New Delhi: India's highways development project, the largest public private partnership programme in the world, is likely to attract a whopping investment of $41 billion, including FDI, from private sector, reports PTI quoting highways minister Kamal Nath.
"Over the next few years, of the total projected investment size of $70 billion (Rs3.09 lakh crore), the likely investments from private sector including FDI (foreign direct investment) will be about $41 billion (Rs1.81 lakh crore)," Mr Nath told investors from Australia here.
The road ministry has unveiled an ambitious programme to construct 35,000km of roads by March 2014 and has called for foreign investment to meet the financial requirements.
The highways ministry is keen to implement mega projects, each with a length of about 500km and a total project cost of $500 million, he said.
"With our straightforward FDI regime, these should interest international players looking for sizeable investments," Mr Nath said.
His announcements come in the wake of India raising cap on foreign institutional investors (FIIs) investment by $5 billion in government and corporate bonds each. Besides, the government allowed FIIs to invest additional $5 billion in bonds issued by companies engaged in infrastructure sector.
The government's determination to bridge the infrastructure deficit provides an immense opportunity to international financial institutions and infrastructure companies to participate in the National Highways Development Project (NHDP), he said.
Inviting Australian investors to participate in the highways sector, at a programme at Australian High Commission, Mr Nath said, "...as two large democracies... India and Australia share a special bond. I am hopeful that this bond will make rapid inroads into the roads and highways sector in India."
Major Australian players have already evinced interest in partnering with the government for infrastructure development while leading contractor and project developer Leighton Group has already announced plans of over $300 million (Rs1,500 crore) in the road sector.
Apart from this, Mr Nath last week had also said that shifting its focus from the US and other European nations, Canada has assured India to invest $3 billion in highways projects in the next five years.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has plans to build 20km of national highways a day to increase its network significantly and has launched the NHDP, the largest such programme on PPP mode.
Sixty per cent of the highways under PPP will be built on build, operate and transfer pattern.
The country, at present has about 70,000km of national highways which is only about two per cent of the total over 33 lakh km of road network.
The market ended in the positive zone for the second day in a row. Although the indices got an early boost from the global markets this morning, the gains could not be sustained and the jittery market ended a tad higher.
The market, which touched its intraday high soon after the opening bell on positive cues from the global front, gave up some gains by mid-morning and was trading in a narrow range. Profit booking resulted in the indices moving lower but a green opening of the influential European markets pushed the domestic barometers a bit higher albeit sideways. The market continued to trade in a tight range and closed the day with marginal gains.
The Sensex ended at 20,340, up 89.63 points (0.44%). It touched an intraday high of 20,461 and a low of 20,250. The Nifty gained 32.40 points (0.53%) to settle at 6,136. The index swung between a high-low of 6,187 and 6,106, intraday.
The overall market breadth was positive. Of the 30 Sensex stocks, 18 ended in the green while 12 ended lower. The Nifty ended with 34 advancing stocks and 16 on the declining side. The broader indices outperformed the benchmarks today; the BSE Mid-cap index gained 0.79% and the BSE Small-cap index surged 1.30%.
The top gainers on the Sensex were Tata Motors (up 4.05%), Sterlite Industries (up 3.13%), Reliance Communications (RCom) (up 2.08%), Reliance Infrastructure (R-Infra) and Tata Steel (up 2.06% each). The losers were led by Bharti Airtel (down 2.48%), Hindustan Unilever (HUL) (down 0.83%) and HDFC Bank (down 0.73%).
In the sectoral space, BSE Auto (up 1.93%), BSE Metal (up 1.57%) and BSE Oil & Gas (up 1.29%) finished at the top while BSE TECk (down 0.31%), BSE IT (down 0.12%) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) finished at the bottom of the list.
Giving reprieve to transporters and other users of the fuel, the government has said it was not the right time to deregulate diesel prices, as inflation continued to be high.
"I don't think it will be a wise or prudent thing to do (deregulate price of diesel) at a time when inflation is running so high," finance secretary Ashok Chawla said at a panel discussion on a TV channel.
The Asian pack ended mostly in the green, and boosted optimism about the global economic recovery. Investors also anticipate that the quarterly earnings reports from corporates will bring some cheer to the markets.
