India Manufacturing PMI falls to 53.2 in January

The manufacturing sector growth fell further in January as a slower expansion in new orders and power outages slowed output growth

India’s manufacturing output recorded a decline last month. While the overall rate of growth remained firm, the growth slipped to a three-month low, the HSBC India Manufacturing Purchase Managers’ Index (PMI) showed.


The HSBC manufacturing PMI, an indicator of the country’s manufacturing output growth, eased to 53.2 in January 2013, from 54.7 in December 2012 as power shortages hampered production and inventories were used to satisfy demand requirements wherever possible.


The HSBC India Manufacturing PMI is based on data compiled from replies to sent to purchasing executives in over 500 manufacturing companies. A reading of over 50 shows expansion, while below 50 indicates contraction.


Continuing the trend that started in April 2009, output at manufacturers in India rose during January. While solid, the rise in production was the slowest recorded in three months, the HSBC Markit release said.


Total new business rose solidly, although growth eased from December. Meanwhile, new export orders increased for the fifth straight month, and also at a solid rate. Panel members stated that demand from foreign clients was higher. In line with stronger sales, manufacturers in India increased their input buying in January, the release said.


Pre-production inventories rose for the ninth month in a row, but on a lower scale. On the other hand, post-production inventories were depleted as power shortages hampered production and inventories were used to satisfy demand requirements wherever possible.


Staffing levels in the Indian manufacturing sector increased during January, amid reports of higher workloads, the HSBC PMI indicated. Meanwhile, input and output prices both increased in January, with rates of inflation again marked.


Commenting on the survey, Leif Eskesen, chief economist for India and ASEAN at HSBC said, “The growth momentum in the manufacturing sector eased in January as a slower expansion in new orders and power outages slowed output growth. Encouragingly, input and output price inflation continued to ease, albeit only gradually, supporting the case for the Reserve Bank of India’s cautious policy rate cut earlier this week.”



Bharti Airtel Q3 net profit tumbles 72% to Rs284 crore on depreciation, forex loss

Bharti Airtel’s consolidated net income during the December quarter was impacted by higher depreciation and amortisation cost, net interest costs, forex fluctuation losses and tax provisions

Bharti Airtel, India’s leading telecom services operator, on Friday posted a lower than expected third quarter net profit of Rs284 crore. The profit which fell for the twelfth quarter in a row is down a whopping 72% compared Rs1,011 crore same period last year.

“The consolidated net income was impacted by higher depreciation and amortisation cost (Rs316 crore), net interest costs (Rs284 crore), forex fluctuation losses (Rs261 crore) and tax provisions (Rs109 crore),” the company said in a statement.


Bharti Airtel’s third quarter sales came in at Rs20,239 crore, a rise of 9.5%. The company’s loss for the third quarter from its Africa business stood at Rs520 crore.


According to the Bharti Airtel, the profit for the third quarter to end-December was hit by high depreciation, amortisation and interest cost.


“Market conditions have been challenging in recent quarters due to pricing pressures and rising input costs, which have put enormous pressure on the sector and consequently the margins,” Bharti Airtel chairman and managing director Sunil Bharti Mittal said.


However, the worst seems to be getting over with corrections taking place in customer acquisition practices and the tariffs, which are driving quality of acquisitions and improving efficiencies, he added.


The company’s overall customer base stood at 262.27 million across mobile telephony, telemedia and digital services across geographies.


Monthly average revenue per user (ARPU), a key metric for telecom carriers, from Bharti’s Indian operations declined to 185 during the reporting quarter from 187 in the same period last year.


The revenue from its African operations rose by 15% year-on-year to Rs6,170 crore during the third quarter, it said.


Bharti Airtel is the world's fourth-biggest cellular carrier by number of subscribers, operating in 20 countries in Asia and Africa. Singapore’s SingTel owns almost a third of the firm.


Earlier in the week the Sunil-Mittal led company announced changes in its top level management. In a major top-level management restructuring, Bharti Airtel will appoint Manoj Kohli as its managing director to revive its mobile business.


Sunil Mittal, who is currently its chairman and managing director, will become executive chairman of the company, after Kohli moves to his new role. Kohli currently heads the company’s international operations as its chief executive officer and is also a joint managing director of the company. He is currently based in Nairobi, the headquarters of Bharti Airtel’s African operations.


