Companies & Sectors
Metkore Alloys to invest $80 million in Oman for ferro chrome project

Metkore is also negotiating with a well-established local firm for a joint venture agreement for its new ferro chrome project in Oman


Dubai: India's Metkore Alloys and Industries is set to build a world class 165,000 tonnes per annum capacity ferro chrome smelter project in Oman with an envisaged investment of $80 million, reports PTI.

This is the third ferro chrome project coming up Sohar free zone, local media reports said. The project work of Metkore is expected to start in October, with the completion of the work within 18 months.

According to reports, a land lease agreement was signed by Sheikh Sa'ad bin Mohammed Al Mardhouf Al Sa'adi, Chairman of Port of Sohar, and Prashant Boorugu, Managing Director of Metkore Alloys & Industries.

Metkore is negotiating with a well-established local firm for a joint venture agreement for the ferro chrome project, but no agreement has been signed so far.

The ferro chrome plant will become operational in 2014 and is expected to generate direct employment for about 500 people.

The company has already appointed consultants to carry out technical and environmental studies for the project.

Omanisation is the prime objective of the company and all efforts will be taken to train the local Omani nationals and appoint them to operate the plant profitably, it has said.

Further, the low grade chrome ore available in Oman will be beneficiated and put to gainful use thereby adding value to the mineral resources available in Oman.


Car sales in May hampered due to rising cost of ownership

Recent increase in petrol prices, coupled with a hike in excise duty and vehicle prices as well as stiff interest rates have increased the cost of ownership, especially for petrol-run vehicles


Car sales during May grew at the slowest pace in seven months reporting 2.8% growth as high interest rates and petrol prices continue to hit the market, reports PTI.

According to figures released by industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), domestic car sales in May stood at 1.63 lakh units as against 1.58 lakh units in the same month last year. “This is the slowest growth since October last year when car sales witnessed a decline of 23.8%,” SIAM director general Vishnu Mathur told reporters in the capital.

“The softening of interest rates, which was expected to happen has not materialised and continues to be high. Moreover, high petrol prices have also affected sales and the overall sentiment in the market is very negative,” he added.

Increase in prices of vehicles following the excise duty hike in the Budget has also had a major impact, Mr Mathur said, adding that even diesel vehicles which used to have a lot of demand had tapered off. The recent increase in petrol prices, coupled with hike in vehicle prices and stiff interest rates have increased the cost of ownership, especially for petrol-run vehicles.

“In the premium and executive segment, which are generally considered to be price insensitive, the demand for diesel vehicles has slowed down,” Mr Mathur said.

At such a time, he added, “If the government goes ahead and decides to tax diesel vehicles more, the overall demand will suffer all the more”.

Motilal Oswal Securities, in a research note said, “Slowdown earlier visible in passenger cars (2.2% FY12 growth in domestic cars) is now clearly evident in two-wheeler volumes as well, with growth rate moderating to about 10% over the last four months (Vs 17% in eight months of FY12). However, utility vehicles (UVs) and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) continue to record strong volume growth. Although volume outlook in the short-term is impacted by macro headwinds, we believe long-term volume outlook remains positive driven by strong economic growth, softening in interest rates, new product launches and exports potential.”

During May, in the passenger car segment, market leader Maruti Suzuki’s sales dipped by 5.9% to 72,309 units. However, rival Hyundai Motor India's sales increased by 3% to 31,939 units. Tata Motors, India’s largest vehicle maker witnessed 6.7% increase in car sales at 17,371 units.

In May, total sales of vehicles across categories registered an increase of 10.5% to 15.13 lakh units as against 13.7 lakh units in the same month last year. Total two-wheeler sales last month increased by 11.4% to 11.92 lakh units from 10.7 lakh units in May 2011.

According to the SIAM data, motorcycle sales in the country grew 7.2% during May to 8.9 lakh units from 8.3 lakh units in the same month last year. In this segment, market leader Hero MotoCorp posted 10.7% jump in sales to 5.0 lakh units in May. However, rival Bajaj Auto's sales went down by 5.3% to 2.1 lakh units during the month.

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) posted a 45.5% increase in sales to 88,334 units, while TVS Motor moved 47,175 units, 14.5% less than the corresponding month of the previous year.

The scooter segment’s overall sales grew 34.4% to 2.4 lakh units from 1.7 lakh units.

HMSI’s scooter sales grew by 65.5% to 1.24 lakh units in May, while Hero MotoCorp sold 36,312 units, up 24%. TVS Motor's sales saw decline of 2.4% during the month to 34,936 units.

Commercial vehicles sales grew by 9.1% to 62,025 units during the month, from 56,841 units in the year-ago period, SIAM said.

Medium and heavy commercial vehicle sales declined 10.6% to 22,227 units during the month compared to 24,858 units in May last year.

According to SIAM, light commercial vehicle sales grew 24.4% to 39,798 units in May 2012 from 31,983 units in same month a year ago.

In the three-wheeler category, sales fell by 3.3% to 37,184 units from 35,988 units in the same month last year.


L&T gets Rs2,410-crore orders across various businesses

L&T Construction won new orders worth Rs2,410 crore from leading developers for the construction of major residential towers in north India

New Delhi: Engineering company Larsen & Toubro (L&T) on Thursday said its construction unit has won Rs2,410 crore new orders across various businesses during April-June 2012, reports PTI.

"L&T Construction, part of the Laresn & Toubro conglomerate has won new orders valued at Rs2,410 crore ... The Buildings and Factories IC (independent company) has secured new orders worth Rs1,921 crore," it said in a statement.

The orders were received from leading developers for the construction of major residential towers across various cities in the northern part of the country, it added.

Besides, the company said, its infrastructure IC has won orders to the tune of Rs345 crore for the design and construction of viaducts and three elevated stations from Delhi Metro Rail Corp which also includes additional orders from various ongoing projects.

"In yet another development, the water effluent and treatment business has received new orders worth Rs244 crore from Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board for upgrading the existing water distribution systems including additional orders from various ongoing projects," the statement said.

L&T is a $12.8 billion technology, engineering, construction, manufacturing and financial services conglomerate with global operations.


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