A 1TB hard disk (HDD) that used to cost less than Rs3000 before Diwali is now selling for Rs5700 and more.
Consumers, especially those who want to buy or upgrade computer and laptop in India have been shocked to discover that floods in Thailand have caused hard disk drive (HDD) prices to skyrocket. Disks that were ranging from Rs1,200 to Rs3,000 for 250 gigabyte (GB) to 1 terabyte (TB) have almost doubled to Rs3,000 to Rs6,000 within past 10 to 15 days.
According to dealers and resellers from Mumbai's famous Lamington Road electronics market, floods in Thailand had affected production of hard disks and more than 50% factories in that country are closed. This has caused a supply shortage and therefore prices for HDDs, except solid-state drives (SSDs), have gone up. SSD prices in Mumbai are stable or gone up by mere Rs100 to Rs200.
However, one more reason behind the sudden spurt in prices of HDD could be a ganging up by some stockists. Almost all the dealers, resellers and suppliers have stocked computer hardware to meet the festival demands during Dussehra and Diwali. However, as seen in past few years, this time also the demand for desktops was lower than that of laptops and therefore some of the dealers or suppliers ended up with stockpiles of computer hardware like HDDs, memory chips, monitors, DVD re-writers (RW) etc. For them the flood in Thailand proved to be a great opportunity to earn some extra (almost double) money, at least for HDDs.
According to information collected from various people related with the computer hardware business, at present, you should buy traditional HDD only if it is necessary and that too of the lower capacity so as not to overstretch your budget. They also said, there is short supply of 20-inch LCD or LED monitors, so instead opt for an 18.5-inch monitor. If your budget permits, then go for 22-inch monitor, but remember the price difference between an 18.5-inch monitor and 22-inch screen would be more than Rs3,000.
Currently, the prices of random access memory (RAM) chips and DVD RW are near the bottom. You can buy a 4GB DDR3 memory chip and 24-X DVD RW for as less as Rs900 to Rs1350, depending on the brand. Therefore, if you want to upgrade RAM of your desktop, this is the time.
Another interesting thing emerged from the interaction is prices of laptops (well...at least some brands) are cheaper than a desktop of the same configuration (except the screen size). For example, a desktop with Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, DVD RW with 18.5-inches LCD screen comes to around Rs29,000, while a laptop of same configuration with 15.6-inches screen is available for about Rs27,000.
Thailand is one of the major producers and suppliers of HDDs to computer and laptop makers around the world. According to reports, plants of Western Digital (WD), the world's largest HDD producer, and Toshiba and many major HDD component suppliers are flooded. Even non-flooded production plants of HDD makers, like Seagate and Hitachi GST have been affected due to part shortages.
“Although demand for HDDs in the December 2011 calendar quarter was estimated as high as 180 million (M) units, actual production estimates are for 110-120 M HDDs. The difference of 50-60 M units between production and demand has led to price spikes for HDDs in the 20-50% range in the short term.
With production volumes in the March calendar quarter of 2012 constrained to 120-130 M units with demand (including pent up demand from the prior quarter) being much higher, long term prices increases for HDDs in the range of 25% over pre-flood levels appear likely for the near future,” the report said.
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The proposed deal, if successful, would provide the Aditya Birla group a fillip to its efforts of securing raw materials sources for Hindalco Industries and UltraTech Cement, the two flagship companies of the group, as cost of power generation to run the units accounts for about 40% of total costs
New Delhi: Indian conglomerate Aditya Birla group is understood to have started the process to bid for acquiring Australian coal company New Hope valued at an estimated $5.2 billion, reports PTI.
Talks between the Aditya Birla group, which owns Hindalco Industries and UltraTech Cement, and New Hope have moved beyond ‘initial stages’, industry sources said, adding that the $35 billion conglomerate is likely to appoint advisors in the next few days for the deal.
Besides this, the Birla group is also mulling the options of raising funds on its own or form a joint venture for the acquisition, the sources further said.
“We do not comment on market speculations,” Aditya Birla Natural Resources’ managing director Tuhin Mukherjee said, when asked about it.
There could be some other Indian bidders for acquisition of New Hope, which had put itself up for bidding last month.
Speculations were rife that Tata Power, together with another group firm Tata Steel, may also bid for the Australian miner, which operates the New Acland mine in Queensland and a port handling facility, with total coal production of about 6 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of thermal coal.
This, however, could not be verified independently.
Tata Power said in a statement that “no specific comment can be offered with regards to the opportunity referred in your communication as the company doesn’t comment on speculation”.
It also stated that the company keeps on evaluating various opportunities to acquire resources including coal mines globally.
Officials of Tata Steel, who did not want to be identified, said that at this point the company is not interested in acquiring New Hope independently as it is a thermal coal producer.
However, the Tata Steel officials kept mum on putting up a joint bid with Tata Power for the Australian miner.
When asked, a Tata Steel spokesperson refused to comment on the matter by saying that it is against company’s policy to comment on market speculations.
JSW Steel, another talked about interested company in acquiring New Hope, has opted out of the race by saying that it was never interested in acquiring the Australian miner.
“We were never interested and we are not submitting any bid at all. That (New Hope) is a thermal coal company,” JSW Steel’s joint managing director Seshagiri Rao said.
A spokesperson for New Hope said in an e-mailed response that “we have no further comment to make on the process outside of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) announcement of 5th October that you will have seen”.
Last month, while announcing that it is up for sale, New Hope had said, “Under the formal process, selected parties will be invited to submit proposals to the board for its consideration.
“The process is expected to take several months and may or may not result in a proposal being made or recommended by the board,” New Hope said.
The Australian miner is also in the process of seeking regulatory permission to increase its production up to 10 MTPA and extend the mine life by about 30 years, the company website said.
New Hope is estimated to hold a total coal resources of 1,529 million tonnes (MT), with a proven reserve of 324 MT as on 31 March 2011.
The Australian coal miner has appointed Pitt Capital Partners as financial advisers and Baker and Mckenzie as legal advisers for the proposed takeover bidding process.
According to the industry sources, New Hope is more attractive bid than the recent acquisitions done by Indian companies in Australia as it also owns a port handling facility, besides operating New Acland mines.
The proposed deal, if successful, would provide the Aditya Birla group a fillip to its efforts of securing raw materials sources for Hindalco Industries and UltraTech Cement, the two flagship companies of the group, as cost of power generation to run the units accounts for about 40% of total costs.
While Hindalco, together with its US-based subsidiary Novelis, is among the top five aluminium producers in the world, UltraTech is the largest domestic cement maker.
Hindalco has already announced its plans to invest Rs 40,000 crore between 2012 and 2014 on company’s new projects for aluminium and alumina capacity expansion. This includes increasing its alumina production capacity to 6 MT.
Similarly, UltraTech Cements is also in the process of expanding its capacity by 20% to 62 MTPA by June 2014.
Of late, Aditya Birla group has been scouting for acquiring coal and mining assets in Australia and its name has also figured as potential buyer of Queensland-based Bandanna Energy, which is estimated to hold more than 1,500 MT of coal.
Besides this, it is also said to be talking to buy Flinders Mines of Australia, which is estimated to hold iron ore reserves of 750 MT.