Lanco Infratech wins EPC contract worth Rs4,100 crore

Lanco Infratech Ltd has won an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC)  contract worth Rs4,100 crore from a subsidiary of Moser Baer Projects Pvt Ltd for execution of its coal based 2x600 MW power project.

The scope of work includes setting up of the main plant including civil and structural works on EPC basis. Lanco has already received its notice to proceed, said the company in a statement.

The total project will be completed in 39 months starting from 20 December 2010.

The Unit-I is expected to be completed in 35 months and Unit-II in 39 months.

On Tuesday, Lanco Infratech gained 0.64% to Rs62.50 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex closed 0.86% up at 20,060.32 points.

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Insider trading in Ispat Industries?

Don’t expect an investigation by the regulator, much less any indictment, but insider trading in Ispat counter was telltale

The shares of Ispat Industries climbed over 10% on Monday—well before the deal between JSW and Ispat was announced. But Monday was the last stage of the rally, propelled by massive insider buying. For days together the counter of Ispat Industries was abuzz with huge volumes and sharp rise in prices. Did people close to the deal, have definite information that something conclusive was afoot? It would seem so from the stock price movement.

Look at the facts. On 9th December, the Ispat stock was languishing at Rs17.80. The next day, the scrip shot up to Rs18.80 a rise of 5.3% on large volumes. On 13th December it jumped up again by 4.81%. The following day, when the broader market was struggling, Ispat was up further by 5.3%. On 15th December, a large number of stocks dipped, but Ispat stayed up. On 16th December, the Ispat stock shot up again by 4.5%.

Yesterday, it was sharply up since the morning as the buzz went around of a possible takeover by JSW. But, up until yesterday, there was absolutely no news and so no reason for such consistent, forceful buying in the stock on ever-larger volumes, for six consecutive days. In short, there was much insider trading.

As we have pointed out regularly in the ‘Unquoted’ section of Moneylife magazine, there is rampant manipulation going on in small Indian stocks. What is amazing, however, is how virtually every large takeover is also accompanied by massive price movements some days before the deal. Clearly, those in the market have little to fear about being caught. At least, not yet.

Also read:

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Teaching talent is going to be a key challenge

Zee Learn, which has been demerged from the entertainment business of ETC, is focussing on technology and training to consolidate its pre-school-to-professional education business which is catching on fast

Zee Learn the only organised player in the pre-school market in India, was listed on the stock exchanges yesterday. Sumeet Mehta, CEO of Zee Learn, spoke to Moneylife about the business model, the education programme, his company’s plans and the challenges it faces.

MoneyLife (ML): What are the reasons for listing the company? What will be the shareholding pattern be?

Sumeet Mehta (SM):
Zee Learn de-merged from ETC network, which is mainly into education and the entertainment business. Entertainment was looked at by Zee Entertainment. So, Zee Learn was carved out to totally focus on the education business, and now it has been listed on the stock exchanges.

ML: What will be the net profit percentage to sales and return on equity for 2011?

SM:
The last six-months sales was around Rs20 crore and profit after tax (PAT) was around Rs1.5 crore. We should maintain or marginally improve in the next six months. From the next fiscal we would see some growth.

ML: What have been the impediments in marketing the novel concept? What is the cost of marketing and promotion as a percentage of sales?

SM:
Marketing was never a problem, because we always delivered and focused on supplying quality education. Since the beginning, we were well established and a market leader. In 2006, parents of children who passed out from Kid Zee were happy and wanted schooling from Zee Learn, which helped us to work out a quality education programme. About 25% of total sales is our cost of marketing. 
 
ML: What are your key challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?

SM:
As we grow, teaching talent is going to be a key challenge. We are working on the quality of our staff and teachers. In the education sector, there is hardly any innovation. But we are focusing on innovation in terms of technology, training, infrastructure, and so on. Fee regulations by various state governments and the fact that educational institutions are supposed to be not-for-profit organisations, would impede fast scale-up.

ML: Zee Learn has educational programmes from pre-primary to professional courses related to creative arts and film-making. What makes you different from others institutes offering varied courses?

SM:
Our pedagogy is the most unique aspect of Zee Learn. The pre-school pedagogy iLLume stands out from others. It ensures bringing out the true potential of the child. At the school level we emphasise on multiple intelligence and life skills such as communication. In addition we cultivate and encourage children to impart ideas of being a good human being. At 2D animation courses we focus on building animation skills in a student, as this is more important than teaching software which keeps on changing.

ML: What is your competitive position vis-à-vis the neighbourhood pre-primary schools?

SM:
We are not bothered about the competition. The market is still under-penetrated. There is lot of room to grow and 5-7 years from now there are going to be nearly four to five market players without coming in each others way.

ML: Is getting a regular supply of quality teachers a problem? What are you doing about it?

SM:
Training of teachers is one of our key focus areas. Each teacher has to have 60 hours of Zee Learn’s training programme, which is a significant amount of investment in terms of time and resources. 

ML: What is the road-map for the coming year?

SM:
We are in the process of growing steadily. By the end of this year we will have 800+ pre-schools and around 40,000 students in Kid Zee schools.

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