Asian Paints' decision to re-start the operations, however, did not suggest any improvement in the situation in Egypt. Other leading FMCG companies, Dabur and Marico, have temporarily shut down their plants in the Arab nation
New Delhi: India's leading paint company, Asian Paints, today announced it has commenced operations partially, at its two manufacturing units in Egypt, reports PTI.
The company had shut down operations at the two manufacturing units last week, in the wake of the ongoing political crisis in Egypt.
"The two plants of the company's subsidiary, SCIB Chemicals SAE, Egypt, which were shut due to prolonged curfew, have restarted the operations partially with effect from 6 February 2011," Asian Paints said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
According to sources, the company's decision to re-start the operations, however, did not suggest any improvement in the situation in the country.
Asian Paints' two manufacturing units are located at an industrial area about 50 kilometres from Cairo.
Other leading FMCG companies, Dabur and Marico, have temporarily shut down their plants in the Arab nation.
According to Anand Shah, Research Analyst, Elara Securities India, Egypt contributes significantly to the sales in the Middle East (ME) region for Asian Paints.
The ME region witnessed a turnover of Rs650 crore out of the total international revenues of Rs1,215 crore registered by the company in 2009-2010, said Mr Shah.
Last fiscal, consolidated revenue of Asian Paints had stood at Rs5,125 crore.
In 2002, the company had acquired controlling stake in SCIB Chemicals, one of the top five paint companies in Egypt.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Cairo and other cities of Egypt demanding the end of president Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.
The company's scrip settled at Rs2,506.80 per share during the afternoon trade, up 1.06% from the previous close on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Even after receiving the clearance from the environment ministry, the challenges before the South Korean steel giant to set up a plant in India are far from over
Posco India Pvt Ltd, the unit of South Korean steel giant, is likely to face fresh agitations from activists who say that they are not in a mood to surrender an inch of land to for the project in Orissa.
"Though union environment minister Jairam Ramesh has given clearance for the Posco project, we will not surrender an inch of land for the project at any cost and will resist the land acquisition process," Abhaya Sahu, convenor, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) told Moneylife, in Mumbai today.
Last week, Posco received a conditional clearance from the environment ministry to set up a 12 million tonne per annum plant along with a captive power plant and a port near Paradip. The project would be the largest foreign direct investment in India after 1991.
The state government has said that it will start acquiring land for the project within the next couple of weeks.
"We don't want to disturb a well-established agrarian economy of the region. We don't oppose industrialisation. But it should not happen at the cost of the agriculture economy," Mr Sahu said. "PPSS has closed down check gates. Posco officials, police and the administration will not be allowed to come inside the proposed acquisition area."
Last week, the environment minister gave the green signal for the project, listing 60 conditions-28 for the steel plant and 32 for the port. "These 60 conditions are just an eyewash. The government has been writing false statements and submitting to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF)," Mr Sahu alleged.
The Posco project requires about 4,000 acres, of which nearly 3,000 acres is forest land, the state owns 567 acres and 438 acres is private land. In May 2010, the state government started land acquisition after the project received conditional and forest clearance in 2007 and 2009. However, Mr Ramesh issued a stop-work order in August last year, after receiving complaints of violation of forest norms.
Questioning the decision of the MoEF, Mr Sahu said, "Government-appointed committees-the Saxena Committee and the Meena Gupta Committee-have reported that the clearances given to Posco were illegal. However, suddenly we find that Mr Ramesh has given the clearance for the project, which is quite surprising, given the negative remarks in the committee reports."
Although Posco has received the environment clearance, there will be other hurdles in its path like acquiring mines, rehabilitation of locals and allocation of raw material linkages. Posco has said on its website that the government of Orissa has assured a mining lease for 600 million tonne reserves, which would be adequate for the 12mtpa plant in Paradip for about 30 years. Nevertheless, Posco will be conscious that there is a lot of difference between signing the papers for such projects and their execution.
Dr KC Chakrabarty, while speaking at Moneylife Foundation’s first anniversary function, said that when the regulator becomes stringent, the framework will automatically provide protection for customers
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In India, one frequent complaint against banks is that they do not provide effective service. And this is because of the lack of proper laws and technology, says Dr KC Chakrabarty, deputy governor, Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Speaking at the first anniversary function of Moneylife Foundation on Saturday, he said, "In a business organisation it becomes difficult to demand customer service because there are legal restraints in many matters. Unless the necessary legislations are in place, customers cannot avail of all the desired facilities."
Dr Chakrabarty gave the example of ATM and signature frauds, in which cases customers are expected to prove their innocence under existing rules. He said customers have to be made aware of the importance of following certain best practices in a technology-driven scenario and an attempt must be made to put the onus of proving the carelessness or compromise on the banks, rather than less savvy customers.
The RBI has commissioned a survey of customers using ATMs and based on the findings it is trying to bring in a legislation, which would place the onus on the bank to prevent fraudulent withdrawals, the deputy governor said.
He also talked about credit defaults where, in many cases, ignorant customers become defaulters and are penalised even during the inquiry. "For a bank you are a bad customer because you have failed to clear your dues, and as long as your innocence is not proved, you are deemed guilty. We cannot do anything about that. The only advice that I can give people is to talk to their banks honestly."
The RBI's deputy governor said there is a need for a self-regulatory forum which would address such issues. He said that when the regulator becomes stringent, the framework will automatically provide for customer protection.
"In order to improve customer service, the customer base has to be increased," Dr Chakrabarty said. "Banks should widen their reach, specially in the rural areas. And if they can successfully exploit opportunities and technological challenges then every citizen will have a bank account in the next five years."
However, he explained that a technological interface will not have the advantages of face-to-face interaction. Thus, financial statements, which could be simplified or customised to have more details, will be available only in a standardised format. "The very non-discriminatory nature of technology becomes a drawback at times," he said. He gave the example of the ATM machines, which, due to its limited storage capacity, could only accommodate certain denominations of notes in limited quantities.
Problems also arise because of the non-uniform nature of the software various banks are using, which makes certain options available to customers of some banks while leaving others out. This becomes very pronounced in case of core banking. "Unfortunately, the RBI does not have a mandate regarding softwares. When the RBI regulations were founded there were no computers, so these digital norms were not included. But we have to think along these lines, no doubt," Dr Chakrabarty said.
(Also read: Dr KC Chakrabarty says customers should demand better service from banks)