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Top stories this week - Views on News from Equitymaster
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  • Feb 3, 2001

    Top stories this week

    Taxing time…
    The union cabinet has approved the Tax Amendment Laws 2001 and levied a two percent surcharge on individuals and companies in the Budget-2002. This is expected mop up Rs 1.3 billion (US$ 27.6 million), which would be used for the rehabilitation of the Gujarat earthquake victims, which struck recently.

    Brokers ‘registered’…
    The Supreme Court of India has upheld the registration fee that the regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India, charges the stockbrokers. As a result, brokers collectively may have to shell out close to Rs 5 billion (US$ 106.3 million). The registration fee, which will be 0.01 percent of the delivery based turnover of brokers, is expected to increase the regulatory body’s income in coming years.

    Divestment on a roll…
    The government of India has finally decided to bring down its stake in the state owned international voice carrier, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) to 26 percent. Currently, the government holds 53 percent in the company. Besides this disinvestment, financial bids for state owned aluminium major, Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco), is expected to commence within four days.

    Reliance net up 21%…
    Reliance Industries, the petrochemicals major, has reported a 21 percent growth in net profits for the third quarter ended 31st December 2000 to Rs 7.6 billion (US$ 161.7 million). The primary reason for this was the 24 percent rise in production and enhanced capacity utilisation by the company. Though crude prices were up sharply during the third quarter, the company has managed to increase operating margins by 60 basis points to 20 percent.

    The auto blues…
    Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company (Telco), the country’s premier automobile company, has reported poor results in the quarter ended December 31, 2000. Its net loss more than doubled compared to the corresponding period in the previous year to Rs 1.2 billion (US$ 25.5 million). Commercial vehicle production was also down from 31,557 units in the third quarter of the previous year to 19,671 units in the current year.

    Shaking estimates…
    The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI) has estimated the loss from the Gujarat earthquake at over Rs 150 billion (US$ 3.2 billion). As per the estimates, the loss on account of buildings lost alone would add up to Rs 100 billion (US$ 2.1 billion) and the loss from infrastructure to over Rs 30 billion (US$ 638.2 million). More than 20,000 are believed to have perished in one of India’s worst earthquakes in the last twenty years.

    Bullish FIIs…
    Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) have invested close to US$ 914 million in the secondary markets in January 2001. This accounts for two-thirds of their total investment in fiscal year 2000, which is US$ 1,382 million. Cumulative net investments by FIIs, including both debt and equity, amounted to US$ 13 billion from fiscal year 1993.

    HPCL gains…
    Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) has reported a 53 percent rise in net profit for the third quarter ended 31st December 2000 to Rs 3.3 billion (US$ 70.2 million). The rise in sales was primarily led by a 43 percent rise in sales for the same quarter to Rs 132 billion (US$ 2.8 billion). However, operating margins declined marginally due to a 42 percent rise in expenses to Rs 126 billion (US$ 2.6 billion).

    The Taj shines…
    Indian Hotels Company, which manages the Taj Group of hotels, has reported a 21 percent rise in net profit to Rs 402 million (US$ 8.5 million) in the third quarter ended 31st December 2000. Sales were up by 14 percent to Rs 1.9 billion (US$ 40.4 million). Higher average room rentals and a decline in expenses increased margins at the operating level.



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