Tata Motors manufactures 1 lakh commercial vehicles in financial year

Tata Motors has become the first Indian company to produce 1 lakh commercial vehicles in a financial year

Tata Motors said it has become the first Indian company producing 1 lakh commercial vehicles in a financial year.

"It is really a proud moment for the company as Tata Motors has become the country's first automobile company to produce one lakh commercial vehicles in a financial year," Ravi Pisharody, president, commercial vehicle business unit (CVBU), Tata Motors, said.

Mr Pisharody said he hopes the growth rate of commercial vehicle sector would depend on the interest rate though it has not affected the sector as yet.
The interest rate has to be maintained to achieve the growth rate, which was registered at 20% to 22% this fiscal, he said adding that the growth rate in the next fiscal is likely to be 10% to 15%.

On the performance of the Tata Motors World Truck, the company official said the sale has been increasing significantly in the last few months.

The response for the world truck, which had started its production in the first quarter of the current fiscal, was good and would further improve in view of the increasing demand as well as the improving road condition in the country.

Presently, we are producing two models of the world truck at Jamshedpur plant and likely to introduce two more models soon, he said, adding, the company was expecting to produce around 6-8 models by the next fiscal-end.

Mr Pisharody expressed confidence that the company would utilise the maximum capacity of the world truck (55,000 per annum) in next five years in view of its increasing demand.

On Friday, Tata Motors ended 2.28% up at Rs1,181.85 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex gained 2.53% to 18,815.64.


FM: No “off-the-cuff” decision on allowing FDI in multi-brand retail

Pranab Mukherjee tells Lok Sabha opinion is being collected on this complex issue and that states will also be involved before a decision is taken

New Delhi: The government will not take an "off-the-cuff" decision on the complex issue of allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha today.

Responding to a calling attention motion on the matter, Mr Mukherjee said the issue was complex and the states would have to be involved to arrive at a larger consensus before taking a decision, reports PTI.

He noted that of 109 respondents representing various interests before an official committee on FDI in multi-brand retail, 73 had expressed their opposition to the concept. Among those who were opposed to FDI were farmers and small traders, he said.

Mr Mukherjee said an UNCTAD report had suggested that job losses in the informal sector far outweighed the benefits of allowing FDI in multi-brand retail. "The government has not taken any decision in this regard," the finance minister said in a statement, in response to the issue raised by Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) and Nishikant Dubey (BJP).
Mr Dasgupta and Mr Dubey expressed their opposition to allowing FDI in multi-brand retail, saying that it would be a disaster for the over eight crore traders in the country.
The minister said that an inter-ministerial committee had been constituted to examine the comments received on a discussion paper. The committee was headed by the senior economic advisor in the Department of Consumer Affairs.

The committee had submitted its report to the government, but did not make any recommendation relating to FDI in multi-brand retail trading. It has analysed the responses received to the discussion paper, collated and summarised them, Mr Mukherjee said.


Radio phase III rollout: Industry prefers to listen, wait and watch

There are 40 million radio users in the four metros and over 250-300 million audiences across 80 towns. But with the government still undecided on the revenue structure, and the debate over royalty issues with the music industry embroiled in a suit, the phase III rollout has been deferred. Big players are treading cautiously now

While the industry waits for the rollout of the third phase of radio in India, sector experts say that it will be good to rein in the optimism.

Since the government's announcement about the rollout of phase III of radio in the beginning of 2010, the industry has been waiting. But with the government still undecided on the revenue structure, and the debate over royalty issues with the music industry (which escalated into a suit in the Madras High Court), the rollout has been deferred. The senior players present at the 'FICCI Frames 2011' conference, therefore, feel that the industry should plan a controlled expansion and should not be over-ambitious.

"Radio has gained popularity, and penetration is much better compared to newspapers or television channels", said LV Krishnan, CEO of media research firm TAM. There are 40 million radio users in the four metros and over 250-300 million audiences across 80 towns. As compared to a 95% reach of TV, radio also reaches out to 90%-95%, said Mr Krishnan.

 "With (the) phase III rollout, the sector will boom with 800 new channels in 300 towns, and the license period has been extended from 10 to 15 years. However, new players may bid over-enthusiastically and lead to increase in price," he said.

Tarun Katial, CEO, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited, said that the expansion will enable radio to cash in on the regional boom factor, like newspapers have done the last year. However, the strategy should differ according to the location.

"The spectrum auction will enable each station to own multiple frequencies," he said. "It should be remembered that more channels do not always mean better revenues. In small towns, more than five to six channels will not be possible, and it will not be necessary to have all the program formats there," Mr Katial added.

There are other worries as well. Radio listernship has shown a decline of nearly 6% in the third quarter instalment of the Indian Readership Survey this year. Following the 2G spectrum scandal, the government has become stricter about auctioning of radio spectrum, and has also refused to increase the ceiling for FDI (foreign direct investment) beyond 20%.

As Harrish Bhatia, CEO, My FM pointed out, it takes three years on an average for a radio venture to break even. But though the existing biggies in the field have done extremely well and absorbed most of the revenues, many more have broken down before breaking even.

Rahul Gupta, director of Radio Mantra, said, "We find very few players who operate exclusively in the radio space." Unsurprisingly, radio ventures which are associated with print or digital media houses have been the ones to succeed-like Radio Mirchi of ENIL, which is a part of Times Group, BIG FM and regionally-focussed Radio Mantra, which is part of Dainik Jagaran group.

Salil Pitale, executive director, investment banking, Enam Securities, said, "The real worry, for me, is the lack of exit options for financial investors." The best thing to do is have the rollout as soon as possible, he said. "2010 has been a year of waiting. Let's hope 2011 does not go the same way," he added.


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