Strike at Suzuki Powertrain, Suzuki Motorcycle called off

Meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki said its Manesar plant will resume production on Sunday as it expects engines and components supplies to normalise after the end of strike at Suzuki Powertrain India

Gurgaon: Workers at three factories operated by two different subsidiaries of Suzuki Motor Corporation in India called off their two-day-long strike this morning after an agreement was reached with the management of the companies, reports PTI.

On Wednesday, workers at Suzuki Powertrain India and Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt Ltd went on strike in support of their colleagues at Maruti Suzuki India’s (MSI) Manesar plant, who have been locked in a standoff with management authorities since 29th August.

Workers from Suzuki Castings—a part of Suzuki Powertrain India—who are affiliated to the Suzuki Powertrain India Employees Union, had also joined the strike.

“We have reached an agreement with the management and they have agreed to consider our demands sympathetically,” Suzuki Powertrain India Employees Union president Sube Singh Yadav told PTI.

Production resumed at the plant this morning and workers at Suzuki Castings have also resumed duties, he added.

Similarly, Suzuki Motorcycle India Workers Union president Anil Kumar said workers at the two-wheeler maker’s plant resumed duty this morning after an agreement was reached with the management.

Neither of them, however, specified whether the problem between the management and workers at Maruti Suzuki India’s Manesar plant has been resolved.

Yesterday, Maruti Suzuki had announced that it will shut down its plants at Manesar and Gurgaon today due to engine supply constraints on account of the strike at Suzuki Powertrain.

Suzuki Powertrain India employs over than 2,000 workers at its Manesar plant, where it manufactures diesel engines and transmissions for supplies to MSI. Suzuki Castings has nearly 700 workers.

Suzuki Motorcycles India has 1,400 workers at its plant near Manesar and rolls out about 1,200 motorcycles and scooters a day.

Meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki India said its Manesar plant will resume production on Sunday as it expects engines and components supplies to normalise after the end of strike at Suzuki Powertrain India (SPIL).

“Our focus now will be bringing the production to normal levels as supplies of components and engines will resume from SPIL. We will also further augment manpower at the Manesar plant,” a company spokesperson said.

MSI said, however, that its Gurgaon plant will not function on Sunday.

The company had yesterday announced that its factories at Manesar and Gurgaon will be shut today due to supply constraints of engines from SPIL due to the strike there.

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RBI hikes repo rate by 25 bps to 8.25%; maintains anti-inflation stance

The Reserve Bank of India continues with its monetary tightening measures to control high inflation, notwithstanding concerns over economic slowdown

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today hiked interest rates for the 12th time in 18 months, saying that its monetary stance going forward will be influenced by the inflation trend.

The RBI announced it was hiking the repo rate (its main policy rate at which it lends to banks) to 8.25%, even as its monetary tightening appears to have not yielded the results it is looking for so far. The reverse repo rate has also been raised by an equivalent amount to 7.25%.

With this hike the policy rate has been increased by a total 300 basis points in one and a half year. The hike in policy rates which leads to higher lending rates, has affected retail loans as well as credit offtake by industry, which is seeing a slowdown in sales. This had prompted expectations that the central bank would take a pause.

But the central bank said it was too soon to ease its anti-inflationary bias. “A premature change in the policy stance could harden inflationary expectations, thereby diluting the impact of past policy actions. It is, therefore, imperative to persist with the current anti-inflationary stance,” it said.

Headline inflation for August rose to 9.78%, its highest in more than a year, from 9.2% in the previous month. However, the effect of previous rate hikes is likely to be felt in the forthcoming quarters, economists say, which could lead to the central bank stepping back.

The news of the rate hike dragged the stock market down by more than one per cent. The benchmark indices, which were mostly positive this morning, dipped to just below Thursday’s closing levels, but recovered afterwards in volatile trading.

The Nifty which opened this morning at 5,123, nearly 50 points up from yesterday, slipped just after noon to 5,068, just under its previous close, then climbed back up about 0.7%. It was a similarly trend with the Sensex.

