I had earlier written about how India is being made a sucker by the US government which has filed a case against India at the WTO, about domestic content requirements for solar panels. Top US Green Groups think the same thing as they have requested the US trade representative to take back this wholly unjustified trade fight against India. The Indian solar panel manufacturers have been decimated by foreign solar panel producers who have a huge cost and financial advantage over the Indian producers. US solar panel company First Solar (FSLR) has captured a majority of the Indian market taking advantage of a loophole in India’s JNNSM federal solar subsidy program. This allows the free use of thin film solar technology panels in Indian solar power plants without any restriction. FSLR has used the loophole to supply its cheap modules to the Indian power producers, using US Exim Bank financing. Most Indian solar panel makers have either gone bankrupt (Moser Baer) or running their factories at pathetic utilization rates. They have cried themselves hoarse for some protection from the government but that has not helped.

With India’s JNNSM Phase 2 about to start, there was a possibility that the Indian government would take heed. But US government is trying to take preemptive action by filing the WTO case. Most governments protect their domestic industries through the domestic content measure. Italy, France, Canada and even US have laws to boost domestic solar manufacturing. But US has shown the height of hypocrisy by suing India at WTO without changing its “Buy America” laws. The US has also conveniently forgotten the anti-dumping duties it has imposed on imports of Chinese solar panels and cells. The corruption and the lethargic Indian government has done nothing to protect its solar industry. Lets hope some sense dawns on the Indian government and its fights for its manufacturers.

Read more about Solar Power in India.

Which Companies make Solar Panels in India

There are a number of Companies manufacturing Solar Panels in India and the domestic content requirements of JNNSM will give a further impetus to indigenous solar production in India. While upstream solar products like polysilicon and wafers are made outside of India, downstream solar products like cells and modules are made by some companies in India. Note most of the solar panels made in India is done through mainstream crystalline silicon manufacturing while a very small amount of production by Moser Baer is done through Thin Film amorphous Silicon (a-Si) Technology. The costs of the Indian manufacturers are higher than integrated Chinese companies like Trina Solar, LDK which make raw materials in-house. Due to low costs of transportation it might be cheaper for consumers to import solar panels from outside of India.

Read more about Solar Panels in India.

List of Major Solar Panel Companies in India

1) Tata BP Solar – Tata BP Solar is a Joint Venture between Tata Power Company and BP Solar. This Tata Company has one of the biggest and oldest solar panel manufacturing operations in the country. The company’s 84 MW Solar Cell manufacturing facility is capable of processing mono and multi crystalline wafers of 125mm2 and 156mm2. The company’s 125 MW module manufacturing facility is one of the largest in Asia. Their products include customized solar illumination solutions. Tata BP Solar is perhaps the best solar lighting provider in India given the brandname and inhouse manufacturing of solar components.It has a range of Solar Lighting Solutions based on LED and non LED lights. The company has huge plans in wind,solar and geothermal energy

2) Moser Baer – is one of India’s leading technology companies, established in 1983. Moser Baer’s flagship company, Moser Baer India Limited (MBIL) is the world’s second largest manufacturer of optical storage media. Moser Baer Solar Limited is a subsidiary of MBIL. The Group’s photovoltaic manufacturing business was established between 2005 and 2007 with the primary objective of providing solar power as competitive & reliable source of energy. Its products include Multicrystalline cells & modules and Thin Film modules. This is primarily a Solar Panel Production Company which has recently made a big bet to get into the Power Production Space as well. Moser Baer Projects Private in which the Blackstone Group made a $300 million bet  has plans of a 20:80 mix of Green and Dirty Power.

3) Solar Semiconductor – is an international organization that offers  PV solutions, products and services to worldwide markets including the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. It manufactures its own PV modules and cells. Solar Semiconductor currently has a 195 MW manufacturing capacity and various Systems Integration projects around the world. It offers a comprehensive range of products including complete system kits and PV modules for grid connected as well off-grid applications. A Producer of Solar Power Modules and Cells, it renders services in Solar Installation as well. It also has a small capacity to produce silicon based solar cells or solar panels or both.

