Sistema writes off $698 million on MTS India licence quash

The Supreme Court in February cancelled 122 2G telecom licences, including 21 of SSTL, awarded in 2008 by the then telecom minister A Raja

New Delhi: Russian conglomerate Sistema reported a net loss of $530 million after it wrote off $346 million on account of cancellation of 21 licences of its Indian telecom joint venture.

Besides, Sistema also wrote off $352 million of goodwill of the joint venture firm, Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL).

“The Group’s consolidated results for the fourth quarter of 2011 and the full year were impacted mainly by non-cash one-off ... related to the $346 million loss from impairment of SSTL licences following India’s Supreme Court ruling to cancel 122 licences,” Sistema Joint Stock Financial Corp said in a statement.

The Supreme Court in February cancelled 122 2G telecom licences, including 21 of SSTL, awarded in 2008 by the then telecom minister A Raja.

Sistema owns 56.68% stake, the Russian Government represented by Rosimushchestvo (Federal Agency for State Property Management) 17.14% stake and Indian firm Shyam Telelink has 26.05% stake in SSTL.

The group posted net loss of $530.2 million in the three months ended December 31 as compared to a net profit of $221.5 million in the year ago period.

 However, without one-offs net income of Sistema stood at $261.4 million, which was close to three times high of $90.7 million it reported under the same head a year ago.

The revenue of Sistema JSFC increased by 15.3% to $8,377.9 million during the three months period which ended on 31 December 2011 compared to $7,269 million it reported for the same quarter a year ago.

For the year ended 31 December 2011, Sistema reported increase of 23% in revenue at $32,981.2 million compared to $26,811.3 million it reported at the end of 2010.

The operating loss of its Indian JV SSTL, which operates under MTS India, increased by more than three times at $463.3 million during the reported quarter compared to $103.6 million it reported a year ago.

 However, revenue of SSTL increased by 77.3% at $76.1 million during the reported quarter compared to $42.9 million it posted for the same period in 2010.

On annual basis, the revenue of SSTL more than doubled at $262.3 million compared to $114.6 million it garnered in 2010.

By end of March, month following SC order to cancel SSTL licence, the company added 4,19,480, customers taking its total customer base to close to 16 million.


Public Interest Exclusive
SC refuses to quash nomination of sitting SC judge for International Court of Justice

Refusing to quash the petition, the three-member Supreme Court bench questioned if there was any public interest involved in the issue

The Supreme Court of India has refused to quash the candidature of justice Dalveer Bhandari, the third senior-most judge of the apex court, to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). A petition was filed stating that the nomination of a sitting judge has compromised the independence of the judiciary.

PTI reported that bench of justices Altamas Kabir, J Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi initially wanted to outrightly dismiss the plea for quashing justice Bhandari’s nomination for ICJ, but later allowed counsel Prashant Bhushan, for the petitioner, to withdraw it, treating it as “dismissed as withdrawn”.

The bench also questioned the petitioner’s locus standi and wondered if there was any public interest involved in the issue. “What is the interest of public? He (petitioner) is not a contender so what is the public interest involved here,” the bench asked.

Adv Bhushan, however, persisted with his argument and cited the nine-judge constitution bench ruling in the Advocate-on- Record Association case, wherein it was ruled that appointment to the judiciary shall not be influenced by any executive interference. He also contented that in case Justice Bhandari fails to get elevated to the ICJ, he will have to come back and join as a judge which would impinge upon his judicial independence.

According to PTI, the bench was not impressed with the argument and said the international posts have different set of rules and it would have been more appropriate if the petitioner had questioned the legalities of the rules framed by the Government of India in nominating a person to the post. “You should have questioned the vires of the rules in choosing a person. This is purely a question connected with international and not municipal laws,” the bench remarked.

Attorney General GE Vahanvati, in his brief intervention, sought dismissal of the petition on the ground that it was frivolous and deliberately filed a day before the nomination and argued that justice Bhandari’s nomination to the ICJ was a matter of prestige to the entire country.

According to news reports, petitioner, Rahul Srivastava, a law student, in his petition had stated that, “As a matter of principle, selection of a sitting judge of the highest court of the land by the government creates a grave situation of conflict of interest and compromises the independence of the judiciary. The independence of the judiciary is part of basic structure of the Constitution of India. Selection to post like that of a judge of the ICJ, by its very nature, involves heavy lobbying on part of the government,” the petition said. “Many of the important cases dealt by a judge of this court involve the Union of India as either the petitioner/appellant or as a respondent.”

The petitioner also stated that the government in its reply to a RTI (Right to Information) query has refused to divulge any information about the selection process of justice Bhandari as nominee for ICJ.

Delhi-based RTI activist, Subhash Agrawal, had filed an RTI application with ministry of external affairs (MEA) seeking information on the rules and procedures to elect nominee made by India to the post of ICJ.

The MEA, in its reply, revealed that, “The Government of India does not recommend candidates for nomination to the ICJ. However, Government of India is at liberty to forward names of potential candidates for the consideration of Indian National groups in Permanent Court of Arbitration. However, Government of India is at liberty to forward names of potential candidates for the consideration of the Indian National Group in the Permanent Court of Arbitration.”

