Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is upsetting the communist party in India. While I’m not normally a fan of Wal-Mart I do like upsetting the communists. Wal-Mart has vigorously denied wrongdoing and said it had acted in compliance with all Indian laws.
M.P. Achuthan, a Kerala member of the upper house of parliament for the Communist Party of India, wrote to India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh that Wal-Mart had “clandestinely and illegally invested”.
Most Wal-Marts are big ugly boxes so I’m not sure how the clandestine part works. Illegal well maybe you got something there. India has so many regulations you are bound to have run afoul of something.
Wal-Mart has recently run afoul in Mexico with bribes and skullduggery. Legal fight under way. Wal-Mart has bloodied its nose in Germany and Japan where they have lost money because their model did not work.
Now the communists in India are complaining. Wal-Mart is culturally tone-deaf. If I were a communist I would let them in and let them roll the dice in the huge Indian market. Wal-Mart is leveraging up with billions of dollars of cheap debt. They are investing in Indian rupees. The entire expansion is one big unhedged foreign exchange exposure. But then again the communists don’t see it that way.
If I was an investor I would be concerned about Wal-Mart getting in and then blowing their brains out all the while borrowing huge gobs of US dollar capital.