Is Greed Killing The IPO Market In India?

first_imgIn recent weeks, several large equity offerings, including those from reputable business houses, have struggled to hit their targets. India’s stock markets have been volatile, reacting to fears of a widening global credit crunch and fears of a U.S. recession.In January, the Indian primary equity market was chalking up new records. Now, suddenly, there are hardly any takers for new corporate paper. The first casualty of the Indian IPO bubble was, ironically enough, a hospital. On February 7, Wockhardt Hospital pulled out its Rs. 676 crore ($178 million) IPO. It had exhibited all the signs of a patient on his last legs. The price band of the book-built issue was lowered from Rs. 280-310 ($7-$8) to Rs. 225-260 ($6-$7). The last date for subscription was extended.But qualified institutional buyers, including foreign investors, mutual funds and hedge funds, applied for only 0.06% of their quota in the Wockhardt issue. The non-institutional portion (mainly for high net-worth individuals or HNIs) was subscribed 0.0048 times. Even the retail part saw demand for barely more than half the pie. It was an unmitigated disaster and the first time in recent memory that an IPO from a respected business house has flopped in India.Close on its heels, real estate company Emaar MGF, a joint venture between the Dubai-based Emaar group and MGF Development of New Delhi, also had to withdraw its IPO in the face of low demand. The Rs. 6,500 crore ($1.7 billion) issue started with a price band of Rs. 610-690 ($16-$18). It was brought down to Rs. 530-630 ($14-$16.50) in two tranches. The last date of subscription was extended by three days, but to no avail.“We are clearly a victim of the (secondary) market,” says Emaar MGF managing director Shravan Gupta. Along with other markets around the globe, the Indian stock markets, too, have had a torrid run the past few weeks. The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, Sensex, touched 21,207 on January 10, an all-time high. Barely a month later, on February 10, it fell to 16,608, a five-month low.Wockhardt and Emaar MGF were bad enough for investor sentiment; more issues are being withdrawn or postponed. But the massively-hyped Reliance Power IPO was the most high profile casualty. This was an issue from the Ambani stable; word on the street is that the Ambanis have always made money for their investors. At Rs. 11,500 crore ($3.025 billion), it was India’s largest-ever IPO.The Reliance Power IPO was subscribed one minute after it opened. It was eventually oversubscribed 73 times and raised $190 billion. Some $100 billion of this came from foreign funds. This constitutes one-and-a-half times the total foreign institutional investor (FII) money coming into the country since 1992. “When Reliance Power lists early February, it will be among the 10 top listed companies in India,” Anil Ambani, the younger son of Reliance founder the late Dhirubhai Ambani, told a press conference shortly after the IPO closed. “If we assume it lists at the issue price of Rs. 450 ($12), the market capitalization for the group will be around $100 billion.” It was not to be. Reliance Power ended its first day on the markets at Rs. 372 ($9.80). Millions lost money. The Sensex dropped 863 points in sympathy. The myth of Ambani invincibility was shaken. The Financial Times of London wrote: “It’s only when the tide goes out… that you discover who has been swimming naked. Few are caught in quite such an alarming state of undress as Reliance Power.”Clearly, it didn’t help the Reliance Power IPO that the Sensex lost more than a fifth of its market capitalization between January and February. Wharton management professor Saikat Chaudhuri sees nothing wholly unexpected in these developments. “The market periodically has to adjust,” he says. “If there is a bull run, the market usually pulls back to an extent, especially now because there is so much uncertainty surrounding the credit crunch.”The Hole in the Credit BarrelChaudhuri points to the continuing flow of “bad news on the credit crunch, particularly from banks,” and says that several private equity deals are also stuck. He doesn’t see any respite until some clarity emerges on the actual size of the credit crisis. “Until this is resolved – say (for example) people know that the top 10 banks will take a $50 billion hit – the market will continue to be jittery,” he says. “Short-term investors are very nervous. They are not sure if the problems associated with the credit crunch have been adequately addressed and if the market has all the information it needs.”Fears about a possible U.S. recession are also stoking the uncertainty in the Indian markets, says Chaudhuri. “If the U.S. is headed for a recession, then of course a lot of growing firms in India, particularly those in the IT sector, are going to take a bit of a hit because they are still very heavily dependent on the U.S. market.”Franklin Allen, a finance professor at Wharton, says primary markets will continue to be “tricky” until the markets settle down. “When you have so much volatility [in the secondary market] – it’s up 2% one day and coming down 2% the next day – it is very difficult to do these primary market operations; that is the underlying problem,” he says. “This happens also in developed markets when there is volatility.”“Now, if I were an investor, I don’t think something like Reliance Power should have taken a hit,” says Chaudhuri, pointing out that India is power-deficient and its infrastructure sector is “growing very well. In the worst case, if India’s growth needs were to come down a notch, its power needs will still have to be met.”While the fall in the Sensex and the air of pessimism hurt the Reliance Power listing, many people point to high valuations as a reason for the IPO market going bust. “The bull frenzy led to unsustainable valuations,” says Prithvi Haldea, chairman and managing director of Prime Database, which tracks IPOs. “Retail investors feel they have been cheated,” says Kirit Somaiya, president of the Investors’ Grievance Forum (IGF).“It’s just a question of timing,” says Chaudhuri. “It is fine to be greedy, but you have to do that when the market is rising. I am not making a value judgment, but everybody is always trying to extract the most that they can at any point in time. That’s their natural quest.” He says it may have been a good idea for some promoters to postpone their IPOs until things got clearer on the credit contraction front. Sudip Gupta, professor of finance at the Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business (ISB), says, “What is interesting and important is what to expect now when things look relatively bad worldwide. The informational cascade effect comes in here.” He explains that the first few investors in an IPO bring in bad news, forcing a price cut, scaring away potential investors, and “thus generating an informational cascade.”Gupta says that if the IPO’s price cut is “too much,” investors may start to wonder “why the firm is so desperate for cash.” In other words, he says price cuts don’t necessarily work. Gupta of Emaar MGF says the company will come back to the market in three to six months, when he hopes it will be less volatile.Reliance Power’s Make-Good GestureIn a post-listing development, Reliance Power has announced that it will issue bonus shares to its investors; however, the promoter group will not be entitled to these shares. Reliance Power has since risen to more than Rs. 400 ($10.50). But analysts read into the bonus proposal a tacit admission that the pricing was indeed too “aggressive” in the first place.