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Top stories this week… - Views on News from Equitymaster
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  • Mar 24, 2001

    Top stories this week…

    The payment crisis…
    The Calcutta Stock Exchange (CSE) experienced its worst ever crisis as more than 70 brokers failed to meet their payment obligations on the pay-in date. The CSE also withheld approximately Rs 1 billion (US$ 21 million) as these trades were found dubious. The market watchdog, The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has initiated investigation on trading pattern on some of the leading brokers in both Mumbai as well as the Calcutta Stock Exchanges. (Mar 17)

    Mixed bag for cement companies…
    The Cement Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) has projected a negative growth rate of 1.5 percent in cement consumption in the current year. The primary reason for this shortfall is the lower off take in rural areas caused by depressed agricultural output and unfavorable monsoons. Besides with the addition of new capacity (approximately 2.6 million tonnes), there is oversupply in the market. However, there is consolation for the cement industry. More than 1,600 kilometers in the ‘Golden Quadrilateral’, which aims at connecting the four metropolitan cities, is yet to be completed, which will boost cement demand. (Mar 18)

    SCI wins…
    The Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) and Mitsui OSK Lines of Japan have won the Petronet Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) transportation contract, which is estimated to be worth US$ 400 million. The other two companies in the consortium are Kawasaki Shipping and NYK. This is expected to stabilise cash flows of SCI, which hitherto was vulnerable to the international freight movements. (Mar 19)

    The restructuring Tata’s…
    Tata Industries, in the largest ever merger and acquisition deal in the Indian offshore drilling industry, has sold its 23 percent stake in Hitech Drilling to Aban Loyd Chiles Offshore at Rs 92 per share (US$ 1.9). Later on, the multinational would make an open offer to acquire the remaining stake in the company. The total consideration of the deal is estimated to be worth Rs 1.9 billion (US$ 40 million). This is following the Tata group’s decision to exit from non-core business activities and focus on automobiles, finance and investments and software. (Mar 19)

    RIL sells stake…
    Reliance Industries (RIL) has plans to offload 13 percent of its stake in Reliance Petroleum (RPL) in favour of global oil companies and international institutional investors. Currently, RIL holds 64 percent of RPL’s Rs 52 billion (US$ 1.1 billion) equity base. At the current price of Rs 51 (US$ 1.1), this would fetch more than Rs 35 billion (US$ 744 million). RIL, reportedly, is negotiating with Kuwait Petroleum, Shell and Exxon-Mobil for the stake sale. (Mar 21)

    The stand-alone consolidation…
    Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) is acquiring 55 percent stake from the government in the stand-alone refinery, Kochi Refineries (KRL), for Rs 7 billion (US$ 148 million). The company is acquiring 76 million shares at a price of Rs 87 per share (US$ 1.8). This is expected to benefit BPCL in the long run. (Mar 21)

    The number `5`…
    Visual Soft Technologies, the Hyderabad based software major, has issued a profit warning in wake of a slow down in the US economy. However, the company clarified that the overall turnover for the current year will be more than 90 percent over the previous year. It derives more than 50 percent of its revenues from the sale of components like java beans and enterprise products, which are likely to witness slower demand growth. (Mar 22)

    Licensing brands…
    Indian Rayon, the Aditya Birla Group Company, is weighing the option of licensing its major brands like Allen Solly, Louis Phillipe, Peter England and San Frisco in certain overseas markets. The company recently won the international marketing rights of these brands from Coats Viyella for Rs 940 million (US$ 20 million). The company has significant presence in the Middle East. (Mar 23)

    The core tumbles…
    The six infrastructure industries together reported a negative growth of 1.4 percent for the month of February 2001 compared to a healthy growth of 11.3 percent in the corresponding month of the previous year. In the first nine months of the current year, the core sector has reported a growth of 5.2 percent. The reason could be attributed to the fact that electricity generation has declined by 1.1 percent during February 2001. (Mar 23)



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