IOC may raise petrol prices soon

In his first interaction with media after taking over as the chairman of the nation's largest fuel marketing firm, Ranbir Singh Butola said IOC and other state firms had consciously decided not to revise rates of petrol to keep "the environment happy"

New Delhi: State-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the nation's largest oil firm, today hinted at an imminent hike in petrol prices, whose rates have not been revised since January in view of elections in states like West Bengal, reports PTI.

"We would do it (increase rate) at the earliest possible," IOC chairman Ranbir Singh Butola told reporters here.

In his first interaction with media after taking over as the chairman of the nation's largest fuel marketing firm, Mr Butola said IOC and other state firms had consciously decided not to revise rates of petrol to keep "the environment happy".

The government had in June last year freed petrol pricing from its control and state-run firms had on as many as seven occasions changed rates in line with international prices before deciding in the second half of January to freeze rates.

"We live in an environment (comprising of the people and the government). If we take certain action, the environment is going to turn against us," he said.

IOC is losing a tad less than Rs7 per litre on petrol currently. After including the local sales tax or VAT, the desired increase in price comes to about Rs7.50 a litre in Delhi.

"In our consideration, we decided to take these losses for sometime," Mr Butola said.

Asked if the petrol price will be revised soon after assembly elections are completed on 10th May, he said a review "will take place soon."

He, however, deflected questions on state firms acting at the behest of the government in not revising petrol prices.

IOC was losing Rs297 crore per day on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene at government-controlled rates, he said.

"We are losing Rs18.11 per litre on diesel, Rs28.33 a litre on kerosene and Rs315.86 per 14.2-kg domestic LPG cylinder," he said.

The company, whose debt is growing at Rs5,000-Rs6,000 crore every month on unchanged fuel prices, expects government to compensate it for the losses.

Its debt stood at about Rs53,000 crore at the end of March.

While retail price of petrol is benchmarked at $98 per barrel of international rates, the same for diesel is at $72-$73 equivalent.

The basket of crude oil that India buys averages $120 per barrel currently.

The government had in June last year allowed state-run oil firms to fix the price of petrol but continued to control the prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas with a view to control inflation.

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Sterlite Industries Q4 net profit up over 35% at Rs1,925 crore

The company earned Rs4,023.45 crore from its zinc, lead and silver sales together, registering a growth of 61.98% during the quarter, while its revenue from copper sales were up by over 36% at Rs4,815.57 crore

New Delhi: Vedanta Group arm Sterlite Industries today reported 35.05% jump in consolidated net profit at Rs1,925 crore for the quarter ended 31st March, on higher realisations on products like copper, zinc and silver, reports PTI.

The company had posted a net profit of Rs1,425.31 crore during the corresponding quarter of 2009-10.

Sterlite's net sales registered a growth of 39.91% during the January-March quarter last fiscal at Rs10,000.26 crore as compared to Rs7,147.24 crore it had posted during the corresponding quarter of 2009-10, Sterlite said in a filing to Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

The company earned Rs4,023.45 crore from its zinc, lead and silver sales together, registering a growth of 61.98% during the quarter, while its revenue from copper sales were up by over 36% at Rs4,815.57 crore, the filing added.

The production of refined zinc and copper during the period rose by 29% each, while lead production jumped by 10%.

The annual net profit of the company surged by 34.69% at Rs5,042.52 crore vis-à-vis a net profit of Rs3,743.74 crore in FY09-10.

Its net sales registered a growth of 23.45% at Rs30,248.06 crore for the fiscal year ended 31st March, as compared to Rs24,500.60 crore of 2009-10.

During the year, Sterlite paid Rs273.53 crore towards termination of purchase and sales agreement, and legal expenses in connection with ASARCO acquisition and Rs56.82 crore under voluntary retirement scheme at a subsidiary engaged in zinc, lead, silver and aluminium operations as exceptional expenses, the filing said.

Meanwhile, Sterile Industries has said that the Supreme Court will hear the matter of closing down the copper smelter facility at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu on Friday.

The unit closure order was given by the Madras High Court last year on grounds of pollution.

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Share prices struggling to go higher: Monday Closing Report

Nifty can fall to 5,800 if today's lows are broken. The second support is at 5,670

The market is showing signs of tiredness and unable to cross the previous high made in January. There are signs that we will get a short decline to 5,800 on the Nifty. If that level holds, the market may make an effort to move higher again. If no support comes, Nifty may fall to 5,660 and below.

