jobs next month as the company is left with no cash to pay the salaries. The current fiasco is likely to put pressure on salaries, which may reduce by 10 per cent due to the surplus of about 20,000 people in the jobs market," Headhunters India CEO Kris Lakshmikanth said.

Satyam interim CEO Ram Mynampati while admitting that the cash position is not encouraging, the company, however, has taken care of salary for December.

Lakshmikanth said till Tuesday evening there were about 7,800 people from Satyam who had posted their resumes on job sites and by Wednesday afternoon, it has gone up to 14,000.

The uncertainty about jobs is killingly painful for the 53,000 employees of Satyam, especially when the industry is going slow on recruitment.

Further, possibility of a takeover too looks distant as the accounting fraud done by the company would make it difficult for any firm to evaluate its correct market value, which is compounding the worries of the employees.

IT-BPO union Unites Professionals general secretary Karthik Shekhar said, "In case of any lay off at Satyam, we may take legal action."

"We have received over 7,000 hits since the news break. Yesterday, in one hour we have seen over 800 hits (no of people visiting the site) from Hyderabad. People have been enquiries on how the union can help them," Shekhar added.

Agencies

Has Satyam duped many US investors?

In separate lawsuits filed in US courts, Satyam Computer has been charged with duping thousands of American investors of billions of dollars by artificially inflating share price.

Demanding trial by jury against Satyam Computer, its chairman Ramalinga Raju, managing director and CEO B Rama Raju, the complainants have said that each of them is "liable as a participant in a fraudulent scheme and course of business that operated as a fraud or deceit..."

The IT firm has also deceived the investing public regarding Satyam's business, its finances and the intrinsic value of shares, leading investors to purchase shares at artificially inflated prices, said the class action suit filed by lawfirm Vianale & Vianale LLP on behalf of shareholders.

Another lawfirm Izard Nobel LLP also filed an identical class action suit on the issue at the US District Court for Southern District of New York.

"A lawsuit seeking class action status has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of those who purchased the ADRs of Satyam Computer between January 6, 2004 and January 6, 2009," Izard Nobel LLP said in a statement.

The class action complaint filed by Vianale & Vianale LLP in Manhattan Federal Court said that there are thousands of such shareholders throughout the US who have been affected by "a series of false and misleading statements, containing materially inaccurate financial information about the company, which served to artifically inflate the value of its ADSs.

Trading on Satyam ADRs was suspended yesterday after it plunged by over 90 per cent to 0.85 dollars in pre-market trade in US following Satyam founder and chairman B Ramalinga Raju's confession to a Rs 7,800 crore fraud in the company.

"When the truth was revealed the company's ADSs lost nearly their entire value and investors lost billions of dollars as a result," the suit filed by Vianale said.

The suits also charged Raju and his brother B Rama Raju with having engaged "in such a scheme to inflate the price of Satyam ADSs in order to 1) protect and enhance their executive positions and the substantial compensation and prestige they obtained thereby; and 2) enhance the value of their personal holdings of Satyam stocks."

"I am now prepared to subject myself to the laws of the land and face consequences thereof," Raju said in a letter to the Board of Directors yesterday, while announcing his resignation as chairman.

Agencies

Is Dell likely to cut 1,900 jobs from Ireland?

Dell Inc, the world's No. 2 PC maker, will cut about 1,900 of 3,000 jobs at its manufacturing plant in Limerick in the west of Ireland, Dell said on Thursday.

Dell, which ranks itself as Ireland's largest exporter, largest technology company and second largest company overall, said it would move production of computer systems for customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to its Polish plant and third-party manufacturing partners.

Dell cut more than 8,000 jobs last year and struggled to regain market share it lost to larger rival Hewlett-Packard Co. It also said last year it would outsource more manufacturing to cut costs.

Agencies

Satyam saga developments on Thursday

The developments of the Satyam Saga continues even on Thursday with the following highlights:

* Satyam assures its customers that business is as usual
* Where is Ramalinga Raju, former chairman of Satyam Computers
* Satyam top leaders pledge to stay on
* SAP, Oracle Assure Customer Support
* Foreign Firms Wary as Satyam Trial Looms
* YSR Urges Team to Manage Satyam Affair
* Infosys Will Not Buy Tainted' Satyam

To read the actual statement drafted by Ramalinga Raju of Satyam Computers click on the link below

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/Satyam.pdf

And to follow up on interesting issues like what drove to this extreme situation at Satyam, continue to browse through

http://editor-manu-sharma.blogspot.com/
on a regular basis.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Has Raju left India after admitting of financial irregularities?

