Kerala IT companies closely monitor U.S. economic crisis'
Monday, 29 September 2008, 11:40 Hrs | 3 Comments
Thiruvananthapuram: The IT companies in Kerala, many of which have huge business interests in the U.S., are closely monitoring the financial crisis in that country, according to a top industry official. Kerala's joy of crossing the 10 billion ($217.4 million) mark in software exports earlier this year would be short-lived if the US finacial sector did not survive the current crisis, V.K. Mathews, chairman and chief executive of IBS Software Services, a leading IT company in Kerala, told IANS. The crisis that led to the bankruptcy of investment bank Lehman Brothers and the nationalisation of insurance giant American International Group is equivalent to the "great depression" of 1930s, Mathews said over telephone from the US. "Of course this is a serious issue. Due to the credit crunch, investments are likely to be delayed. The companies that have huge business interests in the US and whose client list includes financial companies will be affected badly," he added. "We do have interests in the US but our major markets are elsewhere in Japan, Europe and Australia," Mathews said. IBS is a leading provider of new-generation IT solutions to the transportation and logistics industry and its client list includes giants like Nippon Cargo Airlines, All Nippon Airways KLM, Oman Air, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, South African Airways, Air New Zealand, Qatar Airways and China Southern Airlines. But Arun Narayanan, who heads UST Global's Kerala operations, said the company was relatively safe given its balanced portfolios spread over various continents. "No doubt we are cautiously watching the scene unfold, and investments will take place with utmost caution. As far as we are concerned, this appears to be a blessing in disguise because, we feel that companies in the US as part of tightening their belts in the wake of this crisis will look forward to companies like us," Narayanan said. Headquartered in California, UST Global has close to 6,000 employees worldwide, of which more than 3,000 work in their two Kerala offices at Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. Now it remains to be seen what sort of impact the US financial crisis will have on the proposed 15 billion Smart City project at Kochi to be built by Smart City Dubai. The work on the project is scheduled to begin next month.