Today the market opened sideways, weighed down by lacklustre quarterly results from Reliance Industries. Oil & gas, metal and power stocks were on the sellers' radar in early trade. The Sensex opened 63 points lower at 19,539 and the Nifty was at 5,860, down 25 points from its previous close. Gaining some strength in subsequent trade, the market touched the day's high at around 10am. The Sensex rose by 95 points to touch 19,697 and the Nifty added 22 points at 5,907 at the day's high.

The market erased most of its gains and was range-bound with the indices hovering on both sides of the neutral line till noon trade. Fluctuations continued in the post-noon trade with the market slipping to the day's low towards the end of the session, as passenger car maker Maruti Suzuki reported a marginal rise in fourth quarter earnings. At the day's low, the Sensex fell to 19,531 and the Nifty eased to 5,857. The benchmarks ended near those levels as lacklustre earnings hurt sentiment. The Sensex fell by 18 points to 19,584 and the Nifty closed the session 10 points lower at 5,875. The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange was 810:985.

While the broader indices also settled almost flat, the BSE Mid-cap added 0.09% and the BSE Small-cap index rose 0.24%.

Among the sectoral gauges, BSE Consumer Durables (up 0.92%), BSE IT (up 0.83%) and BSE TECk (up 0.55%) were the noteworthy gainers, whereas BSE Oil & Gas (down 1.75%), BSE Realty (down 1.18%) and BSE Bankex (down 0.05%) were the major losers.

Sterlite Industries (up 4.40%), State Bank of India (up 2.06%), Maruti Suzuki (up 1.53%), Infosys Technologies (up 1.13%) and Larsen & Toubro (up 1.03%) were the top gainers on the Sensex. The losers were led by Reliance Industries (down 2.97%), DLF (down 2.25%), Reliance Communications (down 1.41%), Jaiprakash Associates (down 0.98%) and Jindal Steel (down 0.76%).

Managing inflationary pressures, particularly in food grain prices, is the biggest challenge before the policy-makers, according to C Rangarajan, chairman of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council.

Saying that he did not subscribe to the idea that high growth demanded higher level of inflation, Mr Rangarajan said, "We must use all of our policy instruments-interventions in the grain market, fiscal and monetary policies-to bring down inflation further and re-anchor inflationary expectations to the 5% comfort zone."

Asian markets were mostly lower on Monday as concerns about muted corporate earnings in Japan made investors jittery. Japanese automakers declined following a decline in output last month, while the Chinese market slipped on speculations that higher oil prices would prompt policymakers to take further rate-tightening measures.

The Shanghai Composite declined 0.52%, the Jakarta Composite lost 0.33%, the Nikkei 225 fell by 0.11%, the Straits Times was down 0.22% and the Taiwan Weighted contracted by 0.21%. On the other hand, KLSE Composite added 0.09% and the Seoul Composite surged 0.83%. The Hang Seng market remained closed for a local holiday.

Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs307.79 crore on Thursday. Domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities worth Rs269.62 crore.

Crompton Greaves (up 0.09%), part of the $ 4-billion Avantha Group, has announced the inauguration of its drives and automation plant at Mandideep, Bhopal. The plant will produce AC drives for the industrial segment and supply traction converters and control electronics to the Indian Railways. It will also offer package solutions involving transformers, low voltage switchgear, motors and AC drives.

Kalpataru Power Transmission (down 0.87%) has bagged three orders worth over Rs 1,300 crore, including from the Ukraine and Tanzania. In a regulatory filing, the company said it has received Rs825-crore turnkey contract from Ukraine's state entity NEC Ukrenergo to construct 750 kv, 353 km transmission lines. The company has received a Rs42-crore contract from Tanzania for design, supply and construction of 132 kv transmission line of 41 km to connect Zanzibar Interconnector. It has also bagged a Rs457-crore turnkey contract from the Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Co.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (down 0.10%) and MSD (Merck) in India today said they have entered into a partnership to market diabetes drugs Sitagliptin and Sitaglipitin plus Metformin in the Indian market. Under the pact, which comes nearly two weeks after the two firms agreed to form a joint venture, Sun will have the rights to sell the two drugs in the Indian market under different brand names.

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