Coal PSUs may buy stake in other PSUs to meet sell-off target

While coal secretary Alok Perti sought to downplay the motive of the enquiry of the finance ministry, claiming ignorance, sources said the move might be aimed at meeting the government’s Rs40,000 crore PSU disinvestment target for the fiscal

New Delhi: With the disinvestment programme of the government virtually coming to a halt, coal PSUs (public sector undertakings) may pick up stakes in other public sector units to help the government meet its target of Rs40,000 crore, reports PTI quoting a top ministry official.

“It all depends. If it is financially viable, then why not?” coal secretary Alok Perti told reporters when asked if companies under the ministry were open to buying stakes in other PSUs.

The secretary, however, categorically denied receiving any communication so far in this regard from his counterpart in the finance ministry.

At the same time, he added that the finance ministry had recently sought to know the cash surpluses with Coal India and Neyveli Lignite.

While Mr Perti sought to downplay the motive of the enquiry of the finance ministry, claiming ignorance, sources said the move might be aimed at meeting the government’s Rs40,000 crore PSU disinvestment target for the fiscal.

The government’s disinvestment target for this fiscal has gone haywire on account of the precarious market conditions.

Against the target, it has only been able to generate about Rs1,150 crore so far this fiscal.

It was also reported that the government might look at the “buy-back” option for meeting its disinvestment target for the current fiscal.

“I have not heard anything on buy-back of shares,” Mr Perti said, indicating that the government might not consider that option, as of now.

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Europe again weighs down Indian share prices: Wednesday Closing Report

Nifty to move in the range of 5,165 and 5,290. The bias is downward

The local market, which opened higher on global optimism, settled near the day’s lows following Moody’s downgrade of the Indian banking sector. European markets’ performance also weighed on investor sentiments back home. Yesterday we had mentioned that the Nifty would move in the range of 5,160 and 5,325. The index almost reached the upper level but then fell to close in the negative at 5,221. We may see the index moving in the range of 5,165 and 5,290 with a downward bias.The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a volume of 54.51 crore shares, which was above its 10-day moving average.

The domestic market opened higher, buoyed by optimism in the global arena as the US markets closed higher overnight and its counterparts in Asia were trading higher in morning trade today following reports that Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said he would resign. The Nifty opened stronger by 21 points at 5,310 and the Sensex added 72 points to its previous close to start the day at 17,642.

The indices hit their intraday highs in initial trade with the Nifty rising to 5,318 and the Sensex touching 17,658. However, choppy trade resulted in the benchmarks moving in and out of the red quite a few times.

News of global rating agency Moody’s downgrading Indian banks to ‘negative’ from ‘stable’ put pressure on the banking sector, which emerged as the top sectoral loser. This apart, a 2.04% increase in State Bank of India’s non-performing assets in the September quarter also weighed on the sector.

The market saw some struggle in its attempt to break into the positive after 2pm. But the gains were temporary as a sharp sell-off in post-noon trade resulted in the indices falling to the day’s lows. At the lows, the Nifty touched 5,215 and the Sensex went down to 17,346. The market closed slightly off those levels with the Nifty down 68 points at 5,221 and the Sensex settling 207 points lower at 17,362.

The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was in favour of the decliners at 477:1267.

BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 1.17%); BSE IT (up 0.42%) and BSE TECk (up 0.01%) were the sectoral gainers. The top losers were BSE Bankex (down 2.62%); BSE Metal (down 2.50%); BSE Realty (down 2.48%); BSE Oil & Gas (down 2.25%) and BSE PSU (down 2.07%).

In the Sensex list, Hindustan Unilever (up 2.85%); Wipro (up 2.14%); TCS (up 1.77%); Hero MotoCorp (up 0.91%) and ITC (up 0.71%) made it to the top, while State Bank of India (down 6.76%); Tata Steel (down 4.08%); Maruti Suzuki (down 3.82%); Hindalco Industries (down 3.69%) and DLF (down 3.59%) ended as the top losers.

