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A Flat Start to the Day
Fri, 8 Apr 09:30 am

Barring Taiwan, major Asian stock markets have opened the day on a negative note. Stock markets in China and Hong Kong are trading lower by 0.9% and 0.7%, respectively. Benchmark indices in Europe and US ended their previous session on a discouraging note with stock markets in UK and US ending the day lower by 0.4% and 1.47%, respectively. The rupee is trading at 66.72 per US$.

Indian stock markets have opened the day on a flattish note. The BSE Sensex is trading lower by 40 points (down 0.2%) and NSE Nifty is trading lower by 9 points (down 0.1%). BSE Mid Cap and BSE Small Cap are trading marginally higher, both up by 0.1%. Major sectoral indices have opened the day on a mixed note with stocks from IT and telecommunication sectors witnessing selling pressure. However, stocks in the pharmaceutical and capital goods sector are the top gainers in the pack.

As per an article in a leading financial daily, Bajaj Auto stated that the company has exported a record number of models of the quadricycle named 'Qute' in the fiscal year 2015-16.

Quadricycle is an alternative to the auto rickshaw that comes with four wheels instead of three. The vehicle can accommodate 4 passengers, provides a mileage of 35km per litre of fuel and has a top speed of 70km per hour.

However, several public interest litigations filed by auto rickshaw drivers had stalled the launch of the model in India. Bajaj has spent around Rs 5.5 billion to develop the quadricycle. It has created a capacity to produce 5000 vehicles a month at its Aurangabad facility in Maharashtra. Hence, the company relies on exports to boost the revenue from this model.

Recently, this model received a one-star safety rating from Brussel based Euro New Car Assessment Programme ( ENCAP). The rating though low, outperforms the rating given to similar peer group's quadricycles in this segment.

Reportedly, the company exported 334 units of the model to 19 major markets in fiscal year 2015-16. Further, the company aims to export around 10,000 units in fiscal year 2016-17. That's, almost 30 times the sales of this model in 2015-16.

The subdued demand prevailing from key geographies such as Nigeria and Egypt has impacted the company's financials. The success of this model can help improve this situation.

In another news update, solar energy giant SunEdison Inc is looking to sell its interest in a solar project it won in November. The company had quoted a record low tariff of Rs 4.63 per unit to win the project. Further, the power from this plant was to be purchased by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).

Reportedly, many projects quoted at tariff less than Rs 5 per unit are awaiting financial closure due to concerns with regards to project returns. Most of these projects do not have a cost escalation clause. A major part of the raw-materials are imported, which exposes the company to foreign exchange fluctuation risks. A drawback to not pass on the foreign exchange loss to the purchaser exposes the project to financial risks.

Investors are required to maintain caution with regards to companies investing in solar projects. The decision to invest should be based on whether the solar project will earn sufficient internal rate of return (IRR). It's best not to get carried away by the whole hoopla carried around solar projects.

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Jan 18, 2018 10:47 AM