Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Paranoid governments and conspiracy theories

Photo
Adi Godrej

Adi Godrej

Adi Godrej, who marshals his namesake $2.5 billion diversified group, believes the Indian government is “paranoid” about the possible effects of allowing more foreign investments into sectors such as airlines.

“They (the Indian government) have not allowed foreign airlines to invest in private airlines, and they cite security. I don’t see what security would be compromised,” Godrej told the Reuters India Investment Summit in Mumbai.

“If British Airways or Delta got to own part of an Indian private airline, they are worried about what would happen in times of a war, etc. You are in control of your country. What can they do in difficult times to stop it?” he said.

Godrej also said that allowing more private players into sectors such as roads and education would help lift India away from infrastructure perils plaguing the country.

Infrastructure still top-of-mind in India

Photo

INDIA/
On Monday, we kick-off the 2010 India Investment Summit. We’ll have exclusive interviews in Mumbai and Bangalore. In 2006 we held the first Reuters India Investment Summit. It was my first time in India. I’ve had the privilege to return every year. How time flies. Here we are four years later. Some of the key players may have changed but the big, over-arching theme is still the same: Infrastructure. It’s the key to realizing the country’s potential but bureaucracy, tough financing and hesitant overseas investment have slowed development in the sector, calling into question the future of India as a powerhouse.

India has had only mixed success in its efforts to accelerate construction of roads, bridges and power plants. The statistics are mind-blowing…the country is growing at 8.5% and has a population of 1.2 billion that is making a mad-dash from the countryside to sprawling cities. Call them growing pains…in India’s expanding cities there is an acute need to speed project approvals, implement new financing models and attract overseas investment for much needed infrastructure. But, while the business opportunity is tremendous investors looking to India as a way to play the emerging markets are wary given the history of missed deadlines and red tape that makes getting projects completed a challenge.

200MB? It’s only human nature to want more

Photo

Broadband subscribers want as much speed as they can get their hands on, even if it’s way beyond what’s needed by the most avid downloader of music, keen watcher of video or biggest Facebook addict, reckons cable operator Liberty Global’s CEO.

Maybe he would say that, but Mike Fries says today’s subscribers are signing up for speeds of 100-200 MB to be safe in the knowledge they won’t be left behind whatever the next stage of the Internet — a bit like owning a car with a top speed way beyond the limit.

Moscow: The least worst place for your money

   Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital was a big backer of Moscow’s ambition to become a major emerging-markets financial centre, a bridge between European and Asian capital, a rival to Dubai.

    It not only trumpeted the idea, but was one of the first big local firms to take out offices in a sleek glass skyscraper by the Moscow River, surrounded by foundation pits and towers of naked steel girders that were to become Moscow’s Canary Wharf.

Kinder: wind, solar not the answer to U.S. energy needs

Rich Kinder, CEO of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, says the Obama Administration’s push to develop alternative energy sources such as wind and solar are not the answer to reducing the nation’s dependence on oil or reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Click below to hear where Kinder thinks the U.S. should be focusing its attention.

Kinder: wind, solar not the answer from Reuters TV on Vimeo.

AUDIO – Wait a minute, we have to pay for all this stuff?

Photo

Unfortunately, we do.

All the infrastructure projects in the world sound great! They look awesome on paper, they’ll make people’s lives better and they’ll let us go visit our friends and families in about half the time it used to take.

It’ll be a dream world!!

Well, unfortunately, we are going to have to pay for all these projects at some point and all of the guests at this year’s Reuters Infrastructure Summit acknowledge that the paying is the hardest part.

AUDIO – Everything has a cost

Photo

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Or bridge. Or turnpike.

Every project we’re talking about at Reuters first-ever Reuters Infrastructure Summit has an enormous cost — sometimes in the hundreds of billions of dollars. And governments are looking for ways to pay for it all.

Enter public-private partnerships (or P3s as we cool, infrastructure types like to say these days). In these deals, governments will lease or sell an asset to a group of investors for a certain big up-front fee and then they will pay the government a certain per-year fee for the right.

AUDIO – Finding a model; then build, baby, build!

Photo

Infrastructure spending. Public-private partnerships. Government buildouts.

This week, all of these kinds of phrases are much on the mind of our guests at the first ever Reuters Infrastructure Summit held in New York, San Francisco and Washington.

While infrastructure means different things to almost all of our guests (schools, roads, bridges, etc) — one of our first guests, Petra Todorovich, talked at length about the need for high speed rails.

Welcome to the 2009 Infrastructure Summit

The Obama Administration has made infrastructure spending one of its top priorities as the nation grapples with mounting needs for its roads, bridges, water supply, power grid, schools and solid waste. As states and other municipalities struggle to find innovative financing for hundreds of billions of dollars of projects, new investments will soon be available for both individuals and institutions.
 
The increase in private-public partnerships is one topic high on financiers’ radar screens as localities are under more pressure to get projects started and obtain the needed funding for them. “Infrastructure” as a concept has become something of a catch-all and we will be pressing our guests to discuss how worried they are that less-critical projects will get piled into more important ones.
 
How will California deal with its growing water need? What’s the outlook for infrastructure for investors? How hamstrung are governments with all the need?  How tenuous are ratings? How long a window is there for these projects, politically? 

  •