RCom open to acquisitions in India to strengthen presence

RCom has said that it was open to all opportunities in the domestic market to grow its presence and would do so at the right opportunity

Indian billionaire Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) on Tuesday said that it was open to acquisitions in India as a part of its strategy to grow its presence in the domestic market and would do so at the right opportunity.

"We are open to all opportunities. We are not averse to acquisitions in the domestic market. Let the right opportunity come," RCom's president, Mahesh Prasad, told PTI in Mumbai.

The company said that it has crossed the 100-million mark in wireless customers and would explore both organic and inorganic opportunities to strengthen its foothold in the domestic market.

RCom expects to add another 100 million customers within the next 1,000 days, he said. The company, however, did not have any immediate plans to expand operations in overseas markets and it would prefer more to focus on consolidating its position in the domestic market, Mr Prasad said.

"The Indian market is very vast and dynamic. We have a huge opportunity here. As of now, we are not thinking much about overseas plans. But we are not averse to any opportunities either," Mr Prasad said.

While commenting on the prevailing tariff war, Mr Prasad said that it may intensify further.
 

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Marico expects a turnover of Rs2,500 crore for FY10

The weak monsoon and food inflation have impacted the purchasing power of the lower income group, resulting in marginal growth for the FMCG sector

Personal care products maker Marico Ltd said that it expects to clock a turnover of about Rs2,500 crore for the financial year 2010 that would end on 31st March. This would be around 9% higher than last year’s total revenue of Rs2,388 crore.

“We expect a turnover of Rs2,500 crore in this financial year. The weak monsoon and food inflation have impacted the purchasing power of the lower income group,” said Harsh Mariwala, chairman and managing director, Marico.

The fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector is going through a tough time to hold on to its margins due to food inflation and weak monsoon. However, the company said that it will not increase product prices for the next four months.

Speaking about the impact of hike in excise duties on the FMCG sector, Mr Mariwala said,”Most of the FMCG companies won’t be impacted by the excise duties as they are located in an excise exempt zone like Uttaranchal.”

Other companies that do not fall within the excise exempt zone will have to bear the brunt of new excise duties, he said.

Marico, which is planning to launch new products in the beauty & wellness space, said that it will maintain its advertising spend to drive growth.

 

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Private insurers have more death claims than LIC: FM

The outstanding number of death claims, as on 31 March 2009, as a percentage of total number of claims intimated to the companies in 2008-09, stood at 7.75% for private firms while the same for LIC was 2.21%.

Private sector insurance firms have more than three times the outstanding number of death claims on individual insurance policies compared to state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, he said that the outstanding number of death claims, as on 31 March 2009, as a percentage of total number of claims intimated to the companies in 2008-09, stood at 7.75% for private firms.

The same for state-run LIC was 2.21%, he said. For group policies, private sector companies had 3.93% outstanding claims while LIC had 0.24%.

Mr Mukherjee said that private sector insurance companies started operations eight years back while LIC has been in business since 1956.

Detailed investigation is carried out in case of early insurance claims, he said, adding that claims made to private firms fall under this category since they have been in operations for 8-10 years only.

"There certainly is a difference (between outstanding claims with private and public sector firms). This difference will have to be looked into but forming a committee for this is not a solution," he said.

The government's role, he said, was limited to providing a level playing field for both private and public sector firms. Minister of state for finance Namo Narain Meena said that there were 23 insurance companies operating in India, of which 22 were private sector firms.

He said claim pendency ratio of private firms was higher than LIC but it has come down due to intervention of sector regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA).

The pendency ratio of private firms was 13.32% in 2006 which came down to 10.88% in 2007 and to 7.75% in 2008-09, he said, hoping that this would be reduced further in coming years.
 

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