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Top stories this week… - Views on News from Equitymaster
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  • Dec 9, 2000

    Top stories this week…

    Exports suppress deficit…
    India’s trade deficit fell to US$ 5.3 billion in the first seven months this fiscal year from US$ 5.9 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year. This was primarily driven by buoyant growth in exports, which has been growing at the rate of 20 percent per annum. Imports grew by just 14 percent between April-October 2000 due to a sharp 85 percent increase in dollar value of oil imports.

    Telco on a safari…
    Tata Engineering has joined hands with Daimler Chrysler as a consortium to bid for an order of 60,000 lightweight commercial vehicles (LCVs) from the South African government. AIG, one of the world’s largest insurance companies has also joined in the consortium. The consortium has got together to supply the South African government with 18-seater and 34-seater LCVs.

    TRAI to become CCI…
    The government of India has planned to re-christen The Telephone Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) as Communication Commission of India (CCI). In addition of managing telecom sector, CCI is also expected to manage the broadcasting sector. The regulator will have additional powers for offering licences, fixing tariffs and clearing pending issues.

    Raymond to go Infoway…
    Raymond Limited, the flagship company of the Singhania group, has planned to retire Rs 5 billion (US$ 107 million) debt in the current year out of its total outstanding liability of Rs 8 billion (US$ 171 million). Earlier in the year, the company sold its steel and cement division to ThyssenKrupp of Germany and Lafarge India respectively. The steel division was sold for Rs 4 billion (US$ 86 million) and cement division for Rs 8 billion (US$ 171 million). The company proposes to utilise the remaining receipt towards acquisitions and its foray into information technology business.

    Castrol gets a trigger…
    British Petroleum-Amoco has offered to acquire 20 percent of Castrol India at Rs 312 (US$ 6.7) per share. Currently BP-Amoco holds around 51 percent stake in the company, which is expected to touch 71 percent if the deal goes through. The open offer follows the acquisition by BP-Amoco of Burmah Castrol (Castrol India’s parent company) globally.

    SAIL trims manpower…
    Steel Authority of India (SAIL), the state owned steel behemoth, has planned to reduce the retirement age by 2 years i.e. from 60 years to 58 years, towards restructuring its operations. If implemented, this would mean that the manpower of the company would stand reduced by 15,000 employees from the present 160,000. However, this may require SAIL to shell out atleast Rs 5 billion (US$ 107 million), which the government is not willing to share.

    Raising stakes…
    China Light Power International (CLP) has planned to take over Gujarat PowerGen Energy Corporation (GPEC), which owns the 655-mega watt (MW) power project in Gujarat. The acquisition is being made through a joint venture between CLP Holdings, the parent company of CLP-PI, and PowerGen of UK. GPEC is a modern combined power plant, which has fuel flexibility of using both gas and naphtha.

    FDI surges…
    Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) for the first ten months (January-October 2000) touched US$ 3.6 billion. This represented a 44 percent increase over US$ 2.5 billion received during April-October 1999. Investments in October 2000 were at US$ 627 million, the highest inflow level for an individual month this calendar year.



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