Mumbai:Changi Airports International Pte Ltd (CAI), a unit of the owner of Singapore’s main airport, has purchased a 26% stake in a new airport project in eastern India.
Changi Airports agreed to buy the stake in Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Ltd in September last year, West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation managing director Subrata Gupta said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. The airport project will cost about Rs10,000 crore, Gupta said. He declined to say how much Changi will pay for its stake.
‘The Economic Times’ reported the deal earlier on Tuesday.
Syndicate Bank raises Rs339 cr through bonds
Mumbai: Public sector lender Syndicate Bank has raised Rs339 crore through private placement of bonds to shore up its capital base. The bonds, unsecured and non-convertible perpetual, will carry a coupon rate of 9.4%, which will be increased by 0.5% if the bondholder decides against redemption at the end of 10th year, the bank informed the Bombay Stock Exchange. The bank has come out with a Rs150 crore issue of these bonds, which opened on 2 January. However, it closed the issue on 3 January against the earlier scheduled date of 9 January. There was an unspecified greenshoe option in the issue, which means the bank had a choice to raise money beyond the issue size.
Soya bean meal exports rise as farmers harvest
Mumbai: Indian exports of animal feed produced from soya beans rose 21% in December after farmers started harvesting a bumper crop, the Soya bean Processors’ Association of India said.
Overseas sales climbed to 665,304 tonnes from 551,382 tonnes a year earlier, the Indore-based trade body said in emailed statement on Tuesday.
India’s soya bean production is forecast at 10.8 million tonnes (mt) in the year ending 30 June. Japan, China, Vietnam, South Korea and Thailand were among the biggest buyers of the Indian soya bean meal, the body said.
The South Asian nation exported 3.09mt of soya bean meal in the nine months to 31 December, 53% more than a year earlier, it said.
HUL to license Lakme,Ayush beauty brands
New Delhi: The country’s biggest maker of households products, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), said it will license its beauty and wellness services brands, including Lakme salons and Ayush therapy centres, to a separate unit.
Lakme Lever Pvt. Ltd, the unit that will inherit the Lakme and Ayush brands, will develop the beauty and wellness services business, Mumbai-based HUL said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Tuesday.
HUL, the only stock in the country’s benchmark BSE Sensex index to gain last year, expects the new focus on the growing beauty and wellness segment in India will help it boost revenue in a business that now contributes to an insignificant proportion of the company’s sales and profit.
Lakme Lever will evaluate options toward developing a uniquely different new business model for this opportunity with singularity of purpose and dedicated focus, the company said in the statement. HUL, which is 52% owned by the London- and Rotterdam-based Unilever, has more than 100 Lakme salons and 40 Ayush therapy centres across the country.
Tata Steel’s Q3 sales drop 14% on slowdown
Mumbai: Tata Steel Ltd said third quarter (Q3) metal sales declined 14% because of a slowdown in the economy.
Sales in the three months to 31 December fell to 1.07 million tonnes (mt) from a year earlier, the company said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. Sales of long steel products rose 27% to 480,000 tonnes, Tata Steel said.
The company produced 1.7mt of hot metal in the quarter ended 31 December, 23% more than a year earlier, while crude steel output rose 17% to 1.5mt, it said.
Saleable steel output was little changed at 1.24mt because of a planned shutdown at its hot strip mill, Tata Steel said.
India optimistic about 2009 amid downturn
New Delhi: The economic downturn and the geo-political tensions notwithstanding, citizens of India are looking forward to 2009 and around 42% of people feel that this year will be better than 2008, says a study.
India has been ranked as the seventh most optimistic nation along with Russia. Kosovo topped the list with as many as 60% believing that 2009 would be better than last year, according to a latest study by global market information group TNS and Gallup International.
The other major optimistic nations include China (53%), Australia (49%), Lebanon (48%), Colombia (48%) and New Zealand (44%).
“Indians have a relatively optimistic view of the year ahead and expect economic growth albeit at a lower rate. The recent fiscal packages given by the government are likely to ensure this,” TNS India executive director Chhavi Bhargava said.
Bhargava, however, added that “a sense of caution and lower probability of getting a new job easily will result in fewer people hopping jobs..
CERC to announce tariff regulations by 15 Jan
New Delhi: Power regulator Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) on Tuesday said that tariff regulations for five years are likely to be declared by 15 January.
“Power tariff regulations are expected to come in 10 days (by 15 January),” a senior CERC official said on condition of anonymity.
The regulator has considered all the suggestions made by the power utilities, he said without divulging details.
CERC is believed to have simplified the tariff norms and the incentives enjoyed by the utilities.
Power companies see easier access to funds
Mumbai: The fiscal and monetary measures announced by the government last week will enable power companies easier access to funds at lower rates, helping bidders of viable mega power projects, industry officials said.
The central bank late on Friday announced a cut in key interest rates and cash reserve requirements, while the government raised the limit of foreign investment in corporate bonds and enabled easier funding for infrastructure.
“You can be rest assured that finally it will translate into increased amount of liquidity at lower rates,” said S.C. Bhargava, executive vice-president at Larsen and Toubro and former president of industry body Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association.
