Archive for September, 2007

Blue Champions – Chelsea Fan blog!!!

Posted on September 25, 2007. Filed under: Personalities |

I know many of my friends follow English football and the English Premier League (EPL) very closely. There are die-hard club fans who swear their loyalty to the club than anything else. One of the most successful clubs in recent times is Chelsea. They were the English Premier League Champions in 2004 and 2005. Currently there was a bit of confusion in the club about the sacking of their coach Jose Mourinho. I was searching the net to find some interesting stuff on this and landed up at a blog site called http://www.bluechampions.com/.

This blog is started by a fan of Chelsea club and it has a wide following. As per the last count, the site meter shows the number of visitors as 108,928!!! Quite a high number, I guess.

This blog gives variety of information on Chelsea team. It provides you with glimpses of the goals from the matches, the league fixtures, the owner of the blog writes about football, allows others to post comments and moderates them. I think it has a wide range of Chelsea/Football fans regularly visiting it ranging from Australia to Ghana and the US. It has a well laid out design, clear instructions in the form of FAQ, conducts surveys, provides you with fixtures of English Football. Overall, it is a very well maintained site with active updates.

Why I am writing suddenly about this blog? There is a reason to it. This blog is run by my colleague, Blue Champion. (He wants to be known as such and remain anonymous on the internet. I respect his decision. So no names!!) He is a great fan and admirer of this club and follows English football more closely than many Englishmen would do. He has a keen interest for the game and writes interestingly about the matches. He is receiving many invitations to write for other blogs, participate in chat shows and discuss about football in English pubs. But it is unfortunate that he cant do these things since he is based out of Chennai, India. He has let go many an opportunity like this. But atleast he is able to contribute to other websites and blogs. He also get regular requests to trans-literate his blog into Chinese and other languages. Interesting blog and a must visit site for football fans…

What really excites me is his energy levels and his ability to maintain it on a daily basis. Blue Champion does all this after putting 10-12 hours at work on a daily basis. He spends 3 hours after going home in the night reading the latest news on world football, writing stories for the blog, moderating the comments. A truly demanding job. All for what? Just his passion towards the game. Blue Champion desires to become a Sports Writer someday, which I think he would become soon!!

All the best, Blue Champion!!! Way to go!!!!

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Indraprastha Medical – new developments!

Posted on September 18, 2007. Filed under: Stock Ideas - Long term |

I completed reading the Annual Report of Indraprastha Medical Corporation sometime last week. The figures for the year ending 31st March 2007 were not that impressive and nothing to write home about. But I found out that there are significant developments which has taken place since then. They are:

1. A new Managing Director by name Mr Richard Leroy Larison has been appointed.

2. Well known and eminent cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dr Naresh Trehan has joined the company along with a team of 100 members comprising of surgeons, cardiologists, paramedics and nursing staff.

3. In addition to Dr Trehan, various other specialists have joined the hospital in the last few months. Eminent Neurosurgeons Prof. A.K. Banerjee and Dr V P Singh has joined the company from VIMHANS. Dr Subhash Gupta and his liver transplant team joined the Hosptial in Sept 2006., Prof Dr SN Mehta and Dr Anand Kumar joned as Senior kidney transplant surgeons. Dr Girish Raheja and Dr Arvind Soni, Senior ENT Surgeons have joined the company.

4. A new 57 bed Apollo Hospital in Noida offering secondary and teritary services became operational in 2006.

5. A specialised clinic for Chest pain under the banner “Apollo Chest Pain Centre (ACPC) was launched in 3 locations at Delhi. It plans to have atleast 10 centres in the coming months based ont he feedback from the existing centres.

6. Twenty patients a week are coming from Iraq for treatment as part of an agreement with the Iraqi government. Forty more beds have been added after June 2007 to meet the increased patient inflow. A new cath lab is being commissioned to handle the additional volume.

It is getting reflected in the higher number of liver and kidney transplant operations which has been done over the last 4 months as reported by the company in their annual report. (Doesn’t sound good as a human-being, but gives me comfort as an investor!!! ) This information on the increased patient inflow was corroborated by a press report by Business Standard newspaper that Indraprastha Medical is converting their lobbies as make-shift wards to accomodate new patients.

7. The company is focussing on six areas, namely, Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Oncology, Orthopedics, Transplant surgery and Emergency services by creating Centres of Excellence. (Are they copying the IT/BPO model !!!)