The top Nifty gainers were HUL (up 3.30%); Wipro (up 1.81%); TCS (up 1.79%); Hero MotoCorp (up 1.79%) and ITC (up 0.59%). The main laggards on the index were SBI (down 7.20%); BPCL (down 5.71%); Tata Steel (down 4.40%); DLF (down 4.39%) and Hindalco Ind (down 4.29%).

Markets in Asia closed in the positive as the Italian prime minister on Tuesday said he would resign, fuelling hopes of an end to the two-year European debt crisis. The bourses also received support from the easing of China’s inflation rate to 5.5% last month.

The Shanghai Composite gained 0.84%; the Hang Seng surged 1.71%; the Jakarta Composite climbed 1.36%; the KLSE Composite advanced 0.62%; the Nikkei 225 rose 1.15% and the Seoul Composite added 0.23%. On the other hand, the Straits Times lost 0.27% and the Taiwan Weighted declined 0.51%.

Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of stocks totalling Rs456.28 crore on Tuesday whereas domestic institutional investors were net sellers of shares aggregating Rs377.47 crore.

Leading software exporter TCS today announced that it has bagged a $2.2 Billion order from UK-based pension provider Friends Life. The order, which is effective from 1st March next year, will see TCS unit Diligenta take administrative responsibility of 3.2 million Friends Life policies, the company said in a statement. The stock gained 1.79% to close at Rs1,125 on the NSE.

Tata Power’s 4,000MW ultra mega project at Mundra, in Gujarat, is staring at an annual loss of Rs500 crore in the very first year of commissioning due to the high cost of coal to be sourced from Indonesia. The stock declined 1.31% to close at Rs101.75 on the NSE.

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH) is the latest to enter the breakfast cereals market with its launch of Horlicks Oats in south India. The Horlicks brand is estimated at Rs1,600 crore, accounting for about 65% of the company’s total revenue. GSKCH gained 2.03% to close trade at Rs2,610 apiece on the NSE.

 

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Higher input costs affects FMCG margins in Q2 despite rising sales

While HUL and Marico witnessed increased profits, others show poor profit growth

Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies seem to be struggling under increased input cost burden. Only two among the companies that have declared their results so far - Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Marico—seem to have avoided the predicament of rising sales and poor profit growth.

During the September quarter, most FMCG companies have reported higher sales but their profit growth remained in single digits or even lower than same quarter last year. Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL) reported a jump in sales of 23% while Colgate Palmolive’s revenues rose 19%, but those high sales figures did not translate into profits. GCPL’s operating profit for the second quarter stood at Rs138.13 crore, a mere 4% increase from the corresponding period last year. Colgate Palmolive was worse; with a mere 1% increase to Rs130.79 crore from Rs129.66 crore a year ago. For the same period, Dabur’s operating profit grew at 6% to Rs174.10 crore from Rs164.26 crore, though its sales grew 10% to Rs880.82 crore from Rs800.25 crore in September 2010.

Gillette has been the worst performer in this category, though the sudden collapse in profits may be attributed to a one-time issue. Despite a sales growth of 13% from September 2010 to September 2011, the company’s operating profit plunged 58%, to Rs25.58 crore from Rs60.47 crore. During the second quarter, Emami’s operating profits went down 9% to Rs54.72 crore from Rs59.84 crore a year ago.

Of the two excellent performers, Marico reported an operating profit of Rs96.40 crore up from Rs66.94 crore last September, a remarkable rise of 44%. HUL’s profits grew 28% to Rs 823.82 crore from Rs 641.47 crore in September last year. Sales growth of HUL in the September quarter was 18% while and Marico’s sales, for the same period, jumped 34% from Rs537.11 crores to Rs 718.34 crore.

HUL’s success has been attributed to strong volume growth. As for Marico, though the price of copra, the required raw material for its flagship brand Parachute coconut oil has gone up, Marico doesn’t plan any major hikes. Experts believe that next quarter, it may suffer a slowdown.

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