HDFC Bank ties up with Wells Fargo to offer remittances from US

Mumbai: The country’s second largest private sector lender, HDFC Bank, inked an agreement with Wells Fargo, the largest US bank by market value, to offer remittance services between the two countries, reports PTI.

“The services will be free of cost to begin with,” Wells Fargo global remittance services executive vice-president Daniel Ayala told reporters, after singing a non-exclusive pact with the city-based HDFC Bank.

Currently, Wells Fargo charges $7 per transaction from customers, which will be waived as a promotional measure. But the banks will have a commercial cost and profit sharing agreement, he added.

The US bank has a similar arrangement with ICICI Bank which will continue, Mr Ayala said, but did not say whether charge waiver will be extended to ICICI customers too.

HDFC Bank executive director Harish Engineer said the agreement came about as the bank does not have a physical presence in the US.

“The new service will significantly enhance remittance opportunities to the country given that Wells Fargo has one of the largest number of branches (6,000) among the American banks and HDFC Bank has nearly 2,600 branches,” Mr Engineer said.

“While we’re a major player in the Gulf-India remittance market, this will help us consolidate in the US-India sector,” Mr Engineer added.

Mr Ayala said, “India has the highest remittance volume in the world as per the World Bank data. This is evident by the high customer demand as well. We are glad we can make payout locations even more convenient now by working with HDFC Bank.”

In 2011, India became the largest recipient of remittances with the volume touching around $55 billion, driven by a massive drop in the rupee against the US currency.

After the Middle East, the US, with around 35% of the volume share, is the largest point of origin for remittances into the India, Mr Ayala said.

HDFC Bank is one of the preferred remittance channels for NRIs in the Gulf and is a market leader.

“The services will be free of cost to begin with,” Wells Fargo global remittance services executive vice-president Daniel Ayala told reporters, after singing a non-exclusive pact with HDFC Bank

Wells Fargo area head and executive vice-president for global financial institutions, Dilek Mutus, ruled out seeking branch banking licence in the country.

“We consider this market to be very important and will be a part of our global expansion. But having said that let me reiterate that there is no firm plan in the immediate future to seek a branch banking licence here,” Mr Mutus said.

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UltraTech FY11-12 net profit up 42% at Rs2,446 crore

Net sales of UltraTech, which currently has 52 million tonnes of cement making capacity, rose to Rs18,166 crore as compared to Rs15,406 crore in the previous year, the company said in a statement

New Delhi: UltraTech, India’s largest cement maker, clocked a 42% rise in its standalone net profit for the year 2011-12 at Rs2,446 crore on higher sales, reports PTI.

The company, an Aditya Birla Group flagship, had reported a net profit of Rs1,719 crore in the previous fiscal.

Net sales of the company, which currently has 52 million tonnes of cement making capacity, rose to Rs18,166 crore as compared to Rs15,406 crore in the previous year, it said in a statement.

UltraTech board has recommended a dividend of 80%.

UltraTech sold 40.73 million tonnes of cement and clinker in FY11-12 against 39.74 million tonnes a year ago.

“The variable cost increased by 13% driven by high input and energy costs. The price of coal, both domestic and imported, continued to mount in FY11-12. Further, logistics cost also rose on account of the increase in railway freight,” it said.

During the final quarter of the reporting fiscal, net profit of the company stood at Rs867 crore compared to Rs727 crore in the corresponding period of FY10-11.

Fourth quarter sales stood at Rs5,337 crore against Rs4,490 crore in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

“The cement industry is likely to grow over 8% linked to the government’s focus on infrastructure development. The surplus scenario is likely to continue for the next three years. Moreover, continuing rise in input costs will adversely impact margins,” it said.

Meanwhile, the company said its expansion plans were progressing as per schedule resulting in an additional 10.2 million tonnes capacity by early FY13-14.

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