GTL Infra cancels tower merger deal with Reliance Infratel

Mumbai: GTL Infrastructure today said it has called off the deal to merge the telecom tower business of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG)-led Reliance Infratel with itself, reports PTI.

"The Non-Binding Term Sheet signed by both parties dated 27 June, 2010, expired on 31 August, 2010," the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

"Despite efforts, both parties have neither extended the term sheet nor entered into any definitive transaction agreements as envisaged therein. Consequently, the process of merger as originally contemplated would not take place," the filing added.

On 27th June, the boards of GTL, Reliance Communications (RCom) and its subsidiary Reliance Infratel Ltd had given in-principle approvals to the Rs50,000 crore ($11 billion) merger deal to create the world's largest independent telecom infrastructure company, neither owned nor controlled by any telecom operator.


Oman to invest $3 billion in India’s fertiliser sector

Oman (Muscat): Oman and India on Sunday agreed to deepen their trade and investment partnership, including investing about $3 billion by Muscat for revival of fertilisers plants in India, reports PTI.

Oman has agreed in-principle to invest in India $3 billion for revival of a few closed plants of Fertiliser Corporation of India, Hindustan Fertiliser Corporation Ltd and the expansion in Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers (RCF), this was done in the sixth Session of the India Oman Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) held by India and Oman here.

The sixth session of the India Oman Joint Commission Meeting was led by minister of commerce & industry Anand Sharma while Omani side was led by their minister of commerce & industry Maqbool Ali Sultan.

The meeting reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral economic relations and means enhancing bilateral trade, which rose to $4.5 billion last year, even in face of severe recessionary pressure.

"This initiative is expected to function as a catalyst to promote trade and partnership between the private sectors of the two countries and enhance investment between the two countries," Mr Sharma said.

Mr Sharma also stressed on the need for the fund to be operationalised and augmented immediately.

Both the sides agreed to form a senior level working group representing the government of India, RCF, Krishak Bharati Cooperative Limited (KRIBHCO), from Indian side and Oman Oil Company from Oman side for initiating the due diligence.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Oman Oil Marketing Company agreed to collaborate and jointly study the possibility of setting up a lube blending plant in Oman and marketing in neighbour countries.

The government of India and Oman agreed to work on various verticals including agriculture, airports, sea ports, and railways, hospitals, power including nuclear power.

In November 2008, the India-Oman Joint Investment Fund was set-up with a seed capital of $100 million, to be increased up to $1.5 billion, through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the two sides.

The government of Oman has also expressed its keenness for setting up super-speciality hospitals in India and diagnostic facilities in the form of joint-venture, for which Oman delegation would go to India shortly.

Both the sides also identified sectors for investment co-operation such as agriculture, airports, sea ports, and railways, hospitals, power including nuclear power, renewable energy including solar and wind energy, mining, oil and gas, educations and skill development, tourism, health care, infrastructure and chemical fertilisers.

They have also agreed to pursue cooperation in field of human resources development especially skill development in the fields of technology, management and information technology (IT) including in small and medium enterprise sector.

Investments in agro processing specially in Indian special economic zones (SEZs) were also discussed.

Oman has strategic location, and has entered into free trade agreements with several countries like USA, which offers huge opportunities which offers huge opportunities for Indian products to these markets apart from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the larger Middle East and Northern Africa region.

Oman has also agreed to expand the capacity of Oman India Fertiliser Company SAOC (OMIFCO), which is currently producing 1.6 lakh tonnes of fertilisers in the country, to about 20 lakh tonnes.

The Oman India Fertiliser Company SAOC is owned 50% by Oman Oil Company SAOC, 25% by Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited and 25% by Krishak Bharati Cooperative Limited.

OMIFCO has been established, as the result of an initiative by the governments of Oman & India in order to construct, own and operate a modern world scale two-train ammonia - urea fertiliser manufacturing plant at the Sur Industrial Estate in the Sultanate of Oman.

The total amount of investment between Oman and India is around $7.5 billion, out of which $4.5 billion investment is from India to Oman and $3 billion is from Oman to India.

India has also offered to provide training and consultancy services to Oman Refineries and Petrochemicals Company (ORPC).

The Indian side would provide information on potential investment opportunities in the area of chemicals and speciality chemicals and speciality chemicals to Oman side for possible consideration.

The government of Oman has requested India to activate the MoU signed between the two countries in the field of higher education that is to allow the Indian universities instructors to teach at the colleges of applied sciences for two years as academic visitors.


Despite a number of impediments, rural India continues to chug along

Here are two reports on rural India from MNC brokerages, with almost converging views. Agriculture is getting increasingly mechanised, farm incomes are rising and supportive government policies are helping

Reports from brokerages Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan last week focused on rural India. Morgan Stanley concluded that a bulk of Indian farmers still continue to be poor. JP Morgan's survey concluded that agriculture is getting increasingly mechanised, given diversification of migrant labour to nonfarm activities, rising farm incomes, and supportive government policies - all these are important catalysts for driving sales of tractors/agri-equipment.

Morgan Stanley conducted a survey of 500 crop farmers across India and concluded that within their aggregate sample, 26% were poor (annual income was less than Rs50,000) and 17% were rich (more than Rs150,000). Others were in between. Rich farmers had a 75% revenue share of the aggregate sample revenue, while poor farmers had just 5% share.

Here are a few other observations from the report:

* Rich farmers prefer to grow cereals while poor farmers prefer oilseeds. The first preference of crop is rice for both. Rainfall is still important for both but irrigation is the second most important factor while for 2/3rd of the rich farmers, return on crop is the second-most important factor. For rich farmers, electricity is a big concern, also credit availability is a bigger concern for rich farmers than poor.

*Around 70% of the rich farmers sell their produce to institutional agents, getting better bargaining power, while about 50% of poor farmers sell in mandis (marketplaces).

* The choice of second income for rich farmers seemed to be dairy.

* Most of the rich farmers were from Punjab and MP.

* Around 70% of the poor farmers owned 3-4 acres of land while most rich farmers owned more than 8 acres.

* 99% of the rich farmers are literate vs. 92% of the poor farmers.

JP Morgan says it visited the key agricultural producing zones across India. Its report quotes a farmer in the south as saying, "the young labourers are moving to cities, while older members are taking to NREGA". The report explains that the government's successful implementation of NREGA and rising industrialisation in urban centres is providing migrant labour with options to move away from fields.

NREGA provides employment to over 45 million households (up from 21 million households in FY07) and under the scheme average daily wages have risen by 35% over FY07-10. Even smaller farmers are using equipment to substitute manual labour, reflected in sales of tillers and sub-20 HP tractors. Mahindra & Mahindra has launched the 15 HP small tractor - 'Yuvraj' - JP Morgan believes it will benefit from growing tractor sales. The report also looks at VST Tillers Tractors, which is benefiting from small equipment sales - but JP Morgan has no rating on the stock.

Here are a few other observations from the report:
* Quote from farmers in Haryana: The labour cost has increased considerably. Sometimes, even though we pay higher wages, labour is not available. The influx of migrant labour has reduced.

* In farm households (especially large farmers), the second generation is keen to migrate to cities as they want to diversify away from agriculture.

* Tractor penetration in India is still low and set to grow at a 12% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over FY10-12E.

* There is growing use of drip irrigation, which has improved farm yields by over 30%. This form of irrigation is prevalent in southern/western India.


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