Cellucom, one of the largest mobile phone retailers in the UAE and a stakeholder in Spice Mobile's HotSpot, has closed all its shops in that country
Remember a company called Cellucom? Once upon a time, the Dubai-based group was a joint venture partner with Indian RPG Group and later became a stakeholder in the BK Modi-led Spice group's mobile retail venture HotSpot.
According to reports, Cellucom, one of the largest mobile phone retailers in the Gulf, has shut down all its stores in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its chief executive officer has moved to Africa amid a legal case involving its majority shareholder, the Al Rostamani Group.
In 2007, the Al Rostamani Group bought 51% stake in electronics retailer Cellucom. According to UAE daily ‘The National’, Cellucom stores began closing in September 2009 after major stakeholder Al Rostamani Group filed for liquidation of the retailer because they “could no longer sustain themselves as going concerns.”
"Al Rostamani Group has acted responsibly in the interests of the Cellucom creditors and shareholders in filing the liquidation proceedings," the company was quoted as saying in a statement. Al Rostamani’s application is pending final judgment from the Dubai courts.
Ajay Nagar, a former Cellucom executive and a brother of the Cellucom chief executive officer Arun Nagar, has said that the head of the company was in Tanzania, continuing to expand the business. Ajay Nagar was quoted as saying that his brother left the UAE in March last year.
"He (Ajay Nagar) confirmed that Cellucom had closed all its stores in the UAE," the daily reported.
In February 2009, BK Modi's Spice Group bought 100% stake in Cellucom India in an all-stock deal. In turn, Cellucom got a 26% stake in Spice Group's mobile retail venture HotSpot.
Earlier, the RPG Group sold its 50% stake in their joint venture RPG Cellucom, to the mobile retailer. Following this, Cellucom roped in Ernst & Young to find a partner or investor.
Trading sentiment turned positive on speculation that the US will keep its benchmark interest rates low, spurring demand for bullion as an alternative investment
Gold prices shot up by Rs130 to Rs16,780 per ten grams in the bullion market here today on fresh buying induced by a firming global trend.
Standard gold and ornaments rose by Rs130 each to Rs16,780 and Rs16,630 per ten grams, respectively, while sovereign remained stable at Rs13,950 per eight-gram piece.
Trading sentiment turned positive on speculation that the US Federal Reserve will keep its benchmark interest rates low to safeguard economic recovery, spurring demand for bullion as an alternative investment.
Gold in Asian markets gained 0.4% to trade at $1,138.55 an ounce.
Market analysts said that fresh buying triggered by a firming global trend led to the rise in gold and silver prices.
In line with the general trend, silver rose by Rs80 to Rs27,580 per kg and weekly-based delivery by Rs50 to Rs27,380 per kg.
Silver coins also gained Rs100 to Rs33,500 for buying and Rs33,600 for selling of 100 pieces.
Going for a two-wheeler loan? Be ready to shell out more money for down payment and face a thorough background and credit check; lenders are now following strict practices
India is the second largest market in the world, in terms of volumes, for two-wheelers. However, the penetration level in the country remains very poor at about 6% to 7%. Despite favourable conditions, increasing input costs and higher interest rates are likely to restrict sales. The fresh, stricter norms, applied by some of the lenders to two-wheeler buyers, may also cast its shadow on volume growth.
Last month, some auto financiers, such as ICICI Bank Ltd, HDFC Ltd and Kotak Mahindra Bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points (bps) to 50 bps (100bps=1%). In India, most people buy new vehicles with the help of lenders. The credit purchase of the total auto market fell to 20% during FY09 from around 40%-50% in FY07.
Many lenders, following the slowdown during FY08, have suffered on account of high non-performing assets (NPAs). Similar was the case with dealers as well. Both lenders and dealers were offering two-wheelers at 0% interest rates and down payments touched rock-bottom rates of Rs99.
Increased NPAs forced lenders to take a re-look at two-wheeler financing. As a result, lenders have removed the direct selling agent (DSA) link from their line-up. Banks are now financing through their branch networks only and have stopped selling with aggressive tactics. Some lenders like ICICI Bank and GE Money—known for their aggressive marketing—are no longer present in the two-wheeler financing space.
As far as down payments are concerned, lenders are now asking for about 30% of the total cost of the vehicle. This is a major change, considering the fact that during the peak year of FY07 the same lenders were asking for a maximum of 10% as down payment. Not only that, some lenders have made it mandatory to conduct a thorough background and credit check of the customer.
With the withdrawal of 0% finance schemes and other aggressive dealer discounts and incentives, lenders have brought down their NPA risks. "All these measures have led to a slow but healthy recovery in financing. Over the last six to nine months, disbursals by public sector banks (PSBs) and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) have gone up. As a result, we expect lenders to increase availability of finance to the two-wheeler space gradually," said Enam Securities Pvt Ltd, in a research report.
Over the next two years, industry volumes are expected to grow above the historical average rate, as improved consumer sentiment and availability of retail finance should boost urban demand. Further, rural market growth is expected to remain stable with higher income visibility and disposable income through non-farm sources and existing low two-wheeler penetration levels.
Most two-wheeler manufacturers have announced ambitious growth targets on the back of recent model launches. "In the medium term, we expect marginal impact from the smaller manufacturers on the overall competitive landscape. Impact of higher competition would be determined by action of the top two players in the motorcycle segment with combined domestic market share of about 79%," said Ambit Capital Pvt Ltd, in a report.
"In the current operating environment, wherein demand is expected to be relatively strong and cost increases are on the anvil, we expect the top two players to focus on protecting profitability rather than indulge in price wars to augment market share. Nevertheless, higher competitive intensity would result in higher spend on advertising and marketing, as new variant launches would be at frequent intervals," the brokerage added.