RIL buying bank shares while waiting for its financial business venture

The Mukesh Ambani-led giant has bought shares, worth Rs1,200 crore in six top banks and HDFC, even as it is awaiting regulatory clearance for its financial services business joint venture with DE Shaw Group

New Delhi: Awaiting regulatory approvals for its foray into financial services sector, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has acquired shares in giants like HDFC, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank as part of long-term 'investments', reports PTI.

These financial investments, estimated to be worth over Rs1,200 crore, include purchase of shares of six banks -- three each from the public and private sectors -- and home loan lender HDFC.

The banks whose shares RIL has acquired also include HDFC Bank, SBI, Punjab National Bank and Canara Bank and these have been classified among 'long-term investments' of the country's biggest private sector company in its annual report for the year 2011-12.

All shares in these seven companies were acquired last fiscal and their total value stood at Rs1,233 crore as on March 2012, and remains almost same at current prices. RIL did not own any shares in these seven companies at the end of the previous fiscal, 2010-11.

Interestingly, the disclosure about share purchase in these companies comes along with an update by RIL in the annual report that its joint venture with global giant DE Shaw Group for financial services business was awaiting regulatory clearance to start operations.

RIL had announced this JV in March 2011 "to build a leading financial services business in India". No specific details have been disclosed so far about the business and products to be offered through this JV.

The report being sent to RIL shareholders ahead of their Annual General Meeting next month said, "This JV is awaiting necessary regulatory approvals for the commencement of business activities."

Meanwhile, RIL also said that it has submitted its reply to SEBI on show-cause notices issued in two cases by the capital market regulator, which oversees a large part of financial services sector in the country.

The notices were issued in connection with the "sale of shares of erstwhile Reliance Petroleum Ltd and the allotment of equity shares of the company (RIL) to certain companies against detachable warrants attached to privately placed debentures issued by the company (RIL)," it said.

With regard to the equity investment in seven financial sector giants, the acquired shares account for very small stakes - ranging from 0.004-0.01%.

Among these, RIL's holding of HDFC (1.44 crore shares accounting for about 0.01% stake) were worth Rs949 crore as on 31 March 2012, followed by 5.4 lakh shares of SBI (0.001% stake) worth Rs112 crore. The value of shares held in each of the other banks were in double digits.


Sensex, Nifty indecisive: Thursday Closing Report

The market is getting oversold but for a bounce, the Nifty has to close above any previous day’s high. Instead it is still making lower lows

Across the board institutional selling, which began in the second half of trade was seen as the main reason for the market decline today. Yesterday we had mentioned that the Nifty closing above previous day's high could result in a possible change of direction. We continue to maintain that stance. However, if the index continues to make lower lows, it may see fresh lows for the year. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a lower volume of 63.85 crore shares.

The market opened in the positive as investors resorted to bargain hunting after two days of losses. Buying in banking, oil & gas, auto, capital goods and fast moving consumer goods sectors supported early gains. The Nifty opened nine points up at 4,984 and the Sensex resumed trade at 16,516, a gain of 36 points over its previous close.

On the global front, markets in the US closed weak on Wednesday on fresh European worries. The Asian pack was mostly down in early trade today on weak Chinese trade data for the month of April on the back of sluggish export demand.

Brushing aside the negative global cues, the Indian market continued to move higher and hit its intraday high around 12.30pm with the Nifty going up to 5,039 and the Sensex rising to 16,672

However, the benchmarks came off their highs as selling pressure in auto, metal and technology stocks intensified. The indices touched their lows in the post-noon session on a lacklustre opening by the key European markets. At the lows, the Nifty fell to 4,954 and the Sensex went back to 16,400.

The market bounced back from the lows but closed with a minor loss. The Nifty lost nine points at 4,966 and the Sensex fell by 60 points to settle at 16,420.

The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was 686:954.

The broader indices witnessed a mixed close with the BSE Mid-cap index gaining 0.06% and the BSE Small-cap index falling by 0.24%.

Barring the BSE Oil & Gas index (up 0.62%) and the BSE Consumer Durables index (up 0.31%), all other sectoral gauges ended in the red. The top losers were BSE Metal (down 1.02%); BSE Auto (down 0.89%); BSE Power (down 0.75%); BSE Healthcare (down 0.33%) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 0.25%).

