The Mint report for 5 October 2009

The Mint report for 5 October 2009

Air India troubles may be well known, but Mint has learnt things could be worse than previously thought. A senior government official has told Mint the airline’s operator Nacil has posted losses of Rs2000 crore in the last six months of the fiscal year and is estimated to have losses of Rs5,000 crore for the full financial year. Air India already had losses totaling Rs5,000 crore in the last fiscal year.

Loading video...

Government-owned Coal India says it expects to complete a mine acquisition this fiscal year. The company is already looking for mines in the US, South Africa, Australia and Indonesia. And company officials say the company plans to invest up to $1.5 billion to acquire mines overseas. India’s coal demand is projected to reach 731 million tones a year by 2012.

Acquiring coal overseas could get more expensive for another Indian company. NTPC plans to acquire a South African coal mining firm for about $1 billion, but it may have to shell out another half a billion dollars to secure the fuel. The reason is the high sulphur content in the South African coal that raises environmental concerns. NTPC says it is looking at investments into washeries that can clean the coal off sulphur before importing it to India.

Merger talks between Bharti and MTN may have failed, but Indian telecom companies haven’t stopped looking for opportunities abroad. A consortium of phone companies like BSNL, MTNL, and the Vavasi Group say they have started negotiations to acquire a controlling stake in Kuwait’s Zain Telecom.

Raymond may own some of India’s biggest clothing brands, but the company will is now adjusting its strategy to enter small-town markets. It plans to use franchisees for its Park Avenue and Parx brands along with price-cuts to bring in customers. In recent times Raymond has rolled back it joint venture for the premium Italian clothing brand GAS, which was doing badly in the Indian market. Besides Park Avenue, Raymond owns brands like ColorPlus, Zapp! and Manzoni, along with the flagship brand Raymond.

Goldman Sachs says concerns about inflation could prompt the RBI to start hiking interest rates in January and raise its main lending rate by 3 percentage points by the end of next year.

The debate over CEO compensations is getting louder. On Monday the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia said company CEOs should not get “indecent salaries". Earlier corporate affirs minister Salman Khurshid had also criticized CEO salaries and talked about the need for regulation.

Markets fell on Monday with investors turning cautious about Asian markets ahead of quarterly results. The Sensex plummeted 268 points to close at 16,866 and the Nifty went down 80 points to end trade at 5,003.