Industry needs to follow developers in going green
Almost every developer in the country is seriously considering converting all future developments into green buildings and industries also should move towards it as going green would prove to be super-beneficial for them, feel industry leaders.
 
Speaking at the CII Green Business summit, Naushad Forbes, Director, Forbes Marshall Pvt Ltd, which specialises in energy conservation, pointed out, “There is huge potential for green businesses both from demand (user) side and from supplier side. The total potential for energy savings works out to be Rs60 billion a year.”
 
Industry leaders from India and representatives from the UK government also highlighted that there are opportunities galore for green businesses worldwide, and especially in India.
 
Vicky Treadell, British deputy high commissioner for Western India, said that the country is well positioned to embrace transition to a low carbon economy and bring about a ‘green revolution’, but that a sense of urgency was needed to achieve the transition.
 
Speaking on the sidelines of the summit, Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co Ltd, said, “There is now a much greater focus on energy conservation in the industry, for achieving efficiency and competitiveness. Also, the initiatives under the National Action Plan on climate change taken by the government will make India one of the most efficient carbon consuming economies in the world.”
 
Talking about developers going green, Mr Godrej said, “It is heartening that we already have about 425 buildings in various stages of completion, with a footprint of over 300 million sq ft, planned as green buildings.” He said it now makes strong business sense for developers to go green given that initial investments in the case of ‘platinum’ buildings are recovered within three years.

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Singapore most tax-friendly economy; India, US at bottom in survey
GuideMeSingapore.com, a portal that provides accurate and up-to-date business-oriented information about Singapore, has said that a comparison of the tax burden faced by start-ups in six economies reveals significant variation with that country coming out as the most tax-friendly jurisdiction.
 
The survey compared tax policies of six countries—UK, USA, India, Australia, Russia, and Singapore. Among the six countries considered, the report said that the tax burden imposed on new firms is the least in Singapore while it is highest in India and the US.
 
To illustrate its findings, the report considered a case of a hypothetical start-up firm that expects to make an annual income of $300,000. Such a firm will have a total tax bill of $34,000 in Singapore while it would face a tax bill of about $60,000 in Russia, $63,000 in the UK, $90,000 in Australia, $100,000 in US, and $102,000 in India.
 
"The historical trend of corporate tax rates in Singapore over the last five years shows consistent reduction. Per government's stated policies, this trend is likely to continue in Singapore whereas in most other countries this trend is pointing upwards due to the rising budget deficits that these governments face," said Jacqueline Low, director for corporate services, Janus Corporate Solutions, which owns the GuideMeSingapore.com portal.
 
The lowest tax in Singapore is one of the reasons why India's National Stock Exchange's index Nifty was losing business to Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX). According to SGX data, Nifty futures generated 20% volume on the exchange out of 62 million contracts of all major Asian indices traded on it last year. SGX has been taking away a major portion of NSE volumes, which may be a cause of worry for the Indian bourse.
 
However, there are numerous reasons for which many overseas investors, including institutional investors, prefer to trade on SGX Nifty. The main reason being costlier securities transaction tax (STT) and stamp duties charged in India. In Singapore, the transaction costs are only two to three basis points of the trade.
 
Besides the lowest tax structure, SGX has extended trading hours that start as early as 6.30 am and goes till 6 pm. This may be the reason for a move in India to extend trading hours from 9 am to 5 pm on the bourses.

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Jet Airways waiting FIPB clearance for QIP
Jet Airways, the Naresh Goyal promoted airline, is eagerly awaiting clearance from the Foreign Investment and Promotion Board (FIPB) to raise $400 million through qualified institutional placements (QIPs).
 
Last week, the government deferred Jet Airways’ proposal to issue 79.2 million fresh shares at a price of Rs252.50 per share to raise $400 million through the QIP route.
 
"A meeting has been scheduled on 30th October to address our case for the FIPB clearance, along with a couple of other airlines," said an official from the carrier. Expecting a positive outcome from the meeting, Jet hopes to raise the funds by 3rd November, the official added.
 
The airline had planned to raise the funds from foreign institutional investors (FIIs) as the appetite for domestic investment in the aviation sector in India is not strong. Jet Airways has a consolidated gross debt of $3.1 billion, including $2.2 billion of aircraft debt. Its current payment obligations amount to about $330 million that includes repayment of debt, payment to creditors and pending obligation to SICCI towards Jetlite. After buying Sahara Airlines from Sahara group, Jet Airways renamed it as Jetlite.
 
For the quarter to end-September, Jet Airways reported a net loss of Rs4.10 billion from Rs3.80 billion as its revenues fell 27% to Rs23.80 billion from Rs32.60 billion, same period last year. The carrier has had to suffer a loss of Rs800 million due to a five-day pilot’s strike in September that resulted in close to 1,300 domestic flights and close to 200 international flights being cancelled.
 
"Domestic air traffic appears to have started reviving in the last few months based on recent traffic data. This, along with the peak season impact in third quarter, will help airlines to improve yields, which otherwise had been severely impacted due to the recession and lean season impact in second quarter," Jet Airways said in a release.
 
The company is planning to cut costs across its operations to improve its revenues. "We expect unit costs to be down by 10% year-on-year across all fields excluding fuel," the official added.
 
Jet Airways said that during the quarter, fuel prices increased by 17.4% as compared to the April to June quarter and this led to an additional cost impact of Rs1.10 billion.
 
IDFC-SSKI Securities Ltd in a report said, "With the macro-environment turning optimistic and the cost curve of the industry at its bare bones, we expect the cash losses of Jet to get limited, marking the beginning of a turnaround. However, with consolidated debt at $3.1 billion and payment obligations at around $330 million, capitalisation concerns continue to dominate. Jet's ability to raise funds through a QIP, sale and lease back of assets and sale of its land bank remains a critical moniterable going ahead."
 
During the quarter, Jet Airways reported revenues of about $35.5 million from its lease business. However, six out of its total nine aircraft currently on lease with various operators in the Gulf are expected to come off from September onwards. As per media reports, Jet was in discussions with Oman Air and Etihad to lease out two of its Boeing 777 wide-body airplanes.
 
"We are looking at expenses involved in each comparable item specifically for Jet Konnect. For example, the enhanced vision systems (EVS) costs are irrelevant. Cost cutting in fuel consumption, engineering costs and such other fields would be considered," said Saroj K Datta, executive director, Jet Airways.
 
Jet Konnect, which operates 130 flights daily, is the carrier’s no-frills all economy class service in key domestic routes and is designed to meet the needs of the low fare segment.

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