Despite weak global cues and selling pressure in commodity and energy heavyweights, the indices in Indian stock markets managed to make inroads into the positive territory during the closing hours. While BSE-Sensex edged higher by around 44 points, gains on the NSE-Nifty came in at around 15 points. The BSE Midcap and BSE Small cap indices maintained a status quo and stayed close to the dotted line. Save for pharma and IT stocks, stocks in most other sectors closed flat to negative.
Major Indices across Asia, except India and China, closed in the negative today whereas Europe has opened on a weak note. Poor unemployment numbers from the US further dampened sentiments and pointed to a faltering recovery in the world's largest economy. The rupee was trading at Rs 44.95 to the dollar at the time of writing.
As per a business daily, UltraTech Cement has entered into an agreement with Rajasthan State Industrial Development & Investment Corporation (RIICO) for commissioning of a railway project. As per the agreement, RIICO will acquire 67.8 hectares of land for the project. UltraTech Cement will set up a 3 m tonnes cement project with an estimated investment of Rs 25 bn. The project is likely to generate direct and indirect employment for 2,500 people. UltraTech Cement's production for the month of May 2011 has declined by 4.9% and dispatches dropped by 3.3% YoY. The company's combined domestic cement and clinker sales volume grows by 0.8% YoY during the quarter and by 1.5% YoY during the full year. Poor realisations and high input costs lead to a 38% contraction in operating margins (EBIT). Along with weak volume growth and poor realisations, there was a substantial increase in input and energy costs as well.
The company has planned a capex of about Rs 110 bn over the next 3 years for setting up of additional clinkerisation plants at Chhattisgarh and Karnataka together with grinding units, bulk packaging terminals and ready mix concrete plants across the country. These expansion projects are expected to be commissioned by early FY14. As a result, the company's cement capacity will increase by 9.2 m tonnes per annum (mtpa). The stock, however, closed 2% lower today.
Vaccine major Panacea Biotec plans to reduce the prices of its pentavalent vaccine by up to 15% in coming years as it pledged its support to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) alliance. Panacea Biotec has a long term agreement with UNICEF to supply 75 m doses of the vaccine for the year 2010, 2011 and 2012. The company introduced the fully liquid pentavalent vaccine in January 2005. According to the company estimates, global pentavalent vaccine market is estimated to cross a mark of US$ 1 bn out of which UN agencies are likely to procure vaccines worth more than US$ 425 m in 2011.