New Year brings smile to car-makers, sales rise in January

“The year seems to have started on a positive note; domestic sales are showing some buoyancy. But we will have to cautiously watch how this momentum picks up in the months ahead,” HMIL director marketing and sales Arvind Saxena said

New Delhi: Major car makers in the country, including Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata Motors, posted an increase in sales during January, indicating buoyancy in the auto market in the New Year after prolonged sluggishness, reports PTI.

The country’s largest car-maker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) witnessed a turnaround in monthly sales after seven consecutive months of decline with a 2.42% rise in domestic sales to 88,377 units last month from 86,285 units in January last year.

Rival Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) said its sales grew by 11.85% in January to 33,900 units from 30,306 units in the same month last year. Tata Motors also reported a 14.75% increase in domestic passenger vehicles sales to 34,669 units in January from 30,212 units in the same month last year.

“The year seems to have started on a positive note; domestic sales are showing some buoyancy. But we will have to cautiously watch how this momentum picks up in the months ahead,” HMIL director marketing and sales Arvind Saxena said.

Striking a cautious note, MSI managing executive officer (marketing and sales) Mayank Pareek said: “The fundamental weakness in the market still remains. The problems of high interest rates and fuel prices persist and there is also a huge disparity in the demand for petrol and diesel vehicles.”

As per Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers data (SIAM), domestic passenger sales grew by 4.24% in 2011 to 19,46,373 units from 18,67,246 units in 2010.

Other companies, such as Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), also reported good growth during January this year.

M&M posted a 19.56% rise in domestic sales to 41,369 units during the month from 34,601 units in the year-ago period.

TKM reported an 89.34% increase in sales to 17,395 units in January, driven by robust demand for its latest ‘Etios’ and ‘Liva’ models.

“It’s been a good start to the year with a robust growth.

We are happy with the response to the Etios series, the new Innova and the new Fortuner,” TKM deputy managing director (marketing) Sandeep Singh said.

Ford India, on the other hand, reported a 2.99% decline in total sales to 10,789 units during January.

Similarly, General Motors India posted a 17.46% decline in sales to 8,241 units for January, as against 9,984 units in the same month last year.

 

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Govt to take up Cos Bill in Budget Session: Corporate affairs minister

The Companies Bill, 2011, which was listed for passage in the Winter Session, was strongly opposed by the opposition parties and UPA ally Trinamool Congress as they said this was virtually a new Bill with considerable alterations to the earlier version

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday said it is hopeful of taking up the new Companies Bill for consideration and passage in the upcoming Budget Session of Parliament, reports PTI.

“Standing Committee had their first meeting on 24th January.

I expect them to give (clearance) as early as possible so that I can present the Bill in the next session of Parliament and get it passed," corporate affairs minister Veerappa Moily told reporters here.

The Companies Bill, 2011, which was listed for passage in the Winter Session, was strongly opposed by the opposition parties and UPA ally Trinamool Congress as they said this was virtually a new Bill with considerable alterations to the earlier version.

As a result, the Bill has to be sent back to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance for scrutiny.

The new legislation seeks to replace the half-a-century-old Companies Act, 1956, and modernise corporate practices in line with developments taking place across the globe.

The Bill will introduce new rules, covering areas such as corporate social responsibility (CSR), class action suits and a fixed term for independent directors. It also proposes to tighten laws for raising money from the public.

The Bill also seeks to strongly check insider trading by company directors or key managerial personnel by treating such activities as a criminal offence.

Further, it has proposed that companies should earmark 2% of their average profit of the preceding three years for corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and make a disclosure to shareholders about the policy adopted in the process.

Meanwhile, speaking at the CSR Conclave organised by SCOPE-IICA, SCOPE director general UD Choubey said the mandatory provision of CSR in the public sector should be extended to the private sector.

Mr Choubey also stressed on the need for social audit of the expenses incurred by NGOs.

Under the CSR provisions for PSUs, a company with a net profit of less than Rs100 crore will have to spend 3%-5% of it on the CSR.

Those PSUs with a net profit of Rs100-Rs500 crore a year will have to earmark 2%-3% of it for CSR. A company with a bottomline of Rs500 crore and above will have to set aside 0.5%-2% for CSR activities, which should preferably be related to its business as a natural corollary.

Mr Moily further said he has sought a report on the huge quantum of ‘sundry income’ reported by several Indian entities of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

“I sought a report... First we will get an appropriate report. If there is prima facie case, we will proceed later,” Mr Moily added.

 

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March inflation to be 6-7%; growth over 7%: FM

“We are hopeful that by the end of March, headline inflation would be between 6% and 7% while the growth rate may be around 7% plus,” finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told a group of eminent economists at the pre-Budget meeting

New Delhi: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday said the economy may expand by over 7% in 2011-12 and inflation could ease to 6%-7% by March-end, even as economists urged the government to adopt fiscal discipline and push policy reforms for higher growth, reports PTI.

“We are hopeful that by the end of March, headline inflation would be between 6% and 7% while the growth rate may be around 7% plus,” Mr Mukherjee told a group of eminent economists at the pre-Budget meeting.

The finance minister, who would present the Union Budget in the middle of March, discussed the challenges faced by the economy on both global and domestic fronts.

“The current year was a challenging year as we had to face the problem of inflation, fiscal deficit and maintenance of sustainable and inclusive growth,” he said.

Due to volatility of international crude prices, Eurozone crisis and overall slowdown in the growth process in developed countries, emerging economies including India had also to face the adverse impact of global slowdown.

After the meeting, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) secretary general Rajiv Kumar said the economists urged the finance minister to present a Budget signalling fiscal consolidation and policy reforms.

The economists also expressed concern over the widening fiscal deficit, which had crossed 92% of the Budget target by December.

“Budget has to make a strong policy statement. Show the world that government is serious on fiscal consolidation and fiscal deficit will be reduced,” Mr Kumar told reporters.

The headline inflation, which was near double digit for almost two years, has started showing signs of moderation and declined to 7.47% in December.

In the first half of the current fiscal, the economy grew by 7.3% amid adverse global and domestic factors. Last year, the gross domestic product (GDP) stood at 8.4%.

 

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