Crisis and cash have a deep correlation with each other. After all, it all boils down to money. During 2008-recession, most investors have learnt their lessons hard way that ‘cash is king’ not only for equity market operations, but also for the corporate world.

If a firm boasts of healthy cash reserves on its balance sheet, it can utilize it productively to meet its various business obligations and plan its future accordingly. The same can be used to tap merger and acquisition opportunities through inorganic growth route.

While cash surplus position means freer access to funds and ability to chalk future plans, the other side of the story for companies laden with debt is high servicing costs and operational problems due to lack of vitamin ‘M’.

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At a time when Indian government is looking to top-up its kitty by divesting its stake in public sector units, a number of state-owned companies are cash rich in status. For example, Coal India tops the list of Indian companies in terms of massive cash reserves to the tune of almost Rs.55000 crore as on September 30, 2011.

On the other hand, Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries’ cash reserves have crossed Rs.36000 crore mark and are expected to hit $25 billion by March 2012. After Coal India in the PSU list segment, NMDC and Oil India tops the list with cash reserves of Rs.20725 crore and Rs.13589 crore respectively, as on Sept 30.

In fact, even state-owned BHEL, which operates in capital intensive power equipment space, finds its name amongst the list of companies with comfortable cash position to the tune of Rs.7949 crore. The share price of BHEL has corrected sharply on the Indian bourses marred by intense competition from Chinese manufacturers.

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