The Shanghai Composite jumped 2.49%, Hang Seng surged 1.15%, Jakarta Composite was up 0.05%, KLSE Composite gained 0.41% and Straits Times rose 0.32%. On the other hand, Seoul Composite was down 0.38% and Taiwan Weighted shed 0.82%.
The Vedanta Group today ruled out increasing the open offer price to minority shareholders of Cairn India, saying its current offer was "lucrative."
"There is no question (of increasing the open offer price). The price is final and that is a very lucrative offer," Vedanta group chairman Anil Agarwal said. Vedanta Resources is buying 40%-51% stake from Cairn Energy Plc and its subsidiary Sesa Goa has filed papers for an open offer for an additional 20% stake.
The US markets ended in the positive zone on Friday on hopes that the Federal Reserve will provide further stimulus to boost the sagging economy, as the jobs market witnessed more-than-expected job cuts in September. According to a monthly government report, a total of 95,000 jobs were slashed last month, marking the fourth consecutive decline. Though the unemployment rate held steady at 9.6%, it has now breached 9.5% for 14 straight months, the longest stretch since the 1930s. The Dow gained 57.90 points (0.53%) to 11,006. The S&P 500 index gained 7.09 points (0.61%) to 1,165. The Nasdaq gained 18.24 points (0.77%) to 2,402.
Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of Rs586 crore worth of stocks on Friday. Domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities worth Rs1,002 crore.
Vivimed Labs Ltd (up 0.75%) has informed the Bombay Stock Exchange that the company has received 'in-principle' approval from the government of India, ministry of commerce & industry, for development, operation and maintenance of a sector-specific Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for chemicals & pharmaceuticals over an area of 131.68 hectares at Srikakulam District of Andhra Pradesh.
IT major Patni Computer Systems (up 1.75%) has opened its first centre in China. The state-of-the-art facility with a planned capacity of 500 seats is located in the Suzhou Software & Technology Park (SSTP).
The ITO delivery centre will focus on delivering development and support services to cater to Japanese, US, European and local multi-national corporations.
Ahmedabad-based Deep Industries (0.33%) has obtained a Letter of Intent (LOI) from GSPC for hiring of work over rigs on a firm basis. This includes work over operations, testing plugging operations for all exploration/development blocks and fields of onshore blocks. The approximate value for this contract is Rs6.40 crore.
Earlier, the company obtained notification of awards for hiring of services for compression of natural gas at Kesanapalli (w)-GGS for a period of five years from Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). The value of the said contract was about Rs11.50 crore.
Mumbai: Vedanta Resources today said the long-drawn arbitration process for buying government's remaining 49% stake in Bharat Aluminium Company (Balco) is over and the group expects to complete the acquisition by the end of this fiscal, reports PTI.
"Arbitration process is concluded. Award is expected soon. By March, we hope to acquire government's residual stake," Vedanta Resources chairman told PTI in an interview.
The metal and mining group is also hopeful of taking forward the process to buy the government's residual stake in another erstwhile public sector undertaking (PSU) Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL).
"The Balco arbitration is about whether call option of is a valid or not. If it is established (that call option is valid) then it would be valid for Hindustan Zinc Ltd as well," he added.
The government now holds 49% stake in Balco and 29.5% in HZL.
The government earlier this year had said that it will sell its residual stake in the two firms for a much higher price as the strategic sale of equity in these companies was done in "haste."
"Disinvestment in Balco and Hindustan Zinc (HZL) was done in haste. I personally feel it needs to be more priced," mines minister B K Handique had said.
During the tenure of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, the NRI billionaire Anil Agarwal-led firm had bought 51% stake in Balco for Rs551 crore and over 64% in Hindustan Zinc for over Rs750 crore. Later, Vedanta Group increased its holding in HZL by a small margin.
Sterlite Industries was slated to exercise its call option to acquire the residual stake in Balco in 2004. The Comptroller and Auditor General valued the residual stake much higher and the then attorney general even termed the mining firm's call option as illegal.
The issue of residual equity in Balco had created a rift between Vedanta and the government, and the matter reached the Delhi High Court in 2006.
Call option is an agreement that gives the buyer a right to buy some part of an asset at a specified price at a specified time frame.
The acquisition of the residual equity in the two companies is crucial for Vedanta's overall corporate restructuring programme into a commodity-focused vertical, which it is hoping to complete in the current fiscal, Mr Agarwal had earlier said.