High rates set to hit basmati rice exports to Saudi Arabia

High rates set to hit basmati rice exports to Saudi Arabia

New Delhi: Saudi Arabia, the single largest buyer of Indian basmati exports, is likely to pick up lesser quantities of the long grained rice on account of higher export prices, especially when compared with those offered by other countries.

“We cannot buy rice from India right now because, compared with last year, this year’s prices have doubled. Moreover, the Saudi Arabian government has put a cap on the price of basmati rice and we cannot import at those prices," said Omar Saleh Babaker, head of SA Babaker Sons Co., leading importer of Indian basmati and the largest seller in Saudi Arabia.

“The increase in basmati (price) is actually an effect of increased expenditure on food and Indian consumption of basmati rice," said Karan Chanana, managing director, Amira Foods India Ltd, a basmati rice exporter. The appreciating rupee, wherein the dollar has become cheaper by 8% since the beginning of this fiscal year, has only further pushed up export prices.

According to data from the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCIS), the unit realization of 1 tonne of basmati exports in the current year is $1,400 (Rs55,020) per tonne, while it averaged $700-750 per tonne last year.

In 2006-07, out of total basmati rice exports of 1.01 million tonnes, Saudi Arabia imported little less than half at 487,000 tonnes, while the rest of West Asia imported 291,000 tonnes, according to DGCIS.

Indian exporters, however, are hoping to step up exports to other markets in West Asia. “The Saudi buyers cannot dictate terms to us. It is a sellers’ market. Some exporters are still exporting on last year’s contracts," said Vijay Setia, president of All India Rice Exporters Association.

According to a few exporters, the focus of the market, which used to be Saudi Arabia till last year, is now shifting to Iran and Dubai. “Pusa 1121 variety is in high demand in Iran and other West Asian countries. The association has advised all exporters not to lower prices," added Setia. Padmaparna Ghosh

Religare fixes IPO price at Rs185 per share

Mumbai: A financial services provider Religare Enterprises Ltd, led by the promoters of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, has fixed the price of its initial public offering (IPO) at the higher end of its price-band at Rs185.

Religare IPO received robust response from investors and was subscribed by more than 160 times.

The qualified institutional bidders portion was subscribed nearly 185 times, while the retail bidders share was subscribed about 93.5 times.

The company had fixed the price band at Rs160-185 for 7.5 million equity shares on offer.

The issue would constitute 10% of the fully diluted post-issue capital of the company. PTI

Sustainability reports below benchmarks

New Delhi: Three in five Indian companies surveyed issue a public report on sustainability of their operations, according to a study released on Monday by the CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development.

However, it is still an “emerging concept in India" and the quality of information in these reports often falls short of international benchmarks.

Large companies were far more likely than small- and medium-sized operations to practice some form of reporting in this area, the study said.

Making sustainability reporting—detailing initiatives on community development, environment, health and safety, among others—integral to a company’s business would help Indian firms compete internationally and improve relationship with the public, said experts at the launch of the report. Alison Granito

Direct tax collections up 43% to Rs1.3 trillion

New Delhi: Direct tax collections jumped by over 43% till October 2007 fuelled by rapid economic growth and improved tax compliance. Net tax collections crossed Rs1.28 trillion, compared with around Rs90,000 crore in the year ago period, according to data released by the finance ministry on Monday.

Corporate tax collection grew by close to 46% and personal income tax, including fringe benefit, securities transaction and banking cash transaction taxes increased by 40%.

Tax deducted at source receipts grew 49.13%, indicating rising employment as well as compensation. Pragya Singh

RGPPL aims to start Dabhol’s unit by Feb

New Delhi: Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt. Ltd (RGPPL) hopes to start the third unit of the Dabhol power plant by February next year, a top company official said. Two units of the gas-fired power plant are currently generating 1,260MW and expected to reach full capacity by 15 November, RGPPL chairman R.K. Goel said.

The plant would provide electricity to power starved Maharashtra, which faces a shortage of as much as 4,000-5,000MW, state energy minister Dileep Walse-Patil had said on Sunday. PTI

FM: We don’t pay our bankers as we should

Mumbai: Union finance minister P. Chidambaram on Monday said public sector bankers are underpaid, but despite acting under a number of constraints they are driving growth and have shown leadership.

“We don’t pay our bankers as we should," said the finance minister while inaugurating Union Bank of India’s technology centre in Mumbai.

Stating that each bank has shown leadership through tremendous initiatives, the finance minister said, “The public sector banks have driven growth despite acting under a number of constraints—one of the constraints being me."

Most of the public sector bank CEOs say it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract talent as the public sector banking industry does not pay well. “Unless we are allowed to offer market-related salary, we will not get the right kind of people," said the CEO of a large public sector bank who did not wish to be named. Anup Roy

PetroChina is world’s first $1 trillion firm

Shanghai:PetroChina Co. Ltd became the world’s first company worth more than $1 trillion (Rs39.3 trillion) on Monday, surging past Exxon Mobil Corp. as the Chinese oil producer’s shares nearly tripled in their first day of trading in China.

State-owned PetroChina, a unit of China National Petroleum Corp., is the country’s biggest oil and gas producer. Its Shanghai initial public offering of 4 billion shares raised 66.8 billion yuan (Rs35,404 crore), a record for a mainland bourse.

Adding the value of PetroChina shares traded in Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York, and those still owned by the government, the company’s total market capitalization ballooned to just more than $1 trillion, compared with Exxon Mobil’s $488 billion. AP