Hindujas to acquire construction co; to invest $10 billion in power

The Hinduja group is buying more than 51% stake in an Indian construction company and also plans to invest $10 billion in the power sector

Diversified business group Hinduja on Monday said that it is close to acquiring an Indian construction company in a bid to secure a foothold in India's fast-growing infrastructure sector, especially roads, and also announced an investment of $10 billion (around Rs46,200 crore) in the power sector, reports PTI.

"We have shortlisted a local company which we are buying. When you have a local infrastructure company which has synergy then you can start much faster. It is an acceptable company which can be a good foothold for us to give a growth. It is well-managed," Hinduja group's global president GP Hinduja said in an interview at Davos.

"We will retain them as minority partners. The Hinduja policy is to have a minimum 51%. This company is engaged in everything (construction), in parking, roads, concessions, in bridges. But our focus will be on roads," he said, adding that the announcement would be made by 15th March.

Mr Hinduja, who was in Davos to participate in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting, said that soon after the taking over of the Indian company, the group will announce its foreign partner, which has already been selected.

About foreign direct investment (FDI) induction programme he said, "We definitely have a programme with full focus on infrastructure including power involving 10,000MW. Finances for the 1,000MW plant at Visakhapatnam are likely to be tied up by the end of this month."

Asked how much investment is expected by the group in the power sector, he said, "Going by $1 billion for 1,000MW, we are ready to bring $10 billion for the 10,000MW once things start moving."

The group has already announced plan to invest $50 billion in power, realty, auto, healthcare and oil & gas projects in India, whose appetite for infrastructure funds is pegged at about $500 billion over the next four-five years.

"In road construction, we have synergy with the transport sector (Ashok Leyland)," Mr Hinduja said.

The group planned the construction of parking lots after acquiring the Indian firm while the foreign partner will be there for technology transfer, he added.

"For road concessions (development of toll plazas), you need a very sophisticated technology. Contractors are cheaper in India. We will bring the concession technology from outside," he said.

"In our ten verticals, for both organic and inorganic growth, there are full plans which are under implementation," he added.

Roads and transport minister Kamal Nath had recently announced that India required $50 billion to construct 20,000 km of highways and had sought a $3-billion loan from the World Bank.
 

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Market see-saw may continue over the short term

Expect a minor rally in the early part of the week and then another decline

Last week we had said that the Sensex has support at 16,600. If this support is breached, we may see another round of sell-off, all the way down to 15,500. Indian markets were under massive selling pressure throughout the week ahead of the quarterly Reserve Bank of India (RBI) monetary policy review on 29 January 2010 and after the government released weekly inflation data. However, the trend reversed on the last trading day of the week after the central bank kept key interest rates unchanged at the quarterly policy review even though it increased the cash reserve ratio (CRR) by 75 basis points. At the end of the week, the Sensex lost 502 points. We expect a minor rally in the early part of the week and then another decline.

On Monday 25 January 2010, the Sensex declined 79 points from Friday’s (22 January 2010) close to 16,780, while the Nifty closed at 5,008, down 28 points.
As per reports, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) expects India’s GDP growth to accelerate to 9.2% in 2010-11 from 6.9% in 2009-10.
Meanwhile, media reports indicated that the government is considering an across-the-board increase in excise duty in Budget FY10-11, as it faces pressure to withdraw fiscal stimulus measures in the wake of a 16-year high fiscal deficit of 6.8% in the current financial year. Markets remained closed on Tuesday 26 January 2010 due to Republic Day.

On Wednesday 27 January 2010, the Sensex closed at 16,290, declining 491 points from Monday’s close while the Nifty closed at 4,853, down 155 points.

The International Monetary Fund said that India’s economy would grow at around 7.7% this year and at 7.8% in 2011. As per US reports, consumer confidence hit its highest level since September 2008 to 55.9 from an upwardly revised 53.6 in December. Also, the national retail federation reported that retail sales were likely to rise 2.5% this year, after a 2.5% drop in 2009.

On Thursday 28 January 2010, the Sensex gained 17 points from the previous day’s close to 16,307, while the Nifty closed at 4,867, up 14 points. During trading hours, the government announced that the food price index rose 17.40% in the year to 16 January 2010, slightly higher than the previous week’s rise of 16.81%. The fuel price index rose 5.70% while the primary articles price index rose 14.66%.

The RBI’s data showed that banks’ outstanding loans fell by Rs11,900 crore in the two weeks to 15 January 2010 because companies repaid some loans. The data also showed that loans fell to Rs30,08,000 crore in the two weeks to 15 January 2010 and deposits fell by around Rs22,000 crore. In the two weeks to 1 January 2010, outstanding loans rose by a massive Rs78,192 crore and deposits also went up by Rs82,769 crore. 

On Friday 29 January 2010, the Sensex surged over 360 points from the low of the day to close at 16,358 after the central bank kept key interest rates unchanged. During trading hours, the RBI, in its quarterly monetary policy review, hiked the cash reserve ratio (CRR) by 75 basis points in two stages to 5.75% to mop up excess liquidity from the banking system. CRR is the percentage of deposits which banks must keep with the central bank. However, the RBI kept the key policy rates—the repo rate, the reverse repo rate and the bank rate—unchanged.

