International -- Readers Report
A Front-Runner in Indian Finance (int'l edition)
We would like to clarify the position of ICICI Ltd. ("India's IPOs: All that glitters isn't a jewel," Finance, Dec. 20). ICICI has continually focused on using information technology as a strategic tool to help the company gain competitive advantage.
ICICI has made substantial investments in information technology over the past few years to become a front-runner in the Indian financial sector. For example, ICICI Bank, which is ICICI's banking subsidiary, was the first in India to offer its customers banking services over the Internet.
ICICI has one of the lowest nonperforming loan (NPL) ratios in the entire Indian financial system. In keeping with its objective of making itself a globally competitive domestic player, ICICI has adopted the practice of auditing its own accounts in accordance with the more stringent U.S.'s generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). ICICI is the first financial intermediary in India to adopt this standard.
ICICI's net NPL ratio under U.S. GAAP decreased from 6.7% as of June 30, 1999, to 6.1% as of Sept. 30, 1999. The drop in NPL ratio is attributable to the emphasis that ICICI placed on recovery and settlements of bad assets and to its proactive approach toward cases under stress.
BombayReturn to top
Utility Mergers Cut the Cost of Nuclear Power (int'l edition)
Electricity production is turning into a real market, and nowhere is that clearer than in the utility mergers and sales of nuclear power plants ("Utilities," Industry Outlook 2000, Jan. 10). The recent megamergers are producing giant companies with large nuclear components, and the outright purchase of nuclear plants by larger companies is demonstrating economies of scale. In anticipation of a truly competitive power market, there is an even greater incentive to improve nuclear power efficiency.
These efficiencies are gained through utility companies' operating a number of nuclear units so that they are able to consolidate staff and facilities. Equally important is the base of experience these larger organizations bring to nuclear electricity production. The next decade is likely to see a repeat of this model of large generating companies operating gas turbines, hydroelectric plants, and other power facilities, thus taking advantage of the efficiencies of a large organization.
Professor Robert Boyden Lamb
Stern School of Business
New York University
New YorkReturn to top
Pokemon: Japan's Answer to Coca-Cola? (int'l edition)
Are Americans worried about Japanese cultural imperialism? This question sprang to mind as I read "Pokemon patriarch," about Minoru Arakawa, in "The 25 top managers of the year" (Special Report, Jan. 10). One hears about "American cultural imperialism" in connection with McDonald's, Coca-Cola, etc. Isn't America's current fascination with Pokemon similar? Aren't these examples of cultural exchange in both directions best seen as some of the more benevolent aspects of globalization?
BeijingReturn to top