Breakingviews

China and India reform hopes are on hold

April 15, 2016

New leaders in both countries raised hopes for restructuring banks and state-owned companies. But current plans are not bold enough while the window for action is narrowing. Beijing’s investment habit and New Delhi’s obstructive bureaucracy are proving stubbornly hard to shift.

India can learn from Asian bank turnarounds

April 7, 2016

Privatising $2 bln lender IDBI would send a good sign about India’s resolve to fix wobbly banks. Previous deals in the region offer a template for success: let an investor take a big stake, complete with real control over decision-making, and then go easy on the regulation.

Blackstone bets Indian IT can weather US election

April 5, 2016

The buyout firm’s $1.1 billion bid for Indian outsourcer Mphasis looks brave when U.S. presidential candidates are touting restrictions for skilled foreign workers. The low valuation and a long-term contract with seller Hewlett Packard Enterprise at least offers some protection.

Pensions not steel are Tata’s big UK headache

March 31, 2016

The Indian group’s British plants have issues, but could be rendered profitable. The bigger challenge is funding shortfalls in its pension scheme for 130,000 members. If a new acquirer could find a workaround and new investment, British steelmaking could still work.

The bright side of India’s bad-debt witch hunt

March 16, 2016

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s exploits have triggered wider scrutiny of the country’s tycoons and those who enabled their excessive lending. Auditor Grant Thornton is the latest target. Though the sudden frenzy seems arbitrary, the result may be a faster cleanup of balance sheets.

India needs its central bank chief a bit longer

March 8, 2016

Raghuram Rajan’s three-year term as governor of the Reserve Bank of India ends in September. Inflation has almost halved under his watch. Yet Rajan’s campaign to clean up banks’ bad debts is far from complete. Confidence will take a hit if he isn’t around to finish the job.

Facebook India row shows limit of tech favouritism

February 11, 2016

Regulators blocked the social network’s plan to offer free limited internet to the poor. Ill-judged comments from Facebook director Marc Andreessen highlight the gulf between Silicon Valley and the wider world. Big tech groups can no longer expect a free pass for bold plans.

Dixon: How to rehabilitate capitalism

February 1, 2016

The classic leftist response to capitalism’s unfairness - tax and spend - has failed. A better bet is to fight unfairness caused by corruption, vested interests and tax cheating, while investing in education. India and Italy show some of the right ideas.

Sweeter Cairn bid is Vedanta’s least bad option

January 25, 2016

Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Resources is edging towards loan covenant limits. Bondholders are losing faith in the mining tycoon’s ability to tap buried cash and repay $8 bln of debt. The stress may force Agarwal to sweeten a deal to merge subsidiaries and simplify the group structure.

Facebook’s free internet faces big test in India

January 5, 2016

Mark Zuckerberg is fighting hard to save his plan to offer a free mobile web service to the country’s poor. If India shuts it down, other developing nations may follow. It’s another case where the social network founder’s apparently noble goals have sparked a furious backlash.