“The pricing of an IPO is dependent on three factors – the state of the capital markets, sector fundamentals and company performance,” says S. Ramesh, chief operating officer at Kotak, one of the leading investment bankers in India. “One needs the tailwinds of all these three to achieve good IPO response and post-listing performance.” He says what is important is a stable market; if you are on a rollercoaster ride, all bets are off.Most merchant bankers agree. And there is no disputing the fact that, if the market hadn’t tanked, all these issues would have done very well on listing. The reason why so many were disappointed in the performance of Reliance Power was its showing in the gray market in several cities of the western state of Gujarat. This unofficial and illegal market trades in shares even before the IPO and allotment. (The final settlement is when the scrip lists.)Reliance Power changed hands at Rs. 900 in January. When the market fell in February, it came down to Rs. 600 ($24). Even at this reduced rate, it commanded a premium of Rs. 150 ($4) over the issue price of Rs. 450 ($12). When it listed at less than Rs. 400 ($10.50), these investors – mainly high-net-worth individuals – ran up huge losses.Many investors had borrowed at high interest rates to buy Reliance Power shares. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that the share would have to list at Rs. 600 ($24) for them to break even. What happened was a disaster for these speculators. Many are refusing to pay up. And there is turmoil in the illegal betting shops in cities like Rajkot and Baroda.Irrational Exuberance,Indian FlavorPromoters are a shade more candid. “It takes two hands to clap,” says Ravi Ramu, chief financial officer of Puravankara Projects, a real estate developer in Bangalore. “If you ask about the greed of merchant bankers and promoters, you should also talk about the irrational exuberance of investors. Do they rush to invest in an issue simply because it rained harder that day? In the euphoria, they forget to look at the fundamentals.”Ramu and Puravankara must have a feeling of déjà vu. When Puravankara floated its IPO last August, the ripples of the U.S. subprime crisis were hitting Indian shores. Puravankara had to reduce the price band by 20% from Rs. 500-525 to Rs. 400-450 and extend the issue by three days. It finally did garner adequate subscription. But on the day it listed, it closed at Rs. 362.80 against the issue price of Rs. 400 ($10).Puravankara is not a typical case. Most IPOs have been listing way above the issue price. Power Grid closed its first day at Rs. 100.70 (against an issue price of Rs. 52). Other such runaway examples include Mundra Port Rs. 440 (Rs. 961.70 issue price) and Power Finance Rs. 85 (Rs. 112.60 issue price).“When things sell, everything sells,” says Vivek Suchanti, managing director of Concept Public Relations. ConceptWprovides public relations services for IPOs, which basically means hard selling the issue to the media.“Bankers and promoters sell anything at any price on the story going ahead,” he continues. “Investors look at gray market prices and buy. This is also true of the ‘sophisticated’ investors such as FIIs and hedge funds.” Says Somaiya of IGF: “Emaar MGF, Wockhardt Hospitals and Reliance Power were absurdly overpriced. Euphoria was created which was not supported by fundamentals.”Some numbers do suggest aggressive pricing. Based on the issue price, Emaar MGF would have a P/E (price/earning) ratio of 165 at the lower end of the price band against 73 for DLF and 49 for Unitech, the established leaders in the real estate sector. At the Wockhardt Hospitals P/E of close to 200, it was looking at a valuation around Rs. 2,700 crore ($710 million), when its older and larger listed peer Apollo Hospitals commands just Rs. 2,500 crore ($658 million).Reliance Power, of course, doesn’t have a P/E; it has no earnings. As its prospectus explained: “We currently have no power plants in operation or other revenue-generating operations, and we have no significant operating history from which you can evaluate our business and future prospects and viability… Commercial operations at our first power plant – Rosa Phase I – are not scheduled to commence before December 2009…” For many it is not overpricing that is the norm but underpricing. Gupta of ISB says that this is not just an Indian phenomenon. “One of the stylized facts about IPOs that are universally verified is initial underpricing,” he says. “What we have observed in the Indian IPO market so far is not very different.”Gupta explains the reasons for the underpricing. “An IPO is different from a secondary offer as investors know little about the fundamental prospects of the project,” he says. “Since investors cannot distinguish bad quality projects from good quality projects, the good quality project has to be sold at a discount (underpricing) so that investors are attracted to invest in the IPO.” Gupta says the issuing firm also may not know the actual prospects of the project, and improves its understanding from institutional investors as the IPO gets listed.Gupta says IPOs in emerging economies could be under priced by as much as 100%; this means the price doubles on the first day. “Even in the U.S., generally known to have a transparent financial market, in 1999-2000 (the Internet boom), the first-day under-pricing was 65% on an average,” he saysAdds Ramesh of Kotak: “IPOs are typically priced by leaving a discount to the realizable price at listing. It is always a good idea to leave a discount to motivate investors to subscribe.”Regulatory UrgeMarket watchers recommend other measures to regulate the behavior of investors, merchant bankers and promoters. SEBI has been looking at putting a price band on the movement of the share on listing day. But nobody is quite sure how that will help, except to stop huge volatility. All it may succeed in doing is moving the volatility from day one to week one, say some investment experts.“I don’t think the regulator should set the price of issues,” says Allen, who has other, longer-term suggestions. “Make the markets efficient. As long as there are enough knowledgeable investors, promoters who try to overprice won’t succeed.”Another suggestion is to make the bankers more accountable. If the bankers are made to function as underwriters, too (which means that they will have to pay out the money for the unsubscribed portion of an issue), they are likely to be more circumspect about pricing. But this means that they will always opt for caution and the promoters will never get the best deal.There are other suggestions floating around, which many consider unworkable. The State Bank of India (SBI) has suggested to Parliament that the agencies that currently rate IPOs should be allowed to give an independent view of the pricing. But market participants don’t think anyone will give pricing a second look in a bull market, when they aren’t likely even to read the IPO ratings. In a bear market, they are not going to be investing in IPOs, anyway.Gupta of ISB says the critical phase is now. “Although there may have been signs of investor greed in the IPO process last year, investor fear may do more damage than investor greed.”According to Haldea of Prime, public issues may reach Rs. 75,000 crore ($19.7 billion) in 2008, a new record. This includes Rs. 60,000 crore ($15.8 billion) of IPOs and Rs. 15,000 crore ($3.9 billion) in follow-on offers. The study was done before the market went into a decline. But with a recovery in sight, the figure is unlikely to change very much. Unless, of course, the bears win back the advantage.Fear rules today, but it’s not clear for how long. “Everyone suffers from a memory loss,” says Ramu of Puravankara. “All the investors – and new ones – will be back.” Suchanti of Concept is a little more pessimistic. “I am going on a holiday,” he says. Related Itemslast_img read more

