Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Welcome to the 2009 India Investment Summit

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India managed to escape the worst of the global downturn and is poised, along with China, to lead the global economy out of the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Confidence is returning, with the stock market up 70 percent this year. A rousing re-election win for the Congress party in May has spurred expectations that long-delayed financial sector reforms will be implemented and sorely needed infrastructure investment will accelerate.
 
Still, questions linger. Global demand that drives India’s once red-hot outsourcing sector is slow in returning. Companies that hoarded cash to tide themselves through the downturn are wary of adding capacity until there are clear signs of demand. Consumer spending is being driven by stimulus measures that are unsustainable. The government is hamstrung by a stubbornly high fiscal deficit.
 
Other challenges include India’s infamous red tape, the threat of inflation in a fast-growing economy prone to bottlenecks, widespread poverty, and infrastructure that is inadequate to support a rapidly urbanising population of more than one billion.
 
Top executives and bankers will discuss their own plans and the broader opportunities and challenges for Asia’s third-largest economy during the Reuters India Investment Summit in Mumbai and Bangalore, which will generate exclusive stories, video and analysis. These will be immediately available only to Thomson Reuters clients during each Summit.

Thain says put shareholders first

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John Thain says he put shareholders first and his interests second in deciding to sell Merrill Lynch to Bank of America.

Thain, speaking at the Reuters Global Finance Summit in New York, said a deal to sell a partial stake in Merrill Lynch to Goldman Sachs would have been better for him, but the sale of the entire Wall Street firm to Bank of America was the best outcome for shareholders.

from Clare Baldwin:

Nomura banker says singing for karaoke only

Takeo Sumino, chief operating officer of Nomura Holding America Inc, wants to make one thing clear: neither he nor his Tokyo colleagues are into the habit of breaking into song first thing in the morning at the office.

A Wall Street Journal story in July said that one group of Nomura traders sang a company song in morning meetings.

Swine flu sales: windfall or hard work?

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Swine flu is turning out to be a sales bonanza for drug companies – just don’t call it a windfall, says GlaxoSmithKline.

As one of the world’s top suppliers of both vaccines and antiviral medicine, CEO Andrew Witty resents the implication that billions of dollars of business simply fell into his company’s lap when the World Health Organisation declared H1N1 a pandemic in June.

Health reform…big in Europe too

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U.S. healthcare reform is top of everybody’s agenda right now — but Barack Obama isn’t the only government leader chasing a new deal.

“If you are talking healthcare reform, it’s our daily life in Europe,” Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Sorensen told the Reuters Health Summit in New York.

Beckman hopes reform fees go up in smoke

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Have healthcare companies sunk as far as controversial tobacco companies in the public eye? One medical equipment maker thinks so.

Makers of medical tests, implants and other devices face anywhere from $2 billion-a-year in industry-wide taxes in the House of Representatives’ health reform bill passed on Saturday to $4 billion-a-year under a Senate version.
The Senate measure’s tax is not deductible and would be applied much like the tobacco settlement from cigarette makers years ago, said Beckman Coulter CEO Scott Garrett.

Live blog at Reuters Health Summit

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A dozen Reuters reporters are covering the annual Reuters Health Summit in New York, featuring speakers from the world’s leading healthcare companies, including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, plus top insurers and the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Follow the action as it happens:

Welcome to the 2009 Reuters Health Summit

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Pharmaceutical companies are striking mega deals, diversifying and cutting costs to gird for the storm of patent expirations. There are signs that the industry is becoming more productive in its research labs after an extended dry patch. But investors are not convinced they are on the path to sustained profits: pharmaceutical stocks overall have underperformed the broader market in 2009, and trade in general at low premiums. 
 
Indeed, Wall Street skepticism persists in many corners of healthcare. The uncertainty over the outcome of U.S. health reform efforts has brought a cloud over the sector, none more so than for health insurers, which are at rock-bottom valuations. The weak economy weighs on medical technology companies, as hospital keep tight reins on budgets and people avoid elective procedures.
 
Some of the world’s most prominent CEOs and top executives from leading health care companies and organizations will discuss these and related issues at the Reuters Health Summit, which will generate exclusive interviews and key insights from our team of reporters as well as online video and blog postings, which will be immediately available only to Thomson Reuters clients during the Summit.

How Leo DiCaprio started a car company

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Henrik Fisker, the storied car designer who has shaped Aston Martins, Fords and BMWs, told the Reuters Autos Summit this week that he now wants a starring role in the green revolution.

But he also wants to make the world safe for sports cars for generations to come.

from Environment Forum:

A Nightmare on Auto Street: Big boxes

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When it comes to competition in the auto business, it's the unknown that keeps the top U.S. Honda executive, John Mendel, up at night.

Mendel, speaking to the Reuters Auto Summit in Detroit, said he is always concerned about the conventional competitors. But what he is really afraid of is a company that "changes the game."

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