Most of the food stocks are trading in the positive led by Godfrey Phillips and Tata Global beverages. ITC has announced its results for the second quarter ended September 2012. The company posted a 20% growth in sales led by strong double-digit growth in both its FMCG and agri businesses. In FMCG, the cigarette segment grew by 14% whereas the non-cigarette FMCG segment comprising of packaged foods, personal care products and stationary products grew by a faster 26%. Agri business reported a 41% jump in revenues aided by wheat exports. However, paper and hotel business segments clocked single-digit growth in revenues during the quarter. Aided by controlled staff costs and other expenses, the company's operating margin improved by 70 basis points (0.7%) to 37.2%. Among business segments, only cigarettes and paper businesses have expanded their EBIT margin in 2QFY13. Hotel business saw its EBIT margin shrink by more than half to 7%. The non-cigarette FMCG segment pared losses from Rs 559 m in the year-ago quarter to Rs 303 m. Earnings increased by 21% for the quarter backed by healthy growth in operating income and lower tax incidence.ITC stock is down 2%.
Majority of the domestic pharma stocks are trading positive with Aurobindo Pharma and Divi's Laboratories being the biggest gainers. As reported by a leading business daily, Dr. Reddy's has announced its interest in buying OctoPlus, Amsterdam for an offer price of about £ 27.4 m or Rs 1.9 bn. This amount would give Dr. Reddy's outright or 100% stake in OctoPlus. This price is believed to be offered at a premium of 30% to the closing price of October 19. OctoPlus is a service based specialty pharmaceutical company. As reported by Dr. Reddy's management, this deal would help the company ramp up its technological capabilities. The company intends to build its research base in Leiden (Netherlands). This acquisition is slated to take place by the end of the current fiscal year and would be an all cash deal. Dr. Reddy's stock is up 1.3%.