4) IndoSolar – is the leading Indian manufacturer of solar photovoltaic cells. Its manufacturing capacity is 360 MWp. The company has capacity to produce both multi and mono crystalline cells.

5) Topsun Solar – is one of the leading solar power solution manufacturers in India & International market. The company has vast experience in Renewable specific to SPV technology & solutions. The Company’s strongest areas are solar Telecom power system, KW to MW SPV Power Plant, Village electrification & Home lighting system. Its manufacturing unit is established with latest technology with their own R&D facilities for future development in solar solutions.

6) Titan Energy – is a major competitor in the distributed, renewable, and alternative energy industries and a leader in development and support for new energy-related technology.

7) PLG Power – is a vertically integrated company operating in the PV sector since 2008. The company is a part of a big, well-established Indian Group, PLG Group, which is almost 100 years old company diversified into numerous businesses in Asia and Middle-East.

8) Maharishi Solar – has a vertically Integrated manufacturing facility to produce multi-crystalline silicon ingots, Multi Crystalline wafers, Multi/Mono Solar cells, SPV modules and SPV systems in Andhra Pradesh. Maharishi Solar also designs, engineers and manufactures a wide range of Solar Panels, Solar Water Heaters, Solar Air Conditioning Systems, Swimming Pool Heating etc. for various Residential, Commercial & Industrial projects.

9) Kotak Urja Pvt. Ltd. – is one of the pioneering companies in India dedicated to the promotion of eco-friendly and environmentally safe renewable energy technologies. The company has forayed into solar PV technologies by establishing at that time an advanced PV module manufacturing facility. Over the years, Kotak Urja has developed expertise in Design, Engineering, Manufacturing, Integration & Installation of a broad range of solar thermal & solar photovoltaic systems and aspires to achieve a dominant position in the growing PV market in both India & globally.

10) Photon Energy Systems – established in 1995, is a leading manufacturer of Solar PV Modules, PV Systems and Solar Thermal Systems in India.


A dozen-odd eminent American and international organisations have asked the US to reconsider its decision to drag India to WTO over solar energy policy.In a letter to the US Trade Representative (USTR) yesterday, these organisations have said that dragging India to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) related to local content in solar panels would not only undercut New Delhi’s effort to reduce poverty, but was also detrimental to developing a solar energy industry.

The organisations are 350.org, ActionAid USA, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Center for International Environmental Law, Earth Day Network, EcoEquity, Friends of the Earth US, Global Exchange, Greenpeace USA, Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project and Sierra Club.

Apple Samsung Technology War

Samsung is set to capture almost 40% of the global handset market (up from 29% in 2012), thanks to its new flagship smartphone S4. While iPhone is only set to release the latest iPhone 5 by Q3 2013, Samsung has already showcased its new flagship S4 and will roll out the new phone at more than 350 telecom carriers around the world by May 2013. This will give Samsung a leg up in its fight against Apple in the smartphone market. Samsung has captured the smartphone market by rapidly introducing new and innovative phones at short intervals. It is being able to offer better smartphones at the same or cheaper price than its principal competitors.

Read on GWI how Tablets become Ground Zero of Technology Wars as Smartphone becomes Samsung and Apple Duopoly.

One of the main reasons behind Samsung’s success is its integrated hardware model. The company makes its own memory, processors and displays. In fact it is the biggest supplier of components to Apple and other smartphone companies. Samsung is the biggest memory company in the world and amongst the top display manufacturers as well. Its huge semiconductor fabs has also made it one of the biggest foundries as well. The company does not face any component shortages like Qualcomm or Apple. It is also able to use the latest component technologies in its phones (AMOLED etc.). This gives it a bit edge over other phone suppliers. While other companies would face trouble in managing such a lot of moving parts, this South Korean conglomerate has managed such a diverse business quite adroitly till now.

