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Pandit's Citi among best NRI-run firm

May 11, 2009 13:50 IST

Citigroup's Vikram Pandit may have been named among worst CEOs ever in America, but in terms of financial performance for the first quarter of this year, the banking behemoth has emerged as one of the best performers among the US companies run by persons of Indian origin.

While Citigroup bounced back into profitability in the first quarter of 2009, after five straight quarterly losses of multi-billion dollars, IT firm Cognizant Technology is possibly the only other American blue-chip company in this league to report a rise in profits for the same period.

In comparison, Indra Nooyi-led PepsiCo and Shantanu Narayen-led Adobe Systems posted declines in their first quarter profits.

Besides, Hartford Financial Services, led by Ramani Ayer, plunged into heavy losses in the first quarter of this year, from profitability in the year-ago period.

Another blue-chip global enterprise run by an India-born person, ArcelorMittal, also posted a billion-dollar loss in its first quarter net profit. The world's biggest steelmaker, run and majority owned by Lakshmi Mittal, recorded a net loss of $1.1 billion in the quarter ended March 31, 2009, as against a profit of $2.4 billion in the year ago quarter.

Last month, business magazine Conde Nast Portfolio named Nagpur-born Pandit among the 20 worst ever CEOs in the American history. Besides, Ayer was recently named among the most overpaid chiefs in the US, in terms of shareholder return, by Forbes.

Citigroup, which has got three bailout packages totalling $45 billion from the US government since the beginning of economic crisis, reported a profit of $1.6 billion for the first quarter of this year.

It had suffered a net loss of $5.1 billion in the corresponding quarter a year ago. Its first-quarter total revenues also almost doubled to $24.8 billion, from that in the year-ago period.

Franciso D'Souza-led Cognizant recorded an 11 per cent jump in profits at $113.13 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2009. In the year-ago period, the entity's profit stood at $101.87 million. Revenues for the first quarter shot up to $745.86 million against $643.11 million in the corresponding period a year ago.

At the same time, Hartford Financial Services reported a net loss of $1.2 billion against a net profit of $245 million in the year-ago period.

Adobe recorded a 29 per cent decline in net income at $156.4 million in the first quarter of 2009, compared to $219.4 million in the corresponding period a year ago.

Besides, PepsiCo reported a marginal decline in profits for the first quarter even as the entity saw good volume growth in India. It has recorded $1.14-billion profit in the first quarter this year, a decline of nearly 1 per cent compared to the year-ago period.

The company had a profit of $1.15 billion for the first quarter ended March 22, 2008.

"Our portfolio breadth, geographic reach and operating agility enabled us to deliver strong performance in a challenging global macroeconomic environment," Nooyi had said in a statement.

For the first quarter, revenues were almost flat at $8.26 billion. PepsiCo noted that its Asia/Middle East/Africa division beverage volume rose by 10 per cent, primarily prompted by double-digit growth in India.

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