Recall NRC notices, say plea to Supreme Court

first_imgA group of 131 academics, intellectuals, professionals and civil society leaders in Assam have sought rescheduling of hearings for National Register of Citizens applicants who have been issued notices to have their citizenship documents re-verified within a very short time.In an appeal to the Supreme Court, which has been monitoring the NRC updating exercise, the 131 signatories said the “sudden, suspicious and mischievous” notices have created panic among a section of the people who were included in the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018.“The people of Assam have been supporting the NRC updating process and participating in the hearings and verifications, sometimes even by paying huge costs in terms of time, energy and financial resources. Nevertheless, they are ready to go through any verification whenever required for the greater interest of an error-free and just NRC,” said the appeal to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi submitted to the court’s Registrar on Tuesday.‘Panicky situation’“However, we would like to draw your kind attention regarding the panicky situation created by suspicious and mischievous notices served to NRC applicants for reverification by the NRC authority in Assam. Now notices are being served to people and they are asked to go in far-flung areas with a short notice of one or two days,” the appeal reads.Also Read Protest against NRC reverification notices  “The people of Assam in general and people living in riverine areas in particular have experienced one of the worst floods in recent years. They are struggling to cope with the losses and many of them are still living in temporary relief camps. Under such circumstances, if these people are asked to attend the NRC hearing giving them just one or two days and summoned to 500-600 km away from their homes, there is little doubt that a large number of them wouldn’t be able to attend the hearings,” the signatories said.‘At least a week’They asked the court to direct the NRC authority to reschedule the hearing either within the district or within adjoining districts and provide at least a week’s time so that the applicants could attend the hearing and complete the process within the August 31 deadline.“Kindly direct the NRC authority to make the notice available on the Internet along with the physical serving so that people living in other States can also access the same and attend the hearing accordingly,” the signatories said, also seeking instruction to the district administration to provide basic transport facilities in the greater interest of an error-free and fair NRC.last_img read more

