MoEF grants conditional go ahead to Lavasa

“In view of the investments made and taking note of the hardships faced by the petitioners (Lavasa) and pending construction work of 257 buildings, which are above plinth level, construction is permitted with some conditions,” deputy director of the MOEF said

Mumbai: The Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) on Wednesday granted ‘conditional’ permission to Lavasa Corporation to complete its under-construction buildings at its housing project site near Pune even as the realty firm backtracked on its plea to withdraw the petition challenging the stop-work notice issued by the ministry, reports PTI.

According to the affidavit filed by the MoEF before the Bombay High Court, its expert committee has “permitted” the Lavasa Corporation to complete construction of 257 buildings which are above the plinth level at its hill city.

“In view of the investments made and taking note of the hardships faced by the petitioners (Lavasa) and pending construction work of 257 buildings, which are above plinth level, construction is permitted with some conditions,” the affidavit filed by deputy director of the MOEF said.

Simultaneously, senior counsels Mukul Rohatgi and Janak Dwarkadas, appearing for Lavasa, told the high court that the petitioner would like to withdraw its petition challenging the stop-work notice issued by the MoEF last year.

They told the court that Lavasa would pursue its application filed before the MoEF seeking clearance for the housing project coming up in Pune district.

Lavasa, however, backtracked after the division bench of justices Ranjana Desai and RG Ketkar refused to lift the stay on the stop-work notice. The bench said let the MoEF hear the Lavasa’s application and take a final decision on it.

“Initially, we (Lavasa) had said that the MOEF has no jurisdiction to issue stop-work notice. But today, we agree that clearance from the ministry is required. Lavasa is losing Rs5 crore everyday since the construction has been stopped.

Till date, the loss has been Rs300 crore,” Mr Rohatgi submitted.

Lavasa Corporation, a subsidiary of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), had challenged in the Bombay High Court the 25th November notice of MoEF for not obtaining mandatory permission under the Environment Protection Act before starting the project in 2004.

Lavasa had claimed in its petition that it is a tourism project and was based on the state hill tourism policy, formulated by the state government, allowing the Rs2,000 crore project to come up.

Additional Solicitor General Darius Khambata appearing for MoEF said “The experts’ committee formed to look into the issue has already submitted its report reaffirming the stop work notice. There are several violations. Let Lavasa approach the ministry, which would hear the matter and give its decision. It might lead to prosecution or penalty or clearance.”

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Cautious opening likely for Indian stocks: Thursday Market Preview

Japan’s manufacturing output plunged to a two-year low in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake earlier this month worried investors about the time required for the country to recover from the losses

The Indian market is likely to see a cautious opening today as its Asian peers were mixed in early trade as Japan’s manufacturing output plunged to a two-year low in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake earlier this month. Earlier, the US markets logged modest gains on Wednesday and are poised to post their best quarterly performance since 1998. The SGX Nifty was up 12 points at 5,825 compared to its previous close of 5,813.

Meanwhile, domestic triggers for today include expiry of the March futures and options contract and weekly food inflation data. Besides, today is the last day of the financial year 2010-11.  

The upmove in the Indian market continued on Wednesday with the Sensex opening at 19,179, 58 points above its previous close and the Nifty 20 points up at 5,756. The US markets were strong on Tuesday. The uptrend in the Asian space emanating from the optimism that Japanese factories have resumed production after the devastating earthquake earlier this month, spurred investor sentiment in the domestic market. Institutional buying pushed the indices further northwards as trade progressed. All sectoral indices were in the positive zone in morning trade.

The indices touched the day’s high minutes after 1pm, with the Sensex at 19,357 and the Nifty scaling 5,803. However, profit booking amid choppy trade led the market to its intra-day low at 2.20pm. The Sensex fell to 19,179 and the Nifty was at 5,754 at the day's low.

Another bout of buying in the last half hour pushed the indices marginally higher and they closed in the green for the seventh consecutive day. The Sensex settled 169 points higher at 19,290 and the Nifty ended 51 points up at 5,787 as the benchmarks logged their best closing since 13th January.

