Slumdog and Indian businesses

Was reading this very interesting Report from First Global on India’s economic crisis. The author, Le Grand Fromage, talks about how once a rags-to-riches occurs, the person who makes that journey cannot adjust back to the “rags” situation – something that happened to the young Azhar (young Jamaal in “Slumdog Millionaire”) – who is from a slum but got all the attention from the Oscars and went all the way to LA for Oscars and came back to his slum dwelling and couldn’t sleep because of mosquitoes!

Well, I have attached the report – which is a good read overall. But this is one bit of information that really shocked me (have put the most important part in bold).

Exposure to real estate alone was 175% of Net Worth for ICICI Bank, 180% for Axis
Bank and 88% for HDFC Bank
…and this was after the serial fund-raisings by all of them..…plus
there was significant exposure to other cyclicals like steel, textiles, et al. Unsecured loans were
(and probably still are) are between 112-165% of tangible networth. Total Sensitive Sector
exposure + Unsecured lending, of these banks is: 305% of Tangible Net Worth for ICICI Bank;
Axis Bank has the same ratio at 316% of Tangible Net Worth; and HDFC Bank, 292% of
Tangible Net Worth. Sensitive Sectors are Real Estate and related sectors + Capital Markets”.

One needs to clearly appreciate the absolute shallowness in the dialog around the country on business, investments and finances to get to the extent of the madness that we can expect ahead. IT sector – even the biggies – are bound for a shock in the coming future as will the banks (as this guy shows).

While I was reading this I realized that a “Rags-to-Riches” story created when things are conducive to YOU will eventually fold and be full of misery when things go bad. Only a story written for long term, and in times when things were rank bad, that can survive the test of time.

Attachment: March 12 First Global Strategy.pdf

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