8. The company would also benefit from the increasing presence of Apollo Hospitals in North Indian locations like Ludhiana, Lucknow and Varanasi. This can lead to higher number of referrals for specialised treatments at Indraprastha.

Opportunities:

The company sees big opportunities in the areas of

  • Health Insurance
  • Medical tourism
  • Telemedicine
  • Clinical trials
  • Corporate spending on wellness programs
  • Focus on prevention

Risks:

1. The company has an agreement with Government of Delhi for providing free treatment exclusive of medicines and medical consumables to patients recommended by Govt of Delhi. A PIL has been filed against the hospital to provide free mediciens and medical consumables to patients recommended by Govt of Delhi.

2. The company may not go in for big expansion location-wise as it would interfere with Apollo Hospitals expansion plan. The hospital may remain rooted to Delhi alone.

3. The company is in an industry where the employees (Doctors and other staff) play a very crucial role in customer satisfaction and retention. It is a challenge for the company to retain their key staff considering their very high profile.

4. Though there has been reported volume expansion on all fronts, we have to wait and see how the margins would be in the Sept 2007 quarter. There can be margin contractions due to additional expenditure on key staff.

Valuations:
The stock today closed at Rs39.85. At this price, the market capitalisation of this company stands at Rs365 crores. During the June’07 quarter they have made a profit of Rs4 crores resulting in an EPS of Rs0.43. I believe with increased inflow of patients in the high margin cardiac, kidney and other specialisations, there is bound to be margin expansion from the present OPM of around 5.8%. The company has consistently declared dividends in the last years and at current market price the dividend yield works out to 3.125%.

I would be closely watching the September quarter results to see if the new developments are turning out as profits.

Technically, the stock has broken about from a range of Rs27-37 since Sept 2006. Any fall to Rs35-37 zone can be a good buying opportunity.

I would be buying Indraprastha only with a long term perspective. It can be a multi-bagger but patience is required. With promoters holding more than 50% of the share capital, there is also a possibility of merging it with Apollo Hospitals at a later stage. But this is purely my guess!!

With an increasingly fast paced life ridden with health concerns, I strongly believe that Indraprastha would stand to gain. It would serve a natural hedge for anybody’s medical treatment in the long run!!!

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I like reading these weekly columns in English and Tamil!!

Posted on September 9, 2007. Filed under: General |

I read magazines in Tamil and English on a daily basis thanks to the Circulation Library subscription. I get fed with books like Kumudam, Ananda Vikatan, Kalki, Junior Vikatan in Tamil and Outlook, Outlook Money, The Week to name a few, which I read regularly.

There are number of articles which appear on a regular basis in these magazines and I have picked few of them which I like to read:

1. “O” pakkangal by Gnani – Ananda Vikatan (Tamil) – writes with clarity on current topics of interest. The last one was on the Indo-US Nuclear deal.

2. Pamarran Pakkam by Pamaran – Kumudam (Tamil) – covers a wide range of topics.

3. Avant Garde by Mohit Satyanand – Outlook Money (English) – shares his experience on investing.

4. Outlook Diary – which appears in the last page of Outlook magazine. It is a travelogue kind of writing, usually written by different people every week but if the Editor of the magazine fails to find one, he (Vinod Mehta) himself writes. And it is enjoyable too!!

Will keep updating the columns which I find interesting in the coming days.

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Bank of India Internet banking site hacked by Russian criminal gang!!!

Posted on September 5, 2007. Filed under: Banking |

I am pasting below an email I got in this regard:

Quote

The Bank of India has been forced to shut down its Internet banking site after discovering it had been hi-jacked by fraudsters to download malware to customers’ PCs.

US security provider Sunbelt Software said last week that it had discovered a malicious IFRAME had been planted on the bank’s site which re-directed PCs to a hacker’s server. Malware was then downloaded to un-patched Windows machines.

In a blog on the firm’s Web site, Sunbelt CEO Alex Eckelberry says the server was primed to dish out over 22 pieces of malware, including a pinch Trojan variant which siphons personal data from a user’s PC. Eckelberry says fully-patched systems would not have been affected by this hack. Eckelberry claims that the attack emanated from the Russian Business Network (RBN) criminal gang.

IT staff at the bank have now cleaned the server, says Eckelberry, but online services are still unavailable to customers.
Unquote

When I logged into the site now, I saw a pop-up message saying the system has been cleaned and it is safe to transact now.