Manufacturing slowed down to 3.3% in July, the lowest in 21 months and lower industrial output together with higher prices has cooled economic growth. GDP growth in the first quarter (April to June 2011) moderated to an 18-month low of 7.7%, against 8.8% in the corresponding period a year ago.

While inflation in India in largely driven by food and fuel prices, both seen to be beyond the scope of monetary policy, it has recently affected the core non-food manufacturing sector and remains way above the RBI’s stated comfort zone of 4% to 4.5%. Only yesterday, oil companies announced a hike in petrol rates by more than Rs3.

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Advance tax mop-up jumps 18%; RIL, TCS on top, SBI slips

Recent data like the factory output growth, which fell to a two-year low at 3.3% in August, and repeated comments from India Inc about the difficulties in doing business due to high lending rates and a grim global situation, have led to fears about poor financial performances of corporates in the current quarter

Mumbai: Allaying fears of any serious slowdown in the growth momentum, advance tax collections from top 100 corporates from the nation's financial capital saw 18% jump in the quarter to September, reports PTI.

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL), which is reported to have paid Rs2,000 crore for the second quarter, leads the list of advance tax payees.

Besides, steel, software exporters and private banks have also paid higher advance tax for the quarter, according to the sources at the Income Tax (I-T) department here.

The list of laggards is topped by State Bank of India amidst slowing credit growth, which is said to have paid less this quarter at Rs1,700 crore against Rs1,900 crore in the year-ago period, followed by the oil marketing firms which are bleeding due to rising under-recoveries.

Hindustan Petroleum’s advance tax payment came down by a third over the last year to a paltry Rs30 crore for the September quarter, while its PSU peer Bharat Petroleum saw its tax outgo halving to Rs100 crore.

Recent macro data like the factory output growth, which fell to a two-year low at 3.3% in August, and repeated comments from India Inc about the difficulties in doing business on the back of high lending rates and a grim global situation, have led to fears about poor financial performances of corporates in the current quarter.

Advance tax payout is a barometer of a company’s performance.

RIL, which sold 30% interest in the KG Basin fields to British Petroleum recently, is likely to have paid an advance tax of Rs2,000 crore against Rs1,200 crore in the year-ago period, the sources said.

All Tata Group firms, led by TCS (Rs570 crore as against Rs270 crore in the same period this year), paid more in taxes this quarter, they said.

Tata Steel is said have paid Rs100 crore more this quarter at Rs620 crore, sources said.

In the banking sector, where concerns have been expressed about the shrinking margins and rising bad loans, a majority of the public sector lenders showed flat tax payments.

Bank of Baroda, however, is said to have paid Rs630 crore as against Rs350 crore in the same quarter last year.

Largest private sector lender ICICI Bank, too, saw its advance tax outgo remaining flat at Rs650 crore, while second largest lender HDFC Bank paid more this year, at Rs800 crore as against Rs600 crore.

YES Bank paid Rs126 crore as compared to Rs105 crore, the sources said, adding foreign banks, too, have registered an upswing in tax payouts.

Life insurance giant LIC paid Rs1,160 crore against Rs1,050 crore, while General Insurance Corporation paid Rs130 crore versus last year’s Rs90 crore.

Similarly auto players, whose full throttle ride seems to have been coming to a halt due to rising interest rates and fuel prices, too, have fared poorly this time around.

Bajaj Auto is said to have paid Rs250 crore against Rs240 crore, utility major Mahindra and Mahindra paid Rs170 crore versus Rs160 crore, while the market leader Tata Motors’ payout was flat at Rs90 crore, the sources said.

Consumer goods major Hindustan Unilever is likely to have paid Rs200 crore against Rs150 crore. In the media space, Zee Entertainment’s payment was flat at Rs50 crore, while the Rupert Murdoch-led Star India is estimated to have paid Rs10 crore versus nil last year, they said.

State-owned monopoly Nuclear Power Corporation paid up three times in tax outgo at Rs150 crore. Crompton Greaves, which was in the news after its promoter group sold shares in the run-up to Q1 earnings, showed a marginal rise in tax outgo at Rs70 crore versus Rs68 crore, they said.

Hindustan Zinc has paid Rs425 crore advance tax for the second quarter against Rs250 crore in the comparable period last year.

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