The Mint report for 18 September 2009

The Mint report for 18 September 2009

Insurance regulator IRDA is working with SEBI to come up with new regulations by the end of the month. The new rules will layout disclosure guidelines for insurance companies that plan to launch IPOs as well as create new valuation norms. A wave of insurance industry IPOs is expected over the next year with many of the major industry players turning ten years old. IRDA stipulates that Indian insurance companies must be at least a decade old before they get listed on the markets.

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Improved monsoons are bringing cheer to the agriculture ministry. With water levels increasing in major reservoirs, it’s now aiming for a near record wheat harvest of 79 million metric tons. A drought across almost half of India has already damaged the rice and oilseed crop, but winter season crops may be better off. Wheat that is sowed in October and harvested in March accounts for more than 70% of the country’s winter grain harvest.

The World Bank has said its eight-year ban on Mahindra Satyam remains in place. The statement comes days after a Satyam executive said his company was in talks with the World Bank about revoking the ban, which was placed last September. Mahindra Satyam is the new incarnation of Satyam Computer Services, which was involved in a massive accounting scandal.

More doubts have been cast over India’s arrangements for the Commonwealth Games. The ratings agency Moody’s says preparations have been slower than desired and that the liquidity crunch created by the economic downturn has taken its toll. Earlier, the chief of the Commonwealth Games Federation had said the delays were putting the success of the games in jeopardy.

Essar Oilfields Services Limited has received 240 million dollars from a group of banks to fund the purchase of a rig in the KG Basin. The partly submersible rig called Essar Wildcat is currently drilling in the KG Basin in the Bay of Bengal.

The Future Group, which controls Pantaloon Retail, is in talks with foreign companies over a possible alliance. It’s looking for partners in electronics and food that can help give it an edge in distribution and supply. India allows up to 51% foreign direct investment in single-brand retail but multi-brand retailers like Wal-Mart are not allowed to sell directly to customers.

Axis Bank has raised $720 million through global depository receipts and by placing shares with potential buyers. The shares were sold at Rs906.70 each. Axis Bank is India’s third largest private sector bank.

India’s exporters may not get government incentives in next year. The commerce secretary told a meeting of exporters the country’s fiscal situation made a continuation of incentives difficult.

The Dabhol power plant will start buying natural gas from Reliance Industries to cut its electricity generation costs. Earlier, the government doubled the amount of gas allocated to RGPL, the company that runs the Dabhol power plant.