Ready to talk on govt. formation if Sena sends proposal, says BJP

first_imgAfter days of suspense over reaching out to the Shiv Sena for formation of the next government in Maharashtra, the BJP on Tuesday said it was ready to negotiate as soon as its pre-poll ally sent its proposal. The Opposition has made similar overtures to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) assured the Shiv Sena that it could provide an alternative for government formation if its support was sought. Mr. Pawar  met Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Monday.On Tuesday, leaders of the NCP and the Congress met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. The Opposition leaders sought a hike in the relief announced for the rain-affected farmers.Core panel meeting Thirteen days after the results of the Maharashtra Assembly election left the BJP short of a majority, the party’s core committee met to discuss the stalemate. The Shiv Sena has been demanding the implementation of a 50:50 power-sharing formula, which it claims includes sharing of Cabinet portfolios and the post of Chief Minister. “The committee reviewed the current political situation. The people of Maharashtra have voted for a BJP-Sena  coalition, and we will give due respect to this mandate,” State party president Chandrakant Patil said after the meeting at the residence of caretaker Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.The committee, which includes Girish Mahajan and Sudhir Mungantiwar, is on standby to negotiate with the Sena, but if no proposal comes within two days, the BJP is gearing up for imposition of President’s rule. Senior BJP leader Vinod Tawde met Governor Koshyari after the meeting and apprised him of the party’s position. “We are willing to play a wait and watch game with the Sena,” a senior minister of the BJP said. Mr. Mungantiwar said the party is open to begin talks even in the next 24 hours, and the core committee will meet again on Wednesday to discuss future parleys. “You will soon get the good news on government formation,” he said. The BJP has already forwarded its proposal to the Sena to begin talks on all fronts, except the “non-negotiable” post of the Chief Minister, a source told The Hindu. Late on Tuesday, Mr. Fadnavis flew to Nagpur and met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. RSS functionaries in Nagpur were tight-lipped about what transpired at the meeting, though it is being speculated that the meeting was about the political deadlock in the State.The Sena, whose might in the 288-seat Assembly went up to 64 on Tuesday, after an independent MLA Rajendra Patil Yedavkar declared his support for the party, remained hard to please. “This statement (from the BJP) is a sign of maturity. Had they done this earlier, we would have formed government by now,” said Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut.. “All the Sena is saying is do as was decided, nothing more,” Mr. Raut said.last_img read more

China snubs ‘Little Olympics’ opening ceremony in Taiwan

first_imgView comments LATEST STORIES Thousands of student athletes from around the world donned their team uniforms or traditional dress and walked behind the sign showing the name of their country and their national flags to the cheering crowd in Taipei Stadium. However, no Chinese athletes showed up to walk behind the staffer holding China’s national flag. Local media said China was absent due to the reference of Tsai as president. Taipei’s mayor Ko Wen-je is widely seen to have secured Chinese athletes’ attendance during his visit to Shanghai in July to attend a city exchange forum. But he said he had drawn the line at Chinese officials’ request for Tsai only to be called “leader” at the opening ceremony, not “president”.In the current climate, some expected Chinese athletes to boycott the Universiade entirely. ADVERTISEMENT Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Read Next SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Instead, they will compete in individual events but sit out the team sports, citing a clash with their own national games. Outside the stadium, there were chaotic scenes when dozens of protesters opposing the government’s pension reforms scuffled with pro-DPP groups briefly blocking an athlete’s entrance and delaying part of the ceremony.Protest groups also forced some buses taking athletes to the event to detour. The rest of the opening ceremony Saturday night will showcase Taiwanese culture and lifestyle, including indigenous dance and songs as well as performances using electric scooters.Pop star Leehom Wang is set to perform near the end of the show before baseball player Chen Chin-feng lights the Universiade flame to formally open the games, followed by a firework show. Fil-Canadians boost PH SEA Games bid in ice hockey This picture taken on August 11, 2017 shows a student demonstrating teetotum skills to celebrate the upcoming Summer Universiade in Taipei.Taiwan is about to host its largest ever sporting event, attracting thousands of athletes from around the world, but the World University Games, dubbed the “Little Olympics”, has highlighted tensions with China and Taiwan’s struggle for international recognition. The biennial Summer Universiade will draw more than 7,000 student athletes to Taipei for two weeks from August 19, to compete in sports from basketball to swimming to Chinese martial arts. / AFP PHOTO / Sam YEH / TO GO WITH Universiade-2017-Taiwan-China-politics-diplomacy, FOCUS by Michelle YUNChina boycotted the opening ceremony of the World University Games hosted by Taiwan on Saturday in the latest reflection of deteriorating relations between the two sides.The biennial Summer Universiade, dubbed the “Little Olympics,” is the largest ever sporting event Taipei hosts but it has also highlighted tensions with Beijing and the island’s struggle for international recognition. ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Flags of SEA Games countries raised at Athletes Village Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC It is the first time Taiwan has held the Games, but even on home turf it must compete as “Chinese Taipei” and is unable to fly its national flag or play its national anthem because of Beijing’s sensitivities. The two sides split after a civil war in 1949, but Beijing still sees the self-ruled island as part of its territory and objects to any official diplomatic recognition of Taiwan. FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutRelations have deteriorated since Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took office in May last year, with Beijing cutting off all official communications. At the opening event, Tsai was introduced as the president of “the Republic of China”, Taiwan’s official name, which China does not recognise. She waved to the audiences but did not give a speech. Man sworn in as lawyer by judge who sentenced him to prison as a teen 20 years ago Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:2760-40 sharing ‘fair’ as China will spend for WPS exploration—Esperon01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Gameslast_img read more