Gopal Vittal, the new CEO of Bharti Airtel’s India business, will be named joint managing director. He was named chief executive after the company’s India CEO Sanjay Kapoor stepped down two weeks back. The management revamp comes at a time when the company is looking at improving profitability while increasing both 3G and 4G subscriber base.


Bharti Airtel is also grappling with uncertain regulatory environment and bleeding business in Africa.

To access third quarter result analysis of other companies on Moneylife, please click here.



Do as we say, Congress says, then does what it wants

Congress in the US exempts itself from a number of laws that apply to the private sector and the executive branch

When CBS News reported in 2011 that members of Congress weren’t prohibited from insider trading, Congress moved swiftly. President Obama signed a law banning it within six months of the broadcast.


But Congress is still exempt from portions of a number of federal laws, including provisions that protect workers in the private sector but don’t apply to the legislative branch’s approximately 30,000 employees.

Here’s our rundown of measures Congress exempts itself from:

  • Whistleblower Protections: Congress passed the Whistleblower Protection Act in 1989, which protects workers in the executive branch from retaliation for reporting waste, mismanagement or lawbreaking. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act gives similar protections to private-sectors workers. But legislative-branch workers — a category that includes congressional staffers as well as employees of the Library of Congress, the Architect of the Capitol and other offices —don’t get the same protections.


  • Subpoenas for Health and Safety Probes:  The Occupational Health and Safety Act empowers the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate health and safety violations in private-sector workplaces. If an employer doesn’t cooperate, the agency can subpoena the records it needs. The Office of Compliance, the independent agency that investigates such violations in the legislative branch, doesn’t have the power to issue those subpoenas.


  • Keeping Workplace Records: A number of workplace-rights laws — the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and others — require employers to retain personnel records for a certain period of time. But as a recent report on the congressional workplace notes, “Congress has exempted itself from all of these requirements.” Congress is also exempt from keeping records of injuries and illness the way private-sector employers are.


  • Prosecution for Retaliating Against Employees: If a private-sector employer retaliates against a worker for reporting health or safety hazards, the Department of Labor can investigate and, if necessary, sue the employer. Congress’ Office of Compliance doesn’t have that power — legislative-branch employees must file suit personally and pay their own legal fees.
  • Posting Notices of Workers’ Rights: Workplace-rights laws require employers to post notices of those rights, which often appear in office lunchrooms. Congress is exempt from this requirement, though this has little real-world impact. The Office of Compliance sends legislative employees the same information each year, formatted “in a manner suitable for posting.”
  • Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Retaliation Training: The No Fear Act requires agencies in the executive branch to provide such training to employees, but the legislative branch is exempt.
  • The Freedom of Information Act: The public can request information from federal agencies, but Congress, the federal courts and some parts of the Executive Office of the President are exempt.

In addition to sparing itself from complying with measures it has made mandatory for others, Congress is violating of some of the laws that do apply to it, according to a recent report from the Office of Compliance. (The pint-sized agency, created by Congress in 1995, is responsible for enforcing a number of workplace-rights laws in the legislative branch.) The sidewalks surrounding the three House office buildings, the report noted, don’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Neither do the restrooms in the House and Senate office buildings and the Library of Congress’ James Madison Building.


The Office of Compliance cites certain congressional exemptions as particularly problematic. The agency’s inability to subpoena information regarding some legislative workers’ complaints about health and safety often means the office must negotiate with congressional offices to gather the facts it needs.  

“It can tie our hands sometimes,” said Barbara J Sapin, the office’s executive director.

The Office of Compliance has urged Congress to apply the laws listed above to itself — except the Freedom of Information Act — with little result. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting delegate who represents the District of Columbia, introduced a bill in 2011 to do this, but it died in committee.


The number of complaints of discrimination and harassment filed by legislative-branch workers with the Office of Compliance has nearly doubled in the last two years, from 102 in the 2009 fiscal year to 196 in the 2011 fiscal year. Workers’ complaints about retaliation or intimidation have risen even more sharply, from 36 in fiscal year 2009 to 108 in fiscal year 2011.


Even so, Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer who specializes in workplace-rights law, said some Capitol Hill employees might be holding back from filing complaints. House and Senate staffers, she said, are often reluctant to speak up about harassment or discrimination for fear of jeopardizing their careers.

“People are very loath to burn bridges by filing a complaint or going to the Office of Compliance,” she said. “They don’t want to go forward with bringing a claim, even when it’s covered under the law.”




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