Steel prices may fall by Rs1,000 a tonne next month: Steel secretary

While steel prices have softened in recent months, they still rule at a premium of about 30% over the year-ago period

Steel prices may fall further by another Rs1,000 a tonne in June due to a softening global trend originating from the financial crisis in Europe and demand slowdown ahead of the monsoons, reports PTI.

Prices of long steel products, mainly consumed by infrastructure and construction firms, have already fallen by Rs5,000 a tonne since April.

"It (steel prices) may further fall by Rs1,000 a tonne next month mainly due to the present European crisis and slackening demand ahead of monsoon," steel secretary Atul Chaturvedi told PTI on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi.

The conference was organised to highlight the "achievements" of the ministry during the first year of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-II government.
  
Industry observers said that the crisis in Europe may adversely impact international steel prices, which could, in turn, affect domestic rates.
   
While steel prices, hovering in the range of Rs32,000-Rs47,000 per tonne, have softened in recent months, they still rule at a premium of about 30% over the year-ago period.
   
The high prices are attributed to a 90% increase in prices of vital inputs for steel manufacturing, such as iron ore and coking coal.
 

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LIC seeks price secrecy for IPO, FPO bids

LIC did not get a single share in the REC FPO as other investors put in bids above Rs205 in the last few minutes of the closing of the issue, which prompted the insurer to write to the market regulator to take steps to ensure secrecy in the bidding process

State-owned insurer Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has written a letter to the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) recently, asking for price secrecy in the bidding process for initial public issues (IPOs) and follow-on public issues (FPOs), reports PTI.

"LIC wrote a letter to SEBI after the Follow-on Public Offer (FPO) of the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) in March this year, asking the regulator for price secrecy in the French auction bids of institutional investors," the source closely connected to the development told PTI here.

French auction gives institutional investors the freedom to place bids above the floor price and preference is given to those with higher bids.

However, LIC has said disclosure of bid prices gives unnecessary advantage to last minute entrants as in the case in the REC FPO.

For the REC FPO, the floor price was fixed at Rs203 and LIC had put in bids worth Rs3,000 crore at Rs205, Rs2 more than the floor price at a time when the demand was low.

However, LIC did not get a single share as other investors put in bids above Rs205 in the last few minutes of the closing of the issue, the source said, adding, "It was a big blow to the corporation and exposed the weakness of the system."

"To avoid any such scenario in the future, we have requested the regulator to take steps to maintain price secrecy as it will help institutional investors who quote first and also the government to get a better valuation well above the floor price," he said.

"We have requested the regulator to take steps to ensure secrecy in bidding as it happens in any other kind of bidding process," the source said.

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SC refuses to hear BoR shareholders' plea against merger

Three major employee unions of BoR have called for a two-day strike demanding the immediate termination of the ICICI-BoR merger

A two-judge vacation bench of the Supreme Court (SC) today declined to hear a petition filed by shareholders of the Bank of Rajasthan (BoR), who were objecting to the financial institution's merger with ICICI Bank, reports PTI.

The bench, comprising Justice G S Singhvi and C K Prasad, said that the petitioners may approach another bench as it will not entertain the case.

On 23rd May, ICICI Bank had approved the merger of the Bank of Rajasthan through share-swap in a non-cash deal that valued BoR at about Rs3,000 crore.

Though 25 ICICI shares would be offered with every 118 shares of BoR, promoters Tayal family-which have over 50% stake-would not get a seat on the amalgamated entity's board.

The proposed merger is being opposed by BoR employees. Three major employee unions of BoR-All India Bank of Rajasthan Employees Federation (AIBOREF), All India Bank of Rajasthan Officers' Association (AIBORA) and Akhil Bhartiya Bank of Rajasthan Karmchari Sangh (ABBORKS)-have called the strike demanding the immediate termination of the ICICI-BoR merger proposal.

"We have decided to strike work on 4 and 5 June. If the authorities do not heed to our demand, we will again go on a three-day strike beginning 17th June. All branches of BoR and over 4,000 employees will participate in the strike," AIBOREF, president, Dharmendra Rao told PTI.

"The work culture of both banks are extremely different and it will be difficult for our staff, who are used to the culture of BoR for decades, to integrate with ICICI Bank. There is no guarantee that our jobs will be protected," Mr Rao said.

 

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