Companies & Sectors
High Mark appoints Steven Pinto as non-exec chairman

The credit bureau has appointed Mr Pinto as new non-executive chairman and also promoted Kalpana Pandey as its whole time director and chief executive

Troubled and cash-strapped credit bureau High Mark Credit Information Services Pvt Ltd (High Mark) has appointed Steven Pinto as its new non-executive chairman. High Mark also promoted Kalpana Pandey, its chief technology officer as whole-time director on its board and chief executive of the credit bureau. The decision of new appointments was taken in a board meeting on 18th October.

 

Following several complaints and reports by Moneylife, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was understood to have directed Prof Dr Anil Pandya to step down as executive chairman of High Mark. However, the website of High Mark still shows Prof Dr Pandya as its founder and executive chairman. Out mails sent to High Mark regarding Prof Dr Pandya remained unanswered till writing this report.

 

Several former executives of High Mark also filed complaints regarding the appointment of Prof Dr Pandya. They claimed while appointing Prof Dr Pandya, High Mark had violated Credit Information Companies Regulations (CICR) Act, 2005 (CICRA) as well as Companies Act.

 

While High Mark never appointed Prof Dr Pandya on a whole-time basis, he was able to continue teaching in the US as well, and he was working with the credit bureau on a part-time basis. As per the CICR Act, when a credit bureau appoints the chairman on a part-time basis, it then must have a managing director or full-time director to look after the management and affairs of the bureau.

 

High Mark, the only bureau started by individuals, has been under severe financial stress following the exit of several of its top managers and the failure of its rights issue. According to sources, the company has almost run through the Rs43 crore, it raised and was about to cease operations in a couple of months, unless it finds a new investor. Last year, the credit bureau was negotiating with Italy-based credit bureau CRIF SpA for a bailout. High Mark was offered Rs30 per share by CRIF, which owns 9.09% stake in the Indian credit bureau. However, RBI rejected the proposal because of its reservations about CRIF’s ownership pattern.

 

Experian Credit Information Company of India Pvt Ltd (Experian India), one of the four credit information companies (CICs) in India, was in talks with High Mark and reportedly had also completed the due diligence process. According to the sources, Experian has increased its bid to Rs27 from Rs25 to buy minimum 26% stake in troubled and cash-strapped High Mark. Reportedly there is not much progress on this front as well.

 

Ms Pandey holds an M Tech (Computer Science & Technology) and PG Diploma (Electronics & Communication) from IIT Roorkee. She has more than 21 years of experience in providing IT support to BFSI industry in various capacities.

 

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Swaraj Engines Q2 net profit up 23% on robust sales

Buoyed by strong increase in demand for its tractors and engines, Swaraj Engines reported a formidable growth for the second successive quarter 

Swaraj Engines, the Punjab-based tractor manufacturing company, reported a 23% higher net profit during the second quarter on robust sales of its engines.

 

For the quarter to end-September, the tractor maker said its net profit rose to Rs17.2 crore from Rs14 crore while total revenues, including sales grew 24% to Rs121.8 crore from Rs151.6 crore, a year ago period.

 

Swaraj Engines attributed the top line growth to the increase in the engine sales volume. However it was constrained by lower off-take of engine components for LCV engines according to a press release by the company.

 

During the current quarter, Swaraj’s total expenses including the cost of materials, consumed along with the depreciation and amortisation costs, increased 25% to Rs131.14 crore when compared to Rs104.51 crore for corresponding quarter of the previous financial year.

 

On Tuesday Swaraj Engines closed 8.5% down at Rs489.7 on the BSE, while the benchmark Sensex ended marginally down at 20,865.

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Nifty, Sensex still on an uptrend: Tuesday closing report

The uptrend in the last two days was stymied in a yet another choppy trading session today. Nifty is still on an uptrend. The first sign of weakness will be a close below 6150 tomorrow

The markets on Tuesday opened weakly, and nervously stayed in the green through the morning session before falling into the negative territory, albeit marginally, where it remained there through the remainder of the trading session. The choppiness was apparent throughout the day, signifying lack of direction and uncertainty. Nifty managed to hold the crucial psychological level of 6,200.
 

The S&P BSE Sensex opened at 20,863 and touched an intraday high of 20,948 before correcting downwards to an intra-day low of 20,810 in the afternoon session. It closed at 20,864 (down 28.92 points or 0.14%). Nifty opened at 6,192, hit a high of 6,220 then hit an intra-day low of 6,181 before clawing its way back to at 6,202 (down 2.15 points or 0.03%).
 

The number of advances outpaced the number of declines. Out of 1,224 stocks, 778 were up, 404 were down and 42 were unchanged. The National Stock Exchange witnessed much higher volumes compared to the two preceding trading sessions with 78.08 lakh shares were traded. High volume of trading without meaningful advancement after a long rally usually signifies that the bulls are running out of ammunition.
 

Most sectoral indices were in the green with exception of CNX Auto, CNX Finance, CNX FMCG, CNX MNC and CNX Realty, which were down marginally. Small-caps index finished strongly, moving up 1.19%.
 

Of the 50 stocks in the Nifty, the advanced to decline ratio was split almost equally, which saw 24 stocks advance and 25 decline and one unchanged. The top five gainers were Tata Power (2.75%), HCL Technologies (2.72%), Power Grid (2.46%), Axis Bank (2.05%) and GAIL (2.03%). The top five losers were Hindalco Jindal Steel (-1.82%), Ranbaxy (-1.45%), Hero Motors (-1.42%), Mahinda & Mahindra (-1.42%) and DLF (-1.20%).
 

Poor governance and regulatory hurdles claimed a major foreign miner: BHP Billiton. BHP Billiton has reportedly forfeited nine oil & gas blocks in the country, citing regulatory delays from the government. At a time when India is desperately seeking foreign capital to close its deficit, this would come as a big blow.
 

Asian markets ended mixed. Only Indonesia’s Jakarta index finished poorly, down 1.43%. Majority of the European markets too were trading in the green following US jobs data which was interpreted as positive. The US futures were trading in the green too.

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