GSPC in talks with Singapore’s GIC for raising funds

A delegation from GIC, led by its managing directors, Kunna Chinniah and Chua Lee Ming, visited Gujarat last month and met chief minister Narendra Modi to explore the possibility of investing in GSPC

Ahmedabad: Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) is holding talks with Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, for raising funds, reports PTI.

“After getting the Gujarat government’s approval to raise Rs2,000-Rs2,500 crore through private placement of equity, talks are now under way with GIC, the world’s leading sovereign wealth fund,” a top company official told PTI. He, however, did not divulge the details.

A delegation from GIC, led by its managing directors, Kunna Chinniah and Chua Lee Ming, visited Gujarat last month and met chief minister Narendra Modi to explore the possibility of investing in GSPC, a top finance department official said.

“Whether the fund raising for the state PSU will be through equity dilution or some other route is still not clear, as talks between GSPC and GIC are still underway and a final decision has not been taken yet,” he said.

The Gujarat government now holds 91.35% equity stake in the company.

Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) is one of the world’s leading sovereign wealth fund, established by the Singapore government.

SBI Capital Markets and nine other companies had acquired 5% equity stake in GSPC for a cash infusion of over Rs1,000 crore in December 2009.

Deen Dayal West (DDW) field, in Krishna Godavari (KG) basin, on coast of Andhra Pradesh, is amongst the major assets of the company having production area covering around 17 km.

On conservative estimates, the Director General of Hydrocarbon (DGH) has certified 2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas in GSPC’s Deen Dayal block in KG basin.

According to GSPC estimates, for the field development plant (FDP) of DDW, around $1,801.04 million (Rs8,464.80 crore) shall be required. Of this, $1,270 million (Rs5,971.80 crore) shall be the fund requirement by financial year 2013, to start commercial production.

The cost of developing DDW has escalated further with an appreciating dollar.

GSPC, had last year tied up for Rs3,000 crore term-loan through a consortium of 15 banks, led by Bank of Baroda, to finance its Deen Dayal field.

The state-run energy major was to come out with an IPO in June last year, to raise over Rs3,000 crore but it did not materialise.

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2G case trial to be shifted to Tihar jail ‘court’ premises

The defence counsel opposed the notification, saying if the trial is shifted to the Tihar jail, it would create a lot of inconvenience as everybody will have to get an entry pass to Tihar jail made before attending the proceedings

New Delhi: In a sudden move, the ongoing trial of the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation case was ordered to be shifted to Tihar jail from its present venue of the Patiala House court premises, reports PTI.

Special CBI judge OP Saini, trying the case announced that the trial venue of the case is to be shifted as per a Delhi High Court notification, received by him today.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 9 (6) of the CrPC 1973, the acting chief justice and judges of this court (Delhi High Court) have been pleased to order that the trial of the 2G spectrum cases shall be held in Tihar court complex, New Delhi, according to law,” read the notification issued by the high court.

Wednesday’s hearing, however, will continue in Patiala House court complex itself.

The judge announced the shifting of the trial venue of the case amid the ongoing cross-examination of key prosecution witness and HDFC Bank’s Mumbai-based vice president Uday Shahasrabuddhe.

The announcement by the judge triggered protests by former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and other accused, who contended that the move was bereft of valid reasons.

Mr Raja said, “I do not know what is happening in this country.”

The defence counsel opposed the notification, saying if the trial is shifted to the Tihar jail, it would create a lot of inconvenience as everybody will have to get an entry pass to Tihar jail made before attending the proceedings.

They will challenge the notification in the high court.

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Car makers feel heat of falling rupee, mull price hike

The 15% depreciation in the value of the rupee in the last two months has put severe pressure on companies which import substantial amount of components from overseas. Auto companies like General Motors India and Toyota Kirloskar Motor, are mulling hike in prices to offset the rising cost of component imports

New Delhi: Hit by the depreciating rupee, auto companies, including General Motors India and Toyota Kirloskar Motor, are mulling hike in prices to offset the rising cost of component imports, reports PTI.

“We import lots of parts and the rupee depreciation is impacting us. We were planning to review prices in January but due to the currency fluctuation we may have to do it soon,” General Motors India vice-president P Balendran told PTI.

He said commodity prices have also been increasing, adding to the burden on auto firms.

“We are currently evaluating the quantum of impact on the prices of our products,” Mr Balendran said.

Expressing similar views, Toyota Kirloskar Motor deputy managing director (marketing) Sandeep Singh said the present currency fluctuation is affecting the company severely.

“It is a double whammy for us. On one hand, yen is appreciating, while on the other hand rupee is depreciating.

Our margins are getting impacted,” he added.

Asked if the company will increase prices, Mr Singh said: “As of now we are absorbing, but if there is too much pressure, then we will share the burden with customers.

“Currently, we are revisiting the prices of all our models. Any new price increase, if we take, will be applicable from 1st January.”

The rupee plunged to an all-time low this morning to Rs52.50 against the US dollar on the Interbank Foreign Exchange on sustained demand for the American currency.

It is putting severe pressure on companies which import substantial amount of components from overseas.

“The rupee depreciation is adversely impacting us as we are a net importer. This is the worst movement of rupee against US dollar. It has lost 15% in the last two months,” Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) chief financial officer Ajay Seth said.

MSI has both direct and indirect exposure to foreign currencies while importing components, and it imports about Rs8,000 crore worth of parts annually, he added.

“At the same time, we also export cars and that is benefiting at present. However, considering both, we are impacted as a net importer. The situation is affecting our margins,” Mr Seth said.

He, however, said the company does not have any plans at present to increase the prices of its products.

The hit due to the weakening of rupee comes at a time when auto makers have been enduring one of the toughest periods with car sales in the country on a continuous decline.

In October, car sales in India registered their steepest monthly decline in nearly 11 years, tanking 23.77% on account of a huge drop in output by the country's largest car-maker MSI due to labour trouble, coupled with high interest rates and rising fuel prices.

Another auto maker Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) said it is not impacted so far as it is protected under long-term contracts with its foreign vendors.

“So far, we have not faced any impact due to depreciation of rupee as we have forward contracts for importing components, and the ongoing volatility is very recent. If it remains like this, then there will be some impact on us in the long run,” HSCI senior vice president (sales and marketing) Jnaneswar Sen said.

He declined, however, to share for how long HSCI’s imports are protected under forward contracts.

Volkswagen Group Sales India, member of the board and director, Neeraj Garg said: “There is pressure on us because of the currency fluctuation. The quantum of impact has to be worked out as we have many import contents in our models, except Polo and Vento.”

Mr Garg, however, said: “It is very difficult to pass on the burden to customers as the market has already slowed down. We need to do a fine balancing act”.

Commenting on the current situation, Society of India Automobile Manufacturers director general Vishnu Mathur said: “It is a complex situation. Those who are importing are paying higher cost, while those who are exporting are getting higher revenue.”

The companies who are not exporting products will have a higher impact due to import of CBUs, engines and other critical components, he added.

When asked if the companies may hike the prices to mitigate the impact of rupee depreciation, Mr Mathur said: “I really doubt if in today’s market scenario, anyone will pass on the increase to the customers.”

The country’s second largest car maker Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) said its imports are getting affected, but due to high level of exports, the company is less impacted currently.

“Our imports are getting costlier, but we are able to absorb the rising cost as we are a big exporter from India. So we have some cushion to the current adverse situation,” a spokesperson of HMIL said.

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