The Mint Report 15 June 2011

The Mint Report 15 June 2011

In what will be the largest overseas coal mine acquisition, GVK Infra and Power is set to purchase two of Hancock Prospecting’s thermal coal assets in Australia. Mint has learnt that an initial agreement has been signed by the two parties. The Hyderabad-based company will buy two coal assets for around $2.4 billion. The mines in question are Tad’s Corner and Kevin’s corner in Queensland. Both have an annual capacity of 30 million tonnes. The GVK group is hoping the acquisition will help it expand its present power generation capacity of 901MW to 10,000MW by 2013.

It may not be boom time for corporate India, but advance tax numbers suggest we’re not going to see a disaster either. Advance Tax payments from 100 companies based in Mumbai grew 14% in the quarter ending in June. ICICI Bank paid 390 crore, an increase of 11.42% compared to the same period last year. And the country’s biggest bank, SBI, paid 1100 crore, an increase of 29%. Reliance Industries was second in the list paying 38.46% more during the quarter, turning in 900 crore. IT giant Tata Consultancy Services, meanwhile, trailed far behind at Rs250 crore, which is about double of what it paid in the same period last year. Companies pay advance tax every quarter based on what they expect to earn.

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Union minister for chemicals and fertilizers M.K. Azhaghiri has objected to the deregulation of urea prices. Mint has reviewed a copy of the dissent note sent by Azhaghri. In it, he has said the freeing of the MRP of urea could lead to an increase of prices by 15%. The minister goes on to say the government will face legal hurdles while implementing the mechanism to pool gas—which will also lead to a further increase in the MRP by 5%. Azhagiri also questioned why the deregulation policy is silent on plants that use naphtha and fuel oil as their main raw materials. These objections could pose a new hurdle to the deregulation of urea prices.

On Wednesday, the Sensex fell by 176 points to close at 18,132, the lowest in three weeks. Nifty fell by 53 points to end at 5,447. The markets slumped ahead of the RBI meet to consider monetary policy.