Advance taxes for the fourth quarter are in, but the numbers are mixed. Out of the top 100 companies in Mumbai, 86 saw their advance tax payments rise by an average of just 3% in the quarter ending 31 March. While payments from manufacturing companies shot up, banks and financial companies dragged the numbers down. Advance tax payments by India’s largest company, RIL, rose 110% Rs770 crores in the fourth quarter. But payments from the country’s largest bank, SBI, went up just 2.6% to Rs1,857 crore. Analysts have told Mint banks and finance companies have been affected by rising bond yields that have cut into their treasury profits. Companies in India pay advance taxes four times a year, based on their own estimates of their profits.
It’s now more likely the RBI will increase key rates. India’s headline inflation accelerated last month to a 16-month high of 9.89% compared to a year ago. That’s higher than most analyst expectations. It’s also higher than the January figure of 8.56%. Monday’s figures indicate India’s food inflation has spilled over into manufactured products. While food inflation for February stood at 17.8%, inflation in manufacturing also shot up 7.4%. The new numbers are expected to push the RBI to revise policy rates when it meets on the 20 April.
Foreign universities are now one step closer to setting up campuses in India. On Monday the union cabinet gave the green signal to a bill that allows them to begin operations within the country. The bill will now have to be tabled in Parliament for approval.
Hindustan Construction Company wants to get into the business of building high-rise offices. The company says it will buy a 66% stake in Karl Steiner AG in a deal worth about Rs150.6 crore. It plans to buy the remaining 34% stake in Karl Steiner in 2014. Hindustan Construction says the acquisition to give it expertise in incorporating high-end technology in the skyscrapers it builds.