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Top stories this week… - Views on News from Equitymaster
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  • Jan 20, 2001

    Top stories this week…

    MTNL in cellular…
    Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) has finalised the tariff structure for its cellular services for Delhi. The company has decided to charge Rs 2.70 per minute for outgoing calls and Rs 1.50 per minute for incoming calls (1 US$ = Rs 46.5). The monthly rental charges are fixed at Rs 400 (US$ 8.6). It has plans to commence its services from January 31, 2001 in Delhi and by February 2001 in Mumbai. Following this, private cellular companies have also plans to slash rates to counter competition from the state owned telecom major.

    Telco woes…
    Tata Engineering has reported a 40 percent slide in commercial vehicles sales volume in December 2000. Domestic sales were down by 43 percent to 11,493 units as heavy commercial vehicles sales dropped by more than 50 percent. The slowing down economy coupled with stiff competition seems to be eating into the profits of the company. Meanwhile, the company has planned to tap the primary market through a rights issue to fund its expansion projects.

    Mastek – The first warning…
    Mastek, the Mumbai based software company, reported a sharp 54 percent drop in net profit for the third quarter ended 31st December 2000. The net profit has dropped to 28 million from Rs 61 million in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. This could be attributed to the slow down in revenues from its US operations as well as default by a dot com client.

    De-controlling FDI…
    The Group of Ministers (GoM) on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has cleared a slew of proposals, including 51 percent FDI in domestic airlines and 100 percent in operating subsidiaries of non-banking financial companies and in bulk drug manufacturing. Besides, 100 percent FDI in hotels and tourism sector has also been also permitted.

    Godrej consolidates…
    Godrej Agrovet, part of the Rs 35 billion (US$ 753 million) Godrej Group, has picked up 74 percent stake in Gold Mohur Foods & Feeds, a subsidiary of Hindustan Lever. This is expected to consolidate Godrej’s market share in the animal feeds business. However, the consideration is yet to be finalised. It is also not clear as to why HLL has decided to hold the remaining 24 percent in the subsidiary.

    Bajaj skids…
    Bajaj Auto has reported a 78 percent drop in net profits to Rs 281 million (US$ 6 million) for the third quarter ended 31st December 2000. Sales for the first nine months of the current fiscal year have dropped by more than 47 percent. The company has been hit hard by declining scooter sales, which contributed 50 percent to the turnover in fiscal year 2000.

    Hero Honda net up…
    Hero Honda Motors, the country's leading motorcycle manufacturer, has recorded a 44 percent growth in sales for the third quarter ended 31st December 2000. Net profit grew by 45 percent, from Rs 495 million (US$ 10.6 million) to Rs 702 million (US$ 15.1 million). The company has opted for a share split of existing shares of Rs 10 each into five shares of Rs 2 each.

    Wipro’s margin expand…
    Wipro Limited has reported a 120 percent rise in net profit to US$ 41 million for the third quarter ended 31st December 2000. This excluded extra ordinary losses of US$ 8.9 million, which occurred due to sale of shares of Wipro Finance Limited. The highlight of the performance is the jump in operating margins from 24 percent in the second quarter of the fiscal year 2001 to 29 percent in the third quarter, indicating higher billing rates. The company’s management said that the its software development contract with General Electric might not be renewed due to pricing factor (GE’s accounts for close to 5 percent of turnover of Wipro).



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