India, which faces a peak power shortage of 15%, has outlined plans to add 78,000MW generation capacity by 2012, including nine coal-based mega power projects.
Borrowing rates for the industry should come down by at least 200-250 basis points from the current levels in the next three months, Vardhan Dharkar, chief financial officer of power transmission equipment maker KEC International said.
ONGC Videsh raises Rs5,000 cr in funds
Mumbai:ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), a unit of state-run oil exploration company Oil and Natural Gas Corp . Ltd, on Tuesday raised around Rs5,000 crore through a one-year commercial paper (CP) issue, two people familiar with the transaction said. “The one-year CPs were sold at a coupon of 8.15%,” one of the persons said, adding Citigroup was the sole arranger.
Maytas Infra gets orderworth Rs110 crore
Mumbai:Maytas Infra Ltd said on Tuesday it got a construction order worth Rs110 crore from Southern Railway.
The project, a joint venture between Maytas and CT Ramanathan & Co., will be executed in 18 months, it said in a statement.
Oil PSU officers’ strike today despite HC order
New Delhi: Officers of Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOC) and other state-run oil companies will go ahead with a plan to strike work for higher wages from 6am on Wednesday, rejecting a government appeal not to agitate in the larger public interest.
Meanwhile, the Delhi high court (HC) has restrained executives of state-run gas utility GAIL (India) Ltd from going on the indefinite strike.
“We had approached the Delhi high court, which stayed the strike by GAIL officers,” chairman and managing director U.D. Choubey said here.
A strike in the oil sector can cripple the already fragile economy and companies such as GAIL had been approaching courts for restraint orders to keep fuel supply lines operating.
The high court had earlier stayed a strike in fuel retailing companies—IOC, Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd.
A strike in GAIL, the monopoly gas distributor and marketer, would have impacted users in the power and fertilizer industries.
A strike will immediately affect the aviation sector because aircraft need the presence of an oil company officer while refuelling for quality and security reasons, IOC chairman Sarthak Behuria had said on Monday.
However, oil secretary R.S. Pandey told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday that the state-owned refiners have assured the government that flights won’t be grounded by the strike.
He added that crude oil output by ONGC and Oil India Ltd would not be affected.
Separately, Reliance Industries Ltd, the nation’s largest private sector refiner, has committed to supply all of the petroleum products it produces at Jamnagar in Gujarat if a strike by oil public sector units (PSU) officers was to disrupt fuel supplies.
The 33-million-tonne-a-year refinery at Jamnagar has been converted into a only-for-export unit, but it is willing to cancel export obligations to meet domestic fuel needs.
“They have said that their entire production will be available for domestic consumption,” said S. Sundaresan, additional secretary in the petroleum ministry.
Essar Oil Ltd, the nation’s only other private refinery, too, has committed products from its Vadinar refinery, also in Gujarat.
“They have said they will keep all of their 1,000 petrol pumps open and operate them 24x7 to fill in any disruption in supplies that may occur,” he said. &
—PTI and Bloomberg
AP highway project: SC stays bidding process
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the opening of financial bids for the Rs1,460 crore Hyderabad-Vijayawada four-lane project, which comes under the National Highways Development Programme, Phase II A.
The court stayed the bidding process, on a petition filed by Isolux-Soma-Omaxe consortium.
The court said: “The process of examining the financial bids shall not be undertaken.” It posted the matter for final hearing on 3 February.
Credit Suisse injects $164 mn into India unit
Mumbai: Swiss bank Credit Suisse said on Tuesday it has injected about $164 million (about Rs798.7 crore) of capital to fund the operation of its wholly owned Indian non-banking finance subsidiary.
With the funds, the total capital of Credit Suisse Finance (India) Pvt. Ltd had risen to Rs827 crore, it said in a statement.
The finance unit will provide asset-backed financing, securities-backed financing and lending for initial public offerings to corporate and individual users, it said.
JPMorgan AMC’s CEO becomes new chairman
Mumbai: Krishnamurthy Vijayan, CEO and whole-time director at JPMorgan Asset Management India Pvt. Ltd, will be the firm’s new executive chairman, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
In his new role, Vijayan will focus on growing the business and ensure compliance with regulatory and government-related matters, it added. Christopher Spelman, who helped set up the company’s asset management business in Korea, will become head of the India business, the emailed statement said.
Aditya Birla Capital Advisors to raise funds
Mumbai:Aditya Birla Capital Advisors Pvt. Ltd (ABCAPL) on Tuesday announced that it is raising a $250 million fund to invest in Indian companies.
Aditya Birla Private Equity (ABPE), as the new venture is called, makes the Birla group the third Indian conglomerate to enter the private equity (PE) space, after the Tata group and the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group.
“We believe that PE is a business that will enable us to participate in the growth of other businesses without being a strategic investor,” said Bharat Banka, managing director and chief executive officer of ABCAPL.
Banka said the second reason for the group’s entry into private equity is that it operates 17 businesses across 25 countries, as a result of which it has a huge network of business contacts. “We believe we can bring value-additions to mid-market companies to make them bigger, winner companies,” he said.
