The CBI probe revealed that Mr Chandolia put pressure on officials to allocate spectrum licence to Swan Telecom in preference to Tata Teleservices which, as per the DoT policy, was the preferred firm for allocation of spectrum in Delhi
New Delhi: The allegation that second generation (2G) spectrum was allocated to a few favourites of former telecom minister A Raja and his associates was clear from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe which showed that Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa obliged one of them by taking his property on rent at an exorbitant rate, the CBI has said.
The agency said Mr Raja's personal secretary RK Chandolia, an accused in the case, had rented a south Delhi house to one of the companies of Balwa at a monthly rent of Rs63,000.
"Investigation has also disclosed that accused RK Chandolia rented his residential property C-6/39, second floor, Safdarjung Development Area, New Delhi to Associated Hotels Pvt Ltd (a sister concern of D B Realty) on 3 March 2009 on a monthly rent of Rs63,000," the charge-sheet in the case filed in a special court said on Sunday.
In order to favour Mr Balwa, Mr Chandolia had threatened several senior telecom ministry officials to ensure grant of spectrum to Swan Telecom which was ineligible for it, the CBI said.
The CBI probe revealed that Mr Chandolia put pressure on officials to allocate spectrum licence to Swan Telecom in preference to Tata Teleservices which, as per the Depart of Telecommunications (DoT) policy, was the preferred firm for allocation of spectrum in Delhi.
The CBI, which filed its first charge-sheet before a special court on Saturday, alleged former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Mr Raja's personal secretary RK Chandolia and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa and Sanjay Chandra, MD of Unitech Wireless, entered into a conspiracy for manipulating the procedure for allocation of spectrum with the aim of favouring companies like Swan Telecom and Unitech Group.
The charge-sheet, running into about 80,000 pages and brought in seven steel trunks, was filed before CBI judge OP Saini in a special court constituted exclusively to try the case that is being monitored by the Supreme Court.
Others named in the charge-sheet include Vinod Goenka, a director of Mumbai-based DB Realty, which was also the promoter of Etisalat DB, Sanjay Chandra, managing director of Gurgaon-based real estate company Unitech and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd and Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara, group managing director and two senior vice presidents of Mumbai-based Reliance Telecom Company.
The investigating agency will file the supplementary charge-sheet by 25th April and is likely to complete its probe by 31st May in the case that has dented the UPA government's image in less than two years of its return to power.
International Paper’s aggressive investment in APPM has sent the Indian paper industry soaring into the stratosphere. It is likely that long-held valuation parameters will be rewritten, but small investors will do well to tread with caution rather than take to misinformed exuberance
Memphis based International Paper Inc (IP) has made a foray into the thriving Indian paper industry with a massive $319 million deal with Andhra Pradesh Paper Mills Ltd. The announcement made Tuesday last week by L N Bangur set off a wild spate of revaluation for the leading players in the paper industry. The deal includes $257 million in cash for the promoters' 53.5% stake besides an additional payment of $62 million for a non-compete arrangement.
In a move that caught the markets by surprise, IP agreed to pay Rs544 per share, a premium of about 205% on its market price at the time. In the few days since then, APPM has shot up to Rs283.35, spurting on low volumes while breaching the circuit each trading session.
It isn't entirely new for an acquiring company to pay a premium to acquire a controlling stake, especially in an overseas market. However, the extent of the premium paid in this instance is bound to excite conversations for some time to come.
The $25 billion International Paper is a market leader with operations in over 24 countries, but no presence in India before this acquisition. APPM is a leading player in India with a production capacity of 250,000mtpa (metric tonnes per annum). The Bangur group company is also known for its green manufacturing initiatives, with sales of approximately Rs720 crore per annum.
International Paper will spend another $104 million to complete the mandatory open offer for an additional 21.5% of APPM's outstanding equity. It is expected that IP will complete the formalities by the third quarter of FY2012, by which time it will own 75% of APPM.
The acquisition allows International Paper to hedge for growth with many of its current markets stagnant or in decline. India is among the fastest growing paper markets in the world-Poyry, an independent consulting firm specialising in the paper and pulp industries-estimates that India will witness CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 5.5% compared to 4.8% in China, marginal decline in Europe and just 0.5% growth in North America.
The fact that per-capita consumption in India is relatively low also makes the industry believe that there is huge untapped demand. A renewed thrust by the government through policy investments in the education sector also adds fuel to these aspirations. According to Poyry's data from 2009, consumption in India was rooted at just 8kg against 63kg in China and 227kg in the USA.
John Faraci, Chairman and CEO of IP said, "APPML is an established and highly respected company in India, and is an excellent platform for International Paper to grow in the Indian paper and packaging markets."