The RBI said in its third quarter review that though inflationary pressures in the domestic economy stem predominantly from the supply side, the consolidating recovery increases the risks of these pressures spilling over into a wider inflationary process. The central bank lifted its wholesale price index inflation forecast for the end of the fiscal year in March 2010 to 8.5% from its earlier forecast of 6.5%, but said it expected inflation to moderate starting in July 2010, assuming a normal monsoon and global oil prices holding at current levels. The RBI also lifted its forecast for GDP growth in the current year to 7.5%, from an earlier target of 6%, and said that the current rate of growth is likely to be sustained in the financial year that ends in March 2011.

Meanwhile, as per reports, the RBI called on the government to get its fiscal house in order and said that monetary policy would be ineffective unless the government rolls back its borrowing, which is on track to hit a record Rs4.50 lakh crore ($96.90 billion) this fiscal year.

The RBI also said that it would continue to monitor macroeconomic conditions—particularly the price situation—closely and take further action as warranted. With regard to capital inflows, the central bank said that the inflows so far have been absorbed by the current account deficit. However, sharp increase in capital inflows, above the absorptive capacity of the economy, may complicate exchange rate and monetary management, it added. As per media reports, D Subbarao, RBI governor, said that the interest rate rise would have had an unpredictable impact on liquidity. He also added that it is important to absorb a predictable amount of liquidity before taking other steps.
 

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Unchanged rates have opened the gates for another rally

Indian bourses gained momentum as the RBI kept interest rates unchanged at its quarterly monetary policy review

Indian markets finally heaved a sigh of relief after massive selling by traders as the central bank kept key interest rates unchanged at the quarterly policy review. At the end of the day, the Sensex surged 51 points from the previous day’s close at 16,358 while the Nifty closed at 4,882, up 15 points.

At 12:00 hrs IST, the Sensex was trading at 16,064, down 243 points from the previous day’s close while the Nifty was trading down 61 points at 4,806.

However, at 14:00 hrs IST, the Sensex was trading down 68 points at 16,239 while the Nifty was trading at 4,847, down 20 points.

After the RBI kept interest rates unchanged, ICICI Bank shot up 7% while State Bank of India, HDFC, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and Punjab National Bank were up around 2% each.

HEG Ltd was up 1% after the board of the company approved the expansion of the graphite electrode production capacity of the company from 66,000 TPA to 80,000 TPA.

Kirloskar Oil Engines has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Axial Vector Energy Corporation (AVEC) to explore the possibility of co-operation in the joint development of internal combustion engines by using AVEC’s technology and the marketing, engineering & manufacturing expertise of the company. The stock remained flat.

Shriram Transport Finance Company has allotted 116.58 lakh equity shares at a face value of Rs10 each to Qualified Institutional Buyers for an aggregate of Rs583.86 crore, resulting in a dilution of around 5.20%. The stock was down 1%.

ACC remained flat on reports that the company had acquired 100% equity in Encore Cement, which has a two lakh tonne capacity slag grinding unit.

Lupin Ltd’s US subsidiary Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc has received final approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for its Perindopril Erbumine tablets. The stock was up 1%.

During trading hours, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at its quarterly monetary policy review hiked the cash reserve ratio (CRR) by 75 basis points in two stages to 5.75% to mop up excess liquidity from the banking system.

The first phase of 50 basis points of the CRR hike is effective from 13 February 2010 and the second stage is effective from 27 February 2010. The two-phased CRR hike will soak up Rs36,000 crore from the banking system. The CRR is the percentage of deposits which banks must keep with the central bank. However, the RBI kept the key policy rates—the repo rate, the reverse repo rate and the bank rate unchanged.

The RBI said in its third quarter review that though inflationary pressures in the domestic economy stem predominantly from the supply side, the consolidating recovery increases the risks of these pressures spilling over into a wider inflationary process. The central bank lifted its wholesale price index inflation forecast for the end of the fiscal year in March 2010 to 8.5% from its earlier forecast of 6.5%, but said it expected inflation to moderate starting in July 2010, assuming a normal monsoon and global oil prices holding at current levels.

The RBI also lifted its forecast for GDP growth in the current year to 7.5%, from an earlier target of 6%, and said that the current rate of growth is likely to be sustained in the financial year that ends in March 2011.

As per reports, Ashok Chawla, finance secretary, said that the RBI has taken a balanced view on managing economic recovery and prices. He added that the CRR hike was appropriate and adequate, but said that interest rates are unlikely to go up after the RBI’s policy review. He agreed that food inflation was a matter of concern and added that economic growth was on track.

Meanwhile, as per reports, the RBI called on the government to get its fiscal house in order and said that monetary policy would be ineffective unless the government rolls back its borrowing, which is on track to hit a record Rs4.50 lakh crore ($96.90 billion) this fiscal year.

The RBI also said that it would continue to monitor macroeconomic conditions—particularly the price situation—closely and take further action as warranted. With regard to capital inflows, the central bank said that the inflows so far have been absorbed by the current account deficit. However, sharp increase in capital inflows, above the absorptive capacity of the economy, may complicate exchange rate and monetary management, it added.

As per media reports, D Subbarao, RBI governor, said that the interest rate rise would have had unpredictable impact on liquidity. He also added that it is important to absorb a predictable amount of liquidity before taking other steps.

During the day, Asia’s key benchmark indices in Hong Kong, Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan fell by between 0.16%-2.44% on concerns over the fiscal health of Greece and Portugal.

On Thursday, 28 January 2010, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 116 points while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were down 13 points and 42 points respectively.

In premarket trading, the Dow was trading 18 points lower.

We expect Indian markets to move upwards from here on. We won’t be surprised to see the Sensex  ralling to 16,700 in the coming few days.
 

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