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In India, a Turbo Boost for Privatization

By Manjeet Kripalani

THE REAL TEST. Foreign interests are looking to buy more than state-owned enterprises. Since June 1, foreign institutional investment in Indian equities has been $726 million -- considerably more than the $671 million invested by foreigners in the first five months of 2003. The upbeat global markets of the past few weeks have helped, and now brokers such as Bombay-based Kotak Securities, which advised the government on Maruti, say they're inundated with inquiries about investment opportunities in India.

Says Neem Kumar, head of research for Credit Lyonnais Securities in Bombay: "The Maruti IPO is a reflection of the underlying boom in India." He points to a combination of factors -- low inflation and interest rates, high foreign exchange reserves, improved corporate earnings, high dividend payouts, and a good monsoon season -- that have made Indian companies attractive to foreign inve

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