Linkfest:Jan 17, 2013

Some stuff I am reading today morning:

How to make use of the direct MF plan (Mint)

A one shop portal for farmers (BusinessLine)

Google snaps up junk bonds (ET)

All that glitters is gold for private equity investors (BS)

Thought it was safe to forget Greece?Think again (Bloomberg)

JP Morgan dissects a whale carcass (Dealbreaker)

Research paper:Illiquid Asset Investing (AndrewAng)

There is a stripper boom in North Dakota (Slate)

Founding father of the Quants was a Marxist (Bloomberg)

Four leading indicators of a market top (Marketwatch)

Samir Arora gets some answers from Arshiya

Moderator Thank you. The next question is from the line of Sameer Arora from Helios Capital. Please go ahead.
Sameer Arora: Could you just explain on the 290 employees that you are firing? What is the base of employees in Mumbai FTWZ there and what is the breakup, how many of these are like senior guys who would have been in the head office kind, who I guess would be making this conversation with the press, could be the workers who are doing this I would guess? And also, whether those guys have accepted this and is it easy to fire so many employees so fast how does that work?

 

 

Ajay S. Mittal: It is only about 40 people from the FTWZ, these are not labor category people, these are supervisory and maybe some people who have been hired extra. As I explained earlier that this is a new business and we hired people to be very honest, I never run an FTWZ, none of the people who I have ever run an FTWZ and we did hire people based upon certain assumptions and when you relook at what you hired extra, you need to one day sit down and take a call and say, hey, listen in the best interest of the company we need to ask people to go. People at various levels, there are people from the IT department, who have taken for certain IT projects in terms of SAP implementation and so on and so forth. From the head office really nobody has been asked to go as such. There have been a couple of senior members from the sales team and somebody from our freight forwarding Arshiya logistics department who was heading the department has been asked to go because purely a non-performance, those were on non-performance basis. This is normal cycle. And there is no hard and fast rule of how we should do this. We were told that it is….

 

Sameer Arora: But first of all what is the denominator? When you say 290 looks like a massive number. How many employees are there in the company?

 

Ajay S. Mittal: As you know that there are in excess of about 1700 employees and these are direct employees and indirect employees are over 1000 plus and we feel that especially in the FTWZ and as we are bringing in more and more efficiencies in the systems through IT and usage of better technology and making ourselves also more efficient, I think that has been the reason and this is not the exercise which was done just yesterday, it was something that has been in the pipeline for us to do over the last three, four months and it has taken us that much time sitting
Arshiya International Limited with the various head of department and working out the list, looking at the processes, looking at the hiring external agencies to help us and understand certain time and motion systematic studies and so on and so forth and that is where we have decided that this is the kind of people that needs to go out of the company, to reduce the freight and increase our efficiency as well as increase our profitability by decreasing our cost. And this was done. Why the exercise needs to be done? If you look at companies like Infosys which has announced that they are retrenching 6500 people could be on low order basis or the orders are not coming in. That has not been the case with us, it is just that we are in a new business scenario and we have hired more people and I thought it is prudent that we do not continue having people that are not needed in the organization. And if I was to do this over a six month period not only would we suffer financially, but we would also have people, good people going out of the company would be shaky if you have a firing scheme every week of ten people, then everybody in the organization is very, very scared, even the good people will start feeling that tomorrow maybe my turn. So we had to do this in one shot.

 

Sameer Arora: The way it came in the news paper, it said some 55 names. So all these guys have accepted it or they are shouting about it or they have been violent on it or have they blocked the gate or have they taken their dues and gone away?

 

Ajay S. Mittal: Good question. To be very honest as I said out of the 290 only 93 or some odd employees were asked to leave on the first day, departure on three days but we stopped the operation after first day because of this situation that we are facing as of now but to be very honest there were six people in the FTWZ who are asked to leave, who are from the villages nearby. Next morning after they were asked to leave — and they were given their dues — they came up to the gate along with some 40, 50 villagers and they called people from inside, about 160 people were inside and they called people from inside, saying if you do not come out then when you are going home in the evening we are going to break your hands and legs, some 30, 40 people went and joined that group, police was called, two, three hours of drama, everything was dispersed and then business as usual out there. That was that thing which happened day before yesterday at the gate and that is exactly what I called as hooligan and that is why I said that to the press when he called me at 9.30, he only asked me one question, what happen at the FTWZ and this is my answer to him and that is what he quoted, but he never asked me about anything that is alleged in the newspaper and I am clarifying once again that it is all wrong, these rumors are absolutely baseless.

 

Sameer Arora: That we totally agree with you. We have full faith in that part. So today, if we go to the gate there would not be people standing outside?

 

Ajay S. Mittal: No, we have business going on as usual.

 

Sameer Arora: Because in a logistics business I was worried on the first day whether if all these things are time, the Cisco guys say I want it in two hours were they allowed to have his goods exit from the warehouse in two hours those who have met.

