Mumbai: India’s rupee fell to the lowest since April 2007 on speculation that losses in local stocks will spur overseas investors to withdraw funds from the nation.
The currency declined for a second day after the nation’s benchmark share index slid to the lowest in almost three months. Foreign investors sold more Indian equities than they bought on 12 of the past 14 trading days, according to data from the capital markets regulator.
“The rupee’s weakness tracks that of the equity market,” said Paresh Nayar, head of foreign exchange and debt trading at Development Credit Bank Ltd in Mumbai. “The currency’s direction will continue to reflect the trend in stocks.”
The rupee fell 0.3% to 42.98 per dollar as of the 5pm close in Mumbai, the lowest close since 4 April 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The currency has fallen 8.3% this year, paring last year’s 12.3% advance.
The currency may rebound to 41 to the dollar by the end of September, according to the median estimate of 21 economists and strategists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
The Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex fell 1.2% on Tuesday, extending Monrday’s 3.25% slump, the most in two months. Funds based abroad sold a net $4.55 billion of local shares, following a record $17.2 billion in net purchases in 2007, according to the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
The rupee also declined on speculation losses in Asian currencies against the dollar will diminish the appeal of the region’s assets, keeping global investors away, Nayar said.
Eleven of 15 most traded Asian currencies declined against the US currency, Bloomberg data show.
Meanwhile, India’s bonds fell for a sixth day on concern near-record oil prices will quicken inflation from the fastest pace in three and a half years. Yields on benchmark 10-year notes rose to the highest since August 2006 after the cost of crude oil more than doubled in the past 12 months.
Pratap Bose to join Mudra Group as CEO
Mumbai:After spending 15 years as CEO at Ogilvy and Mather Pvt. Ltd, Pratap Bose is moving to the Mudra Group as the chief operating officer starting 8 July. He will also serve on the Mudra Group’s executive board.
Bose will focus on Mudra’s media and marketing services offerings, and will lead the group into rural marketing, public relations, events, sports and retail marketing. He has also been given the mandate to grow and fast-track Rapp Collins and Tribal DDB, the goup’s customer relationship management and digital agencies, respectively. He will also strengthen the group’s out-of-home (Primesite), promotional marketing (Kidstuff), trade marketing (Multiplier), and health and lifestyle practices. Staff Writer
Patel to seek fisca relief for airlines
New Delhi: Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel is expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday to look into the possibility of extending some fiscal relief to airlines struggling under the burden of soaring aviation fuel prices that have tripled in the last three years.
Domestic airlines are expected to report a combined loss of $700 million-1 billion for the fiscal gone by, according to industry estimates, and may double further for the current year given the rise in fuel prices. Airlines are pruning routes and defering deliveries of aircraft ordered. Patel and Singh may also discuss the high levels of taxation on the fuel levied by Central and state governments that make the commodity up to 60% more expensive for Indian carriers than their international peers. The minister is also expected to meet the heads of airlines before he meets the Prime Minister. Tarun Shukla
Morgan Stanley names Heredia India Fund CEO
Mumbai:Morgan Stanley on Tuesday announced the appointment of Anthony Heredia as chief executive officer (CEO) of Morgan Stanley Investment Management in India.
Narayan Ramachandran, the former CEO of the unit, was made CEO and country head, Morgan Stanley India, in October 2007. Heredia had joined Morgan Stanley Investment Management in February 2007 as head of sales and marketing for India, moving out of HSBC Asset Management (India) Pvt. Ltd, where he was the head of sales and distribution. Staff Writer
KC Reddy appointed ABN Amro fund CIO
Mumbai: ABN Amro Asset Management (India) Ltd announced the appointment of K.C. Reddy as its chief investment officer. Reddy will also be the fund manager for ABN AMRO Opportunities Fund and ABN AMRO Future Leaders Fund. Reddy joins the firm from Charlemagne Capital in London, where he was associated in managing a range of equity funds including Asia Fund, Greater China Fund and India Fund. Staff Writer
Yahoo launches local information beta service
New Delhi:Yahoo! Web Services Pvt. Ltd, the indian arm af Yahoo! Inc., has launched its local information service, Yahoo Local (local.yahoo.co.in), in India.
