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Sensex Closes 54 Points Lower; TCS & Axis Bank Drag
Tue, 1 Nov Closing

The Indian share markets pared the afternoon gains and finished the day on a flat note. IT and consumer durables stocks were under pressure. While metal and power stocks led the pack of gainers. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed lower by 54 points, whereas the NSE Nifty finished flat. The S&P BSE Midcap & the S&P BSE Small Cap both finished down by 0.2%.

Asian markets finished higher today with shares in Hong Kong leading the region. The Hang Seng is up 0.93% while China's Shanghai Composite is up 0.71% and Japan's Nikkei 225 is up 0.10%. European markets are mixed. The DAX is higher by 0.07%, while the FTSE 100 is leading the CAC 40 lower. They are down 0.41% and 0.24% respectively.

The rupee was trading at Rs 66.71 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 46.67 at the time of writing.

Shares of Bharti Infratel rose by as much as 3% after it was reported that two big foreign investors are eyeing major stake in the company. Private equity heavyweight KKR and pension giant Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) are in talks with Bharti Airtel to acquire a significant stake in its listed tower arm Bharti Infratel (Subscription Required).

Last week in a stock exchange notification Bharti Airtel had said that it has taken board approval to explore monetisation of a significant stake in Infratel. Airtel currently owns 71.96% in the company while the rest is held by public shareholders.

Further, Airtel is also looking to divest up to 40% stake to a consortium of financial investors making them the single largest shareholder block. Bharti Infratel also owns 42% in Indus Towers. Indus is India's largest telecom tower's company that is a joint venture between Bharti, Vodafone, Idea Cellular.

Notably, Bharti Infratel in the past had divested stakes in Infratel in piece meals to a clutch of private equity investors led by Temasek, KKR, and others in 2008.

Moreover, most telecom companies (Subscription Required) are opting for an asset light model and looking at divesting their infrastructure arms. Both Vodafone and Idea are also looking to unlock value in their tower portfolios, the reports noted.

Moving on to the news from the fertilizers sector, as per an article in a leading financial daily, Tata Chemicals said that its major restructuring activities undertaken at its UK and Kenya operations have resulted in positive operating and financial results in recent times.

Putting to rest concerns raised by ousted Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry, the company in its response said that its risk management committee, the audit committee and the board of directors review and evaluate the risk associated with its investments and all operating entities on a regular basis and discusses steps to mitigate the risks.

Radhika, our ValuePro editor has written a full series about which Tata Group companies are investment worthy and which are not.

Reportedly, the company's Kenya operations had also faced challenges. In 2014 it was forced to mothball the soda ash plant in Magadi resulting in dismissal of 200 employees due to heavy debt and high energy costs. However, through rigorous efforts including technical collaboration with third parties, greater engagement with local and national stakeholders and focused cost control measures are underway, the company stated.

Further, on its European operations front, the company said that it faced key risks related to volatility of exchange rates and energy costs, and increasingly stringent environmental EU norms. However, its European arm is expected to strengthen its financial performance further with profit forecast to grow in all major products like soda ash, sodium bicarbonate and salt during the coming year, the reports noted.

Shares of Tata Chemicals finished the day up by 0.9%.

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Jan 17, 2018 (Close)