The Lessons Enron Learned In India

In your interview with Ms. Rebecca Mark, chairman and CEO of Enron International, she peppered her comments with valuable anecdotes about Enron's experiences in India ("You have to be pushy and aggressive," Asian Business, Feb. 24). For example, her remark that Enron has won 24 lawsuits is evidence that one of the world's largest emerging markets is getting its regulatory and judicial house in order. That is one element of "political risk" that keenly concerns all investors. As Ms. Mark seems to imply, China should heed the lesson.

The tactical imperative is contained in the first sentence: "What worked was that we never stopped talking [to the Indians]." The lesson seems to be this: Maintain your dialogue with the market players. With equal intensity, do the same with corporate headquarters. Although headquarters may be far away, it too, must grapple with the distinctive ups and downs that typify emerging-market investments.

The Enron case is precedent-setting. Enron didn't have a model to follow, but the next time, companies like Enron will have a business model--however tentative or preliminary--to follow. It will help them to handle the initial challenges and to integrate lessons learned from local dialogue and past experience in the same or other developing markets.

Erik Krogh Sites

Schiedam, Netherlands