The week began with high expectations from Barack Obama’s visit, and the American president did not disappoint. In a 35-minute long speech to Parliament on Monday, Obama endorsed the idea of a permanent seat for India in the U N Security Council. And while that announcement drew applause, Obama added with increased power would come increased responsibility. He called on India to take stronger stances against countries like Iran and Myanmar.
And Obama and Manmohan Singh also spoke about a number of other key issues at an earlier press conference. Obama made it clear that the U S had no intention of intervening in disputes between India and Pakistan. And Prime Minister Manmohan Singh responded by saying a peaceful and moderate Pakistan was in India’s interest. But Singh added that Pakistan needed to move away from what he called “terror-induced coercion”. In another development in his India tour, Obama announced he was removing long-standing export restrictions on Indian organizations like DRDO and Isro.
And moving on to corporate news, Bharti Airtel’s African operations have eaten into its second quarter profits. On Wednesday, the company posted net profit of one Rs1,661 crore, which is a decline of 27% percent. Its revenue meanwhile jumped up 47% to Rs 15,215 crore.
Manoj Kohli, the CEO of Bharti’s international operations said the company had managed to halt the decline in both revenue and Ebitda in Africa. He added that Bharti would retain pricing power in the continent. Key to the revival in the African business is an already announced capital expenditure of $800 million. The company is also expected to announce its new branding in Africa shortly.
State Bank of India posted earnings that left analysts disappointed. Its second quarter net profit rose marginally to Rs2,501 crore from last year’s Rs 2,490 crore. But on a consolidated basis, net profits actually declined 22.5% to Rs 2,364 crore. At the root of SBI’s mixed numbers were provisions for bad loans. Total provisions increased to Rs 3,571 crore in the consolidated balance sheet. Out of that Rs3,055 crore were the result of bad loans.