The Week in Review for 04 February 2011

The Week in Review for 04 February 2011

After six long years in limbo, the environment ministry finally gave a green signal to Posco’s proposal to set up a $12 billion steel project in Orissa. But ministry also added a total of 60 new conditions. Of these, 28 involve the steel factory and its captive power plant. Another 32 are connected to the mining port that’s also part of the project. What’s more the Orissa government will have to provide an assurance that indigenous forest dwellers are not being displaced by the project. Posco’s ambitious plans were put on hold after protestors claimed it would cause traditional forest-dwellers would lose their livelihoods.

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Bharti Airtel announced worse-than-expected third quarter earnings during the week. The company’s net profit plunged 41% to Rs1,303 crore. That’s despite a 53% rise in revenues to Rs15,756 crore.

A number of one-time costs ate into Bharti’s earnings. Currency fluctuations alone took away Rs151 crore, and the extensive re-branding effort cost another Rs340 crore.

One positive sign for the company was its African operations. Revenues from the continent went up 8.7%. Bharti also lowered tariffs in ten of the 16 African countries it’s present in. Manoj Kohli, the head of international operations, said this was a corrective to the high tariffs charged by the previous operator, Zain. Bharti bought Zain’s African operations for a total of $10.7 billion back in June.

India’s former telecom minister is behind bars. On Wednesday, the CBI arrested A. Raja in connection with the 2G spectrum scandal. It also picked up Raja’s old personal secretary R.K. Chandolia and the country’s former telecom secretary Siddharth Behuria. The next day a special CBI court extended the custody of all three men until Monday. The agency meanwhile named Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless as companies that benefited from favourable treatment as part of the scandal.