Templeton Strategic invests close to $18 million in Apar Industries

Templeton’s investment will fund Apar’s ongoing capacity addition program and strengthen its working capital

Templeton Strategic Emerging Markets Fund III LDC (TSEMF III) has concluded a $17.8 million (around Rs80 crore) investment in Apar Industries, India's largest manufacturer of transformer oils and the country's second largest manufacturer of conductors. Apar exports transformer oils and conductors to over 50 countries.

TSEMF III, which invests in listed as well as unlisted companies in emerging markets, is the third strategic equity fund managed by Templeton Emerging Markets Group, which is of Templeton Asset Management Ltd, an investment management company incorporated in Singapore which is part of NYSE-listed Franklin Resources, Inc.

Dr Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group said, "We are impressed with Apar's track record and capabilities which can be leveraged for Apar to play a meaningful role in strengthening the transmission and distribution networks in India. Templeton's investment will fund the company's ongoing capacity addition program and strengthen its working capital. This investment fits well with our global exposure to the infrastructure sector and we look forward to working with Apar's management and promoters to make this a landmark relationship."

Kushal Desai, managing director of Apar said, "Templeton's association with Apar is a huge vote of confidence in our business, processes and high standards of corporate governance. We look forward to Templeton's support and involvement in making our business standards truly global. We continue to grow globally with a special focus on the domestic market, which is among the fastest growing in the world."

TSEMF III is managed by Emerging Markets Group of Templeton Asset Management. Franklin Resources, Inc., the ultimate parent company of Templeton Asset Management, is a global investment management organisation operating as Franklin Templeton Investments. Franklin Templeton Investments provides global and domestic investment management solutions managed by its Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series and Fiduciary Trust investment teams. 


Petrol prices may go up; diesel, LPG rates may follow

A hike in diesel and domestic liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices has been deferred for now, but state-owned oil firms are likely to get the go-ahead to raise the price of petrol, which they have not revised since January on informal ‘advice’ from the government in view of assembly elections in five states

New Delhi: The government may hike diesel and domestic LPG rates next week while an increase in petrol prices may happen later this week, reports PTI.

“The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee (on fuel price hike) was to meet tomorrow evening. It has been put off,” oil minister S Jaipal Reddy told reporters here.

The EGoM was to meet tomorrow to consider raising the diesel price by Rs3-Rs4 a litre and domestic LPG rates by Rs20-Rs25 per cylinder.

“It has been postponed to accommodate some ministers...

It could be anytime on 17th or 18th (May),” he said.

State-owned oil firms, however, are likely to get the go-ahead to raise the price of petrol, which they have not revised since January on informal ‘advice’ from the government in view of assembly elections in five states.

“Petrol prices may be raised as early as Thursday-Friday night,” an official said, adding a steep hike of up to Rs3 per litre of petrol is on the cards.

The government had freed petrol prices from its control last June, but state oil firms continue to be guided by informal advice from the government.

The hike needed to take petrol prices to international parity is about Rs8.50 per litre, but the entire burden will not be passed on to consumers in one go.

“Oil companies will be asked to stagger the hike over a couple of months,” the official said.

Mr Reddy said the day EGoM meets on fuel prices, a separate Group of Ministers (GoM) that is vetting London-listed Vedanta Resources’ $9.6 billion acquisition of Cairn India, may also meet.

“I think when the next date is fixed on that day itself we will deal with both questions—the question of under-recoveries of oil companies and the question of government approval to Cairn-Vedanta deal,” he said.

State-owned Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation currently lose Rs16.17 a litre on diesel and after adding local sales tax or VAT, the desired increase to make rates at par with international prices is Rs18.19 a litre.

Besides petrol and diesel, the three state oil firms lose Rs29.69 a litre on kerosene and Rs329.73 per 14.2-kg domestic LPG cylinder.

Officially on the EGoM’s agenda was ways of mitigating the over Rs180,000 crore revenue loss state-owned oil firms have projected in 2011-12 on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene at current rates.

The three firms will “at current international crude oil prices lose Rs180,208 crore in revenues on selling diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below their imported cost in the 2011-12 fiscal,” the official said.

The revenue loss, termed as under-recovery by oil firms, will be the highest ever, even more than what they lost in 2008-09 when crude touched a record high of $147 a barrel.

In addition, they lose about Rs8.50 per litre on petrol, whose rates have not moved in tandem with the imported cost despite its pricing being freed from government control in June last year.

“Losses on petrol are not included in the under-recovery figures for 2011-12 as it is a decontrolled commodity,” the official said.

The basket of crude oil India buys had averaged $83.57 per barrel in 2008-09 and calculations for the current fiscal have been done at the prevailing rate of around $110 a barrel.

“The average price of the Indian basket of crude oil in the last fiscal was $85.09 per barrel, higher than the 2008-09 average when the government had cut customs and excise duty on crude oil and products to check the impact of rising international rates on domestic markets,” the official said.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has refused to cut customs and excise duty on crude this time to protect his projected fiscal deficit.

“The situation in the current fiscal will be worse; the three PSU oil marketing companies are losing Rs540 crore per day on diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene sales,” he said.

In 2008-09, the government had issued oil bonds worth Rs71,292 crore to the three firms to make up for more than two-thirds of the Rs103,292 crore revenue loss. Upstream oil firms like ONGC provided another Rs32,000 crore.

In the 2010-11 fiscal, the three firms lost Rs78,202 crore, but so far, the government has provided only Rs 20,911 crore in compensation. The oil marketing firms lost Rs2,227 crore on selling petrol below the imported cost during April and June before its price was freed from government control.

They lost Rs34,384 crore on the sale of diesel, Rs19,566 crore on PDS kerosene and Rs22,025 crore on the sale of domestic LPG.


Kotak Life Insurance records 42% growth in profit in FY10-11

Kotak Life Insurance profit after tax for FY 2010-11 stood at Rs101 crore, up from Rs71 crore the previous year

Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance (Kotak Life Insurance) has announced a record profit growth of 42% in the financial year ended 31 March 2011. The company’s profit after tax for FY 2010-11 stood at Rs101 crore, up from Rs71 crore the previous year. In FY10-11, the gross total premium received has grown to Rs2,975 crore, of which new business premium accounted for Rs1,253 crore and renewal premium accounted for Rs1,722 crore.

The company has declared bonuses in respect of participating policies with an accumulation fund, resulting in total returns for the year ended 31 March 2011 of 8% for annuity policies and 7% for all other policies. A reversionary bonus of 2% has also been declared on products eligible for reversionary bonus. These bonus declarations resulted in the value of policyholders’ benefits increasing by Rs26 crore, an increase of 30% over the previous year. 

Pankaj Desai, managing director, Kotak Life Insurance said, “As the insurance industry enters into the next phase of consolidation, our focus clearly is on efficient management of capital, driving efficiency at the distribution level, cost consciousness and quality in customer service. We are happy to have posted good growth despite the uncertainty the sector witnessed the previous year and this can be attributed to our strong sales force, innovative new products and strong relationships with intermediaries.”


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