In another query raised by Mr Agrawal asking whether the PMO’s approval has been sought in the selection process, the ministry said that, “As the elections to the vacancy in the ICJ have only been announced in the United Nations on 19th January, and the elections would be held on 27th April, the procedure for canvassing support for the Indian candidate to the election is presently going on. Canvassing for support for the elections involves sensitive dealings with the governments of foreign countries. Our lobbying efforts and electoral strategy is essentially a confidential process.

Consequently, the process of decision making of the Government of India, if revealed even before the elections are held, might seriously compromise our ability to lobby strongly and effectively for the choice of Indian National Group.”
The selection of ICJ Judge will be held, tomorrow—27 April 2012.

The bench also pointed out that the issue of nomination was in public domain since December 2011 but the petitioner chose to approach the court only at the last hour.


Small rally in the offing? Thursday Closing Report

Close above the previous day’s high may result in a rally


The expiry day induced volatility saw the market fluctuating in and out of the green for a major part of the trading session. While selling pressure in post-noon trade pushed the market lower, a minor recovery in late trade helped the indices pare their losses. Yesterday we had mentioned that the Nifty may see a reversal if the index closes above its previous day’s high, we continue to maintain that trend. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a huge volume of 72.52 crore shares.

The market opened with a marginal uptick on upbeat global cues. US stocks closed higher on positive earnings report from Apple and assurances from the Federal Reserve that it would take necessary steps, as and when necessary, to boost the economy. The optimism supported gains in Asia in morning trade today. The Nifty opened 13 points higher at 5,215 and the Sensex rose 40 points to resume trade at 17,191.

The opening figure of the Nifty was its intraday high while the Sensex’s high was at 17,193, seen in initial trade. Volatility associated with the expiry day was evident since the opening bell, keeping on both sides of the neutral line.

Strong selling pressure, as the European indices were mostly in the negative, pushed indices to their day’s lows at around 2.40 pm. At the lows, the Nifty fell to 5,179 and the Sensex went back to 17,084. 

While the benchmarks recovered from the lows, they closed in the negative for the second day in a row. The Nifty settled 13 points down at 5,189 and the Sensex lost 21 points to end the session at 17,131. 

The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was 627:1029.

The broader indices underperformed the Sensex today; the BSE Mid-cap index dropped by 0.31% and the BSE Small-cap index declined by 0.41%.

In the sectoral space, BSE IT (up 0.41%); BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 0.25%); BSE TECk (up 0.22%) and BSE Metal (up 0.05%) were the gainers. The main losers were BSE Power (down 1.46%); BSE Realty (down 0.89%); BSE Auto (down 0.84%); BSE PSU (down 0.57%) and BSE Bankex (down 0.43%).

The top gainers on the Sensex were Coal India (up 2.79%); Jindal Steel (up 2.04%); TCS (up 1.68%); Reliance Industries (up 1.24%) and ITC (up 1.02%). The laggards were led by GAIL India (down 3.62%); Hero MotoCorp (down 3.16%); Hindalco Industries (down 2.96%); Tata Power (down 2.74%) and Bajaj Auto (down 2.67%).

The Nifty was led by Kotak Mahindra Bank (up 3.16%); TCS (up 2.33%); ACC (up 1.87%); Coal India (up 1.76%) and ITC (up 1.55%). The key losers were Tata Power (down 3.73%); GAIL India (down 3.66%); Hero MotoCorp (down 3.10%); BPCL (down2.95%) and IDFC (down 2.76%).

Markets in Asia received a boost from the Fed assertion to take necessary steps to help the economy grow. The gains were also supported by better-than-expected earnings reports. Meanwhile, Jiang Jianqing, chairman of China’s largest lender Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) said that the monopoly of state-owned banks in the country needs to be dismantled in order to provide liquidity to private banks.

The Hang Seng advanced 0.79%; the Jakarta Composite gained 0.40%; the KLSE Composite added 0.02%; the Nikkei 225 rose 0.01%; the Straits Times was up 0.06% and the Seoul Composite rose 0.10%. On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.09% and the Taiwan Weighted declined 0.55%. At the time of writing, the key European indices were in the red and the US stock futures were in the negative.

Back home, foreign institutional investors continued to be net sellers of equities on Wednesday, selling stocks totalling Rs340.84 crore. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net buyers of shares aggregating Rs40.70 crore. 

Sesa Goa will begin exploration later this week at its Liberian iron ore project that is estimated to hold reserves of over 1 billion tonnes, a top company official said. Last year, the company had acquired 51% stake in Western Clusters, which is developing the project for about $90 million (Rs 411 crore). This was the first overseas acquisition of the Vedanta group miner. The stock declined 0.56% to Rs184.95 crore on the NSE.

Adhunik Metaliks plans to sell the entire stake in its subsidiary Neepz V Forge (India), the company said in a filing to the BSE. The subsidiary has forging and machining facilities at Aurangabad in Maharashtra to manufacture automotive products. It supplies to Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Mahindra & Mahindra, John Deere, Escorts, Dana Spicer among others. Adhunik settled at Rs44 on the NSE, up 1.15% over its previous close.

Kalpataru Power Transmission has formed a 50:50 joint venture with Gestamp Solar Steel SL of Spain to manufacture solar steel structures. The joint venture company, Gestamp Kalpataru Solar Steel Structures, is setting up a manufacturing and galvanizing plant with planned capacity of 50,000 MTs per annum for solar steel structures in Mehsana district, Gujarat. Kalpataru Power fell 3.28% to close at Rs98.85 on the NSE.




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