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Top stories this week…

Jun 23, 2001

Targeting down-stream…
Indian Oil Corporation, the public sector refinery major, has plans to set up a mega petrochemicals plant at Panipat at a outlay of Rs 47 billion (US$ 1 billion). It also has plans to expand its refinery capacity and set up a power plant at Panipat with a total investment of Rs 107 billion (US$ 2.2 billion). The petrochemical plant is expected to have a capacity of 530,000 tonnes per annum. The expansion of the refining capacity from 6 million tonnes to 9 million tonnes is estimated to cost Rs 36 billion (US$ 765 million). Read more…

The only remaining…
Reliance has proposed to set up two mega gas pipeline projects criss-crossing the country. The pipeline is expected to be setup by its subsidiary, Gas Transportation and Infrastructure Limited. While the first line is expected to connect its plant in Jamnagar in Gujarat to Cuttack in Orissa, the second pipeline will join Goa with Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. With the company’s venture into gas pipeline, Reliance will have presence across the segment. Read more…

The slow down pinch…
Colgate Palmolive India has posted a net profit of Rs 625 million (US$ 13 million) for the year ended March 31, 2001, a rise of 21 percent. However, if one were to exclude the extraordinary income i.e. income from the real estate, net profits have grown only by 10 percent. Higher advertisement and a less than commensurate volume growth has resulted in a marginal dent in operating margins by 50 basis points to 8.2 percent in 2001. Read more…

Better days ahead?
Tata Tea, one of the world's largest tea companies, has declared a 20 percent decline in its net profit for 2001 to Rs 1,002 million (US$ 21 million). Tata Tea's gross turnover declined 9 percent to Rs 8,413 million (US$ 179 million) on account of lower tea prices, which affected the per ton realizations. As a result, operating margins fell by a sharp 200 basis points to 14.6 percent. However, the management said that the company would benefit from higher tea prices towards the second half of the current year coupled with improved product mix. Read more…

A positive stride…
The Government of India has taken positive strides in increasing the competitiveness of the Indian agricultural sector. It has plans to give direct credit to the exporters of agricultural product at a lower interest rate towards increasing exports. It has also plans to lower the rate of storage crops from 10 percent to 8.5 percent. The subsidies are a part of new agricultural policy, which intends to remove quantitative restrictions on wheat, rice, wheat products, coarse grains and butter. Read more…

L&T moves ahead…
Larsen & Toubro, the engineering and cement major, has plans to offer an equal stake to the strategic investor in the proposed sell-off of its cement division. The partner will also have management responsibility of the cement division. The company has announced that both L&T and the strategic partner will have a 37.5 percent stake each. Reportedly, three multinational cement companies like Holderbank, Lafarge and Cemex have shown interest in picking up the 37.5 percent on offer. Read more…

A creditable performance…
State Bank of India reported a 20 percent drop in net profits for the fiscal year 2001 to Rs 16 billion (US$ 340 million). The profits have fallen on account of a Rs 8.8 billion (US$ 187 million) charge of the recently concluded voluntary retirement programme (VRS) of the bank. The bank's profits excluding VRS expenses have increased by 22 percent. Its advances and deposits grew by 16 percent and 23 percent respectively. While the bank has reduced its average deposit cost by 30 basis points, its yield on advances was down by a marginal 6 basis points. Read more…

Kerry ‘packs’ venture…
HFCL-Nine Broadcasting India, the joint venture between HFCL and Kerry Packer’s Nine Network, announced that it is shutting down its television business in India. Its programmes on national broadcaster network will go off from September 10, 2001. This follows the company’s decision not to bid for prime-time slots on the national network as it incurred a loss last time. Read more…

SEBI on a move…
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has unveiled the list of scrips, which will qualify for options trading along with the risk containment measure towards a safer market. SEBI has approved trading in options contract for 31 select scrips that include index heavy-weights like Reliance, Reliance Petroleum, Hindustan Lever, ACC, Cipla, Infosys, Satyam and Digital. The volatility range is taken as 10 percent for an initial period of six months after which SEBI has proposed to review it. Read more…

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