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Top five business failures of 2012

India Inc. was rocked by big controversies and redeemed by some super-success stories in 2012. Stories of piling debt, mismanagement and lost contracts made headlines and reminded us of corporates who struggled to find their footing in the year gone by. 2012 was a tough year for many, but some corporations faced the heat far more than others.
  1. Kingfisher grounded: The airline started with much fanfare by the King of Good Times Vijay Mallya, but it faced anything but good times in 2012. Deteriorating financial position meant that Vijay Mallya could not meet lessors & vendors payments for months. Bankers failed to recover their dues and disgruntled employees went on several strikes because they were not paid for months on end. Operations were hit and the airline lost customers and market share. As the crisis worsened, Kingfisher first reduced operations to just 20 aircraft and finally forced to stop operations on the October 1. With safety concerns rising, aviation regulator Director General of Civil Aviation suspended the airlines operations on the October 20.

  2. Deccan Chronicle's fall from grace: Once the proud owners of the Deccan Chargers team, the company had collected a huge pile of debt, which eventually forced it to sell its prized IPL team in late October 2012. After much legal back & forth, Deccan Charges franchise was sold to the Sun TV group for Rs 85 crore. But troubles for Deccan Chronicle were far from over as it remained embroiled in disputes with its lenders. According to a recent statement in Parliament, Deccan Chronicle still owes banks nearly Rs 2,300 crore. An attempt to restructure its debt was stalled after ICICI Bank - a major lender to Deccan - pulled out of negotiations. Deccan Chronicle was also dragged to the courts by non-banking financial corporations like IFCI, which had invested in commercial papers and other financial institutions issued by the company. IFCI and others allege that promoters had defrauded investors.

  3. GMR Infra's Maldives misadventure: Airport operator GMR ended the year on a sour note after it lost a bitter battle with the Maldivian government over the Male airport which it was developing. GMR won the bid for Maldives' international airport in 2010 - a project that was to help it expand its footprint to global shores. However by early 2012, its Maldivian aspirations were under threat. A change in government in Maldives put a question mark on the future of the project.  First a local court stopped it from charging the airport development charge creating uncertainty around is revenue share agreement with the Maldivian government. Things got worse when the new Maldivian government accused GMR of winning the auction unfairly. The Maldivian government insisted the airport be handed back to the state.

  4. Reliance Industries KG D6 output stagnates: Peak production from RIL's KG D6 block was once envisaged to hit 80 million units of gas per day by the end of 2012. As the year ended, actual production levels are less than 25 million units. Falling gas production from the basin hit crucial sectors of the economy including power and fertilisers -- all of which were left struggling for gas supplies. The inability of RIL to push production levels at the KG-D6 block and meet its promise of gas supplies to the economy will most certainly go down as one of the failures of 2012.

  5. Infosys loses sheen with investors: Once a bellwether of the Indian IT space, Infosys' ability to beat the global slowdown and deliver on promised growth was seriously questioned this year. For four quarters running, Infosys has reported numbers which missed management guidance - leaving the Street worried about whether Infosys had lost its sheen. Changes at the top level brought in recent year have also failed to pay dividends with Infosys continuing to struggle not just with organic growth but also its strategy around acquisitions. As the year ends, the jury is still out on whether Infosys can revive its reputation as an industry bellwether ahead.

Story first published on: December 28, 2012 16:46 (IST)

Tags: Infosys, Kingfisher Airlines, GMR, Reliance Industries, Deccan Chronicle

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