Samsung still dependent on Google’s Android

While Samsung continues to rule the roost for now, it faces danger from its high dependence on Google’s Android operating system. Google is set to come out with newer smartphones as its Motorola unit reorganizes and comes out with better models. Samsung also faces a threat from the new Chinese competitors like Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo who are coming out with smartphones almost as good as Samsung using Android. While Samsung is trying to defuse this threat by putting more emphasis on software (Tizen and Smart Play), I am not sure it can transform into a software heavyweight.


Samsung will extend its mobile handset market share lead over its nearest competitor to 11 percentage points in 2013, thanks to the launch of its latest Galaxy S handset, IHS iSuppli said in a new report.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 introduced last month has not yet hit market shelves, but IHS already provided an optimistic outlook for Samsung’s handset market share lead in 2013.

IHS iSuppli: Top-5 handset vendors in 2012 (ranking by unit shipments)
























Source: IHS iSuppli, compiled by Digitimes, March 2013

Videocon, Reliance to set up Chip Manufacturing Plants in India

India is totally dependent on imports for its technology hardware needs, as the country has almost no semiconductor fabs or even electronic assembly factories. The country has been trying to promote solar and semiconductor industries through a number of subsidies for a long time. However, these initiatives have not resulted in any big semiconductor fab and even the small number of solar manufactures are dying in the face of a flood of cheap solar panel imports. The reason is that Indian policy makers lack both commitment and vision about the electronics industry in India. Despite having a huge technological talent pool, India has not been able to take advantage. The country is trying to revive the industry again through new sops and incentives. It has appointed a “top consultant” Accenture (more money down the drain) to help it formulate a policy.

Read about Telecom Companies in India.

Semiconductor giants like Freescale and others had evinced an interest in setting up a fab in India last time but nothing came out of it. Now MNCs have even stopped showing interest in setting up a factory, let alone actually invest to set up something. India is projected to import a gargantuan $200 billion in tech hardware by 2020. This has made even India’s useless politicians sit up and take notice. Boosting semiconductor manufacturing should not be very hard. Even small countries like Taiwan and South Korea have a huge industry. India can not only give tax and duty subsidies but also make it mandatory to use domestic semiconductor components. Domestic conglomerates like Videocon and Reliance are willing to invest billions of dollars if the policy environment is right. India should go all out to ensure that these plants come up. Otherwise the country will become dependent on others for technology as well as energy.

Read on GWI Mobile Phone Companies in India.


Home-grown electronics brand Videocon and Reliance Industries are ready to set up chip manufacturing plants.In proposals sent to the Government for setting up semiconductor fabrication plants, the two companies have offered to invest some Rs 25,000 crore on the condition that the Government provides incentives.

Though Reliance declined to comment, industry sources said the Mukesh Ambani firm was looking to invest close to Rs 18,000 crore in the project. The company has sought subsidy worth Rs 4,000 crore. The plant is likely to come up in Jamanagar SEZ or Navi Mumbai if the Government accepts the proposal.


Semiconductor fabrication is essential to promote local manufacture of electronic items. From smartphones to television to cars, every thing electronic has an in-built chipset that controls its operation. Globally, chipset market is dominated by Intel, Qualcomm, AMD and Texas Instruments. According to the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, the demand for electronics hardware in the country is projected to increase from $45 billion in 2009 to $400 billion by 2020.

Recently, the Finance Ministry announced zero customs duty on plant and machinery for semiconductor facilities. Minister for Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal had on Monday said the government had received two proposals for semiconductor manufacturing plants but did not name the companies.

Global Unemployment

The phenomenon of growing unemployment across the world has become a regular feature across daily news stories. This is not restricted to one nation or region but seems to be happening across all countries. Higher structural unemployment has become an accepted fact. Some countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain are seeing depression like unemployment levels. Emerging giants like India and China are seeing massive underemployment as well. White collar workers are making less money than blue collar workers, as millions of graduates come out of universities each year. There are just not enough jobs for the existing workforce, let alone the millions who come out ever year. In India even elite universities like the IIMs are having difficulty in getting jobs for their graduates.

The reasons for the growing unemployment are in my view:

a) Growing population

b) Rising globalization which is leading to depression of salaries everywhere

c) Capital is getting ascendancy over labor due to wrong policies pursued by the governments ( lack of big inheritance taxes, softness on tax evasion etc.)

