Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tech Mahindra says Satyam poses challenges

Tech Mahindra, which Monday agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Satyam Computer Services, admitted the crisis-ridden IT firm's liabilities would add to the challenges usually associated with an acquisition.

"We have taken on a challenge and we will make it work," Mahindra and Mahindra group vice-chairman and managing director Anand Mahindra told reporters after being selected as the highest bidder for the Hyderabad-based IT firm.

Mahindra said merger and acquisition decisions were taken in the best interest of shareholders. "We will try to make it as less painful as possible," he added.

Tech Mahindra vice chairman, managing director and chief executive Vineet Nayyar also admitted that the ride was not going to be smooth.

"Satyam's revenues have dipped from $1.8 billion to $1.5 billion and may come down to $1.3 billion in the next quarter," Nayyar said.

"Liabilities are there in terms of Upaid and the class action suits," he said, referring to the UK-based mobile payment operator that filed a case accusing Satyam of forgery.

"We had, however, made a fair assessment of what these liabilities would translate into. Let's hope we were right," Nayyar added.

Satyam faces the threat of paying up to $1 billion as damages to Upaid. Apart from this, a dozen-odd class action suits have been filed against it in the US.

But Kiran Karnik, chairman of Satyam's reconstituted board, is optimistic.

"Satyam is a fundamentally sound company with an impressive client roster and committed employees," Karnik said at a separate media briefing.

Satyam's reconstituted board has gone all out to get some clarity on its books of accounts, which were cooked by co-founder B. Ramalinga Raju over several years.

According to a company statement, Satyam's revenue stands at Rs.650 crore per month, while its operating profit is between Rs.15-20 crore per month.

The Hyderabad-based major also has immovable assets in terms of 450 acres of land, of which 125 acres are in Hyderabad alone that house its campuses.

The total valuation of the 125 acres is around Rs.1,700 crore.

"We are trying to get the accounts restated for the past five years starting from last quarter of 2008-09. It will take a few more months," added Deepak Parekh, HDFC chairman and a Satyam board member.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Book your Nano Online at CarWale.com

CarWale.com, India's ultimate car portal, has tied up with Leading Banks to provide convenient online booking for Tata Nano - the People's Car. The booking amount for the car, is Rs. 2999, comes inclusive of, Interest Amount and Processing.

While CarWale.com is offering this service absolutely free of charge, they have now gone a step further by setting up a detailed section on www.carwale.com to help customers apply for the Tata Nano. Boasting a secure payments gateway for online transactions, CarWale is providing this service to over 170 cities across the country.

Applications will be accepted from April 9 to April 25.

"Nano marks a new era in India's car history and we are here to revolutionize people's car buying experience. We are glad to partner with leading bank and offer easy finance and online booking of Nano." said Tufail Khan, VP Marketing CarWale.com, "And hence we are providing Tata Nano buyers the luxury of replacing unending queues and paper work hassles with a simple click of a button to book a car, all within the comfort of their home."

All Nano models are available on www.carwale.com and the customer can also choose from a wide range of colors. CarWale with their Finance partners arranges to deliver and collect application form, loan documents from the home & office of customers.

And while consumers book Nano at CarWale, they all stand a chance to win exciting gifts such as free petrol vouchers, electronic items and more from CarWale. In fact, one lucky winner will drive away with a free Tata Nano.

Small car draws long queues as bookings start for Tata Nano

Tata Motors showrooms across the country witnessed heavy footfalls Thursday as thousands of people queued for application forms to book their much-sought Nano, the jellybean-shaped small car.

Delhi, which has over 15 Tata Motors outlets, witnessed more than 7,000 eager customers rushing to book the "people's car" at the opening of the 17-day booking period.

A-One Motors, a dealership on Barakhamba Road in the heart of the national capital, alone saw more than 1,200 people. More than 1,000 forms, each costing Rs.300, were sold.

Over the next 16 days, interested buyers can apply with an upfront payment of around Rs.95,000, or Rs.2,999 if they wish to get the car financed. Direct financing has been made available through 18 participating banks at 9-14.25 percent interest.

The car can also be booked online through the net banking gateway of over 28 banks. The online form will cost Rs.200.

But that alone will not assure them a Nano, which the $62.5-billion Tata group chairman Ratan Tata had promised to deliver for Rs.100,000 at factory gates.

A lottery will decide the lucky 100,000 who will drive out the Nano in the first phase - the result of a Rs.20-billion investment, and five years of research and development by a 500-member team, which even fetched them 34 patents.

The list of those allotted the car will be made public 60 days after the booking closes.

Tata Motors officials said over 50,000 forms have been sold across India before the booking date and the numbers were likely to multiply over the the next two weeks.

"We have had more than 300 people visiting our showroom since morning today (Thursday) and have sold about 200 forms," said Rajesh Deswal, a sales representative at A-One Motors' Moti Nagar outlet in west Delhi.

Among those who booked the Rs.100,000 ($2,000) car was noted filmmaker Muzaffar Ali, who sought financing through State Bank of India (SBI) and filled the form at midnight in Lucknow.

"We were prepared ever since the booking date was announced and had made all preparations to meet the rush," SBI chief general manager Shiv Kumar said.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

CBI files charge sheet in Satyam fraud case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Tuesday filed a charge sheet in the Rs.78 billion ($1.56 billion) accounting fraud in Satyam Computer Services Ltd, three months after the company's disgraced founder and former chairman B. Ramalinga Raju admitted to India's biggest corporate scam.

The CBI officials led by Deputy Inspector General Lakshmi Narayana presented the charge sheet against all the nine accused in a special court for CBI cases here.

The 2,315-page charge sheet said Ramalinga Raju and his brother and former managing director of the IT major were the brains behind the scam while seven other accused, including three arrested Sunday, assisted them.

