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Indian Markets Trade in the Green
Fri, 29 Apr 11:30 am

After opening the day on a negative note, the Indian stock markets witnessed volatility but managed to trade in the green. Sectoral indices are trading on a mixed note with stocks from the pharma, metal and oil & gas sectors leading the gains.

The BSE Sensex is trading up 49 points (up 0.2%) and the NSE Nifty is trading up 14 points (up 0.2%). The BSE Mid Cap index is trading down by 0.1% while the BSE Small Cap index is trading down 0.2%. The rupee is trading at 66.52 to the US$.

PSU banking stocks are trading on a mixed note with Oriental Bank and Bank of India (BOI) leading the losses. As per an article in Economic Times, a 10-member committee is being set up by the government to identify suitable candidates for both mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as it seeks to push consolidation among state-run banks (PSUs). The proposed committee will have senior executives along with representation from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

This comes as some state-run banks have evinced their interest to take on smaller entities. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in March that the bankers themselves have supported the proposal of consolidation of banks in order to have strong banks rather than having numerically large number of banks.

Further, R Gandhi, deputy governor of the RBI, summarised this situation in a recent speech. As he said: "Most PSBs follow roughly similar business models and many of them are also competing with each other in most market segments they are active in. Further, PSBs have broadly similar organisational structure and human resource policies. It has been argued that India has too many PSBs with similar characteristics and a consolidation among PSBs can result in reaping rich benefits of economies of scale and scope."

However, does it really make sense to merge public sector banks? Why are these PSUs willing to consolidate their operations? Will this be a successful move knowing that public sector banks are facing huge bad loan problems? Vivek Kaul answers all of these questions in a recent article from the Vivek Kaul's Diary. He is in the opinion that the merger of two public sector banks, will give us a bigger inefficient bank.

One shall note that the government of India owns twenty-seven public sector banks (PSBs). It has often been suggested that the government should not be owning so many banks. The latest M&A transaction in public sector banks was the takeover of State Bank of Indore by State Bank of India (SBI) in 2010.

Also, while we are on the topic of mergers and acquisitions, our recent edition of The 5 Minute WrapUp has stated why 2016 looks a strong year for mergers and acquisitions.

Stocks in the pharma space are trading on a positive note with Biocon and Lupin leading the gains. Lupin is bolstering its US branded drugs portfolio with the introduction of Methergine in the US markets. Methergine is an oral tablet used to treat postpartum hemorrhage. The company has put significant investment in professional education in promoting the drug.

Lupin Pharmaceuticals is the US wholly owned subsidiary of Lupin Limited, which is among the top five pharmaceutical companies in India. One shall note that the US is Lupin's largest market. Earlier in March the company completed the acquisition of privately held US based GAVIS Pharmaceuticals LLC and Novel Laboratories Inc. (GAVIS). The acquisition will enhance Lupin's scale in the US generic market.

Presently the stock of Lupin is trading up by 1.8%.

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Mar 16, 2018 (Close)