Immigration policy won't erect barriers: UK minister

London: The UK has no plans to erect barriers or close doors on Indian business but it wants to deliver controlled immigration with a faster and fairer system as part of its new policy, reports PTI.

This is what immigration minister Damian Green will tell Indian entrepreneurs during his three-day visit to the country commencing today.

The minister will meet education sector and senior business representatives to take forward the dialogue as part of the broader consultation process on the UK's immigration policy.

During his time in Delhi, the minister will meet Vayalar Ravi, minister of overseas Indian affairs; Anand Sharma, minister of commerce and industry; Mullapally Ramachandran, minister of state at the ministry of home affairs; and Preneet Kaur, minister of state at the external affairs ministry.

Mr Green will also visit Chandigarh where he will thank the Punjab government for its co-operation with the UK on migration.

He will meet Shivraj Patil, governor of Punjab; chief minister Parkash Singh Badal; and P S Gill, director general of police, Punjab.

Ahead of his visit, Mr Green said: "When prime minister David Cameron came to India at the end of last month, he came with a clear purpose — to take the UK-India relationship to a new level, to make it 'stronger, wider, deeper'. This ambition was warmly welcomed by our Indian counterparts and friends.

"As Britain's minister for immigration, I recognise that I have a key role in taking this new enterprise forward.

I look forward to using my visit to explain the changes under way in the UK's immigration system and the reasons for them.


Mahindra & Mahindra signs pact to acquire Ssangyong Motor

Mumbai: Auto and utility vehicles major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) today said it has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in beleaguered South Korean vehicle maker Ssangyong Motor Company, reports PTI.

In a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), M&M said that it has "signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ssangyong Motor to acquire a majority stake in the South Korean sports utility vehicle (SUV) maker."

The agreement will be followed by a detailed due diligence process and finalisation of definitive agreements, the filing added.

"We are committed to leveraging Ssangyong’s strong competencies in research and development (R&D) and technology by investing in a new SYMC product portfolio, which will help us gain momentum in global markets," M&M Automotive and Farm Sector President Pawan Goenka said.

He further said, "India is a rapidly growing SUV market and will create new growth avenues for Ssangyong. The synergies between both the brands, which share a similar heritage, will make us a combine force to reckon with in the global utility vehicle space."

Rothschild and Samsung Securities are advising M&M on the deal.

On 12th August, M&M was chosen as the preferred bidder by Ssangyong Motor. The company had said that deal is likely to be finalised by November this year but did not disclose the financials involved.

Ssangyong Motor, which has SUV models like 'Rexton', 'Kyron' and 'Actyon' and sedan 'Chairman', has been undergoing a court-led restructuring from 2009 after suffering heavily due to the downturn in auto industry.

China's SAIC Motor Corp owns 10% in the troubled automaker and about 70% is held by creditors, led by state-owned Korea Development Bank.

M&M currently has two manufacturing facilities in South Korea and has employee strength of 4,800 people.

The company has 138 dealers in its home country, while 1,300 dealers are located across 98 nations. It sold 35,000 units in 2009.

M&M had said once the deal is done, it would consider bringing the premium SUVs from Ssangyong Motor's stable into India.




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Weekly Market View: A Short Rally?

The market started the week on a dull note, on the back of unsupportive global cues. It managed to pull itself together with a flat close on Tuesday. The benchmarks ended with splendid gains for the next two days on institutional support. The Sensex added 406 points and the Nifty gained 126 points in the two-day rally. However, the last day of the trading week was flat but the Nifty managed to hold on to the 5,500 mark. For the week ended 20th August, the indices ended higher with the Sensex surging 1.2% and the Nifty gaining 1.7%.

The top weekly gainers on the Sensex were Hindalco Industries, HDFC Bank and HDFC (all up 7%), ITC and Jindal Steel & Power (up 4% each). Reliance Communications (RCom) and Tata Power (down 3% each). Cipla, Bharti Airtel, SBI were down 2% each on a weekly basis.


In the sectoral space, BSE FMCG index and BSE Bankex index (up 3% each), were the gainers while BSE TECk (ended flat) and BSE Power index (down 1%) were the sectoral losers during the week.

Wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation fell to single-digits at 9.97% in July, due to decline in prices of certain food and non-food items. Inflation was at 10.55% in June, while for May it was revised upwards to 11.14% from the provisional number of 10.16%. Inflation was in double-digits at over 10% in the last four months to June.

Meanwhile, food inflation declined by over a percentage point to 10.35% during the week ended 7th August on cheaper vegetables, especially potato and onion, but the fall may not prompt the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to reverse its tight money policy stance at the next review on 16th September.

Inflation in food items declined by 1.05 percentage points compared to 11.40% in the previous week. It was 14.18% a year ago and had crossed 20% in December 2009.

After state-owned lender State Bank of India (SBI) and private sector bank ICICI Bank announced a hike in benchmark prime lending rates by 50 basis points (bps) on Monday, Kotak Mahindra Bank the next day raised its lending rates across-the-board by 25bps.

India's exports rose in July, for the ninth month in a row, by 13.2% to $16.24 billion. Imports, too, rose by 34.3% to $29.17 billion, taking the trade gap for the month to $12.93 billion.

Exports in the April-July period of this fiscal aggregated at $68.63 billion, up 30.1% over the same period last year. Imports during the same period this fiscal were at $112 billion, up by 33.3% over the year-ago period.

The Union Cabinet, on Friday, cleared the civil nuclear liability bill. However, due to pressure from the opposition the government dropped a controversial addition in the civil nuclear liability bill, which the opposition said diluted the liability of suppliers for accidents caused by their negligence.

The steep hike in H-1B and L1 visa fees, which would cost Indian IT firms an additional $250 million annually, has come into effect from August 14, according to US officials.

The US move comes in the midst of protests by India that the increase incorporated in the Border Security Bill is discriminatory against Indian companies and needed to be amended.

On the corporate front, London-listed mining firm Vedanta Resources said it will acquire a majority stake of up to 60% in Cairn India, the owner of the nation's largest on-land oilfield, for $9.6 billion. Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy Plc, which holds 62.37% stake in Cairn India, will sell a maximum of 51% of its stake to Vedanta Group for $8.48 billion, the two companies said in separate statements.

Cairn Energy is selling the stake at Rs405 per share, a premium of about 32% to the Cairn India average closing price for 90 days prior to 14th August.

Mahindra Satyam said a New York court has given a favourable judgment in its lawsuit against Upaid Systems and ruled that the British company is responsible for all the tax liability on the settlement amount of $70 million paid by the IT firm.

Mahindra Satyam, earlier known as Satyam Computer Services, had filed a lawsuit in a New York court against Upaid, seeking enforcement of a legal settlement agreement between the two signed in December 2009.

Satyam Computer Services' (Satyam) tainted founder B Ramalinga Raju on Wednesday, 18th August, secured bail from the Andhra Pradesh High Court, over 17 months after his arrest on charges of allegedly fudging the IT company's accounts.

Mr Raju, who was arrested on 7th January last year and is currently undergoing treatment in a city hospital, was granted bail on the condition he stay in Hyderabad and provision of two sureties of Rs20 lakh each.

The market is likely to see some volatility next week as the August futures and option (F&O) contract expires on Thursday, 26th August. Besides, global pointers would also give some direction to the market next week.


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