NSE in partnership talks with Tokyo Stock Exchange

New Delhi: The country's premier bourse, the National Stock Exchange (NSE), is in talks with the Tokyo Stock Exchange for a possible partnership to cross-list key products on each other's platforms, reports PTI.

"We are in talks with the Tokyo Stock Exchange for a mutual partnership," a NSE spokesperson told PTI today.

She, however, did not elaborate on the details, saying "the talks are at an initial stage."

Earlier, on 28th July, the NSE and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) entered into an agreement to evaluate the option of cross-listing their key indices on each other's platforms.

Under the agreement, the two exchanges will explore the feasibility of an agreement under which the FTSE Group may license the FTSE 100 Index to the NSE and the Indian bourse may license its benchmark Nifty-50 to the LSE for trading purposes.

If cross-listing with LSE happens, this would be the first time that FTSE 100 scrips would be available for trading on an Indian bourse.

The FTSE 100 index comprises the 100 most highly capitalised blue chip companies incorporated in the UK, representing about 81% of the UK public market's capitalisation.

The move comes days after the NSE's benchmark Nifty index started trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). The CME launched future contracts on the Nifty-50 on 19th July after entering into a cross-listing agreement with the NSE.

The NSE-LSE agreement is also seen as an important move because the NSE's main rival—the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)—had recently entered into an agreement for listing of Sensex F&O derivatives on the Frankfurt-based Eurex.

The 30-share Sensex will be available for trading on the Eurex from 4th October.


Govt to infuse Rs4,868 crore into state-owned banks

New Delhi; The government today decided to release Rs4,868 crore to public sector lenders for providing concessional loans to farmers. The decision, taken at a Cabinet meeting, will help lenders provide farmers short-term crop loan at 7% interest, reports PTI.

"The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for the release of Rs4,868 crore as interest subvention to public sector banks (PSBs), regional rural banks (RRBs), co-operative banks and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for refinance to RRBs at concessional rates to reimburse the amount of interest subvention to ensure that the farmer, in general, should receive short-term crop loan at 7% per annum this fiscal," the government said in a statement.

The lenders would have given loans to farmers at 9%, had the subsidy of 2% not been provided by the government.

The government has, since 2006-07, been subsidising short term crop loans so as to ensure the availability of funds to farmers.

This interest subvention scheme has been continued for 2010-11 for public sector banks, regional rural banks and co-operative banks.

In 2009-10, an additional subvention of 1% was being provided to farmers who repaid on time.

This has been increased from 1% in 2009-10 to 2% in 2010-11. Thus, the effective rate of interest for such farmers will be 5% per annum.

The banks have been consistently meeting the targets set for agriculture credit flow in the past few years. For 2010-11, the target for agricultural credit flow has been raised to Rs3,75,000 crore from Rs3,25,000 crore in 2009-10.


UltraTech set to become world's 9th largest cement firm

Mumbai: UltraTech Cement Ltd on Thursday said with the merger of Samruddhi and acquisition of ETA Star Cement, its manufacturing capacity will touch 52 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) making it the ninth largest cement firm in the world, reports PTI.

"With the amalgamation of Samruddhi and the acquisition of ETA Star Cement in the UAE, our cement manufacturing capacity will stand augmented to 52 MTPA, making us the 9th largest cement company in the world," Aditya Birla Group firm UltraTech Cement's chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla told shareholders here.

As a part of the consolidation process, the cement business of Grasim Industries, the company's holding firm, was demerged into a separate entity—Samruddhi Cement, which is now amalgamated with the company. The appointed date of the scheme of amalgamation is 1st July and it will be rendered effective from 1st August, Mr Birla said.

The company's board also approved the acquisition of ETA Star Cement Company LLC, Dubai, together with its operations in the UAE, Bahrain and Bangladesh. This has been done through its wholly-owned subsidiary in Dubai.

"The acquisition is expected to be completed shortly.

It gives us a foothold in the Middle East. It is also in line with our group's long-term strategy of expanding our global presence across businesses," Mr Birla said.

The company is also poised to become the largest cement company in India. With a 49 million tonnes per annum of grey cement across 22 plants and 9.5 million cubic metres of ready mix concrete across 73 plants, it will have a market share of around 20%.

It has drawn up a capital expenditure plan of Rs10,738 crore for expansion programme over the next three years.

The company plans to increase the grinding capacity in Gujarat and set up additional grinding units across locations.

It is also setting up clinkerisation plants through brownfield expansion in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka. The projects will be funded through a judicious mix of internal accruals and borrowings, Mr Birla said.

UltraTech Cement's net profit slumped 41.87% to Rs 243 crore on 8.35% fall in net sales to Rs1,790 crore in Q1 FY 11 over Q1 FY 10.

The profitability of the company was affected due to an over-supply scenario in the cement sector and substantial increase in raw material costs, Mr Birla said.

Commenting on the cement industry scenario, Mr Birla said the demand of cement has grown around 12% in FY10.

However, significant capacity additions have resulted in a surplus scenario. These capacity additions, which will continue in the current year will lead to a further surplus scenario over the next 18-24 months. This will impact cement prices, Mr Birla said.


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