Amid speculation over his whereabouts, B Ramalinga Raju, who stepped down as Chairman of Satyam Computer after admitting to financial irregularities, is believed to have left for the US in connection with a court case.

Speculation mounted tonight when a TV channel reported that Raju may have gone to Dubai.

"We have no idea of where Raju is," a Satyam spokesperson told the media over phone when asked if he had left for the US in connection with a case filed by a British Telecom solution firm Upaid.

Raju was also not reachable on his mobile phone despite several attempts, but police sources said that Raju left here for Texas this morning from the Hyderabad Airport.

Earlier in the day, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y V Rajasekhara Reddy had said that he would refer the Satyam matter to CB-CID for investigation.

Upaid had filed a petition in Texas seeking details of the USD 1.6 billion dollars acquisition of two Maytas firms, promoted by Raju's family, before Satyam dumped the deal after attack from investors.

In its petition, Upaid had demanded presence of Raju and senior directors of Satyam for questioning by its lawyers.

Probe into Satyam market operations: SEBI

Startled by the disclosure of fudging of accounts by Satyam founder B Ramalinga Raju, market regulator SEBI on Wednesday ordered probe into share market operations and inspection of the IT company.

"SEBI has ordered an investigation into the affairs relating to buying, selling or dealing in the shares of Satyam Computers," it said in a release.

The probe follows a letter written by Raju in which he disclosed that "accounts provided to the stock exchanges were not true".

The investigation, SEBI said, will ascertain whether any provision of the Act or regulation has been violated.

As a first step, SEBI today ordered an investigation into affairs relating to buying, selling or dealing in shares of Satyam to ascertain if any regulatory provision was violated. Besides, it ordered inspection of Satyam Computer (books).

Giving details of the irregularities, Raju said the company's balance sheet as of September 30 carries "inflated (non-existent) cash and bank balances of Rs 5,040 crore (as against Rs 5,361 crore reflected in the books)."

It also carries "an accrued interest of Rs 376 crore which is non-existent, understated liability of Rs 1230 crore on account of funds arranged by me, overstated debtors position of Rs 490 crore (as against Rs 2651 crore in the books."

The USD 2-billion Satyam also reported a revenue of Rs 2700 crore for the September quarter and an operating margin of Rs 649 crore (24 per cent of revenue) as against the actual revenue of Rs 2112 crore and an actual operating margin of Rs 61 crore (3 per cent of revenue).

"This has resulted in artificial cash and bank balances going up Rs 588 crore in Q2 alone," Raju said, adding that the gap in the Balance Sheet has arisen purely on account of inflated profits over a period of last several years.

Satyam, meanwhile, said Board member Ram Mynampati has been appointed interim CEO. "We are obviously shocked.. immediate priorities are to protect interest of shareholders, protect the careers and security of its approximately 53,000 associates..," Satyam said in a statement.

A shocked industry called for deeper regulation. "This fraud on the investors and employees... shows a systemic breakdown in audit and board oversight... questions will need to be asked," FICCI President Rajeev Chandrasekhar said.

FICCI and CII, however, said the Satyam episode should not be seen as a blot on all the Indian firms.

Corporate Affairs Minister Prem Chand Gupta said stern action would be taken under the law.

Agencies

Strong reactions by CXOs on the Satyam saga

The Satyam “Saga” took a dramatic turn on Wednesday with B. Ramalinga Raju, the chairman of Satyam Computer resigning from the company’s board. In a shocking disclosure, he admitted some financial irregularities in the company, including an inflated cash balance of Rs 5,040 crore.

So is it possible for one of world’s best known businessman to make mistakes? Or was it only greed or some compulsion. Well, it did happen at Satyam Computers.

Mean while reports indicate that at least 120 of Satyam's employees from the lower and middle rung management have resigned after the Satyam-Maytas fiasco broke out and as many as 100 more, including the senior level management, are waiting to take a decision after the board meeting expected to take place on January 10. Meanwhile, DSP Merrill Lynch has terminated all its engagement with Satyam.

IT companies across the country were shocked at the incident and have strongly reacted to the episode. Here are some of the reactions from top-notch CXOs from various companies.

