JM Financial rises after announcing free shares

JM Financial rises after announcing free shares

Mumbai:JM Financial Ltd had its biggest gain this month after announcing an offer of free shares to stakeholders and a stock split on Wednesday.

The Mumbai-based company will give three free shares for every two held and then split each share into 10, it said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange, or BSE, after the market closed on Wednesday. The company will pay Rs25 a share as dividend, including Rs20 of special dividend.

JM Financial rose by its daily limit of 5%, the most since 17 April, to Rs1,556.85 on BSE on Thursday. The stock was the best-performing company in the BSE500 Index, ‘Bloomberg’ data showed.

Fourth quarter group profit, including from sources other than its main business, rose to Rs100 crore in the three months to March, from Rs33.02 crore a year earlier. Revenue gained 69% to Rs209 crore from Rs124 crore.

Full-year net income increased to Rs1,310 crore from Rs90.85 crore. Revenue last year rose to Rs742 crore from Rs444 crore. The company had a one-time gain of Rs1,640 crore from the sale of a 49% stake in Morgan Stanley India Co. Pvt. Ltd.


IFCI to discuss adding strategic investor

Mumbai:IFCI Ltd surged, making it the biggest gainer among the Bombay Stock Exchange’s 200 biggest companies, after the Indian project financing firm said its board will meet on Thursday to consider adding a strategic investor. Its shares rose 6.5%, the most since 22 April, to Rs62.30 on Thursday.

The directors will also discuss optionally convertible debentures held by the Union government, the company said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange. Atul Kumar Rai, chief executive officer and managing director of IFCI, wasn’t available for comment at his office in New Delhi. Overseas investors may own as much as 74% of IFCI, India’s central bank said on 31 December. The company, based in New Delhi, earlier that month scrapped a plan to sell a stake after failing to agree on terms with investors led by Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd and Morgan Stanley.


Piramal Life lists at Rs376.60 on BSE

Mumbai:Piramal Life Sciences Ltd, the research company demerged from drugmaker Nicholas Piramal India Ltd, listed at Rs376.60 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Thursday. Its shares were trading at Rs386 on a volume of 28,000 shares immediately after the listing. The share closed at Rs313.90.

Piramal Life is the second dedicated drug research firm to be listed on Indian bourses after Sun Pharma Advanced Research Co. Ltd, an offshoot of the country’s fourth largest drug maker Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, which was listed in July 2007.

C.H. Unnikrishnan

Firms mop up $4.2 bn via IPOs in 2008 so far

New Delhi: Despite a turbulent stock market, Indian companies have raised more than $4 billion (Rs17,120 crore) through initial public offerings (IPOs), but had it not been for Anil Ambani-led Reliance Power Ltd this amount would have been just about one-fourth.

The $4.2 billion raised through 21 IPOs since the beginning of 2008 marks an increase of 62% from $2.6 billion raised through 50 deals in the same period last year, according to global deal data provider Dealogic. However, excluding the Reliance Power IPO that mopped up a record $3 billion, the Indian IPO market fell by 52% in volume this year against the same period in 2007, Dealogic said. About $4 billion raised through IPOs in the first quarter of 2008 is also the second highest for a quarter in the Indian capital markets history after more than $5 billion raised in the fourth quarter of 2006.


India-focused firms cross $6 bn mark on AIM

New Delhi: India-focused companies on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, or AIM, crossed $6 billion (Rs25,680 crore) in market capitalization with the stocks registering an average growth of 52% in valuation till April. The market capitalization of 23 India-focused firms listed on AIM touched $6.33 billion from their respective dates of admission to the end of April, says a report from global consultancy Grant Thornton Llp. The average increase in market capitalization of these companies stood at 52% during the same period.

In terms of percentage gains, Great Eastern Energy Corp. topped the list with a premium of nearly 600% on its market cap on admission. The jump translates into a 126% growth on compounded annual growth rate, or CAGR, basis, the report said.

The firm, listed in December 2005, had raised capital worth about $37.6 million.

However, a majority saw substantial declines in their market capitalizations. While nine India-focused companies saw their market capitalization rise till April, 14 firms recorded decreased valuation during the same period.

Companies that include UMP Plc., Hirco Plc., Indian Film Company Ltd, Dev Property Development Plc. and CBay Systems Holdings Ltd saw substantial decline in their respective valuations.


London’s West End most expensive office market

New Delhi: London’s West End retains its position as the world’s costliest office market, says a report by real estate consultant CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. Mumbai, in second place in November 2007, has fallen to fourth, while Moscow has climbed to second. The report tracks world markets with the highest and the fastest growing occupancy costs for the 12 months to March. Tokyo’s Inner Central and Outer Central also figure in the top five. Delhi, at number eight last year, moved up to number seven.

“The drop is not due to rentals in Mumbai falling, but because of a significant increase in rentals in London and Moscow," said Anshuman Magazine, chairman and managing director at CB Richard Ellis South Asia.

Shabana Hussain

Indirect tax collection beats targets

New Delhi: Indirect tax collection in 2007-08 was Rs2.8 trillion, about 1% more than the revised estimate for the year, finance minister P. Chidambaram said on Thursday after meeting with the top brass of customs and central excise department in New Delhi. Excise collections, however, fell short of the revised estimate of Rs1.27 trillion for 2007-08, Chidambaram said, without disclosing the magnitude of the shortfall.

The primary reason for the shortfall in excise collections is malpractice by manufacturers through either misuse of input tax credits or clandestine movement of merchandise out of factory premises, he said.

