Steel Strips wins export order from Austria-based firm

Steel Strips Wheels has won an export order worth about Rs2 crore from Austria-based KFZ, a part of the Alcar Group

Auto components manufacturer Steel Strips Wheels Ltd (SSWL) said it has won an export order worth €3,00,000 (about Rs2 crore) from Austria-based KFZ, a part of the Alcar Group.

According to the agreement, the company will supply 30,000 wheel rims to KFZ, Steel Strips said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The company will begin supply of the wheels in 2011.

SSWL, which has been supplying wheel rims to the Austrian group since 2007, expects to increase the volume of business with Alcar group by the middle of this year. KFZ is one of SSWL's oldest customers in the European wheels market.

On Monday, SSWL ended 14.49% up at Rs316.05 on the BSE, while the benchmark Sensex gained 1.45% to 19,701.73.

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S&P downgrades outlook on Indian insurance industry

In an article, titled “Asia-Pacific Nonlife Insurance: Natural Catastrophes and Economic Factors Will Polarize Growth and Profit Potential,” S&P has downgraded its outlook on the Indian insurance industry to negative from stable

Credit rating agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) has published its outlook for the life insurance industries of various Asian-Pacific countries. In an article, titled "Asia-Pacific Nonlife Insurance: Natural Catastrophes and Economic Factors Will Polarize Growth and Profit Potential," that reviewed the sector in 12 countries S&P has downgraded its outlook on the Indian insurance industry to negative from stable. According the report, the negative outlook on India could change quickly if pricing improves and underwriting results significantly strengthen, given a low penetration rate.

The outlooks of Japan and New Zealand have also been changed from stable to negative. S&P review explained that, for Japan, the outlook factors in a likely deterioration in earnings and capital as insurers start to meet the costs of the recent earthquake and tsunami. The review believes that the Japan disaster could undermine companies' financial profiles, limit the availability of reinsurance, and constrain pricing. The negative outlook on New Zealand indicates that earnings and access to reinsurance are also likely to weaken, following recent earthquakes.

China and Malaysia were the only countries where the report showed an upgrade to positive from stable, reflecting their strong growth momentum.

Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand are the other countries that were included in the review of S&P.

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Royal Sundaram opens three new branches

Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Company has expanded its distribution network by opening three new branches in Tumkur (Karnataka), Cuddapah (Andhra Pradesh) and Dindigul (Tamil Nadu)

Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Company has expanded its distribution network by opening three new branches in Tumkur (Karnataka), Cuddapah (Andhra Pradesh) and Dindigul (Tamil Nadu). The company continues with its plan to expand its services to urban, semi urban, and rural areas. With this new addition the company's network has grown to 86 branches in India.

Ajay Bimbhet, managing director, Royal Sundaram said, "This move is a part of our geographic expansion strategy in tier II & tier III cities." The branch design follows a standard template developed by Royal Sundaram to provide customers' comfort and agents' convenience. The company's expansion strategy is based on the "Hub and Spoke" model, wherein a mature branch expands its reach deeper by sourcing business from the smaller adjoining locations. This is done by strengthening relationships with local dealers, agents and associates. Once these areas start generating substantial business, these are converted into standalone branches.

Royal Sundaram offers a wide range of covers for products such as motor, health, personal accident, home, home content and travel insurance.

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