Money & Banking
RBI allows hotels to prepay loans through ECBs

The move will benefit the hotel industry as it will allow the players to raise money overseas and repay loans taken from domestic banks, as well as for capital expenditure

 

New Delhi: Providing relief to hospitality sector, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed companies owning hotels to prepay loans out of external commercial borrowing (ECB) proceeds, reports PTI.

 

"It has been decided to include Indian companies in the hotel sector with a total project cost of Rs250 crore or more, irrespective of geographical location as eligible borrowers under this scheme," RBI said in a release.

 

As per the existing guidelines, Indian companies in the manufacturing and infrastructure sector, which are consistent foreign exchange earners, are allowed to avail of ECBs for repayment of outstanding Rupee loans.

 

The move will benefit the hotel industry as it will allow the players to raise money overseas and repay loans taken from domestic banks, as well as for capital expenditure.

 

All other aspects of the scheme shall remain unchanged and the amended ECB policy will come into force with immediate effect, RBI said.

 

The Reserve Bank had earlier relaxed the ECB norms to help companies raise more funds from overseas markets, to boost infrastructure sector funding in the country.

 

Besides, RBI had also relaxed the ECB norms for repayment of rupee loans within the overall ceiling of 20 billion.

 

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Union Bank's Mundra appointed chairman of BoB

Prior to joining Union Bank, Mundra was the chief executive of BoB’s European operations based in London

 

New Delhi/Mumbai: The finance ministry has cleared the name of Union Bank executive director SS Mundra as the new chairman and managing director (CMD) of Bank of Baroda (BoB), reports PTI quoting sources.

 

For the 58-year-old Mundra, this is a second home-coming as he started off his career with Bank of Baroda.

 

When contacted, Mundra confirmed the development and said he will be taking over charge later this evening itself.

 

“It is a great legacy of the bank (BoB) and it is special for me as this is my parent bank,” he told PTI.

 

Prior to joining Union Bank, Mundra was the chief executive of BoB’s European operations based in London.

 

Mundra, who joined BoB as a directly recruited officer in 1977, has held various posts within the bank, right from branch manager to heading treasury operations.

 

A Master’s in Commerce, Mundra is also a certified associate of Indian Institute of Banking and Finance and fond of reading on leadership and banking.

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Diesel price hikes: Has the market got over-excited?

Fuel pricing reforms are a must, and these look unlikely in the near term, says Nomura Equity Research


Public sector oil companies (oil PSUs) have seen sharp upward moves and large volatility in the stock market over the last few days. This is an over-reaction. The diesel price increases last week were relatively minor, and it is believed that such an increase on a regular basis is not sustainable, especially as the general elections approach, says Nomura Equity Research.

 

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) announced the following price-increase decisions:

  • Diesel price increase of Rs0.45/litre (about1%)
  • Petrol price reduction by Rs0.25/litre (0.4%)
  • No subsidy on diesel for bulk consumers taking direct supplies 
  • Price increase for non-subsidised cylinder by Rs46.5/litre

 

Nomura believes that fuel pricing reforms look unlikely in the near term. Of course, even as OMC stocks have seen some rally over the last one month, valuations remain un-demanding. Hence Nomura recommends ‘BUY’ on all three oil marketing companies—BPCL, HPCL and IOCL.

 

The brokerage firm has maintained its preference for OMCs over upstream PSUs (public sector units). It thinks that macro concerns remain elevated, and believes that upstream oil PSUs are vulnerable to higher subsidy sharing. With the  government’s priority on fiscal deficit control (amid revenue slippages) this year, and likely doling out of populist measures in FY14F ahead of the 2014  elections, the near-term outlook remains weak for upstream oil PSUs.

 

The government has highlighted that last week’s price actions are in line with the Kelkar Committee report on the road-map for fiscal consolidation. But Nomura highlights that even if the price action is positive, it is much softer than what the Kelkar committee has recommended.

 

As per IOC’s statement, due to the price increase and no discount on bulk sales, diesel under-recoveries would reduce by Rs34 billion for the remaining FY13F and Rs150 billion for FY14. Also, due to the increase in LPG subsidised cylinder cap (from six to nine), IOC expects under-recoveries to increase by Rs52 billion in FY13F and Rs100 billion in FY14F.

 

So overall under-recoveries would increase by Rs18 billion for FY13F (1.1% of total likely Rs1.6 trillion in FY13F) and decline by Rs50 billion for FY14F (3.8% of total likely Rs1.3 trillion in FY14F), as per Nomura’s estimates.

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