De Boer fired by impatient Palace after only 4 games

first_imgFrontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Facing yet another fight to avoid relegation from the world’s richest league, Palace seems destined to lurch back to survival mode. That likely means regressing to the style of play that Allardyce and Pulis developed, namely being more obdurate at the back and hitting teams on the break.The well-travelled Hodgson does not have a definitive preferred playing style, although his time with England from 2012-16 was marred by dull and cautious performances at major tournaments. He hasn’t coached since leaving the England job after the country’s elimination by Iceland at last year’s European Championship, and his last job as a club manager was at West Bromwich Albion from 2011-12.Arriving on a three-year deal , De Boer had ambitions of making Palace entertaining to watch and integrating more youth-team players. Parish and the club’s American owners — David Blitzer and Josh Harris — backed this bold vision.They have acted decisively, though maybe prematurely, in removing De Boer. BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games MOST READ Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League soccer match against Burnley at Turf Moor, Burnley, England, Sunday Sept. 10, 2017. (Martin Rickett/PA via AP)The impatience and short-term thinking in modern-day soccer was highlighted Monday when Frank de Boer was fired by Crystal Palace only four Premier League games into his task of changing the ingrained playing style of the English team.Hours after Palace chairman Steve Parish called for “some sense” regarding the speculation surrounding De Boer’s position, the club’s board decided to end the Dutchman’s 77-day stint in charge and thanked him for his “dedication and hard work.”ADVERTISEMENT View comments Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Palace has lost all four of its league matches under De Boer, without even scoring a goal. The last team to make such a start in England’s top flight was Preston in 1924.Still, it was undeniable that De Boer needed time to implement a more expansive and entertaining style of play requested by the club’s hierarchy, which is a giant leap from the pragmatism, directness and counter-attacking favored by two of Palace’s three most recent managers — Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutIn terms of games played, De Boer’s tenure is the shortest of any permanent manager in Premier League history.Palace lost to Huddersfield, Liverpool and Swansea before the international break, and then 1-0 to Burnley on Sunday despite an improved display at Turf Moor which showed that De Boer’s methods might be starting to take effect. De Boer spoke after the game of having “hope for the future,” but he won’t be part of it. British media reported that former England coach Roy Hodgson, who is 70, was in line to take over at a club where he was a youth-team player in the 1960s.While De Boer was gaining plenty of sympathy for his plight, critics of the decision to fire him placed the blame on those who hired him in the first place. Why ask a manager to implement a new playing approach and not give him a decent opportunity to see the change through, especially after only one transfer window when De Boer was unable to bring in the kind of attacking players to suit the new style?“You try to ask a bit of time for your work,” Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said Monday, when asked about Palace’s decision. “To finish this experience after only four games, I’m sorry for him.”De Boer was in charge of Inter Milan in his previous job for just 84 days before being fired early last season. He didn’t even last that long in his first foray into English soccer.As a former player and coach at Ajax and also a former Barcelona player, De Boer is wedded to a philosophy of possession and fluidity generally favored by the Dutch. It got results at Ajax — he won four straight league titles — but he has found it difficult to transfer that abroad.ADVERTISEMENT Surprising start to season: Madrid struggles, Barcelona thriveslast_img read more

