The Mint report for 12 October 2009

The Mint report for 12 October 2009

New Delhi: The country’s largest mortgage lender, HDFC posted its second quarter results today. Net profit rose 24.27% to Rs664 crore beating analysts’ expectations.

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Axis Bank has also posted impressive second quarter results. Net profit increased 31.95% to Rs531.64 crore. A bank official says the rise in net profit was largely driven by growth in fee income and net interest income.

Good new for India’s economy. India’s industrial production rose 10.4% from a year earlier in August, the most it has risen in 22 months. Economists were expecting a rise of less than 10%.

India’s auto companies are all set to report higher profit numbers for the second quarter. Mint polled analysts from five brokerage firms that say better sales, lower commodity prices, easier financing, and the lack of foreign exchange losses will help auto makers post impressive figures. Maruti’s net profit is expected to rise 90% to Rs564 crore, while analysts predict Ashok Leyland will post 13% growth in profits to Rs66 crore. Hero Honda’s net profit may rise as much as 75% to Rs540 crore, while Bajaj could more than double its profits to Rs376.7 crores.

Insurance regulator IRDA has written to the finance ministry objecting to a proposal that suggested removing agents’ commissions from the premiums of policyholders. Current laws allow agents commissions of up to 40% in the first year of some life insurance schemes, with a cap of 7.5% in the second year and 5% from the third year onwards. The government appointed panel that proposed removing commissions says insurance agents earned Rs15,000 crore as commissions last year. And though it opposes revoking all commissions, last month IRDA proposed eliminating them for customers who made direct applications.

India’s biggest ever oil auction ended on Monday, but the gas supply dispute between the Ambani brothers could be keeping bidders away. The government is auctioning 80 oil and gas fields to Indian and global companies, but investors are concerned that a court ruling in the Ambani gas dispute could strengthen the government’s control on energy prices. Analysts are saying the big oil companies that can do deepwater drilling in the Krishna-Godavari basin are likely to stay away because they would prefer to sell fuel at market prices. Companies like Exxon, Shell and Chevron have not bid for fields in India since the government started auctioning them in 1999.

NTPC is likely to issue a Rs40,000 crore tender for super critical power generation equipment. The order will be placed through international bidding and the winner will have to set up a manufacturing base in India. NTPC plans to open the bids in January and place its orders in April.