Companies & Sectors
Nomura expects steel industry to pick up

After a lacklustre performance throughout the year, Nomura expects near-term pick up as rupee depreciation makes steel imports dearer which will revive local demand

The steel industry has been in the doldrums for the entire 2012 but Nomura’s Equity Research expects a pick-up in the near-term. Several companies, according to media and broker reports, are sending signals that an uptrend could be imminent as they raise steel prices, indicating demand pick-up. Nomura said, “With rising global prices, and the rupee depreciation, we expect net imports to moderate from current levels. At the same time India would be entering a seasonally strong demand period and hence we expect demand to pick up from current levels.” The company is bullish on Tata Steel and Steel Authority of India (SAIL).
 

Nevertheless, Nomura expects near-term scenario to be beneficial for companies with expansion plans and value added products. “We believe Tata Steel’s 2.9mpta capacity, which is ramping up production, to be a key beneficiary of India being a net importer—with increased production from Tata Steel in Q4FY13.”
 

The steel industry is commoditised and value-addition is hard to come by and requires lot of capital expenditure.
 

Similarly, SAIL, which has been performing below-average, could do well as the company pushes for volumes and price cuts to get rid of its glut. It is surprising to note that India is a net importer of steel despite companies like SAIL having excess inventory. However, Nomura has cited the weak rupee and high global prices as reason for domestic demand to pick-up.
 

Historically, high fragmentation, economic woes in developed countries meant steel demand had been overall weak with benign sales. But slightly higher demand from China meant steel price didn’t dip and was steady if not sideways. India is a net importer of steel, which means the rupee depreciation would lead to dearer steel imports. This could force companies to buy locally instead, thus inciting demand pick up. Nomura thinks that there is a “mismatch between demand and produced material”
 

There’s also another factor—iron ore production has plummeted due legal and political problems in Goa. This is the raw material for steel. Limited supply and strong demand would mean an upwards bias in steel prices which would provide fillip to companies like Tata Steel and SAIL. It also added that “high value added products i.e. Tata Steel and JSW Steel have maintained their volumes in the above mentioned scenario (i.e. excess imports and slack in local demand).”
 

According to the government, India is expected to become the world's second largest producer of crude steel in the next two years on account of capital expansion and investments in new projects.
 

To read more stock research analysis by Moneylife on basis of Nomura research, click here.

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Nomura bullish on Zee TV, Dish TV

Nomura, is bullish on the media space, particularly Zee TV and Dish TV. But it leaves out the implications of the charge of extortion Naveen Jindal has brought and its implications

Nomura Equity Research, in a visit note to its clients, is bullish about the media sector, particularly Zee TV and Dish TV. Nomura said that Zee TV would benefit due to lower investment on capex and digitization, while Dish TV would benefit due to the satellite model, which is similar to Direct TV/Dish US, which has done well in the United States. The media sector has been in the news of late. One of the most reported stories is Zee TV and Subhash Chandra whom the Delhi crime branch is investigating on charges of extortion (for more background on this episode, click here and here). While Nomura has put a buy call on Zee TV, it is strange that they have left this out from the overall picture and its potential short-term consequences, should things go wrong for Zee TV. However, from a fundamental standpoint, Nomura expects Zee TV to do well due to the recent digitization mandate. It expects the company to become more consumer-centric as subscription is expected to rise which would mean higher ad revenues. It expects benefits of digitization to accrue in FY16 when EBITDA “can more than triple versus FY12 levels”. Several other reports have said more or less the same thing. But there is hardly any mention of how the recent Jindal expose will affect the share price of Zee TV.
 

Likewise, Nomura is bullish on Dish TV due to its satellite model (as opposed to cable) and is a cash flow business. But its high intensity of capex, which is high till FY15, is worrying and has kept valuations low. Like Zee TV, Nomura expects it to be more of a consumer play, betting on increased viewership and higher ad rates.
 

One of the key trends that brokers and investors were looking at was the mandatory digitization in the metros. This meant that consumers had no choice but to switch and buy set-top boxes. This meant that companies like Zee TV, which had already invested in bulk in laying cables and such, will benefit, as subscriber base is expected to increase.