Federer edges Youzhny in 5 sets at US Open; Nadal needs 4

first_imgBiggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul A couple of seeded men departed, too: No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 15 Tomas Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up.The No. 3-seeded Federer won five consecutive U.S. Open championships from 2004-08 and also was the runner-up twice, including two years ago. But he missed last year’s tournament while taking off the second half of the season to let his back and surgically repaired left knee fully heal.That back, an off-and-on issue for years, flared up again while Federer was losing in the final of the Montreal Masters in August. He didn’t get to fully work on returns or serves, in particular, as the U.S. Open approached. That lack of training and the resulting lack of timing — rather than pain from his back — is what Federer said caused him problems Tuesday night in the first round against 19-year-old American Frances Tiafoe and again against Youzhny, a former top-10 player who reached the 2006 and 2010 U.S. Open semifinals but is now ranked 101st.“I’m pretty confident that I’m only going to get better from here. That’s a good thing,” Federer said. “Because I’ve played a lot, I definitely found some rhythm now.”He did falter repeatedly Thursday, though.Federer let a lead slip away in the second set and got broken while serving for it at 5-4.“He helped me to come back,” Youzhny said.Federer stumbled again while serving for the fourth set at 5-3, but responded to a break there by breaking right back.Still, Federer’s unforced errors continued to mount in the fifth set — 11 in the first four games alone, including a badly shanked forehand on his first break point at 2-1, a netted backhand on his second, and a long forehand to let Youzhny hold there. Eventually, Federer nosed ahead, aided by the considerable dip in the 35-year-old Youzhny’s level of play.While Federer played his first-round match Tuesday under the roof in Ashe, Youzhny’s opener was postponed until Wednesday because of rain, and he blamed that for his fatigue. His legs started cramping late in the third set Thursday and then reached other parts of his body, even his fingers, by the end. That made it hard to move forward or to jump normally while serving. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “He’s also a real man who plays tennis,” Youzhny noted. “He’s not a god.”Well, OK, that’s true. But remember: Federer did not drop a single set en route to his record eighth Wimbledon championship in July. And that he is 37-3 with five titles, including two at majors to raise his record total to 19.Second on that list, with 15, is No. 1-seeded Rafael Nadal, who trailed by a set and a break before figuring things out and beating 121st-ranked Taro Daniel of Japan 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in Ashe at night. That followed 20th-seeded American CoCo Vandeweghe’s 7-6 (6), 6-2 victory over Ons Jabeur of Tunisia under the lights.What already was a wide-open women’s bracket became more so when 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was upset by 116th-ranked Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. The No. 8-seeded Kuznetsova’s exit means five of the top eight women are already gone.Two other seeded women lost to Americans in the afternoon: Shelby Rogers edged No. 25 Daria Gavrilova 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-6 (5) in a tournament-record 3 hours, 33 minutes, and Jennifer Brady eliminated No. 23 Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-1.ADVERTISEMENT Promoters: Pacquiao-Horn rematch won’t happen this year Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim LATEST STORIES Rafael Nadal, of Spain, reacts after winning a point against Taro Daniel, of Japan, during the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)NEW YORK — A bad back prevented Roger Federer from getting ready for the U.S. Open the way he prefers to prepare for a Grand Slam tournament. And it’s showed so far.Federer blamed a lack of proper practice after making an uncharacteristic 68 unforced errors and being forced to go five sets again before coming back to edge a cramping Mikhail Youzhny 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on Thursday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side It is the first time the 36-year-old Federer has played five-setters in both the first and second rounds at a major tournament.“I knew I was going to maybe struggle early on. Maybe I struggled more than I would have liked to. But I’m still in the draw, which gives me a chance. I still believe I’m going to pick up my game and become just more consistent because I’m not playing all that bad,” Federer said. “It’s just that I’m going a bit up and down in waves throughout the match.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingGiven that Federer entered the day with a 16-0 career record against Youzhny and a 16-0 mark in the U.S. Open’s second round, one might have thought that their match would be a mismatch.Think again. At 1-all in the deciding set, Youzhny collapsed to the court, grabbing at his right leg after whiffing on an attempted swat at Federer’s lob. Youzhny stayed down for a few moments, then grimaced and limped around for the rest of that game.Afterward, Youzhny chuckled at the mention of having lost all 17 matches against Federer, even leaning back in his chair and joking about how he would have completed the upset if Grand Slam rules were different: “I beat him in three sets now — but we played five sets. But come on, if we played three sets, I already beat him!”Federer, naturally, preferred to look at matters from a different perspective.“I find my way,” he said. “I don’t panic.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games MOST READ View commentslast_img read more

No positive dope test spells good news

first_imgWith almost two-thirds of the events over in the Commonwealth Games and India adding to the medals tally, one thing which has not been spoken about is dope.Less than a month before the Games began, Indian athletes were in the news for the wrong reasons as almost a dozen of them from various disciplines has tested positive for MHA (Methylhexanamine).Few knew what this stuff was all about since it was added on the list of banned substances by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) only in January this year.At home, when wrestlers like Rajiv Tomar, swimmer Richa Mishra and even shot putter Saurabh Vij tested positive for MHA, the feeling was disgusting. The world of sports is made ugly by any form of doping and for the host nation to be caught before the Games was distressing.On Sunday, Commonwealth Games Federation boss Mike Fennell answered questions on dope tests being conducted during the Games.He said approximately 850 random tests have been conducted at the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), a WADA-accredited lab in the Capital, and 600 results have come out. The surprising part is, not one test has been reported positive.At a time when people are still critical of the Games, and rightly so, because of the ticketing, transportation and food problems for volunteers, people are not aware how the people in the lab are also working overtime.India has a dubious history of sorts in the Commonwealth Games and as far back as 1990 in Auckland, a weightlifter called Subrata Kumar Paul had flunked a dope test.advertisementIndia athletes also shamed the nation during the 2004 Athens Olympics when women weightlifters were caught in tests just before the Games. I was scared that in a sport like weightlifting, the Indians would be under the scanner because of their dubious past.To have been penalised $500,000 by the International Weightlifting Federation was shocking. The Indian body had to virtually beg, borrow and steal before paying a sizeable portion so that India could compete in the Games.Obviously, nobody in India wanted to take a chance with dope and athletes were subjected to stringent testing.However, there was a school of thought which said that a WADA-accredited lab being used for checking athletes was wrong. As the hosts celebrate the rich medal haul, what needs to be highlighted is how the Indians have been fair while competing. At least till now.last_img read more