Now an improvement in robot technology has started to pressurize labor. Foxconn which is amongst the largest private employers in the world with over a million workers is planning to replace a large chunk of its workforce with robots. Note Foxconn is repeatedly in the news for worker suicides. A spate of suicides at Taiwan’s Foxconn factories made media headlines forcing the company to increase wages under international customer pressure.

Asian White collar workers face Unemployment and Low Wages due to Increasing College Education

As India grows more prosperous and more citizens get educated, the country is facing a major problem. While every country would kill for millions of graduates passing out every year, India is finding them to be a problem. The reason is that India is seeing jobless growth with a paucity of decent jobs on offer. The real topline growth of companies has stagnated and profits are not growing. In such an environment, hiring is anemic and restricted to a few sectors only. Corruption infested sectors such as telecom, aviation, construction have seen massive layoffs in recent times. The IT industry which used to be major employer of fresh graduates is also getting saturated and cannot find jobs for the torrents of graduates that pass out every year. The income inequalities are becoming more and more stark as billion dollar houses get built, while hundreds of millions finding it difficult to find two meals a day. This socioeconomic malaise is generally ignored by kool aid drinking investors pouring the billions of dollars into the India stock market fulled by zero interest rates.

The spectacular growth in Asian economies like China, South Korea, HK, Taiwan over the last two decades has raised millions from poverty to a middle class life. This has led to increasing education levels among the new generation of Asians. Parents have poured a large part of their earnings into children education, which was seen as a ticket to a better life. But many of these newly entered work force participants are not finding the pot of gold at end of the rainbow. This is because the population of college graduated workers has increased significantly, putting  the laws of supply-demand against these workers. In fact  the wages of college educated workers have declined in some cases.

Perversely for these educated Asians, the wages of Blue Collar workers has increased at a much faster pace compared to the White Collar workers. While the wages for highly in demand skill-sets and experience approach those of the western counterparts, the wages for those with little experience and “commoditized  college degrees” continues to remain stagnant. This has been the experience in many countries across Asia like South Korea, India, China.


Taiwan’s tech giant Foxconn will hire 5,000 technicians locally this year, many of them to work on factory robots to build its gadgets, officials said Monday, in a sign the firm is refocusing operations to its home island.Foxconn said the move was due to increasing automation of manufacturing and assembly lines in China, where rising labour costs have squeezed profit margins.

Some of the new employees are to work at a software complex in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan, spokeswoman Laura Liu said, while others will staff a robot research unit in the centre of the island, and a development unit at the company’s headquarters outside Taipei.Chairman Terry Gou told media that Foxconn — the world’s largest maker of computer components, which assembles products for Apple, Sony and Nokia — plans to use one million robots to do “simple” manufacturing work by 2014.

Indian Budget 2013-14

The finance minister Mr. P Chidambaram recently unveiled a bigger-than-expected outlay for the coming fiscal year in what is known to be one of the most highly anticipated Indian budgets of recent years.

Some of the highlights of the budget are elucidated as under:


  • The year 2012-13 saw fiscal deficit at 5.2% of GDP, which is a matter of concern for the country as rising fiscal deficit lead to inflation and country’s sovereign rating is hampered
  • For the year 2013-14, fiscal deficit is targeted at 4.8%
  • India has to rationalize the expenditure due to the huge fiscal deficit


  • Gross market borrowing is projected at 6.29 trillion rupees in 2013/14, where in short term borrowing is seen at 198.44 billion rupees in 2013/14
  • India to buy back 500 billion rupees worth of bonds in 2013/14.


  • Major subsidies bill estimated at 2.48 trillion rupees from 1.82 trillion rupees in the year 2013-14. Petroleum subsidy projected at 650 billion rupees in 2013-14. Revised petroleum subsidy for 2012-13 at 968.8 billion rupees
  • Food subsidies in 2013-14 estimated at 900 billion rupees. Revised food subsidies at 850 billion rupees in 2012-13
  • Fertilizer subsidy revised at 659.7 billion rupees for 2012-13.


