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March 16, 2009

Recession Proof Businesses?

Business Today has a cover story profiling publicly-listed companies that are doing fine despite the economic recession. The listing includes some large cap companies like Bharti Airtel, Hero Honda and L&T as well as smaller companies like Everest Kanto Cylinders Opto Circuits and AIA Engineering. Other companies in the list include Sun Pharma, Allcargo Logistcis, Simplex Infrastructure and Mundra Port.

So, what sets these winners apart from the rest of the pack? Plenty, actually. Let’s begin with the sheer benefits of size and pedigree. Corporations like Bharti Airtel, Larsen & Toubro and Hero Honda are all leaders in their sectors. They’re also the only companies in their sectors that have been notching smart growth even as their rivals flounder. They also prove that being an early bird helps in getting the worm—even during a downturn. Then, there’s a company like Sun Pharma that has countered the downtrend in the pharma sector by perfecting, over the years, a four-pronged strategy for balanced, profitable growth. Some of the names on this list are lesser-known. Some of their businesses are hardly glamorous—gas cylinders anybody? But the uniqueness of these promoters is their business model. Companies like AIA Engineering and Everest Kanto are among a select few, not just in India, but also the world over. Replicating their operations isn’t easy because of the high entry barriers to these businesses. We have also included Mundra Port, although there is no comparative growth for the September quarter (as the company got listed recently) because analysts expect it to be the fastest growing port in Asia till 2011.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports. Email the author at