Currently available for New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore, Yahoo Local is an aggregation of multiple services into a single city portal.
In its so-called beta version, as versions that are still available for testing are termed, Yahoo Local contains business listings, maps, directions, events and listings. ”We wanted to create an information hub where you can not only find information, but also contribute to it,” Gopal Krishna, the head of audience at Yahoo India, told reporters here.
Yahoo Local has a content sharing partnership with Indiacom Ltd, which publishes Yellow Pages directories. Map data on the site is provided by CE Infosystems, which launched MapMyIndia.com in 2004.
”The site allows user contributions in the form of reviews and ratings, and generates lists based on user queries,” said Sridhar Ranganathan, the business head of local and maps at Yahoo India, in a demonstration of the portal, which was interrupted by a browser crash. ”You can generate printable ready-reckoners, if you are, for example, moving to a new area.”
Yahoo Local plans to provide tiered, paid services in the coming months. Staff Writer
Sumantra Datta namedStar head in 3 markets
New Delhi: Star Group Ltd on Tuesday named Sumantra Datta as country head, West Asia, Africa and Pakistan. He will spearhead Star’s businesses in these three markets, the company said in a statement.
Based out of Dubai, he will report to Star chief operating officer Laureen Ong. “I am excited to rejoin Star… We have a tremendous opportunity to grow our business and extend the Star brand across these three markets, and I look forward to working with the team to ensure we reach our full potential,” Datta said in a statement.
Prior to this appointment, Datta was managing director at News Outdoor India, part of the News Outdoor Group, the outdoor advertising business of Star Group’s parent News Corp. News Corp. publishes ‘The Wall Street Journal’. Mint has an exclusive content partnership in India with WSJ. Staff Writer
Grasim sells sponge iron unit for Rs1,030 cr
Mumbai: Aditya Birla Group company Grasim Industries Ltd on Tuesday said it has agreed to sell its sponge iron business to Welspun Power and Steel Ltd for Rs1,030 crore.
Grasim will transfer its sponge iron business, Vikram Ispat, into a new special purpose vehicle, which will be funded by Welspun through equity and induction of debt, the company said in a statement. The company expects the transaction to be completed in the next 6 months. Vikram Ispat had a turnover of Rs950 crore in the year ended 31 March. Ankur Relia
Committee formed to look into banned drugs
New Delhi:The first formal meeting between the various industry lobbies and Indian drug quality regulator to resolve the impasse over the ban on 294 combination drugs has led to formation of a committee that will look into the safety and efficacy of these medicines.
Independent experts such as pharmacologists and doctors, part of the committee, will act as “arbitrators” and examine drug data before recommending those combination drugs that can be allowed to sell in the market to the Drug Controller General of India, said D.G. Shah, secretary general of Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance.
Another industry executive, who did not wish to be identified, said the next meeting, to be held in mid-July, should yield concrete results while the first meeting was just “the first step of the problem-solving phase”. Staff Writer
Asipac, Renaissance to build retirement villages
New Delhi: Bangalore-based Asipac Projects Pvt. Ltd, a real estate project marketing company, is in the process of partnering Australia’s Renaissance Retirement Living to build 15-20 retirement villages for the elderly in India at an investment of around Rs2,100 crore.
The company plans to build 10,000 homes under the programme on the outskirts of cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh and Pune as well as in Goa, Rishikesh and Tirupati. A retirement village is a community village exclusively for the elderly.
“The details of the partnership (with Renaissance) are still being worked out,” Amit Bagaria, chairman and chief executive of Asipac, said. “Around five-six structures are being evaluated.” The funding for the project will be done through a mix of debt, equity and private equity funding.
The average size of a retirement village will be around 700 acres. The villages will have independent one- and two-bedroom houses which will cost between Rs25 lakh and Rs46 lakh. Shabana Hussain