India is rarely as shiny as its fans insist. The $1bn fraud perpetrated by Satyam Computer Services will not only throw the $40bn software and outsourcing industry into a tailspin,it will also raise disturbing questions about the risks of doing business in Indiaand even the sustainability of the countrys much-vaunted growth miracle.
Of course,India is hardly alone in such failings. Satyam,moreover,was audited by PwC and listed in New York and Amsterdam,as well as Mumbai. But India,with a per capita income of less than $1,000,has more to prove. In spite of its poverty,it has sold itself as a country to which Fortune 500 companies can entrust sensitive data,banks their back offices and even patients the production of medicines.
Investor Lessons from the Satyam Scandal/ Blog: seekingalpha.com
There are diverging trains of thought on what to take away from this,writes H.J. Honeycutt. One school says that this goes to show that the rest of the world is not that much unlike America and that an Enron or Madoff scandal can happen anywhere. A second school of thought says this exposes the dangers of investing where business culture,auditing standards and social customs can differ markedly from the United States. The one particularly frightening thing about the Satyam case is the seeming ease with which this fraud was committed. Satyam had a cash balance over $1 billion and 94 per cent of it was fictitious. If a company could fake this much cash on its balance sheet without auditors even batting an eyelash,could this mean that any company in India is potentially vulnerable?
India is on the menu for those with a taste for risk/The Telegraph
Although there is potential for further corporate scandals to be uncovered,the falls have created a buying opportunity for investors seeking a cheap way into a growth market,writes Gary White. Sentiment was already downbeat following the shocking terrorist attack in Mumbai in December. Tensions with Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks are another risk factor that has kept Indian markets subdued over the past month. Despite these events,Questor believes now is a good time to buy into Indian shares via a fund that will spread risk over a broad portfolio.
The U.N.: Satyams Spreading Stain/FOX NEWS.COM
The World Bank,a cornerstone of the United Nations global anti-poverty effort,failed to tell the rest of the world organisation that it had banned Satyam Computer Services last February from further business following a corruption probeand thus allowed the UN to enter into a $6 million deal for technology services with Satyam as recently as this July,writes George Russell. What made the contract a shock was that it came into force five months after the World Bank banned Satyam as a supplier for eight years,after a three-year investigation revealed extensive improper financial dealings with a top World Bank official. At the time of the investigation and banning,Satyam had been declared a strategic partner with the World Bank in all of its information processing activities,and had received hundreds of millions of dollars in World Bank business since the partnership was announced in 2002.
In the wake of FOX News stories in October through December that revealed the improprieties scandal and the Satyam ban,the World Bank admitted late last week to the Wall Street Journal that it kept Satyams eight-year punishment a secret from the general public.