Higher food prices here to stay: OECD-FAO report

The report noted that food prices are expected to fall from the current high level in the coming months on good harvest but the prices are expected to be higher in this decade than 2001-2010

New Delhi: Global food prices are expected to be higher in the 2011-20 period compared with the previous decade and this could have a ‘devastating’ impact on the poor in developing countries, reports PTI quoting an OECD-FAO report.

“Higher food prices and volatility in commodity markets are here to stay,” Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a joint report released today.

The report ‘OECD-FAO Agriculture Outlook for 2011-2020’ noted that food prices are expected to fall from the current high level in the coming months on good harvest but the prices are expected to be higher in this decade than 2001-2010.

“A good harvest in the coming months should push commodity prices down from the extreme levels seen earlier this year. However, the outlook states that over the coming decade real prices for cereals could average as much as 20% higher and those for meats as much as 30% higher, compared to 2001-10,” the report said.

The projections are well below the peak price level experienced in 2007-08 and again this year, it added.

“While higher prices are generally good news for farmers, the impact on the poor in developing countries which spend a high proportion of their income on food can be devastating,” said OECD secretary general Angel Gurria in a statement.

The report pointed out that higher prices for commodities are being passed through the food chain, which leads to rising consumer price inflation in most countries.

“This raises concern for economic stability and food security in some developing countries, with poor consumers most at risk of malnutrition,” it added.

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Hotel Leelaventure eyes partnership with realty firms

Hotel Leelaventure is looking to raise around Rs1,950 crore through sale of equity and assets and foreign currency convertible bonds

Hotel Leelaventure said it is exploring opportunities to partner with real-estate firms on a revenue sharing basis to develop its land bank in Hyderabad and Bangalore.

The hospitality chain, which is looking to raise around Rs1,950 crore through sale of equity and assets and foreign currency convertible bonds, has shelved earlier plans to build hotels in Hyderabad and is instead looking at building upmarket residential complexes.

“In Hyderabad, the company shelved initial plans of building a luxury hotel (on 3.85 acres of land) after significant new supply came up in the area,” the company said in a corporate presentation filed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

It is now evaluating various revenue sharing opportunities to maximise value as in case of Pune, it added.

Similarly in Bangalore, there is a surplus land of over 8,000 square meters next to its Leela Palace hotel property and similar project could be taken up.

The company has already shelved initial plans of building a luxury hotel in Pune. Instead, it is developing a high-end residential-cum-commercial property in association with Sky Realty Projects on a 50:50 gross revenue sharing basis.

In Chennai, the hospitality chain has an office space with some saleable area which it proposes to sell and lease. In April this year, the company had said it will raise Rs1,950 crore through sale of equity and assets, and foreign currency convertible bonds to partly repay its debt of Rs3,800 crore.

The promoters are looking to sell about 14.95% stake to private equity players for about Rs600 crore. Hotel Leelaventure, which currently operates seven luxury hotels in India with a total capacity of 1,869 rooms, is also building another property in Chennai (329 rooms), besides expanding its existing property in Goa (additional 20 rooms). The Chennai property is likely to be completed by FY12, it said.

Going ahead, the company also has plans to expand its footprint into markets outside India and focus on management contracts than owning properties. It also intends to evaluate expanding in overseas markets through the  management contract route, it said without specifying details.

Besides, the firm is also evaluating the option to set up four or five star hotels in Tier-II cities in India, under a different brand.

On Friday, Hotel Leelaventure ended 0.53% up at Rs37.80 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while benchmark Sensex declined 0.64% to 17,870.53.

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Amtek Auto redeems FCCBs worth Rs654 crore

Amtek Auto has fully paid the entire outstanding amount of Rs654.33 crore against redemption of outstanding bonds along with YTM

Auto component maker Amtek Auto said that it has redeemed its convertible bonds, which were due for maturity for $145.97 million (about Rs654.33 crore).

The company in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) said that it had issued $250 million zero coupon foreign currency convertible bond (FCCB) in the year 2006.

“Out of this, bonds of $108.6 million were due for maturity along with yield to maturity (YTM) of $37.37 million. The company has fully paid the entire outstanding amount of $145.97 million against redemption of outstanding bonds along with YTM,” the filing said.

Accordingly, after this payment, the company has no outstanding amount of the $250 million raised through FCCBs issued in 2006, it added.

Amtek is a diversified automotive component supplier in the global auto component manufacturing and supply chain.

On Friday, Amtek Auto ended 0.68% down at Rs168.55 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while benchmark Sensex declined 0.64% to 17,870.53.

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