Companies & Sectors
JSW Energy to close deal for Canadian coal miner by end-February

Higher coal prices impact power producer’s bottom line; looks to acquire more coal assets to meet its requirements

JSW Energy expects to close the deal to acquire the entire stake in Canadian coal miner CIC Energy by the end of next month, according to a senior official at JSW Energy.

"We hope to seal the CIC Energy deal by 28th February. CIC Energy will hold a special meeting of their shareholders tomorrow (21st January) to get approvals," LK Gupta, joint managing director and chief executive officer of JSW Energy, said last evening.
Under the deal, JSW Energy will get coal mine assets, which have reserves of about 2.6 billion tonnes of thermal coal that is used primarily by power plants, in Botswana, Africa.

"The acquisition will help JSW Energy to meet our medium- and long-term raw material requirements for existing projects," N K Jain, vice-chairman of JSW Energy, said on the sidelines of a news conference to announce the company's earnings.

In November, JSW Energy agreed to buy CIC Energy for about $414.5 million after two months of exclusive talks. Earlier in April, it acquired a majority stake in South African Coal Mining Holding Ltd.

The company is looking to acquire coal mining assets to meet its requirements for thermal coal for its power projects. "We are open to all options to buying coal assets or form joint ventures to meet our raw material requirements," Mr Jain said.

JSW Energy also intends to increase its coal mining capacities at its mines in Indonesia and South Africa to ensure coal supply and reduce costs. "We want to buy coal mines in Indonesia and South Africa," said Pramod Menon, chief finance officer JSW. The company is planning to invest around Rs50 million for the expansion.
Rising prices of imported coal has impacted the company's margins in the third quarter ended 31st December 2010. JSW Energy reported a 25% drop in third-quarter net profit due to rising fuel costs. Net profit for the October-December period slipped to Rs153 crore from Rs205 crore in the corresponding quarter a year ago, while sales jumped 52% to Rs1,061 crore from Rs697 crore.
Fuel costs increased to Rs638 crore from Rs277 crore due to higher coal prices. "Due to floods in Australia (a major coal supplier) coal prices have shot up and the impact may continue in the fourth quarter too," Mr Jain said. "We could see stability in coal prices in the first quarter of the next financial year."


Parle Hippo: Maa to the rescue!

Mother’s love is wasted on the wrong product. ‘Hippo’ was better off solving the world’s hunger problem

There's an old saying in the advertising world: When all else fails, use emotion. And when that seems a trifle out of sync proposition in the product category, rush to good ol' mother's love. Can't go wrong in India with maa ka pyaar.

Well, 'Hippo', for its new 'Round-Round' munchies variant, has tried to do exactly that. Earlier, the Parle Agro snack brand had attempted to solve the world's hunger problem. That bleeding heart strategy appears to have done little magic… more people are dying of starvation on Earth than ever before. So I suppose that prompted the advertiser to drop the idea of saving the world, and instead switch to selling the munchie on the promise of love and care.

Now the 'animal' (we only get to see shadows for some reason) substitutes mummy's affection. Especially for 'children' far removed from their dear mommas. Army jawans, a boy in a hospital, a firangi tourist, etc. And of course, moms from all parts of India make an appearance to force in the pan India positioning. The Hippo, like a Mumbai dabbawalla, takes their 'preparations' and circulates them all over. And yes, there's that expected emotional jingle, which pays glowing tributes to maataji.

So will it work? Well, maa can't go wrong in this mother-obsessed nation, can she? It's always a safe trick to pull. However, for this particular product category, which is nothing but a fatty, mass-produced snack, I find the connection a bit corny. Which mother would like to send out frivolous food to her ailing son? Or to her jawan son posted at the border? If this was a deliciously produced health food, loaded with vitamins, proteins, minerals, etc, etc, the 'maa ka dulaar' concept may have worked. But for a floozy tit bit, this idea is totally incredible. In fact, the last thing a caring mom would want is to courier a time-pass munchie to her hospitalised son. Come to think of it, security guards posted at good hospitals won't even allow it to be carried into the premises!

Net net: Mother's love wasted on the wrong product. Hippo was better off solving the world's hunger problem. Especially in India where the aam aadmi isn't able to afford basic food stuff like onions, toor dal and tomatoes. "Can't afford a chappati? Go for Hippo instead!" I can hear Soniaji muttering in Italian.


ONGC pipeline off Mumbai coast develops leak

New Delhi: An oil spill was reported today off the Mumbai coast following a rupture in a pipeline carrying crude oil from state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's (ONGC) offshore oilfields, reports PTI.

The leakage in a pipeline carrying Mumbai High crude oil to Uran was reported around 0845 hrs and production was immediately stopped, a senior company official said.

"Production from the Mumbai High and Bassein oilfields was restarted around 0950 hrs and crude oil is being transported to shore using a separate line," he said.

ONGC boats and Coast Guard vessels have been pressed into service to access the damage. "Right now it is difficult to say what the damage has been," he said.

Production from the field was stopped for a short while following the incident but was resumed shortly after oil flow from subsea wells was diverted through another line.

Mumbai High and Bassein fields together produce 247,000 barrels of oil per day and the brief stoppage would mean that they would produce about 25,000 barrels less oil today.

The official said divers are being pressed into service to go down to sea-bed to access the damage to the pipeline.

"Remedial measures will follow once we know the extent of the oil spill," he added.


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