  • The economy is facing the biggest challenge of getting back to its growth back to the rate of 8 point. Growth must be embraced as highest goal as of now for the economy.


  • Total budget expenditure is seen at 16.65 trillion rupees in 2013-14 of which non-plan expenditure is estimated at about 11.1 trillion rupees and planned expenditure is seen at 5.55 trillion rupees
  • Total expenditure for 2012-13 revised at 14.3 trillion rupees which is 96 point of budget estimate.


  • Direct tax proposal in 2013-14 is expected at 133 billion rupees where as 47 billion rupees through indirect tax proposals.
  • Stake sales in state-run firms will fetch around 558.14 billion in 2013-14. Revenue of 408.5 billion rupees is expected from airwave surcharges, auction of telecom spectrum, etc. 2013-14.


  • CAD is India’s greatest worry. More than $75 billion is required this year and next year to fund the deficit. Food inflation is a sign of worry and proper steps to check the supply side will be taken so as to control the inflation in primary articles.


  • Surcharge of 10 point on rich taxpayers with annual income of more than 10 million rupees a year is to be implemented. Also an increment of surcharge to 10 point on domestic companies with annual income of more than 100 million rupees will be implemented.
  • Surcharge for foreign companies paying higher rate of corporate tax will be increased from 2 pct to 5 pct.
  • 15 point tax concession on dividend received by India companies from foreign units will be continued for a period of one year
  • Withholding tax of 20 point on profit distribution to shareholders is proposed
  • Reduction in STT on equity futures to 0.01 point from 0.017 point to encourage participation. Also a proposal to introduce commodities transaction tax (CTT) will be implemented if required. CTT on non-agriculture futures contracts at 0.01 point.


  • Issue of inflation-indexed bonds
  • Capital allowance of 15 point to companies on investments of more than 1 billion rupees
  • Investment in corporate, government bonds to allowed to use as margin requirement for Foreign institutional investors (FIIs)
  • Allowing Insurance, provident funds to trade directly in debt segments of stock exchanges
  • Allowing FIIs to hedge foreign exchange exposure with exchange-traded derivatives
  • Investors to be regarded as FII and FDI on the basis of the percent stake. Investor with less than 10 point stake in a company will be regarded as FII and FDI the other way round
  • KYC norms for foreign portfolio investors to be simplified by stock exchange regulator.


  • Zero customs duty for electrical plants and machinery
  • Move to revenue-sharing from profit-sharing policy in oil and gas sector.

Read more about Oil & Gas Companies in India.


  • Duty cut on exports of precious and semi-precious stones to 2 point from 10 point
  • No duty on import of ships, vessels.


  • Capital infusion to State-run banks to the tune of 140 billion rupees in 2013-14.

Read more about Top Ten Banks in India.


  • 2.03 trillion rupees allocated to defence in 2013-14.


  • Allocation of 801.94 billion rupees to rural development in 2013-14 along with the allocation of 270.49 billion rupees for agriculture in 2013-14.

As far as the budget is concerned the finance minister has very well looked into the key problems of Indian economy which is CAD, fiscal deficit and the rising inflation (mainly the primary articles). Finance Minister’s target of maintaining the deficit at the level of 4.8 is undoubtedly a positive move and will help in curbing the inflation.

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)

  • RIL is an Indian conglomerate company
  • Headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra India
  • RIL is one of the largest publicly traded company in India by market capitalization
  • Second largest company in India by revenue after Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL)
  • India’s largest private sector company by revenue and profit
  • Ranked 99th on Fortune Global 500 list of the world’s biggest corporations for the year 2012

Reliance Industries Businesses

Company operates through three business segments:

Other divisions of the company include:

  • Textiles
  • Retail business
  • Special economic zone (SEZ) development
  • Telecom/broadband business

Reliance Retail

Reliance Retail Limited (RRL), a subsidiary of RIL, was set up to lead Reliance Group’s foray into organized retail in the year 2006. RRL since its inception has grown into an organization that caters to millions of customers, thousands of farmers and vendors. Based on its core growth strategy of backward integration, RRL has made rapid progress towards building an entire value chain starting from the farmers to the end consumers.

