Companies & Sectors
Interest cost dent auto sales, marginal rise in June
Lenders' reluctance to lower interest rates continued to dent the Indian automobile sector as first-time buyers and fleet operators were deterred by stubbornly high financing cost during June.
 
Leading players in the automobile industry reported marginal to negative sales growth for last month.
 
While Maruti and Hyundai posted growth in sales, home-grown players such as Tata Motors and Mahindra reported mixed results. 
 
The country's largest passenger car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki's sales inched up 1.8 percent at 114,756 units -- up from 112,773 units sold in the corresponding month of 2014.
 
Domestic sales were up 1.6 percent at 102,626 units. Exports gained by 2.7 percent at 12,130 units being shipped out.
 
Hyundai Motor India also posted sales growth. It reported a 3.1 percent rise in June sales which stood at 52,062 units.
 
The company's domestic sales grew by 8.3 percent and stood at 36,300 units. However, the foreign sales of the largest passenger car exporter in the country's fell in the month under review.
 
The company only managed to ship out 15,762 units in June, 2015, which is a decline of 7.3 percent from 17,004 units being sold abroad in the corresponding month of the previous year.
 
Home-grown majors such as Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) reported mixed results in monthly sales.
 
Tata Motors sales in June grew by six percent and stood at 40,870 units from 38,574 units.
 
Domestic sales were up by three percent at 35,823 units. Exports in the month under review zoomed by 32 percent at 5,047 units.
 
On the other hand, sales of M&M declined by six percent at 36,134 units.
 
"With a normal monsoon till date, an overall positive sentiment and a slew of new launches in the automotive industry, we expect buoyancy in demand going forward," said Pravin Shah, chief executive of the automotive division, Mahindra and Mahindra.
 
The company's domestic sales were down by nine percent during the month under review and stood at 33,282 units from an off-take of 36,452 units during June, 2014.
 
However, exports of M&M rose exponentially by 42 percent and stood at 2,852 units being sold abroad from 2,014 units shipped out during the corresponding month of 2014.
 
Two- and three-wheeler-maker TVS Motor Company closed last month with an eight percent growth in sales at 222,097 units from 205,403 units sold in the corresponding month of 2014.
 
Suzuki Motorcycle India registered a 32 percent increase in its June 2015 sales which stood at 32,628 units from 24,812 units sold in the corresponding month of last year.
 
"Several factors have come together to propel us onto a consistent growth path. Part of the increased demand from customers is because of Suzuki's various marketing efforts and partly due to the perceived upswing in consumer mood," said Atul Gupta, executive vice president, Suzuki Motorcycle India.
 
"In general, the economy tends to show signs of picking up after a better-than-expected monsoon, which always has a positive influence on the auto sector," Gupta added. 
 
Yamaha Motor India Sales announced a growth of 24 percent in its overall sales which stood at 66,140 units in June 2015 from 53,485 units which were sold in the corresponding month of 2014.
 
Two-wheeler major Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India's sales grew by eight percent and stood at 348,793 units from 323,136 units sold in June, 2014.
 
However, Hero MotoCorp's May sales inched-up by 0.14 percent and stood at 542,362 units from 541,594 units sold in the corresponding month of last year.

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Iran gets back 13 tonnes of gold in sanction relief
Iran has received 13 tonnes of gold which had been held in South Africa for two years due to sanctions, Iran's central bank announced on Wednesday.
 
The gold was delivered to the central bank on Tuesday night. After purchasing the gold, Iran had to deposit it in South Africa as sanctions blocked its way to Iran, semi-official Fars news agency quoted Central Governor Valiollah Seif as saying.
 
The report did not mention where nor when did Iran purchase the gold, according to Xinhua.
 
Seif thanked Iranian nuclear negotiators for the return of the gold, saying that their efforts at the Vienna talks helped free the frozen asset.
 
Iran has received $4.2 billion in unfrozen assets under the 2013 interim agreement with the US and was then given another $2.8 billion by the Obama administration last year in a bid to keep Tehran committed to the talks.

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British food authority calls Maggi noodles safe

Britain imports only masala flavour of these noodles, the food authority said, adding that the FSA also tested other variants from the Maggi noodles range

 

Britain's Food Standards Authority (FSA) on Wednesday announced that Nestle India's Maggi noodles, manufactured in India and exported to Britain, were safe to consume and contained lead well within permissible levels.
 
"The FSA can confirm that results from testing samples of Maggi noodles in the UK have all found that levels of lead in the product is well within European Union (EU) permissible levels and would not be a concern to consumers," the FSA said on its website.
 
Britain imports only masala flavour of these noodles, the food authority said, adding that the FSA also tested other variants from the Maggi noodles range.
 
A total of 900 samples were drawn from Nestle as well as the local authorities in Britain and tested.
 
"Following an incident in India, where a sample of Maggi noodles was reported to contain high levels of lead, the FSA made the decision to test a selection of Maggi noodles as a precaution," the food authority said.
 
India's food safety regulator had ordered Nestle to withdraw Maggi noodles after some samples were found to contain higher-than-permissible levels of lead -- a finding that was rejected by the company, saying its own independent tests suggested otherwise.
 
The company has halted production of Maggi noodles in its factories in India since June 5 and decided to withdraw it from the Indian market.
 
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday allowed the company to export all varieties of Maggi noodles from India, though the domestic marketing restrictions would continue.

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