Shops selling merchandise ‘in a spot’

first_imgWith a day to go for the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, the Organising Committee is still grappling to find ‘ideal’ spots for the placement of its merchandising stalls to maximize sales.The OC officials have sought a police nod for the placement of stalls at newer spots in the Capital, according to Delhi Police officers. The reason? Given the ‘strange’ placement of merchandise stalls inside the security cordon areas leading to the Games’ venues, most people haven’t been able to reach them.And those who’ve managed to get in haven’t been able to buy as such items aren’t allowed inside the stadia. According to Games officials their initial merchandise sales target was `8 crore from across 70 stalls in the Capital but only a fraction of them actually opened.”They blame us for the stalls but the fact is that before the Games started there was a meeting of the Delhi police commissioner, sports secretary and the OC where we told them that we were not informed about the exact location of the stalls. They were told that it could become a security concern at the end but there was no response,” a police officer said.The few stalls that opened were at ‘awkward’ spots leading to low sales. More than a dozen other stores are at some distance from the Games’ venues for security reasons. Take for example the merchandise stall at the OC headquarters itself.”Only the OC officials, staff or accredited journalists and athletes have access to this area,” a senior OC official said. The Delhi police officers confirmed that the issue of opening up fresh merchandise stalls at exit points of many of the venues had been raised by the OC officials. But the chances of them getting a nod were bleak.advertisementlast_img

Records from 1987 World Cup

first_imgRecords from 1987 World CupThe neutral umpires stood for the first time in this edition of the tournamentAsantha de Mel of Sri Lanka conceded 97 runs from 10 overs against the West Indies in 1987 – the most expensive figures till date.India’s Chetan Sharma became the first bowler in the World Cup to take a hat-trick. He clean bowled Kiwis Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith and Ewen Chatfield.Sunil Gavaskar, who bid adieu to international cricket after this World Cup also scored the first and the last ODI ton of his career here. He scored 103 not out against New Zealand in his penultimate ODI innings in Nagpur.last_img read more

Harbhajan offers Rs 1 lakh for national athlete who lost leg

first_imgIndia off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has offered monetary help of Rs 1 lakh to national level football and volleyball player Arunima Sinha who lost her leg after being thrown out of a running train by robbers near Bareilly.Harbhajan, who played a crucial role in India’s triumph in the World Cup which India won after 28 years, had some encouraging words for Arunima.”I got to know this news through a friend and I really feel for the young girl. Her life is ahead of her and as a sportsman, it’s our responsibility to help her.”I would like to tell Arunima that she should not lose heart and champions like her will overcome all the obstacles.I offer this small token of help and wish her all the very best in life,” Harbhajan said.Earlier, Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh too came in support of Arunima, offering her Rs 1 lakh.”It is really unfortunate and tragic with what has happened to Arunima. She must be brave sportsperson who came forward to fight against robbery. I know the loss is irreparable, but I would like to offer her this little contribution on of one lakh rupees,” he had in a statement issued by ‘Yuvraj Singh Foundation’.Arunima alias Sonu lost her leg after she was pushed out of the Padmavat Express near Bareilly on Monday night by three men trying to snatch her gold chain when she was travelling to Delhi to appear for a CISF examination.As she lay on the tracks, another train ran over her left leg. She had fractures on her right leg and also suffered head injuries.advertisementRailways has offered her a job while sports minister Ajay Maken announced Rs 2 lakh medical compensation and an immediate ex-gratia of Rs 25,000.- With PTI inputslast_img read more

India Today @ the Olympics: Welcome to London, but keep your wallets handy!

