Thursday, May 24, 2012


Business is always interested in knowing what lies ahead for them among the uncertainties of economic situation and there are many "experts" and "consultants" who exploit this suspense offering "valuable' reports. These reports are supposed to be the basis for future investments and course corrections, though how realistic or dependable these reports is a matter of speculation. It is like one's belief in astrology which has spawned a flourishing "industry" of predictions and projections in one's life. Here is such a report prepared by a reputed consultant firm for the benefit of different sectors of industry, obviously hoping that there would be many takers willing to buy these glossy documents for a hefty "price".  

"According to Frost & Sullivan, China, Brazil and Russia are the top priorities for construction and utilities players, while for transportation players the focus is on China, India and Brazil. In particular, the Indian demand for chemicals will grow on the back of massive growth in end-user industries such as automotive production. China's development of green technology will draw in strong chemicals investment, even for technologies such as electric vehicles. The Western European market remains the priority for EU based manufacturers over other regions. North America and Eastern Europe are the next priority while Russia presents significant opportunities across sectors, especially in construction, water treatment, transportation and PPE. Latin America will be the hub for bioethanol and Brazil will continue to export it to neighbouring nations. There will also be increasing focus in oil and gas exploration with restructure in the state petrochemicals companies. Brazil, in particular, is forecast to become a major centre of supply for biobased feedstocks and will be the construction hot spot until 2016 (supported by the 2014 Football World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games). The food and beverage suppliers are looking at the following three emerging markets - China, India and Brazil while in Europe the focus is and will be on bakery ingredients'. 

It is true that in the absence of any data, the industry may find it difficult to base its business projections and therefore such reports serve the purpose to some extent. Surveys and market analyzes are bread and butter of the management courses being peddled by the exalted business schools and therefore these activities are a part and parcel of the industry environment that exists to day. Common sense tells that food industry is bound to grow by leaps and bounds in populous countries like India, China etc and this understanding is already is factored into the invest plans of many corporate entities. In defense of the consultants, suffice to say that unless there is a demand for such reports, they have no justification in investing on them!  

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