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Major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a mixed note with stock market in Japan and China are trading higher by 0.5% and 0.4% respectively. Whereas, stock market in Singapore is trading lower by 1%. Benchmark indices in Europe and US ended their previous session on an encouraging note. The rupee is trading at 66.41 per US$.
Indian stock markets have opened the day on a firm note. The BSE Sensex is trading higher by 76 points (up 0.3%) and NSE Nifty is trading higher by 16 points (up 0.2%). BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap are trading higher by 0.1% and 0.3% respectively. Barring oil & gas, major sectoral indices have opened the day on a positive note. Stocks from pharmaceutical and metal sectors are witnessing buying interest.
As per an article in Livemint, United Breweries chairman Mr Vijay Mallya offered to pay as much as Rs 60 billion in dues in relation to his defunct airlines Kingfisher Airlines Ltd (KFA). The outstanding dues from the airlines stand at a sum of Rs 90 billion.
Mr Mallya promised to pay Rs 40 billion upfront by the end of September 2016. The remaining sum of Rs 20 billion will be paid, provided he wins a lawsuit filed against a plane engine maker. Reportedly, a lawsuit was filed by KFA in 2013 or 2014 before a civil court in Bangalore against a company for allegedly supplying defective engines for its aircraft.
The consortium of banks, led by State Bank of India (SBI), sought a week's time to consider the proposal. The case will be next heard on 7 April. The other creditor banks include the likes of Axis Bank Ltd, Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank, Federal Bank Ltd, IDBI Bank Ltd, Indian Overseas Bank, Punjab National Bank and United Bank of India.
As reported in the Business Standard, the question is should they let an entity capable of paying the dues settle for a lesser amount? If they do, other wealthy promoters will more likely follow suit and get away by paying lesser than what they owe to banks. And, if banks don't, it will send a strong message to 'wilful defaulters' that they have no recourse but to pay. Either ways, the decision will set a precedent for the country.
In another news update, finance ministry extended the safeguard duty on steel imports until March 2018. Earlier, the government had imposed a provisional safeguard import duty on steel products in September 2015 for a period of 200 days. This has been extended till March 2018.
This step is taken to protect the domestic steel industry from the cheap Chinese imports. Reportedly, steel imports grew 71% in fiscal year 2015, with China accounting for almost 36% of the total imports.
This is in addition to various measures taken previously to protect the domestic steel industry. In February, the government had imposed a minimum import price (MIP) on 173 steel products ranging between $341 to $752 per tonne. Further, a bailout package is being framed and will be ready in the next two months. This too will provide a cushion to the steel manufacturers.
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