Kehav Murugesh, President of Syntel Inc, a global outsourcing company reacting to the Satyam saga said, “It is unfortunate that there is so much attention on the company now for the wrong reasons. It is difficult for their employees and clients to ignore the situation and there could be an impact on performance as a result. Good governance, transparency and following not just the letter but also the spirit of the law must be the supreme endeavour at all times and that is not necessarily a learning from this episode alone. There has been talk of overseas investors painting all IT companies with the same brush but I am confident that investors and decision makers are very mature and insightful and will easily separate the wheat from the chaff. Syntel being a global organisation that is registered and listed in the US follows the highest governance standards and is SOX compliant.”

Regarding the Satyam story, Phaneesh Murthy, CEO, iGATE said, "An old moral - no amount of pressure should force dishonesty. This is where values should hold up. The market is bad enough. On top of this, visits are curtailed because of the Mumbai incident - this elongates and delays sales cycles."

Nagaraja (Naga) Prakasam, Managing Director of CDC Software (India) said the Satyam episode brings a number of lessons for organizations namely the importance of Corporate Governance. This will clearly have the beneficial effect of having all companies look at good governance processes, such as a enhanced role for independent directors.

V. Balakrishnan, chief financial officer, Infosys, said the developments at Satyam is shocking, unbelievable and sad it has happened in India. So, should one be concerned about the industry at large? "I don't think it is a reflection of the industry or India. It is an isolated case, just like Enron in US. The regulators should get into the case and punish them. It is important to bring back credibility."

Balakrishnan added that Satyam has cooking up the books for a very long time... "they have done it systematically... it is shocking that it has gone unnoticed."
He added that Infosys will address the concerns of clients. "It is for the regulators to address issues, and avoid any such thing in the future."

L. Subramanian, CEO of Chandamama.com, a children's website with stories on Indian Mythology said, "It (The Satyam episode) is probably one of the most serious cases of breach of fiduciary responsibility that has come to light in India. After all the recriminations, I hope that wisdom will dawn on the regulators to figure out how to prevent such incidents rather than react to them. I think it is the trust placed by over 50,000 employees of Satyam that has been shaken, besides that of the shareholders. My one single question is - 'where were the myriad auditors - financial, cost, management, quality systems auditors... surely someone knew that there was rot in the system and chose to keep quiet?"

Ramakrishna Voruganti, Managing Director of Barracuda Networks, a global leader in email and Web security said, “ I think Mr. Raju’s moving out will give Satyam a much-needed chance to take some hard decisions regarding restructuring, governance and their approach to customers.
It would’ve more difficult to take difficult and independent decisions, with Raju at the helm.”

Suresh Sambandam, founder & CEO of OrangeScape, a leading Chennai-based software product company said, “The sequence of events at Satyam is very shocking and unfortunate. While all of us appreciate the seriousness of the issue, it is important to treat this as an isolated failure of corporate governance. Media and industry forums should work closely and use all possible options to uphold the fame and reputation of the Indian IT / BPO industry.”

“The corporate governance needs to be stronger, said Ajay Dhir, CIO of Jindal Stainless Ltd. reacting strongly, he said and the role of the independent directors, who act as the watch dogs needs to be more assertive.”

R. Mohan, Director of Cache Technologies & Communication Ltd, a leading Singapore-based enterprise infrastructure solutions said, “The Satyam incident brings to light to need for proper governance and compliance that is not in place. To prevent such things from happening especially for family-held companies the government should impose stricter norms.”
Jagan Mohan Raju, executive of ADP India Private Ltd, a Hyderabad-based leading providers of business outsourcing solutions said, “Satyam is a very strong brand not only in India but also has a global identity. I think what has happened is very unfortunate. Organizations build over a period of time should be more responsible towards its stake holders including investors, employees and customers. They should be more ethical and should not bring their personal agenda to compromise at the stakeholders’ interest. More over, the issue has been kept away from the board is very unfortunate. I feel that Satyam’s employees’ campaign on Mr Raju is a very positive one.”

Is IBM likely to layoff 16,000 jobs?

International Business Machines Corp, the biggest technology employer, may cut thousands of jobs this month amid the global economic slowdown, according to the employee group Alliance for IBM.

Employees have been hearing that layoffs will take place in late January, said Lee Conrad, national coordinator of the Alliance, an organization seeking union recognition at Armonk, New York-based IBM. The size of the reduction may be larger than those in the past few years, he said in an interview.

Generally they go in batches of a couple hundred here and a couple hundred there,” Conrad said.
A post on the Alliance’s website said the company may cut 16,000 jobs, which would top the 15,600 eliminated by Chief Executive Officer Sam Palmisano in 2002. The worldwide slump has tightened companies’ technology budgets and IBM may report a 1.6 per cent drop in sales last quarter to $28.4 billion, based on the average analyst estimate.

