A company that launched on April Fool’s Day and takes its name from the Hindi word for chaos doesn’t sound like a winner.
But in its 14 years Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, the parent of Hungama.com, has grown to become the world’s largest aggregator and distributor of Bollywood entertainment.
It works with more than 400 content creators to distribute material in 47 countries through over 150 partners. With viewers in 127 countries, India’s Rs112.4bn film industry, which recently celebrated its centenary, is certainly not short of paying customers. Continue reading »
Xinyuan Real Estate is making bold moves into the US property market, backed by its ready access to China’s monied classes. But in its latest project, it is surprisingly keen to play down its Chinese roots. Continue reading »
Azerbaijan is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, transforming itself in a few years from a war-ravaged backwater into an increasingly assertive presence on the regional stage. Its emergence can largely be attributed to its hydrocarbon resources, marshalled by the government-owned State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (Socar).
Now Socar aims to play a central role in the diversification of gas supplies to Europe. Continue reading »
Lock&Lock is a curious entity in modern manufacturing. Despite fierce competition in a crowded sector with few entry barriers, the South Korean kitchenware company consistently boasts double-digit operating profit margins.
Cho Moon-sun, head of investor relations, puts it down to branding. “Once you are recognised as a premium brand, consumers will buy your products even if they are three or four times more expensive,” she says. Continue reading »
A multinational from Mali sounds like a contradiction in terms. But the Azalai Hotels chain is just that.
Businessman Mossadeck Bally got into hotels 20 years ago. He now presides over a chain of six landmark properties in four countries, with a sheaf of expansion plans. He’s not yet Africa’s Conrad Hilton. But he has built a thriving group recently valued at over €60m, employing 800 people in some of the world’s poorest states. Continue reading »
Russia still has lots of oil but an era of low-cost, conventional production is coming to an end. Whether oil majors battle the decline by developing conventional or non-conventional resources, oilfield services providers, the work horses of the industry, will have plenty to do.
“There are not many red lights flashing out there,” says Richard Anderson, chief financial officer at London-listed Eurasia Drilling Company, Russia’s biggest independent oil drilling contractor. “The whole business is just a great opportunity.” Continue reading »
Looking much like the sketches from Charles Darwin’s “Voyage of the Beagle”, the wrapper illustrations on the chocolate bars made by Ecuador’s República del Cacao make much of the traditions and history of Ecuadorian chocolate, and of the adventures and journeys of discovery made by its pioneer chocolatiers.
Now República del Cacao is embarking from its own humble origins on a similar voyage of discovery. Continue reading »
Hungarian companies are shy about expanding abroad – fewer than 10 per cent do so, according to a survey of chief executives by PwC.
OTP Bank, for one, bucks that trend: seeking a bigger role in the region at the turn of the millennium, it dipped its toes into the water when it bought a small bank in Slovakia, before swooping into Bulgaria – and scooping Austria’s Erste Bank in the process – to pick up DSK, the country’s savings bank, in 2003. It has since moved into Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Ukraine and Russia, and boasts some 13m customers and 1,500 branches in nine countries.
Are these forays abroad working? Continue reading »
It began 20 years ago, carting meat around Lusaka in the back of an ageing Land Rover. Since then, Zambeef has grown into one of the largest companies in Zambia’s booming economy. Now it hopes to replicate its success in west Africa.
The FTSE AIM traded company, whose primary listing is on the Lusaka Stock Exchange, is a curious entity in the modern food industry: a near fully vertically-integrated operation which produces, processes, distributes and retails, all in-house. Continue reading »
Had its good intentions been realised, the Arab spring would have been a magnet for foreign direct investment. Sadly, the instability that has followed the ousting of some of the region’s most notorious dictators has had the opposite effect, scaring away new entrants and making many foreign businesses with a foothold put their expansion plans on hold.
Which makes the news that BIM, a Turkish discount supermarket giant, is planning a rapid expansion into Egypt all the more significant. Continue reading »
Do a Google search on Brazil’s oil industry and you’ll find most of the results are either related to the government or to state-controlled Petrobras. You’ll see gloomy tales about tough local content regulation and the pressures exerted on Petrobras by Brazil’s domestic price controls on petrol. Perhaps you’ll also read headlines about Chevron’s disastrous oil spills off the coast of Rio recently and the fines of $20bn it faces.
But away from the spotlight and the politics, there are hundreds of small service companies in the industry getting along just fine – if not more than fine. Continue reading »
On the glass doors of VGI Global Media is a large sticker proclaiming in bright red letters that the advertising agency is “very good indeed”.
But when asked whether the slogan is behind the acronym VGI, chief executive Marut Arthakaivalvatee (pictured) laughs and says “nobody knows”. He jokes that it may well stand for “very good investment”. If the last year is anything to go by, he’s not wrong. Continue reading »
In 2005 Henry Lin, a young professor at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, was working with a scientist from mobile maker Nokia when they discovered something unusual. It was malware, on the Symbian platform that powered most of Nokia’s smartphones at the time; the first known instance of malicious software appearing on a smartphone. And to Lin, it was an opportunity.
Lin, his colleague Vincent Shi and five graduate students cobbled together $15,000 from their families and set up NQ Mobile on the premise that mobile phone security was going to become every bit as important as personal computer security. Eight years on, the company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has 242m users in 150 countries. Continue reading »
It doesn’t take much familiarity with global property markets to work out that the concept of risk-free real estate development is, well, pure fantasy. Investment risk is like death and taxes: unavoidable, isn’t it?
Perhaps not if the interest in a planned secondary offering and capital expansion by Turkey’s Emlak Konut is anything to go by. The sale is worth noting given that Emalk’s's unusual business model has to a large extent done the seemingly impossible – eliminated most the risk associated with the development of the mega housing projects required to meet the needs of Turkey’s growing population and booming economy, but not at the expense of profitability. Continue reading »
The shale revolution has been bad for Gazprom but good for another Russian oil and gas company. TMK has grown into one of the world’s top three steel pipe suppliers as oil majors drill deep into the earth’s crust for non-conventional energy supplies.
Controlled by Russian billionaire Dmitry Pumpansky (pictured), TMK produces about 4m tonnes a year of steel pipe at plants in Russia , North America, Europe and the Middle East. Continue reading »