Meanwhile, the markets have gone into a virtual frenzy sending the prices of paper stocks soaring into the sky. Besides APPM, trading in stocks like West Coast Paper, Star Paper and ABC Paper-relatively smaller players-hit the upper circuit. Fancied players such as Ballarpur Industries and JK Paper also recorded massive gains to close at a new high.
The average valuation of Indian paper companies is about 7 times earnings, while IP has paid about 32 times APPM's 2010 earnings. It is no wonder that analysts are scrambling to discover new ways to evaluate the otherwise neglected industry. Interesting enough, BILT decided to delay its plans to raise $330 million by listing on the London Stock Exchange in order to review their valuation metrics and benefit from the developments at APPM.
At the end of Friday, there were outstanding 'buy' orders for more than 4,000,000 shares of APPM against 'sell' orders of just over 10,000 shares reflecting the mad rush to benefit from the changed circumstances. A similar trend is also evident in almost all the other players in the paper industry.
It is evident that the paper industry is all set for a rerating by the markets. But it is also likely that there might be a further consolidation of the fragmented sector as it takes a long time to build up capacities in this capital intensive business.
Given the circumstances it would be better for the small investors to avoid the risks associated with the current frenzy. It will be wise to look at the sector once the changes play out to identify and invest in fundamentally sound stocks to benefit in the long term.
Crude prices were up on upbeat economic data indicating a rise in demand and on the ongoing conflict in West Asia, which threatened to disrupt supplies
The Indian stock market is likely to open higher supported by positive global cues. Markets in Asia, with the exception of the Seoul Composite, were in the green in early trade on Monday while upbeat jobs data resulted in the US markets closing with good gains on Friday. The SGX Nifty was 15 points higher at 5,880 compared to its previous close of 5,865.
The market rally, which began early in the previous week, lost a bit of steam on Friday. The gains were mainly on institutional support and optimism over the global recovery, despite there being no domestic positive signs. But concerns over rising crude prices and sustained inflation linger. We expect the market to give up some gains in the week ahead.
In the week gone by the market registered a gain of 3% with the Sensex rising 605 points to close at 19,420 on Friday and the Nifty was up 172 points at 5,826.
The Sensex gainers were DLF (up 9%), Maruti Suzuki, Hero Honda (up 8% each), Reliance Infrastructure and HDFC (up 7% each), while State Bank of India ended flat. There were no losers in the week.
All sectoral indices gained too, with the BSE Realty (up 7%) and BSE Consumer Durables (up 6%) emerging as the top performers.
The Sensex has added 1,606 points and the Nifty gained 469 points in the eight-day rally till 31 March 2011. The two benchmarks advanced 9.1% and 9.4% respectively through the month. However, on a quarterly basis the market has declined 5%, its first quarterly loss since the 25% slump in the December 2008 quarter, when the global financial crisis broke.
While the market has shown signs of stabilising after a poor performance in January and February, the forthcoming earnings season and the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) monetary policy for the new fiscal will drive the market, going forward.
The US markets closed off the day’s highs, supported by upbeat unemployment data that boosted optimism about the global recovery process. The Labor Department said a total of 216,000 non-farm jobs were added last month, more than the 190,000 expected by analysts. The unemployment rate for March fell to a two-year low of 8.8%.
The Dow closed 56.99 points (0.46%) higher at 12,376.72. The S&P 500 rose 6.56 points (0.49%) to 1,332.39 and the Nasdaq added 8.53 points (0.31%) at 2,789.60.
Markets in Asia, barring the Seoul Composite, were in the positive supported by a fall in the value of the yen against the dollar and upbeat US markets on Friday. However, higher crude prices will keep investors guarded. Investors brushed Japanese concerns and are expected to focus on corporate earnings, going ahead.
The Hang Seng surged 1.11%, the Jakarta Composite gained 0.41%, the KLSE Composite added 0.15%, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.72%, the Straits Times advanced 0.65% and the Taiwan Weighted rose 0.25%. On the other hand, the Seoul Composite lost 0.25% in early trade. The Chinese market is closed for a local holiday and will resume trade on Wednesday.
US crude oil futures prices jumped more than 1% to the highest close in two and half years as positive US jobs data reinforced economic growth expectations and as the ongoing conflict in West Asia and the Middle East kept investors worried about supply disruptions.
London Brent crude for May rose $1.34 to settle at $118.70 a barrel, the highest close since August 2008 and up $3.11 for the week.
Back home, credit rating agency Fitch downgraded Indian economy’s growth projection to 8.3% for 2011-12 on account of high inflationary pressures that has forced the Reserve Bank of India to hike key rates. The agency had earlier projected the country’s growth for the current fiscal at 8.5%. It, however, kept its projection for 2012-13 unchanged at 8%.