In optics business company has partnered with Grand Vision to provide Vision Express frames, lenses, contact lenses, sunglasses, solutions and accessories. For kids division, company partnered with Hamleys, which is considered to be the world’s most wonderful toy shop. iStore by Reliance Digital is a one-stop-shop for all Apple products and services. Reliance also partnered with two leading international brands:

  • Steve Madden which is a leading fashion designer for clothing, footwear and accessories for women, men and children
  • Quiksilver which is a leading outdoor sports lifestyle company with brands ‘Quiksilver’ and ‘Roxy’ under its kitty

Reliance Retail serves over 2.5 million customers every week

Subsidiaries and Divisions

There are various Subsidiaries & division under Reliance Retail. Following is the list of all of them:

  • Reliance Fresh – Retail Outlets of fruits, Vegetables & Groceries.
  • Reliance Digital – Consumer Electronics retail Store
  • Reliance Jewels – Jewellery
  • Reliance Time Out – Lifestyle store of Books, Music, Movies, Toys, Gaming, Fragrances, Stationery
  • Reliance Trends – Apparel and Clothing.

Reliance Financials

It is needless to say that Reliance Industries is one of the largest companies in India. Company has tons of cash in its balance sheet as can been seen by the table below:

(in Rs. Crores) Mar-12 Mar-11 Mar-10 Mar-09
Cash and Cash Equivalents at Beginning of the year 27135 13463 22176.53 4280.05
Net Cash from Operating Activities 26974 33280 20490.22 18245.86
Net Cash Used in Investing Activities -3046 -20333 -18204.5 -24081.96
Net Cash Used in Financing Activities -11465 725 -10999.6 23732.58
Net Inc/(Dec) in Cash and Cash Equivalent 12463 13672 -8713.88 17896.48
Cash and Cash Equivalents at End of the year 39598 27135 13462.7 22176.5


Mar-12 Mar-11 Mar-10 Mar-09
Key Ratios
Debt-Equity Ratio 0.44 0.47 0.56 0.57
Long Term Debt-Equity Ratio 0.32 0.39 0.51 0.49
Current Ratio 1.15 1.03 1.07 1.06
Turnover Ratios
Fixed Assets 1.63 1.22 1.16 1.21
Inventory 10.33 9.11 9.58 10.06
Debtors 18.95 17.78 24.69 27.1
ROCE (%) 12.77 13.63 11.89 13.21
RONW (%) 12.97 14.78 13.37 15.69


The Company has strong D/E ratio, thanks to its pile of cash. Reliance is one of the most cash rich company having piles of cash under its kitty. The current ratio has improved from the previous years.  If we look at the turnover ratios we see that the company’s fixed assets are performing pretty well and also the inventory. The return on the capital employed and net worth has decline though. 

Mar-12 Mar-11 Mar-10 Mar-09
Price Earning (P/E) 12.47 17.23 22.12 15.99
Price to Book Value ( P/BV) 1.5 2.35 2.74 2.09
EV/EBIDTA 6.88 9.31 12.12 11.49
Market Cap/Sales 0.72 1.33 1.75 1.64


We see a steep decline in the P/E ration of the company from past years, is a matter of concern for the company. The investors’ willingness to pay for the company’s stock has been declining. Also if we see the multiple valuation of the company we see that the company has underperformed in all the three multiples.

Year End Dividend(%) Div Yield(%)
201203 85 1.14
201103 80 0.76
201003 70 0.65
200903 130 1.71
200803 130 1.15


The company has been paying continuously so as to boost the confidence of shareholders towards the company and also to help share perform better in the stock market.


Global growth in refinery capacity addition is expected to outpace growth in demand and will keep a check on operating rates. Demand in Europe and the US is expected to shrink or at best stay unchanged. European refiners are already facing the brunt of economic slowdown and high oil prices. FY 2011-12 witnessed several refinery closures in Europe and the US. Overall outlook for refining industry continues to remain challenging. Margin is further expected to fall in FY’13.