IndiaFirst Life to infuse Rs 120 crore to fund expansion

The focus of the 17-month-old company in FY10-12 will mainly be on maintaining cost and increase productivity that will help it to reach the break even target within five years of operations

Private insurer IndiaFirst Life Insurance, which has a paid up capital of Rs430 crore, is planning to infuse another Rs120 crore to fund its expansion plans and to maintain solvency margin.

“We are planning to infuse Rs 120 crore in the first quarter (April-June) taking the total capital to Rs 550 crore to fund our expansion plans, including setting up of Financial Planning Centres, and solvency capital requirements,” IndiaFirst Life Insurance managing director and CEO P Nandagopal said.

Further capital infusion depends on the growth of business, he added.

The focus of the 17-month-old company in FY10-12 will mainly be on maintaining cost and increase productivity that will help it to reach the break even target within five years of operations.

“We are one of the most cost efficient insurance firms in the country with an operating expense ratio of 19%. We are planning to bring it down further to around 15% in the current fiscal,” he said.

The private insurance firm collected Rs704 crore premium from new business and is planning to double this in the current financial year, Mr Nandagopal said.

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Share prices can shake off gloom: Monday Closing Report

If the Nifty is able to hold above 5,540, the market can expect some gains. On the downside the support is at 5,390

The steep hike in petrol prices which came into force on Sunday, rattled investors, and led to the market opening lower. Negative cues from the global arena also added to the woes. The Sensex opened 31 points lower at 18,493 while the Nifty opened at 5,542, three points off its Friday close. Nervousness ahead of the announcement of headline inflation data also added to the sluggishness, and saw indices range-bound in negative terrain. The market touched its intra-day high in the first hour of trade, with the indices around the opening levels.

The market pared some of its losses as inflation numbers were marginally lower. Concern is already building that despite easing headline inflation, high fuel costs could lead the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to go in for further tightening measures in June.

The market dropped in the post-noon session on the possibility that the government may also increase diesel and domestic LPG prices. The indices touched their intra-day lows at about 2.30pm, with the Sensex at 18,320, down 211 points, and the Nifty off 57 points at 5,488. However, the market closed a little above these levels. The Sensex settled at 18,345, down 186 points and the Nifty closed at 5,499, down 46 points. The advance-decline on the National Stock Exchange was 413:992.

If the Nifty is able to keep itself above 5,540, we can expect the market to see some gains. The first resistance for the Nifty is at 5,650. But if the Nifty declines to below 5,472, we may see the market head for 5,390.

Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index declined 0.77% and the BSE Small-cap index fell by 0.74%.

BSE Healthcare (up 0.93%) and BSE Consumer Durables (up 0.22%) were the only gainers in the sectoral space. The losers were led by BSE Realty (down 1.47%), BSE Metal (down 1.45%), BSE Bankex (down 1.18%), BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 1.02%) and BSE Oil & Gas (down 0.97%).

Hero Honda (up 3.87%), BHEL (up 0.93%) and Bharti Airtel (up 0.83%) were the noteworthy gainers on the Sensex. On the other hand, Jaiprakash Associates (down 3.20%), Bajaj Auto (down 2.72%), Mahindra & Mahindra (down 2.71%), Tata Steel (down 2.64%) and DLF (down 2.58%) were the major losers on the benchmark.

Headline inflation came down marginally to 8.66% in April on the back of a moderation in prices of certain food items, in line with the government's expectations. Overall inflation, as measured on the basis of the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), has been revised to 9.04% for March, from the original projection of 8.98%. The revision was carried out as metal products were not incorporated earlier due to a programming error, the Department of Economic Affairs stated. In addition, the inflation figure for February has also been revised upward to 9.54% from the provisional 8.31%.

Headline inflation has been above 8% since January 2010. The apex bank has already hiked policy rates nine times since March 2010 to tame demand and curb inflation.

Markets in Asia settled mostly lower on the lingering debt crisis in Europe. Greece is expected to plead for a boost in its 110 billion-euro ($155 billion) bailout from European governments and the International Monetary Fund. European finance ministers are also likely to approve 78 billion euros in aid for Portugal. Besides, a Goldman Sachs downgrade of Japanese and Korean shares also hurt investor sentiment.

The Shanghai Composite declined 0.73%, the Hang Seng tanked 1.36%, the Jakarta Composite fell by 0.86%, the KLSE Composite was down 0.29%, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.94%, the Straits Times retreated 0.86%, the Seoul Composite ended 0.75% lower and the Taiwan Weighted tumbled 1.05%.

Back home, institutional investors-both foreign as well as domestic-were net sellers in the equities segment on Friday. While foreign institutional investors offloaded Rs161.35 crore, domestic institutional investors pulled out Rs11.53 crore from the stock market.

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3i Infotech sells billing and payments unit for Rs617 crore

3i Infotech had acquired J&B Software in 2007 and Regulus Group in 2008, and the companies were integrated to form the Global Billing & Payments unit of 3i Infotech

Global information technology company 3i Infotech has signed an agreement to sell its US-based Global Billing and Payments unit, consisting of Regulus Group and J&B Software, to an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management LP for  Rs617 crore ($137 million).

3i Infotech had acquired J&B Software in 2007 and Regulus Group in 2008, and the companies were integrated to form the Global Billing & Payments unit of 3i Infotech, according to a company statement.

The transaction is expected to close within the next 60 days, subject to customary closing conditions and any regulatory approvals.

"The divestment reduces the leverage and strengthens the balance sheet of 3i Infotech," said 3i Infotech Managing Director & Global CEO V Srinivasan.

Cerberus Capital Management is a private investment firm with $23 billion of capital under management.

3i Infotech ended down 0.40% at Rs49.80 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex settled at 18,345.

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