DLF (up 2.25%; BHEL (up 1.46%); ONGC (up 1.27%); Mahindra & Mahindra (up 0.93%) and Cipla (up 0.91%) topped the Sensex list today. The losers were led by Maruti Suzuki (down 3.18%); Jindal Steel (down 2.68%); State Bank of India (down 2.32%); Hero MotoCorp (down 1.53%) and Coal India (down 1.50%).

The top gainers on the Nifty were Cairn India (up 3.87%); IDFC (up 2.78%); BPCL (up 2.62%); Axis Bank (up 2.48%) and DLF (up 2.31%). The key losers were Maruti Suzuki (down 3.54%); Jindal Steel (down 3.46%); Ranbaxy (down 3.12%); Punjab National Bank (down 2.14%) and Asian Paints (down 1.99%).

Markets in Asia settled mixed on weaker-than-expected trade data from China and the continuing debt problems in Europe. Worries that Greece exiting the Eurozone would lead to more problems made investors nervous.

The Shanghai Composite added 0.07%; the Jakarta Composite rose 0.11%; the KLSE Composite gained 0.20%; the Straits Times climbed 0.09% and the Taiwan Weighted advanced 0.11%. On the other hand, the Hang Seng declined 0.51%, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.39% lower and the KOSPI Composite lost 0.27%.

Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of shares totalling Rs376.34 crore on Wednesday while domestic institutional investors were net buyers of stocks amounting to Rs162.37 crore.

SKS Microfinance has decided to close down 78 branches in Andhra Pradesh (AP) and retrench around 1200 employees. SKS Micro employs 3400 people across 180 branches in the state. The company added that it was willing to welcome back its staff when situation in AP improves. The stock added 0.06% to close at Rs88.75 on the NSE.

Wind energy major Suzlon Energy said its subsidiary REpower Systems had bagged a 39 MW order from Poland-based RWE Innogy. The project is scheduled for commissioning by early 2013 and has the potential to generate enough power to meet the needs of more than 50,000 homes every year. The stock tumbled 5.37% to close at Rs19.40 on the NSE.

Strides Arcolab has received ANDA approval from USFDA for Acetazolamide Injection USP, 500 mg/vial (preservative free) in lyophilized format. Acetazolamide is used for adjunctive treatment of edema due to congestive heart failure; drug-induced edema; centrencephalic epilepsies; chronic simple glaucoma, secondary glaucoma, and preoperatively in acute angle-closure glaucoma.

According to IMS, the 2011 US market for Injectable Acetazolamide approximates to $10 million with only one active player. Strides declined 0.72% to close at Rs687.40 on the NSE.


Cadila Q4 net dips 4.5% to Rs171 crore on forex losses

Total revenues of pharma company rose to Rs1,398 crore during the March quarter

New Delhi: Cadila Healthcare on Thursday reported a 4.5% decline in its consolidated net profit at Rs170.88 crore for the quarter ended March 2012, mainly on account of foreign exchange losses, reports PTI.

The company had posted a net profit of Rs 178.97 crore for in the same quarter last fiscal, Cadila Healthcare said in a filing to BSE. However, the total revenues of the company rose to Rs1,398 crore for the reported quarter against Rs1,213.31 crore for the corresponding period previous fiscal.

For FY12, the company's Board of Directors has recommended a dividend of Rs7.50 per share, Cadila said.

The financial results include loss of Rs9 crore in the fourth quarter on account of foreign exchange fluctuations against gain of Rs31.22 crore in the corresponding quarter previous fiscal.

Consolidated net profit for the year ended March 2012 stood at Rs652.59 crore as against Rs711 crore for Fiscal 2010-11. Its total revenues rose to Rs5,263.31 crore for the full year from Rs4,630.59 crore in the previous fiscal, Cadila said.

During the quarter under consideration the group's India formulations business posted sales of Rs499 crore while its formulation export to US also registered robust growth, it added.

"During the quarter the group also entered into an agreement with Microbix Biosystems Inc...To market the Thrombolytic drug, Urokinase in the American markets," Cadila Healthcare said.

During the quarter the group's wellness business stood at Rs86 crore and animal healthcare business posted sales of Rs43 crore, it added.

The company filed eight abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) during the quarter to take the total filings to 148, it added.

Shares of Cadila Healthcare closed Thursday at Rs757 apiece on BSE, up 3.11% from its previous close.


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