At the meeting, Chidamabaram asked the department to develop a proxy to get a reliable idea of the actual magnitude of manufacture by each one of India’s 91,000 manufacturers who pay central excise (some manufacturers such as those located in some hill states are exempt from excise).

The income-tax department uses proxies such as annual information reports that collate information sourced from entities such as credit card companies, which are then matched against tax returns filed by assessees. These reports have been successful in curtailing tax evasion, Chidambaram said.

Central excise officials currently use data on value-added tax generated by some state governments as a proxy for the actual level of production by some companies, but the system has not yet been institutionalized, Chidambaram said. Electricity bills paid by manufacturers could be used as a proxy to get a sense of actual manufacturing, he added.

Sanjiv Shankaran

Farm production may have grown 3.5%: official

New Delhi: India’s farm output, which accounts for about one-fifth of the economy, may have grown as much as 3.5% in the fiscal year that ended on 31 March, faster than an earlier estimate of 2.6%, a government official said.

Farm growth “will be significantly higher, may be by 0.7 to 0.8 percentage point," Pronab Sen, secretary at ministry for statistics and programme implementation, said in New Delhi on Thursday. “The final estimates of agricultural growth are much higher."

Higher farm output may help Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cool inflation, currently holding near the fastest pace in more than three years. India, the world’s second biggest producer of rice, wheat and sugar, may harvest record crops after adequate rainfall and sunshine boosted yields.


Monsoon due in 3-4 days, misses forecast

New Delhi: India’s annual monsoon is now expected to reach Kerala in the next three-four days, missing an earlier forecast but largely in line with the long-term average, a top weather official said. Weather officials said earlier this month the June- September monsoon was likely to enter the country slightly early on 29 May.

“There is no indication that it has hit the Kerala coast," said R.C. Bhatia, director general of the Indian meteorological department.

The monsoon usually hits Kerala on 1 June and retreats in September, and this year rains are forecast to be close to normal. Weather officials are expected to update their estimates next month. Around 60% of the country’s billion-plus people get all or part of their income from agriculture.


WB president calls for no ban on food exports

Yokohama, Japan: World Bank president Robert Zoellick called on Thursday for governments of developed nations to not impose export restrictions or tariffs on food that could be funnelled to relief agencies or countries facing severe food shortages. Zoellick, speaking on the sidelines of an African development conference being held this week in Japan, said taxes and bans were “exacerbating the problem". Such controls make it harder for organizations such as the World Food Programme to distribute emergency food aid.


NDTV promoters revise open offer dates

Mumbai: Television broadcaster New Delhi Television Ltd’s promoters have revised the dates for the open offer to 29 May and 17 June, manager to the issue, Morgan Stanley India Co. Pvt Ltd said late on Wednesday. Earlier, the open offer was scheduled to start on 12 February and close on 3 March. In December, the promoters, Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, had made an open offer for a further 20% stake at Rs438.98, after buying 7.73% from foreign fund GA Global Investments Ltd.


Delhi HC rules in favour of Wipro in IPR case

Bangalore: Ruling in favour of Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting in a trademark offence case, the Delhi high court has ordered the closure of KK Lamps, a bulbs manufacturer that was found infringing Wipro’s SafeLite brand. The New Delhi-based KK Lamps branded its bulbs “Safelife", replicating Wipro SafeLite’s colour and design. Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting is a division Wipro Ltd. “KK Lamps had not only replicated the design scheme of the Wipro SafeLite pack design, but had also flagged off Wipro’s UVS benefit on its pack which is the main selling proposition of our bulbs," said Anil Chugh, senior vice-president, Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting. Wipro’s SafeLite bulbs’ UVS technology ensures that harmful ultraviolet rays are not emitted by the bulb, thereby preventing any damage to the eyes. The technology has been patented by the company.

Chugh said the company had filed a suit in the Delhi high court three months back after its sales team found large numbers of bulb packs in Andhra Pradesh which were similar in look and design to their own brand.

The KK Lamps factory has been sealed by the local commissioner. On the issue of KK Lamps approaching a higher court, Chugh said Wipro will protect its trademarks and would fight it out. “This is the first case that we came to know of regarding the infringement on our bulbs. We will follow the same course of action if someone else tries to encroach on our intellectual property rights," Chugh said. Chugh added that it was “very difficult" to estimate losses arising our of the infringement, as the it came to light recently.

Deepti Chaudhary

Videocon plans Rs6,000 crore power project

New Delhi: The Videocon Group is planning to invest Rs6,000 crore ($1.4 billion) in a 1,000MW hydropower project in north India, chairman Venugopal Dhoot told reporters. The group was in talks with potential partners in the US, he said.


Diplomats agree treaty to ban cluster bombs

DUBLIN, Ireland: Diplomats from more than 100 nations reached agreement on a treaty that would ban current designs of cluster bombs and require destruction of stockpiles within eight years.

The breakthrough Wednesday capped more than a year of negotiations that began in Norway and concluded over the past 10 days in Dublin. Nations were expected to sign the document in December in Norway’s capital, Oslo.

The draft treaty declares that a signatory nation “undertakes never under any circumstances to use cluster munitions" nor “develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions."

Ireland and other lead sponsors plan to unveil the treaty Friday after its translation into several languages.

Cluster bombs have been used in conflicts worldwide to crush enemy forces by laying a carpet of dozens to hundreds of explosions with a single bomb, shell or rocket. Their devastating impact on the battlefield often comes at a terrible cost to civilians afterward, including farmers who strike unexploded “bomblets" in their fields or children who mistake the objects for playthings.