The Aditya Birla group will commit 20% to the fund, while the remaining will come from domestic and offshore investors. “We have been talking to a number of people, and are in a position to close the fund in the next six months,” Banka said.
However, ABPE will not be about corporate venture investing, he clarified. “There might be companies in our portfolio that can do business with group companies, but that will be incidental and not planned.”
Indiabulls releases Akruti’s pledged shares
Mumbai: Financial services firm Indiabulls Financial Services Ltd said on Tuesday it has released 3.65%, or 2.4 million, of Akruti City’s shares, which were held under pledge by the firm.
The shares were released between 12 December and 2 January by Indiabulls, it said in a statement to the stock exchange.
UTI hopes to sell up to 26% stake by March
Mumbai: India’s most profitable mutual fund firm, UTI Asset Management Co. Ltd, hopes to sell up to 26% stake by March as it seeks to access global markets and strengthen its domestic operations, a top executive said on Tuesday.
Chief marketing officer Jaideep Bhattacharya said UTI was in talks with four foreign firms and one domestic player and would “most probably” choose one of them for the stake sale.
He declined to name the firms and said a decision on valuation would be taken by the end of January or early February.
HT Media to write off part equity of radio biz
Mumbai:HT Media Ltd, publisher of newspapers including ‘Hindustan Times’ and ‘Mint’, on Tuesday said it would seek shareholders’ approval on 28 January to demerge its radio business from subsidiary HT Music and Entertainment Co. Ltd and write off part of the share capital.
“Radio business of the demerged company (HT Music and Entertainment) has incurred substantial losses since inception on account of low advertisement revenue, high brand-building cost, delay in availability of common infrastructure resulting in substantial investment in transmission facilities for Delhi and Mumbai FM Radio stations... all of which have resulted in erosion of its share capital,” HT Media said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).
“It is, therefore, proposed to write off part of the share capital which has been eroded due to accumulated losses,” it added.
HT Music and Entertainment operates its radio business in the name of Fever 104 FM.
Shares in HT Media lost 1.11% and closed at Rs71.30 on BSE.
Commonwealth Games budget to be increased
New Delhi: The global economic meltdown has hit the preparation of 2010 Commonwealth Games and Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi said the budget for the mega event will be increased in view of the financial crisis.
“The budget for the Games will be increased slightly considering the escalating prices of raw material used in construction. The prices of steel and cement are currently high and we have to take that into consideration,” said Kalmadi, who is also chairman of the Commonwealth Games organizing committee.
Bharti to launch services in Sri Lanka on 12 Jan
Singapore: Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s largest wireless operator, will start operations in Sri Lanka on 12 January after a nine-month delay.
Bharti, based in New Delhi, had earlier planned to start its services on the island by April and later postponed it until September because of delays in setting up its network in Sri Lanka.
The company will announce other details of its Sri Lanka wireless service on 12 January, Bharti said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday.
GSM spectrum: RCom approaches TDSAT
New Delhi: Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications Ltd has moved telecom tribunal TDSAT against the government over non-allotment of GSM start-up spectrum in six states, where a subsidiary of the company was already offering GSM services.
RCom has alleged that despite giving in-principle approval for six circles—Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Kolkata and West Bengal—on 18 October 2007, the department of telecom withdrew the approval after more than a year.
India may miss export target for this fiscal
New Delhi: In synchronization with the Federation of Indian Export Organisations and the ministry of commerce, research firm Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) has said that India is likely to miss its export target of $200 billion (about Rs9.75 trillion) this fiscal as exporters are battling increase in credit risks amid slump in demand in the developed economies.
“Exporters are hit hard as credit risks are increasing besides demand is down significantly. We think in this scenario the country is likely to miss the export target of $200 billion this fiscal,” Dun and Bradstreet chief operating officer Kaushal Sampat said.
For the current fiscal year, trade deficit would be around $121 billion, wherein exports would be about $182 billion and imports would be about $303 billion, D&B said.
“He said the outlook is negative in this sector and exports are likely to dip further as there is a crisis of confidence,” Sampat added.
The country’s exports, that posted 30.9% growth in the initial six months of 2008-09, contracted by 12.1% in October, for the first time in the last five years, and dropped 9.9% in November.
In November, exports fell to $11.5 billion, from $12.7 billion a year ago, leaving a trade deficit of $10.1 billion.
Exports fell for the third straight month in December, posting a decline of 1.6%, as demand from key markets continued to remain sluggish.
Revenue from exports during the month under review stood at $11.2 billion from $11.3 billion in the year ago period, an official said on condition of anonymity.
Thailand names new Asean summit dates
Bangkok: Thailand on Tuesday named new dates for a delayed summit of South-East Asian nations, but said arrangements for meetings with heavyweight partners, including China and Japan, would be made separately.
The 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have agreed to meet in Bangkok on 27, 28 February and 1 March, said Virasakdi Futrakul, permanent secretary of the foreign ministry.
The summit was originally due to take place in December but was postponed and has been repeatedly rescheduled since.