The CBI personnel brought the voluminous charge sheet and thousands of other documents running into 64,500 pages in a mini-truck to Nampally Criminal Court complex and submitted the same to the court of XIV Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate S. Samuel Victor Emmanuel.

The documents, CDs and other records were brought in 25 trunk boxes.

"We also have recorded statement of Rajus, their family members and 432 witnesses in the case," Narayana later told reporters.

The charge sheet says Raju brothers were the kingpins and architects of the fudging and faking of balance sheets and also insider trading in the IT bellwether.

Ramalinga Raju has been accused of diverting funds of Satyam to his family firms for buying huge tracts of land, fudging accounts and also showing fake fixed deposits to inflate the profits. He allegedly bought properties and prime lands in benami transactions.

The CBI filed the charge sheet less than two months after it took over the probe from crime branch of Andhra Pradesh police. The multi-disciplinary investigation team of the CBI had grilled Rajus for nine days last month as part of the investigations.

The federal agency, which took up investigations Feb 18, had booked Rajus and other accused for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, forgery and falsification of accounts.

Meanwhile, the court has also allowed the CBI to collect samples of specimen signatures and handwriting of the Raju brothers and the former chief financial officer of the company, Srinivas Vadlamani.

The CBI wants to establish the charge of forgery against the accused.

The court posted to Wednesday orders on bail petitions of former auditors of Price Waterhouse S. Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri.

Ramalinga Raju had quit as Satyam chairman Jan 7 while confessing he cooked the company's account books and inflated profits over the past several years.

The Rajus were arrested by Andhra Pradesh police Jan 9. Srinivas was picked up the next day. The former auditors were also arrested the same month.

The CBI Sunday arrested three executives of Satyam's finance wing and the court Monday remanded them to judicial custody till April 15.

G. Ramakrishna, vice-president (finance), D. Venkatapathi Raju, senior manager (finance), and Ch. Srisailam, assistant manager, were arrested on the charge of preparing fake invoices, bank confirmation letters and fixed deposit receipts.

CBI officials said they implemented the mechanism for fraud designed by Ramalinga Raju.

These were the first arrests since the CBI took over the investigations in February.

With this, the number of accused in the case rose to nine. All the accused are currently lodged in Chanchalguda central jail here.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Airtel launches 16 Mbps broadband in India

Bharti Airtel, has pioneered 16 Mbps broadband - the fastest wireline broadband on DSL in the country. This service, powered by Airtel's Carrier Ethernet Network, will be initially available in the cities of Delhi NCR, Chennai and Bangalore with phased roll-out to additional cities of Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Announcing the launch of the service, Mr. K Srinivas, Joint President, Telemedia Services, Bharti Airtel said, "Airtel has constantly strived to innovate and deliver high quality products to its broadband customers. We are the leading private broadband service provider in the country and pioneered 8 Mbps broadband.

Airtel delivers its broadband service to customers through a fibre backbone of Carrier Ethernet Network with last mile delivery on copper using ADSL2+ technology. This technology enables ultra high-speed broadband which is scalable and affordable. Airtel is the leading private broadband service provider in the country offering its services across 95 cities in the country with approximately 9.92 lakh broadband customers as on December 31, 2008.

Customers can gain access to 16 Mbps broadband by choosing from 2 Tariff Plans -

-- Speed Combo 2999 - receive 16 Mbps broadband speed with monthly data transfer limit of 20 GB along with a fixed line connection at Rs. 2999 per month

-- Speed Combo 4999 - receive 16 Mbps broadband speed with monthly data transfer limit of 50 GB along with a fixed line connection at Rs. 4999 per month

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In response to growing concerns from the public and the media about the possible threat that may be unleashed by the Conficker worm on April 1st, McAf

In response to growing concerns from the public and the media about the possible threat that may be unleashed by the Conficker worm on April 1st, McAfee, Inc. (NYSE: MFE), the leading Internet security company, today took steps to allay fears and offer some simple guidelines for consumers and businesses to ensure they are fully protected.

What is the Conficker worm?

Conficker first surfaced late last year, taking advantage of a security flaw in Microsoft’s Windows operating system to spread itself. Microsoft provided an emergency fix for the vulnerability last October with Security Update MS08-067. However, because many systems were not patched or properly protected with security software, Conficker has slithered onto as many as 12 million Windows computers, according to some estimates.

Some experts believe that one variant of the worm, Conficker.C, may activate on April 1 and start another assault on Windows computers. Computers infected with Conficker become part of an army of compromised computers and could be used to launch attacks on Web sites, distribute spam, host phishing Web sites or other criminal activities. Additionally, once it is on a computer, Conficker digs itself in by attempting to deactivate security software and sabotaging tools to remove it.

How do I know if I’m affected?

“One of the symptoms of this worm is that it blocks access to Web sites of Internet security companies,” says Dave Marcus, of McAfee Avert Labs. “A pretty good indication of whether your computer has been infected is to try and visit McAfee’s Web site: www.mcafee.com. If the site won’t load, you will need to clean your infected computer by searching for McAfee® Avert® Labs Stinger tool on the Internet. You should also install Microsoft’s patch to prevent the worm from reinstalling itself.”

McAfee has released a free tool that will help assess multiple computers for the presence of Conficker. This new tool, termed ConTest, may be downloaded at no charge at http://www.mcafee.com/us/enterprise/confickertest.html.

Removing Conficker and preventing re-infection

Anti-malware solutions will clean the infection and use behavioral detections techniques like buffer overflow protection to prevent future infections. This is important because Conficker can propagate via portable media such as an infected USB drive. As the drive is accessed, the system processes autorun.inf and executes the attack. And finally, ensure all computers have Microsoft Security Update MS08-067 installed.
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