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Thank you to my Teachers!!! (Sept 5 – Teachers’ Day)

Posted on September 5, 2007. Filed under: General |

Everybody remembers their Teacher’s for all the good they have done to us. On this Teachers’ day we should take some time off to think and thank them for their contribution to our lives. It is undoubtedly the teachers who are the first inspiration to many of us and they have moulded/developed us through our school and college days.

Personally, I have got to study under wonderful teachers all through. Few of the teachers who have really changed my lives are:

Mr Jayakumar of Karapettai Nadar HSS, Tuticorin , my Std.X Class Teacher, without him, I would have been nowhere.
Mr A Paneerselvam, SAV Hr Sec School, Tuticorin, my Std XII Class Teacher and Accountancy Teacher. He taught me the basics of Accounting and Commerce in such an interesting way, I still remember them after almost 15 years. Truly a great teacher. I respect him very much.
Mr Jayaprakash Narayanan, VOC college, Tuticorin who taught me for 3 years in B Com.,

One thing which is common across all the teachers is their selfless efforts and dedication towards their job. I have seen teachers putting in more than 12 hours at work all through the year for the success of their students. They could have happily walked off but their care and interest in the careers and lives of their students makes them do that extra bit. No doubt, teaching is a noble profession!!

I say big THANK YOU on this TEACHERS’ DAY to all my teachers in school, college and professional life as they are the reason for what I am today. Hope you would join me in this.

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Thank you to my Teachers!!! (Sept 5 – Teachers’ Day)

Posted on September 5, 2007. Filed under: General |

Everybody remembers their Teacher’s for all the good they have done to us. On this Teachers’ day we should take some time off to think and thank them for their contribution to our lives. It is undoubtedly the teachers who are the first inspiration to many of us and they have moulded/developed us through our school and college days.

Personally, I have got to study under wonderful teachers all through. Few of the teachers who have really changed my lives are:

Mr Jayakumar of Karapettai Nadar HSS, Tuticorin , my Std.X Class Teacher, without him, I would have been nowhere.
Mr A Paneerselvam, SAV Hr Sec School, Tuticorin, my Std XII Class Teacher and Accountancy Teacher. He taught me the basics of Accounting and Commerce in such an interesting way, I still remember them after almost 15 years. Truly a great teacher. I respect him very much.
Mr Jayaprakash Narayanan, VOC college, Tuticorin who taught me for 3 years in B Com.,

One thing which is common across all the teachers is their selfless efforts and dedication towards their job. I have seen teachers putting in more than 12 hours at work all through the year for the success of their students. They could have happily walked off but their care and interest in the careers and lives of their students makes them do that extra bit. No doubt, teaching is a noble profession!!

I say big THANK YOU on this TEACHERS’ DAY to all my teachers in school, college and professional life as they are the reason for what I am today. Hope you would join me in this.

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Reserve Bank of India losses Rs.65,000/- crores in Foreign Currency Fluctuations!!

Posted on September 3, 2007. Filed under: Banking |

Last Sunday, Business Line carried an interesting article on the recent foreign currency losses suffered by RBI. This came to light when the annual report of RBI was made available. What staggers me is the amount of loss suffered by RBI in its Currency and Gold Revaluation Account – Rs65,000/- crores. Hold your breath!! I am not joking, this is the figure reported by RBI.

Ofcourse, this is not a cash loss, per se, but a notional loss in its books. The Revaluation account which had a balance of Rs86,000/- crores odd amount as of June 30, 2006 has come down to Rs21,724/- crores. You can read the entire Business Line article here.

As a layman, I have the following questions:

1. Does RBI follow any prudent hedging mechanism to cover/reduce the foreign exchange losses? If not, why we are not following a hedging strategy to safeguard our assets.

2. Who is to be held accountable for the staggering loss of close to Rs65000/- crores? Would it be RBI or the Government?

Anybody who has an idea/explanation/understanding of this subject can provide me with further inputs.

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Reading Annual Reports – Indraprastha Medical!

Posted on September 1, 2007. Filed under: Stocks |

After a long gap, today I have started reading the Annual Reports of companies. I am currently reading Indraprastha Medical Corporation Limited’s (Healthcare industry/medical tourism) annual report for 2006-07. It is turning out to be an interesting read so far with lot of corporate announcements/updates included in the annual report.

I will try to summarise them in the next one for those who would be interested to know.

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