Share prices are in an overbought zone and are due for a correction. Besides, the exceptionally strong showing will be tested on Thursday and Friday, after the derivatives of March and the financial year are over.

Markets in the US closed higher on Wednesday and are poised to log their best quarterly performance since 1998. The gains came on positive data from the jobs market, an indicator that the economy is slowly picking up. The ADP Employer Services report on Wednesday showed companies hired 201,000 workers in March, marking the third time in four months that the nation added more than 200,000 jobs.

Among corporates, Cephalon soared 28% after Valeant, Canada’s biggest drug maker, offered to buy the Frazer, Pennsylvania-based company for $73 a share in cash. AT&T gained 2.2% on the Dow as the company said the acquisition of Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA would boost network capacity and improve service for devices such as iPhone. Chemicals company DuPont gained 1.43% after it extended its $6 billion takeover bid for Denmark’s Danisco.

The Dow rose 71.60 points (0.58%) to 12,350.61. The S&P 500 added 8.82 points (0.67%) to 1,328.26 and the Nasdaq gained 19.90 points (0.72/5) to 2,776.79.

Asian markets were mixed in early trade on Thursday as the Japanese market was lower following a report that Japan’s manufacturing output plunged to a two-year low in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake earlier this month. The Markit/JMMA Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to a seasonally adjusted 46.4 in March, the lowest since April 2009 and down from February’s 52.9. The index slipped below the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for the first time in three months, while the extent of the drop from the previous month exceeded those seen after the attacks of 11 September 2001, and the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Meanwhile, China is likely to face pressure from countries like the US, India and Brazil to allow a stronger yuan during the Group of 20 (G20) finance chiefs who are meeting in Nanjing, China, for a seminar initiated by French President Nicolas Sarkozy on reshaping the global monetary system.

The Hang Seng gained 0.40%, the Jakarta Composite rose 0.35%, the KLSE Composite was up 0.34%, the Straits Times climbed 0.27% and the Seoul Composite added 0.02%. On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite declined 0.10%, the Nikkei 225 lost 0.03% and the Taiwan Weighted was down 0.02%.

Back home, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday directed IT major Mahindra Satyam to deposit Rs350 crore with Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and also issue it bank guarantee of Rs267 crore in its ongoing tax dispute with the Income Tax (I-T) department. The CBDT has demanded Rs617 crore from the company as tax.

Mahindra Satyam chairman Vineet Nayyar had earlier said that CBDT turned down its requests not to impose the tax, as calculations were based on previous management's accounts, which had proved to be fictitious.

The I-T department’s tax claim is based on Rs345 crore foreign tax credit availed by the former management of Satyam Computer Services headed by Ramalinga Raju during 2002-08, which the present management believes is forged.

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Share prices showing remarkable strength: Wednesday Closing Report

In the face of high oil prices and subdued expectations of economic growth, stock prices have been exceptionally strong. But the real test of the upmove will be after Thursday

The upmove in the Indian market continued today with the Sensex opening at 19,179, 58 points above its previous close and the Nifty was 20 points up at 5,756. The US markets were strong yesterday.

The uptrend in the Asian space emanating from the optimism that Japanese factories have resumed production after the devastating earthquake earlier this month, spurred investor sentiment in the domestic market. Institutional buying pushed the indices further northwards as trade progressed. All sectoral indices were in the positive zone in morning trade.

Share prices are in an overbought zone and are due for a correction. Besides, the exceptionally strong showing will be tested on Thursday and Friday, after the derivatives of March and the financial year are over.

US-based International Paper (IP) said today that it will buy a key stake in India's Andhra Pradesh Paper Mills (APPM) for up to $423 million, as it seeks a foothold in the booming Indian economy. IP said it would buy 53.5% of APPM from the parent LN Bangur group for $257 million in cash and make a public offer for an additional 21.5% of APPM's shares for $104 million. Besides, it has agreed to a $62 million non-compete payment to the sellers, taking the deal's potential value to $423 million.

The APPM stock hit the upper circuit limit of 19.99% on the Bombay Stock Exchange at Rs236.15 a piece today. A similar trend was seen on the National Stock Exchange where the stock touched Rs236.95, a gain of 20.01%.

