Week in review

Week in review

New Delhi: The broadcast sponsorship rights for the Indian Premier League or IPL have been restored to Multiscreen Media run by Sony Max TV. Sources say in an out of court settlement Multiscreen Media and World Sport will pay IPL 20% more than the original sum of $1.026 billion or about Rs5,212 crore.

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/Content/Videos/2009-03-21/2003_WIR_MINT_TV.flve8c4e2bc-153b-11de-8ea4-000b5dabf613.flvInflation dropped to its lowest level in three decades in India, but that is bringing no cheer to consumers as food prices continue to stay high. Inflation for the first week of March as measured by WPI has drastically slid to 0.44%. Inflation was at 2.43% the previous week and slid on the back of cheaper fuel items and manufacture. But CPI or the Consumer Price Index which really matters for the middle class is at 10.45 %. CPI is declared on a monthly basis and the last figure available is for January.

Financial health indictors for the coming quarter are already flashing red. Corporate tax in the fourth quarter is Rs17,622 crore — a contraction of 13% versus last year. Low taxes are correlated to profits and point to a not so hopeful outlook for the first quarter of 2009-10.

The retail sector is limping in the economic downturn. As sales slow, three of India’s biggest listed retail chains, Vishal Retail, Pantaloon Retail and Shoppers Stop are struggling with rising debt and interest costs. According to analysts, Vishal Retail’s debt to equity ratio has risen to 2.65:1. The industry norm is 1:1. Pantaloon will see its interest payout, as a proportion of sales rising this year, and Shoppers Stop could find it difficult to meet all its debt obligations. Analysts say retailers are forced to borrow money for short term, resulting in a higher level of debt—and higher interest payouts.

BJP Lok Sabha candidate from Pilibhit, Varun Gandhi, on Friday filed his reply to the Election Commission’s notice in connection with his alleged anti-Muslim speeches. Meanwhile the Delhi High Court granted anticipatory bail to Varun restraining the police from arresting him till the Allahabad High Court decides on his petition. The alleged remarks kicked up a political storm. Finding itself in spot the BJP has distanced itself from his alleged remarks. Under attack from all sides, Varun has been alleging a political conspiracy.

And economic slowdown or not the show must go on. At the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, a record number 27 of new designers are showing this time, and they seem quite optimistic about the year ahead, even as they find ways of strategising around the downturn. Still, only about 170 registered buyers are at the show this season compared with 200 last year. Not just this, the buyers have come in with lower budgets, making the competition a lot tougher.