It is interesting to note that mid-cap company Raymond is has been cited as a buy call given that its management quality hasn’t been exemplary and has declined over the years. Nomura cited consumption story in Tier 3-4-5 towns as one of the drivers for Raymond besides its low valuation.
 

As far as McLeod Russel is concerned, it said, “(there is) strong interest in understanding this name and how it is going to benefit from a tea price up cycle. Investors were interested in it from the structural story with attractive valuations (on most metrics including free cash flow yield). Pushback included impact of production losses and lack of avenues to grow volume” However, the company has a strong regional brand associated with its consumers which helps. But tea is a cyclical commodity and competing with coffee (as the latter has become a popular drink) could be a challenge for the company.

Nomura wasn’t bullish on Pidilite as it had concerns of Pidilite’s elastomer project.

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Chelation Therapy: The aftermath of TACT trial

BV Gokhale, who has spoken about chelation therapy, offers an honest and insightful critique on the manner at which TACT trial was conducted and what could have been done, even though results were positive. He also fears possible arm-twisting that might prevent the real truth from being declared


The recent results of Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) gave a shock to the cardiology world. They did not expect it. For hundreds of US cardiologists it was so unbearable that some of them, within minutes after the presentation by Dr Gervasio Lamas, started questioning its truth. While the results is a big boost for proponents of low cost medication and chelation therapy in particular, the results could have been better if the manner at which TACT conducted been different.

 

To read about the overview of the TACT results, click here

 

Before going ahead with my critique of TACT, I must mention that the whole world should applaud the efforts of Senator Dan Burton in instigating TACT and Dr Gervasio Lama and his team for honest and relentless follow up in search of the truth. Surely everyone will remain indebted to these individuals.

 

I have seen much better results than those revealed in TACT. When I started thinking about the reasons for such poor success of EDTA Chelation Therapy in TACT, following points came to my notice.

  1. Double blind trials may be suitable for assessing effects of one oral drug. However, Chelation Therapy involves use of anywhere between six and 12 drugs and that too intravenously infused slowly over three hours. Each of these drugs has a specific purpose and depending upon the patient to be treated, the practitioner has to choose the drug. Such decisions make therapy very effective and safe in hands of trained and experienced practitioners. In double blind trials such approach is not allowed. Every patient is treated in a predefined manner.

Assessing Chelation Therapy by double blind trials is like testing a car governed to travel at fixed speed where driver can only control steering.

 

It is worth mentioning that since double blind trials involve giving sham treatment to half of the patients they are considered to be unethical in European countries.

  1. In double blind drug trials, the doctor has to interact with each patient only for few minutes and give him the dose of actual drug or placebo, sufficient to last for a week or more. The next meeting between the doctor and the patient takes place after a week or more. Very rarely two patients in the trial are together. Thus, patients do not interact with each other and obviously do not come to know the health status of each other.

In the double blind trial of Chelation Therapy many patients sit together for three hours in each of the 30 infusions. Obviously after about first seven or eight infusions they correctly assess, if they are getting effective or placebo treatment. Naturally, those patients, who feel that they are getting placebo treatment, discontinue their participation in the trial.

 

This has happened earlier in at least two double blind trials of Chelation Therapy.

 

This is what exactly happened in TACT also. About 60 patients in placebo group discontinued their participation in the trial most probably because they came to know that they were getting placebo treatment. Had they continued in the trial they would have been included in the statistics and the gap in end points between Chelation group and placebo would have widened.

  1. Double blind trials of Chelation Therapy are about 20 times more expensive and far more cumbersome than trials of oral drugs. It is worth noting that cost of TACT was $31.5 million. Had this been an oral drug trial of equal number of patients it would have cost only about $2.5 million to $3 million.
  1. TACT protocol was recommended by ACAM. It has been successfully used in many patients. But that does not mean it is the best.

Ms Anna Roussell, in 2009, clearly demonstrated that when vitamin C is added to a Chelation drip there is about 25% increase in the oxidative stress that enhances the process of coronary artery disease. Had TACT infusions not used the 7 grams of vitamin C, the effectiveness of infusions would perhaps have been more.