“There’s likely to be production cutbacks at IBM,” said Timothy Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management LLC in Bedford Hills, New York. “There will be job cuts. For now, reducing the workforce to benefit the viability and competitiveness of the company makes sense.”

Solaris, which oversees $2 billion, held 29,000 shares of IBM as of Sept 30.

IBM rose $2.41, or 2.8 per cent, to $89.23 at 4 pm in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares lost 22 per cent last year.

‘Rebalance our workforce’ IBM has frequently pruned its staff over the past few years. The company had two waves of job cuts in 2007, totaling more than 2,000 positions. IBM had $318 million in job-reduction costs that year, compared with $272 million in 2006.

“We constantly rebalance our workforce and continue to invest in growth areas,” said Ian Colley, a company spokesman. He declined to comment further when asked about the Alliance posting.

IBM had 386,558 employees at the end of 2007. Palo Alto, California-based Hewlett-Packard Co, the world’s largest personal-computer maker, had 321,000 as of Oct 31, and Panasonic Corp, based in Osaka, Japan, had 313,594 as of Sept 30.

Agencies

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

FIEO estimates 10 million layoffs in export units

Ten million people in the export sector will be out of job by March this year, as Indian goods find fewer buyers in the international Coming to terms with layoffs market which is battling the worst crisis since 1929.

"There will be 10 million job losses by March," Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President A Sakthivel told reporters here on Tuesday.

Indian exports, which account for just about 20 per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product, are a highly labour-intensive activity, employing 150 million people.

The country's exports, which posted a robust 30.9 per cent growth rate in the first half of fiscal, contracted by 12.1 per cent in October, for the first time in the last five years. The negative trend continued in November, when exports fell to $11.5 billion from $12.7 billion. The data for December are yet to be released.

"I can safely say that negative growth trends will continue in December and in the next couple of months... I hope we will end the fiscal with exports of about $175-180 billion," Sakthivel said.
FIEO yesterday said there was no "serious consideration" for exporters in the measures announced by the government last week.

The target for the current fiscal is $200 billion while exports totalled about $160 billion in 2007-08.

Europe and North America, which account for 37 per cent of India's merchandise exports, are reeling under recession and slowdown.

The FIEO chief said he did not see positive trends before the fourth quarter of the calendar 2009, "though a complete U-turn may take a little longer", he said.

Agencies

Logitech to cut 15 percent salaried staff

Logitech International SA, a maker of mice, webcams and other computer peripherals, said it is cutting its salaried work force by 15 percent in response to weak consumer demand amid what it expects to be an extended global downturn.

Switzerland-based Logitech, which also has offices in Fremont, has about 3,500 salaried employees in a total work force of about 9,000.

The company also withdrew its previous fiscal 2009 forecasts for sales growth of 6 to 8 per cent and operating income growth of 3 to 5 per cent. It did not provide revised targets and said it plans to update investors on its outlook during its third-quarter results briefing on Jan 20.

"During the December quarter, the retail environment deteriorated significantly," said Gerald P Quindlen, Logitech's president and chief executive officer. He added in a statement that "we expect the economic environment to worsen in the coming months and we are therefore taking significant actions to align our cost structure with what is likely to be an extended downturn."
Logitech said it will book a restructuring charge for the job cuts in its fiscal fourth quarter. It said it will detail the charge when it issues its third-quarter results.

Quindlen said the company has a strong cash position, no debt, and is maintaining market share.
Agencies

Monday, January 5, 2009

Infosys, Wipro get terror e-mails

Six prominent IT companies in the city, including Infosys and Wipro, have received e-mails threatening to blow up their buildings, said a top police officer.

Joint commissioner of police B. Gopal Hosur said here that the companies received e-mails threatening to blow up their establishments two days ago and immediately informed the police.
The police have already begun investigations, he said, but did not divulge further details.
Security had been tightened at all the Information Technology companies which received the threats.

City police commissioner Sankar Bidri said police viewed the e-mail threats seriously and that all precautionary measures were being taken.

India to emerge strong from the global meltdown

The report said India, along with China, Russia and South Korea would emerge stronger from the global financial crisis as they enjoy strong economic foundations, higher growth rates and sound monetary policy measures.

US, China and Japan were ranked first, second and third respectively.

India ranked 19th in terms of budget balance as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) and 12th in terms of public debt as a percentage of the GDP.