 

Ajay S. Mittal: Absolutely. I am also very proud to say that I have a fabulous team of people who are serving us in the FTWZ, fearlessly have done their jobs, even with 30, 40 people less. I had people at HoD level from Arshiya supply chain driving material handling equipment if necessary on that day. They have delivered on time. We had police protection. No goods were stopped coming in, no goods were stopped from going out whatsoever.

 

Sameer Arora: In some sense can we say that because you said today you subscribe to 42 crores of warrants. In a sense you had a choice to pay off the margin, whatever the margin call guy or to exercise. So hopefully the margin guy will also take solace from this fact or he has to be separately paid something or given more shares or whatever?

 

Ajay S. Mittal: This is after taking into confidence most of the people that we borrowed money from including banks. I am talking to some investors, friends that this would be the best way to address the entire investor community. Sameer, I know you and a lot of investors know me personally and know the company in depth because you have visited the facility and all that, but there are so many out there who have not done so a smaller and they are the ones who are hurting a lot, I do not think you are not hurting a lot today with the price, but let me assure you that this was the best thing that we thought and even the lenders again shared thought that this would be the best way to instill confidence not only in them but in the entire community.

 

Sameer Arora: Last question, so therefore does this address one other issue that we all had and everybody else had that now future expansions because of environment which we would have said, we could have done voluntarily anyway, but now they are shut off for one or two years and we sweat the assets in Delhi and Mumbai and put a limit on new CAPEX?

 

Ajay S. Mittal: You are spot on, Sameer but the second phase of the Bombay FTWZ which has been going on will carry on, where we have a financial closure that will carry on.

 

Sameer Arora: Have the bank said black and white to the investment community there are no delayed payments to them in terms of whatever interest that is owed to them and anything else that is owed to them in terms of principal repayment?

 

Ajay S. Mittal: Our accounts are all standard. We have no issues. Some delays here and there which are happening all over but no issues as such, they are being addressed, bankers have been met regularly. No issues whatsoever. The show is going on very well. I do not see any situation to be alarmed about but for what happened yesterday with that article and then the market thrashing between yesterday and today, but I am sure this will reverse — I have gone on television on three channels today and clarified our position. I was hoping to do so before the market hours but then I was let down by one of the news channels without naming them, but it did not happen, but we have now done what was needed to be done and I am also addressing, I have already addressed the lender community which is including the bank and the people that we borrowed which are not from the banking sector, loan against shares also, each one of them and now I am addressing the investor community. So I think that covers everything and the guilty who have made false allegations would probably get punished because we made the relevant complaints to the relevant authorities

 

from the analyst conference call held on 10 Jan 2013.

 

The stock has tumbled by 30% since then hitting lower circuits continously

The strangest thing happened on the flight

A flight years ago from Joberg to Nairobi. Our plane is delayed for something like two hours due to the fact that they can’t find the co-pilot. The whole time we’re sitting on the plane. Eventually the captain comes on air and says that he’s sorry for the delay, but they really can’t find the co-pilot. He then informs us that he’s going to fly the plane anyway by himself. We are told that this isn’t a big problem what with flying aids and the like, but if anyone has any misgivings then they are free to leave the plane now. We all look at each other in a bemused way, but nobody leaves the plane. Hey, this is Africa.

We take off and everything is cool until a few hours into the flight the pilot comes on-air once again. He has a very thick English accent. He says something like;

“Ladies and gentelemen, this is your captain speaking. Everything is in tip-top shape and we’re flying along just nicely here on this beautiful African day. Just a small matter for your attention – I have to leave the cabin for just a moment, which as I’m sure you’re all aware will leave us with an absence of pilots flying the plane. Do not be alarmed as we are flying on auto-pilot and I should not be gone from the cabin for more than a minute. Thank you for your attention.”

click.

We all just look at each other as the little cabin door opens and the pilot steps out. He takes a large elastic band from out of his pocket and wraps it around the door handle, thus holding open the cabin door. He then walks down the central aisle of the plane to the bathroom at the rear. A hundred heads turn to stare at him as he walks casually by.

A moment after he enters the bathromm the plane enters a small pocket of turbulance, jolts up and down suddenly, and we watch in disbelief and not a small measure of horror as the elastic band snaps and the cabin door closes. One of the flight attendents scurries back to the bathroom with one of those frozen-in smiles and emerges moments later with the pilot tucking in his trousers. He half sprints down the aisle and then comes to a sudden stop as he surveys the situation before him. Not a word is said by any of us. We just watch.

There is a hurried conversation between the stewerdess and the pilot, which results in her rushing to the back of the plane and coming back with a small fire-axe. The pilot takes the axe, walks up to the door and starts chopping his way through. In his enthusiasm he makes the hole a little bigger than what was probably required. He hands the axe back to the stewerdess, reaches through the hole and unlocks the door. He enters the cabin and closes the ruined door behind him, even though we can plainly see him now through the gaping, jagged hole. He sits in his chair, dons his head gear and makes a small announcement;

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We’ve just experienced a slight technical diffuculty, but we now have matters under control. The weather in Nairobi is for scattered showers and thunderstorms. Thank you for your attention.”

click.

from Quora