first_imgHaving heard horror stories about the preparedness of the Heathrow airport to handle huge passenger traffic, I moved towards the immigration officer with trepidation.No doubt, the lady officer behind the immigration counter was curt and wanted to clear me quickly, but she had to fully satisfy herself that the finger-print matching was done properly. These days, with the clock ticking away fast for the opening ceremony on July 27, nothing can be left to chance if you are entering London.Past immigration, getting the media accreditation card was also not a problem at all. It really came as a surprise how all this was happening so smoothly as athletes had complained they had to face long waits.But the bigger surprise was how the transportation by tube, or the Heathrow Express, into Paddington in central London was even more efficient. The fear of getting lost by official cabs was not there and in less than half an hour, five Indian mediapersons were in central London. The surprise did not end there as shared cabs were there for onward travel from central London to Stratford, where the Olympic Park is situated.Cabbies the world over like to talk. Mike, as the 64-year-old wanted to be called, was no different. Once he got talking, it was hard to stop him.He spoke of everything — recession, high prices of tickets for the London Olympics, how Stratford was a dirty area and now had been transformed.But his anger was aimed towards the London organisers (LOCOG) as he felt the tickets were overpriced. “It’s just too much paying 150 pounds per ticket for athletics and I have been told I will be allowed inside the arena for just three hours. Imagine, I spend 1,000 pounds for the family and it seems like a waste,” Mike thundered.advertisementThe mood all over London, where the pound sterling is such a strong currency, is similar. The commoner does feel tickets have been overpriced and of the million tickets up for sale, many have disappeared!That’s a story very similar to our own Commonwealth Games, where the organising committee first printed lesser number of tickets, which resulted in empty stands.Our cabbie Mike then went on to thank us for bringing sunny weather to London. After heavy showers for weeks, bright sunshine saw Londoners strip their woolens and dress lightly. He was again cautious when he said, “Don’t be fooled, one can never say when it will again start raining.”Finally, when I reached Stratford, the virtual Olympic hub in east London, I got a glimpse of the Olympic Stadium. Security was tight and like the Delhi cops, they were shooing us away from vantage points, minus the abuses.Stratford in itself is a sleepy suburb. A new shopping complex and plenty of commercial malls have come up in a big way, but the crowds aren’t huge really. Locals who live closer to the Olympic venues aren’t the ones who will be filling in the arenas as tickets are priced high and had to be booked in advance.Inside the high security Olympic Stadium complex, which also houses the international broadcast centre and the main press centre, the final coat of paint is being applied. There is a busy look and security is very tight. From wallets to cell phones, cameras and even wrist watches, everything is put through the scanner.Yes, the security personnel are courteous, but they do look worried as the crowds have started trooping in. Food outlets are getting ready and junk food stalls are bound to do good business.However, the worrying factor is a high price one has to pay for communication. Unlike New Delhi’s Commonwealth Games, where the data cards were free, here there’s a 180 pound sterling charge, which comes to almost Rs 16,000 for the entire fortnight.If you want to extend your stay for the Paralympics, it costs a bigger bomb. Welcome to London!last_img read more

Give youngsters a chance in Indian tennis

first_imgThe Indian tennis campaign at the London Olympics has ended, and I am extremely disappointed with the performance of the contingent.I was quite confident that they will win a medal in the mixed doubles, but that was not to be.What I could make out after talking the players is that it was a close match and the Indians had their chances, but could not capitalise.Had Paes and Sania made it through the semi-finals, they had a good opportunity to progress and even go for the gold, because there were no good pairs left in the draw. So, it was clearly a missed opportunity.In men’s doubles, the competition was expected to be extremely tough as lot of top singles players participated. But the positive sign for Indian tennis the way Vishnu Vardhan played. He held his own in the company of Leander Paes against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra.He served exceedingly well, his returns were of the highest quality and he was not caught wanting at the net.It augurs well for Indian tennis.Time has come for the All India Tennis Association to develop our youngsters and field them in Davis Cup. Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have been there for over 20 years and they have served the country with distinction. Now the next generation of players should be given the chance to come up.Coming to women’s singles, it was indeed a masterclass by Serena Williams to beat Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 for the gold. The score-line itself speaks volumes about her domination.advertisementI had mentioned earlier that Serena will be the hot favourite and was proved right.She got another gold in the women’s doubles with sister Venus. They defended their Beijing title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic.It was amazing to see Andy Murray finally triumph at the All England Club by beating Roger Federer in straight sets. The Briton also avenged last month’s Wimbledon final defeat in style.(The writer is Fed Cup coach and a former India player)last_img read more

Struggling Cavaliers sign G Cameron Payne to 10-day contract

first_imgEx-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia PLAY LIST 01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Payne will give the Cavs a backup for rookie Collin Sexton and backcourt depth while Matthew Dellavedova deals with a sore foot. Payne averaged 5.7 points and 2.7 assists in 31 games — 12 starts — for Chicago before he was waived by the Bulls.He has appeared in 144 games over four seasons with Chicago and Oklahoma City. Payne played at Murray State before he was drafted with the No. 14 overall pick by the Thunder in 2015.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionAt 8-32, the Cavs have the NBA’s worst record and they’ve lost nine straight games, their last five at home by at least 20 points — a league record.Cleveland hosts Indiana on Tuesday. Lionel Messi scores, Barca beats Getafe to take 5-point lead at top TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Cleveland Cavaliers’ Collin Sexton walks off the court after the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Cavaliers in an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)CLEVELAND — The struggling Cavaliers signed guard Cameron Payne to a 10-day contract.To make roster space, the Cavs waived swingman Patrick McCaw, who signed with the club as a free agent on Dec. 28. He played in three games with Cleveland.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion MOST READ Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte View commentslast_img read more