The Mint report for 28 October 2009

The Mint report for 28 October 2009

New Delhi: NTPC is going to get subsidized gas for its power plants in Gujarat. The empowered group of ministers headed by Pranab Mukherjee has approved a gas swap

deal that will allow NTPC to get cheaper gas for its Gujarat plants without changing its legal position in its gas supply dispute with RIL. Under the new scheme, gas meant originally meant for NTPC’s plants around Delhi will be used for its Gujarat projects.

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Proctor and Gamble’s Indian arm has big plans for its operations. It’s looking to add 500 million new Indian customers over the next five years, in a move that will more than double its current consumer base. The plan will require Proctor and Gamble to expand into rural areas, away from the urban areas from where most of its current consumers come from. Earlier this month, Proctor and Gamble’s global head had said the company plans to add one billion new customers, mainly from India and China.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached out to separatist groups in Kashmir on Wednesday and even signaled Pakistan would have to be part of a final settlement. He also demanded Pakistan destroy what he called its “infrastructure of terror" and said India would react generously to such a move. Singh made the statements while on a visit to Kashmir where he was inaugurating a new train service.

A new report says the demand for vacant office spaces has risen by 19% in the second quarter compared to the previous one. The report by realty consultant Cushman and Wakefield notes that average demand in eight Indian cities has gone up with Bangalore leading the way. On the other hand, demand in the national capital region in and around Delhi has fallen by about 30% compared to the previous quarter.

The RBI is about to get a new deputy governor. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that Subir Gokarn, the chief economist for Standard and Poor’s Asia Pacific will take over the post, which has been vacant since June.

India’s airlines are continuing to make losses, though Kingfisher has seen some improvement. Its net loss for the second quarter reduced 13% to Rs419 crore from Rs483 crore in the same period last year. Kingfisher still retains nearly a quarter of the market share and has, in recent times, restructured its operations to maintain cost controls.

Bank of Baroda’s net profits for the second quarter jumped 60% to Rs634 crore compared to a year earlier. Its total income went to Rs4,731 crore from Rs4,027 crore in the same quarter last year.

Andhra Bank also posted its results on Wednesday. Net profits rose 70% to Rs274 crore in the second quarter. The bank’s total income rose to Rs1,790 crore compared to Rs1,455 crore in the same quarter last year.

Several cement majors unveiled their second quarter on Wednesday. Shree Cement’s net profit shot up 169% to Rs289 crore compared to a year earlier. Madras Cements saw its net profit go up 50% to Rs170 crore in the second quarter, and Binani Cement also posted good results with its net profit going up 288% to Rs101 crore. Despite the impressive earnings, analysts warn that India’s cement industry could see excess supply by the end of the year, which could affect their profitability.