 

One must understand that TACT protocol was formulated when the research was not known.

 

Vitamins B1 and B6 are very helpful in diabetic patients. Therefore, for such patients, if their quantity was increased from 100 to 200 mg the efficacy of Chelation Therapy would have been better.

  1. The inclusion and exclusion criteria used in TACT were fair. The only point that can be commented upon is the exclusion of smokers who had not given up smoking three months prior to randomization. This time period may have been stipulated because a person who gives up smoking for three months usually does not start it once again. As per my experience, if a person gives up smoking for more than fortnight he does not start it again. Smoking certainly enhances free radical activity and oxidative stress. In fact, smoking is considered to be one of the strongest risk factors for heart disease. Obviously, these people get the maximum benefit from Chelation Therapy. It is good that smokers were included but, in my opinion, the three month's time period should have been curtailed to one month. With this type of exclusion criteria Chelation Therapy would have proved more effective.
  1. About 83% of the patients in TACT had already undergone either bypass surgery or angioplasty. This means that their health status before the therapy had already improved. No wonder in such circumstances effect of Chelation Therapy was marginally better.
  1. The end point chosen for TACT were: death for any reason, heart attack, stroke, need for angioplasty of bypass surgery and hospitalization due to angina. Of these, heart attack and stroke are objective, and therefore, appropriate. Death due to coronary artery disease is certainly an objective end point but I do not understand how death for any reason can be such.

Hospitalization is a subjective end point. It depends upon the mental set up of the patient. For some patients a very mild angina is frightening but for others it is not.

 

Need for bypass surgery or angioplasty is determined by cardiologists or cardiac surgeons. Several well known cardiologists and even cardiac surgeons have often reiterated that many such procedures are done for no valid reason. Under such circumstances, it can not be considered as an appropriate end point.

 

Needless to say that TACT will give a boost to the propagation of Chelation Therapy. But this will not be tolerated by the anti-Chelation lobby. Only a part of results are declared. Much more is still hidden. TACT team may want to honestly declare the results, but the very strong anti-Chelation lobby will not allow them do so. There is also a possibility of twisting the results by statistical jargons. The lobby will certainly want another research to be carried out with a hidden objective of proving Chelation Therapy to be ineffective.

 

American College of Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) and other pro-Chelation organisations should remain very careful while participating in any future research. There is no guarantee that in the next research project the team may be like TACT and the captain will be like Dr Lamas. In fact, the likelihood of their being otherwise is far more.

 

To learn more about Chelation Therapy, click here to view the video of BV Gokhale’s seminar given at Moneylife Foundation on Moneylife TV.

 

Click here and here to learn more about Chelation Therapy

 

Click here to read about the workshop conducted by BV Gokhale held at Moneylife Foundation

 

(The author is a BTech and MTech (IIT Powai) and works with a team of doctors.)

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COMMENTS

Dr Sibia

4 years ago

Since we introduced Chelation Therapy in India at Sibia Medical Centre, Ludhiana, in 1994 we  always considered it as a patient proven therapy that has insufficient double blind controlled studies. Our experience of probably over 100,000 intravenous infusions stands testimony to it. We believe that it is near impossible to have such a trial. Even double blind studies in bypass surgery and angioplasty are rare. The mental block against chelation therapy lies in it appearing to be such a simple solution to a complex problem. We welcome anyone to contact us on mb +91-9814034818 to visit us with an open mind and interview our patients. We have several patients who had no option due to being unfit for surgery, recurrence after bypass, failed bypass and those who could not afford bypass who have responded well to chelation therapy. Specially important is the zero mortality during the procedure. Dr Sibia

NSriramamurty

4 years ago

My Friend Got 2 Vessels Blocked 90% and 4 Cardiologists told him that Surgery is Inevitable to him.Then He underwent Chelation Thearapy. After 20 Drip Sessions,The Blockage has gone Down to 30% in Both Vessels.Thus Chelation Thearapy gave him good Heart without high Blockages.

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