Companies & Sectors
Auto sales skid in September, post the sharpest fall in nearly four years

According to SIAM data, domestic car sales in September decreased by 5.36%, while motorcycle sales tumbled 18.9%, the sharpest decline in three years and nine months

New Delhi: Vehicle sales in India registered steepest monthly fall in nearly four years at 9.43% in September with the upcoming festive season failing to boost sentiment of car and motorcycle buyers, reports PTI.


According to the data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) today, domestic car sales in September decreased by 5.36%, while motorcycle segment dipped 18.85%, the sharpest decline in three years and nine months.


The total sale of vehicles across categories registered a dip of 9.43% to 14.2 lakh units last month as against 15.7 lakh units in September 2011. The rate of fall is the steepest since December 2008, when sales had declined by 18.25%.


"The overall economic situation of the country, low sentiments, high petrol prices and interest rates are among the factors which are hurting the overall sales of the auto industry," SIAM President S Sandilya told reporters.


During the month, domestic car sales declined to 1.6 lakh units from 1.7 lakh units in the same month last year.


"New model launches at attractive price points in the utility vehicle segments have also been a factor in low car sales," Sandilya said.


Market leader Maruti Suzuki's sales rose by 3.43% to 68,957 units. Rival Hyundai Motor India's sales, however, decreased by 13.88% to 30,795 units. Homegrown auto major Tata Motors' car sales were down by 18.46% at 17,133 units.


In the two-wheeler segment, total sales in September 2012 decreased by 12.92% to 10,69,069 units from 12,27,662 in September 2011.


Motorcycle sales last month fell by 18.85% to 7,53,693 units, from 9,28,716 units in the same month previous year. The sharpest decrease earlier was 23% in December 2008.


"There is a fall in sales for motorcycles due to weak rural demand and sustained cautious urban sentiments," Sandilya said.


In the motorcycle segment, market leader Hero MotoCorp posted 30.59% fall in sales to 3,44,512 units in September. Rival Bajaj Auto's sales went down by 19.37% to 2,06,248 units.


However, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) posted 77.44% increase in sales to 1,07,406 units, while TVS Motor moved 49,061 units, 30.51% less than the same month of the previous year.


The scooter segment's overall sales grew 10.17% to 2,54,321 units, from 2,30,838 units. .


HMSI's scooter sales grew by 15.51% to 1,24,049 units in September, while Hero MotoCorp sold 49,340 units, up 46.25%. TVS Motor's sales saw decline of 26.71% to 39,075 units.


Total sales of commercial vehicles in September rose marginally to 70,683 units from 70,658 units in the year-ago period, SIAM said.


"Moderating agricultural growth, sustained slowdown in industrial activities and lower replacement volumes are leading to deceleration in demand of heavy commercial vehicles, mainly in the goods segment," Sandilya said.


Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicle sales declined 14.80% to 26,471 units during the month, as against 31,068 units in September last year.


According to SIAM, light commercial vehicle sales grew 11.67% to 44,212 units in September 2012 from 39,590 units in September 2011.


In the three-wheeler category, sales went up marginally to 49,576 units, from 49,271 units in the same month last year.


Buta Singh, Dadwal, others get SC notice over illegal occupation

The apex court said these unauthorised occupants have no legal and constitutional rights to occupy the premises after their retirement

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to former governor of Bihar Buta Singh, ex-Commissioner of Delhi Police YS Dadwal along with many other serving and retired bureaucrats and IPS officers for unauthorised occupation of government bungalows in the national capital, reports PTI.
A bench of justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhaya directed all the illegal occupants to explain on 5th December why they should not be evicted.
"Time has come for intervention. Let notice be issued to all who are unauthorisedly occupying government accommodations," the bench said.
It asked the Centre to publish public notice in an English and a Hindi newspaper incorporating names of all unauthorised occupants, which also included some journalists.
"We are prima facie satisfied that that they (unauthorised occupants) do not have legal and constitutional rights to occupy the premises after their retirement," the bench said after going through the list of unauthorised occupants placed before it by the Centre.
The list contains names of more than 150 people who are illegally occupying different types of government accommodation in the city. It also contains the name of members of various commissions.
The bench, after going through the list expressed surprise over the failure on the part of government in removing the unauthorised occupants some of them have been illegally occupying the premises for more than ten years.


Indian telecom sector in a coma

Telecom players are in a situation where neither can they shut operations easily nor they can survive due to uncertain regulatory environment. This is more like the famous dialogue of Ajit from a Bollywood film, “Dump this man in liquid oxygen. The liquid won’t let him survive, the oxygen won’t let him die”

The Indian telecom industry continues to face difficult times, courtesy changing policies and intense competition. On Monday, the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) finalised its recommendations to impose a one-time fee on incumbent operators on spectrum in excess of 4.4MHz. With this step, the Indian government has moved one step closer on clarifying most of the issues related with spectrum pricing. However, brokerages are not too hopeful on any improvement in the telecom segment.
Terming the Indian telecom as “miserable landscape”, Nomura Equity Research, said it is very difficult to assess how the upcoming spectrum auctions would pan out in November. It said operators like MTS may consider bidding in just few circles similar to Uninor and also be open to merger and acquisition (M&A) sooner than later.
The EGoM decided to impose a one-time fee on incumbents for spectrum held in excess of 4.4MHz.The cut-off is lower than the earlier-anticipated 6.2Mhz. While the charge is largely on expected lines, the proposal of prospective implementation will limit payouts. The Cabinet is likely to approve this charge on 16th October.
“While this development is negative for the sector, it is a step ahead in terms of providing clarity on impending regulatory issues. This will lead to higher spectrum related payouts for the operators and note that the impact from the one-time fees is still likely to be much lower than the impact from license renewal related costs. Amidst a slowing growth environment, we remain cautious given the lack of tariff discipline, which remains the key to earnings recovery,” said Religare Capital Markets in a research note.
The declaration of spectrum auction, reserve price and clarity on excess spectrum is providing better visibility on major regulatory issues in the telecom sector. However, few major issues like spectrum refarming in 800/900MHz band and 3G roaming arrangements still remain unanswered. In addition, the resolution of each regulatory issue is leading to higher funding requirements for telecom operators at a time when their balance sheets are already stretched.
“We maintain a negative outlook on telecom stocks due to their stretched balance sheets, high regulatory costs and inability of operators to increase tariffs,” says BRICS Securities, in a research report.
Nomura also thinks that telecom operators are in a “tight spot” and even after the auction in November, the players may remain under pressure. “On M&A specifically, the landscape or permutations could become clearer after the auctions we think—elimination is as likely as consolidation. Also it is not a given that the market will become more rational post consolidation; in fact, competition could rise even as buyers also seek a return on acquisition investment too,” it added.


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