The ranking was based on seven economic indicators: size of the economy, spending power, tax structure, interest rate policy, budget balances, debt burden and foreign exchange reserves.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Will US debt increase by $2 trillion in 2009?

The US national debt is expected to jump by as much as $2 trillion this year, thus putting more pressure on the American economy, a leading daily here said.

At present, the country's debt stands at nearly $10.7 trillion. Of this $3 trillion is held by foreign investors , with China ($652.9 billion) and Japan ($585.5 billion) being the top two creditors.

The soaring national debt would saddle taxpayers with huge new interest payments for years to come, the Washington Post said.

"Some analysts also worry that foreign investors, the largest United States creditors, may prove unable to absorb the skyrocketing debt, undermining confidence in the US as the bedrock of the global financial system," the Post wrote.

The newspaper said economists from across the political spectrum have endorsed the idea of going deeper into debt to combat the worst ever economic crisis since great depression of last century.

They argue that even with an increase of $2 trillion national debt, the United States is in relatively good financial shape as compared to other industrial nations.

Japan's public debt equalled 182% of its GDP in 2007 and that of Germany was 65%, the newspaper said referring to a forthcoming report by Scott Lilly, a senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress.
Even a $2 trillion increase would push the US debt to about 53 of the overall economy. This is "only a few percentage points above where it was in the early 1990s," Lilly was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Source: Agencies

Chrysler gets $4-billion loan from US govt

Chrysler LLC said on Friday it has received an initial $4 billion emergency loan from the US government.

"This initial loan will allow the company to continue an orderly restructuring," Chrysler Chief Executive Bob Nardelli said in a statement.

But Chrysler later said its statement that talks continue between the US Treasury Department and Chrysler Financial about a loan should have been omitted.

Its earlier press release said a closing was expected in due course.

Two spokeswomen for the company could not immediately be reached by the media to clarify.

General Motors Corp received $4 billion in emergency loans on December 31.

Both Chrysler and GM have said they need the government cash to meet payouts to suppliers at a time when a plunge in auto sales has drained their cash holdings.

Under terms of the government bailout, Chrysler and GM will have to submit restructuring plans by mid-February and demonstrate that they are viable by the end of March.

Source: Agencies

Apple likely to unveil cheaper iPhone in 2009

Apple Inc will probably begin selling a lower-priced version of the iPhone in the first half of 2009, tapping a new chipmaker for a key component, according to Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co.

Qualcomm Inc will replace Infineon Technologies AG as the supplier of the baseband processor -- the chip that translates radio signals into voice and data -- in the new model, analyst Craig Berger said in a report. The phone might debut in the second quarter, he said, citing unidentified industry sources.

Apple may be turning to lower-cost products to fuel sales in developing countries as the US economy shrinks. The company is planning a smaller version of its Shuffle music player and a cheaper MacBook laptop, Berger said. None of the devices is likely to be ready to be unveiled at next week’s Macworld conference, where Apple typically makes product announcements.

“Mobile phone sales figures will continue to grow worldwide in 2009 and most of that growth will come from developing countries,” said Hakim Kriout, a portfolio manager at Grigsby & Associates, a New York-based securities trading firm that owns Apple shares.

“Turning the iPhone into a product line by adding another device for the lower end of the market is the next logical phase.”

Jennifer Bowcock, Apple’s spokeswoman for the iPhone, didn’t immediately return a call or email seeking comment. San Diego-based Qualcomm’s Bertha Agia also didn’t immediately return a phone call.

Wal-Mart, Best Buy
Apple currently sells two versions of the iPhone, an 8GB model for $199 and a 16GB device for $299. Wal-Mart Sto
res Inc, the world’s largest retail chain, began offering the product last week, with its starting price at $197. Best Buy Co, the biggest electronics seller in the US, sells the phone for $189.99 and $289.99.

Berger, who contacted parts suppliers, also said that Apple made fewer iPhones in the fourth quarter than originally estimated. That shortfall will be partially offset by greater first-quarter output, he said. About 10 million phones were available for purchase in the fourth quarter, he estimates.

Apple said this month that chief executive officer Steve Jobs won’t appear at the Macworld show, fuelling speculation that the company doesn’t have a significant new product to offer.

Apple will probably use the event to show updated versions of its aluminum-cased iMac desktop computers and a new operating system, Brian Marshall, an analyst at Broadpoint.AmTech in San Francisco, said.

Source: Agencies

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