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Top stories this week…

Apr 7, 2001

Growth subdues…
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, due to slow down in the manufacturing and the services industry, has slowed down to 5.7 percent during the third quarter of the current year. This compared to 6 percent in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The GDP growth in the previous two quarters of the current year was 6.3 percent and 6.5 percent respectively. Powering ahead…
Tata Power has chalked out a capital expenditure programme of Rs 9.4 billion (US$ 200 million) for fiscal year 2002. The company plans to invest Rs 2 billion (US$ 43 million) in the power business, Rs 4.8 billion (US$ 102 million) in the captive power plant business and Rs 2.6 billion (US$ 55 million) in communications. It expects to fund the proposed capital expenditure plans through a mix of debt and internal accruals.

External issues compound…
Exports for the month of February 2001 grew by 10.5 percent, the lowest since March 2000. As a result, aggregate exports have come down to 20 percent for the period ended April-February 2001. The slow down could be due to the US economy and the general sluggish trend in world trade growth. Non-oil imports decreased by 8.8 percent to US$ 30.8 billion during April-February 2001.

Will it sustain?
Steel Authority of India (SAIL), the public sector owned steel behemoth, has recorded a marginal growth of 2 percent in sales during the fiscal year 2001 by selling 8.5 million tonnes of steel in the domestic market. Production of saleable steel also grew by 2 percent to 9.7 million tonnes during the current year. Thanks to the restructuring exercise undertaken by the company, it has managed to save Rs 30 billion (US$ 638 million) in the last three years.

In the race for CMC…
Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and Hewlett Packard have reportedly submitted their letter of intent for acquiring a 57.3 percent stake in the state owned software maintenance company, CMC Limited. The government has been planning to disinvest its stake in the company for quite some time. But given the political environment it is unclear whether the disinvestment would be completed in the current year.

V2 perks car sales…
Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company (Telco) have reported a sharp growth in car sales for March 2001. The company has sold 5,255 units of Tata Indica, thanks to the newly launched advanced version Indica V2. Cumulative sales for the year have touched 43,823 units, which is lower than its sales in fiscal 2000.

GTB-UTI merger off…
Global Trust Bank has called off the much-debated merger with UTI Bank citing controversies that have surrounded such a proposal. The Board of directors has said that the merger is not conducive at the current moment after the allegation of price rigging by the promoter of the bank, Mr. Ramesh Gelli.

BHEL’s net down…
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) declared a 51 percent decline in its provisional net profits in fiscal year 2001 to Rs 3 billion (US$ 64 million). The order inflow has declined by 23 percent, which was led by a decline in orders from the power sector (down 32 percent). As a result it commissioned only 2,914 megawatt of power capacity during the year.

Mixed trends…
Cement despatches in March 2002 have risen by 26 percent to 9.2 million tonnes over the previous month, which was more than what the industry actually expected. Production stood at 9.2 million tonnes as against 9.5 million tonnes in March last year. However, cement demand is expected to weaken in the latter half of the year due to the slow down in the economy. To combat this, cement companies have planed to cut production to maintain the prices.


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