The indices touched the day's high minutes after 1pm, with the Sensex at 19,357 and the Nifty scaling 5,803. However, profit booking amid choppy trade led the market to its intra-day low at 2.20pm. The Sensex fell to 19,179 and the Nifty was at 5,754 at the day's low.

Another bout of buying in the last half hour pushed the indices marginally higher and they closed in the green for the seventh consecutive day. The Sensex settled 169 points higher at 19,290 and the Nifty ended 51 points up at 5,787 as the benchmarks logged their best closing since 13th January. The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was 1341:428.

As we mentioned yesterday, the Nifty has witnessed a continuous rally of seven consecutive days 77 times since July 1990 and the current rally is the 78th instance. Of the prior 77 times, the Nifty has been positive 42 times on the eighth trading day and 35 times in the negative.

The Sensex has added 1,451 points in this financial year-end rally that began on 22nd March and the Nifty has put on 423 points in the period.

After being left behind for the last couple of days, the broader markets outperformed the Sensex today with the BSE Mid-cap index surging 1.51% and the BSE Small-cap index jumping 2.20%.

With the exception of the BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods index, all other sectoral gauges ended in the positive. BSE Consumer Durables (up 3.98%), BSE Realty (up 3.14%), BSE Healthcare (up 1.95%), BSE Bankex (up 1.67%) and BSE Auto (up 1.49%) were the top gainers. BSE FMCG fell 0.38%.

Cipla (up 5.17%), Jaiprakash Associates (up 4.19%), DLF (up 3.83%), Mahindra & Mahindra (up 3.46%) and State Bank of India (up 3.27%) were the top Sensex gainers. Hindalco Industries (down 1.15%), ITC (down 0.84%), BHEL (down 0.47%), Tata Power (down 0.30%) and ONGC (down 0.28) were at the bottom of the index.

Markets in Asia posted smart gains with the Nikkei 225 leading the pack on weakening of the yen against the dollar and news that some companies will restart production that was halted after the earthquake in Japan. Gains in the region's stock markets are an indication that the global economic recovery is still strong. However, the Shanghai Composite, considered the best performing market so far this year, ended lower today.

The Hang Seng surged 1.70%, the Jakarta Composite gained 1.38%, the KLSE Composite rose 0.76%, the Nikkei 225 jumped 2.64%, the Straits Times advanced 1.26%, the Seoul Composite rose 0.93% and the Taiwan Weighted climbed 0.58%. Bucking the trend, the Shanghai Composite lost 0.07% today.

Back home, continuing its declining trend for the eighth consecutive month, India's iron ore exports in February went down by 18.60% to 10.13 million tonnes (MT), from 12.54 MT in February 2010.

Outbound shipment of the vital steel-making raw material also declined in the April 2010-February 2011 period by 17.98% to 85.43 MT, mainly on account of a ban on exports imposed by the Karnataka government.

Foreign institutional investors continued their buying spree on Tuesday, emerging as net buyers of stocks worth Rs1,291.54 crore. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs474.17 crore.

Dr Reddy's Laboratories (up 2.65%) today said it has acquired GlaxoSmithKline's US penicillin manufacturing facility and the rights to the Augmentin and Amoxil brands in the United States for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition of the oral penicillin manufacturing facility in Bristol and product portfolio was completed on Tuesday and is pursuant to the agreement signed by the companies on 23 November 2010.

IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (up 1.06%) is planning to expand its operations in the European healthcare segment. The company is also planning to acquire companies in the German market which can bring certain domain expertise, particularly in the healthcare segment.

Lanco Infratech (down 1.13%) has signed an agreement for raising debt of Rs5,500 crore from a consortium of financiers led by state-run Power Finance Corporation to finance its upcoming 1,320MW power generation unit in Chhattisgarh. It has raised the debt at an average rate of around 12%-12.5%. The company has signed the loan document for Amarkantak unit 3 and 4, both the expansion units are scheduled to be commissioned in phases by 2014.

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