Tuesday, February 24, 2009

And you thought State Bank of India was bigger than Citi Bank ??

If you were thinking so, it is the height of patriotism / nationalism
... But George Bernard Shaw once claimed that patriotism is the refuge
of the scoundrels .. Whether George Bernard Shaw was right or wrong, I
am not competent to say anything of that sort. Being nationalist is
the "in thing" today ...

But one thing I can say now is that the US President is one such
scoundrel .. as are all Americans, natural or acquired, (queer term
considering how the lure of "wealth", comfort, a globalised gene, a
less competitive, (though challenging) work environment has helped
some of them merge into the mosaic of world cultures with a tough decision of their life..)

But if you thought that SBI was bigger than CitiBank, you were
probably right .. !! SBI has at least Rs. 10,000 crores ( $ 2 - 3 billion) more  market
capitalisaton than the small Citibank ..

The irony is both are being headed by Indians.. Mr Pandit must be a
happy and contented  man that he has helped Citibank reach up to the
financial might of SBI, being headed by O P Bhat..

At $ 1.95 for citibank shares traded at the end of last week, from a high
of $ 28 in April 2008 with a peak market cap of 900,000 crores then, the
gradual erosion was on expected ;lines. The final loss of about Rs. 90,000 crores market
cap last week, to  less than Rs. 57,000 crores, compared to SBI's 67,000 crores has made it vulnerable for preying by SBI / other
Japanese Banks. This is one act which will never go well with the
misplaced pride of the Americans, natural or acquired ..

What India and Indira Gandhi thought of in 1969, the Americans and
Obama follow up after 40 sweet years..  Under one guise or the other,
the American govt is trying to help beleaguered banks, companies,
running shy of the word nationalisation.

The champions of Free Market economy will realise now who are the real
scoundrels ..

In the meantime, some Americans may be foolish enough to  think that
CitiBank is too big for acquisition, till the US govt realises that it
is bleeding excessively trying to salvage US pride.  Wait for another
three months..

And scoudrels will get respectable then !!

George Easaw

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