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The deputy governor of RBI has said that banks' lending rates to certain segments like short-term corporate loans could go up due to mis-pricing
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor KC Chakrabarty on Friday said that banks' lending rates to certain segments like short-term corporate loans could go up owing to the mis-pricing, but felt that overall rates will be stable, reports PTI.
"Overall interest rates will remain the same. (However), segments, where interest rates are mis-priced, you could see some increase, like in short-term corporate loans," Mr Chakrabarty told reporters in Mumbai.
Banks generally lend to potential customers, primarily corporate clients, at much lower rates below their benchmark prime lending rate (BPLR), which is often termed as the sub-PLR rate.
The apex bank, exiting from its easy money regime, upped the cash reserve ratio (CRR), the amount of money banks have to keep with the RBI, by 0.75% last month.
The banking system has enough liquidity to fund the infrastructure sector over the next two-three years, Mr Chakrabarty said, adding that in the long term, the country's corporate bond market will have to be developed to meet the huge investment demand.
Noting that the RBI has been approached by banks for mandatory liquidity exemption for infrastructure bonds, Mr Chakrabarty hinted that this may not be allowed as there is a possibility that similar demand may come in for other instruments as well.
Banks had urged the RBI to exempt the bonds they issue to raise money to lend to the infrastructure sector from the mandatory liquidity requirement.
On banks offering cheaper home loans, as low as at 8% to woo borrowers, Mr Chakrabarty said that this benefit should be extended to existing customers as well.
"We have no concern on teaser rates. You (banks) tease both new and old customers. Don't leave (out) only one segment," he added.
Another RBI deputy governor, Usha Thorat, had recently said that the banking regulator was concerned on teaser rates. Ms Thorat said that banks need to ensure that borrowers will be able to service the rates after the offer period.
The current level of inward capital flows, Mr Chakrabarty said, did not pose any major concern to the regulator as they can be absorbed by the market. "Up till now capital flows are managed by the market. We feel that there is no problem to manage this kind of capital flows," he said.
On the intervention of competition watchdog, Competition Commission of India, on banks' loan prepayment penalty issue, he said that banks will have to reach an agreement on the matter and hinted that the apex bank’s intervention was unlikely. "We don't come into the picture there," Mr Chakrabarty said.
The financial inclusion efforts in the banking industry, the deputy governor said, should be executed in a planned, systematic and calibrated manner to benefit the unbanked in the country.
Maruti Suzuki will produce 10,27,000 units in this fiscal, crossing the million milestone for the first time in its history
The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) will produce over a million cars this fiscal, enabling the company to cross the milestone for the first time, its parent Suzuki Motor Corp (SMC) said on Friday, reports PTI.
"Maruti Suzuki now forecasts production of 10,27,000 units for the fiscal year from April 2009 to March 2010, meaning that its production will exceed one million units on both a calendar-year basis and a fiscal-year basis for the first time," SMC said in a statement on its website.
Maruti Suzuki produced 9,66,069 cars from January to December 2009, up 27% from the year ago, it added.
In expectation of continued growth in the Indian car market, MSIL will invest Rs1,700 crore in new facilities at its Manesar plant to increase annual output to 550,000 units from the current 300,000 units, the statement said.
"The new facilities are scheduled to start operating in spring 2012. As a result, MSIL will have annual production capacity of 1.25 million units (700,000 units at its Gurgaon plant; 550,000 units at its Manesar plant)," it said.
SMC, which now holds 54.2% stake in Maruti Suzuki, started car production in India with the Maruti 800 in 1983, when the car market was about 100,000 units per year. It had partnered the Indian government in an erstwhile joint venture Maruti Udyog Ltd. It became the majority shareholder when the government exited from the joint venture.
Today MSIL commands 55% share in the market, which has grown to over 1.5 million units per annum. The company sell popular models including the Alto, Estilo, Wagon R, Swift, Dzire and the SX4.
With an eye on better valuations, NTPC adopted the ‘French Auction’ model for its follow-on public offer. The lukewarm response to the issue is prompting a rethink on this mechanism
In a first for an Indian company, state-run power utility NTPC Ltd took recourse to the ‘French Auction’ route for selling the institutional portion of its follow-on public offer (FPO). The rationale was to garner higher valuations through better price realisations. However, expectations have turned out to be largely misplaced, with the issue taking a beating. The government is now rethinking whether the French Auction model is appropriate.
Under the French Auction method, the highest bidders get a priority on allotment. As such, qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) were expected to jump onto the bandwagon, since they get preference on the price bids they place for the shares. However, the government failed to take cognisance of some preconditions essential for the success of any issue based on this model.
For a French Auction to work its magic, two conditions have to be satisfied—first, a robust demand should exist for the shares, where potential buyers are willing to fight it out for getting more allocation. This is where the Google IPO (which adopted the Dutch action rout) worked wonders. Second, there should not be a reference market price (as is the case in an IPO). If such a price exists, then the offer should be substantially lower than the prevailing price, so as to attract buyers’ attention. Both these conditions were conspicuously missing from the NTPC issue. At Rs201, the floor price of the issue was not low enough to offer any significant upside in terms of the prevailing market price of Rs205. Not only was there no element of mystery as regards the price (being a follow-on public offer), but more relevant was the complete apathy towards the issue, especially from retail and foreign investors.
Under conventional book-building, even if you bid high and if the book gets built at the middle of the price band, you will still get the discovered price. But in case of a French Auction, the fund manager is stuck with the higher price—and the higher allocation as per the model.
Next on the government’s divestment agenda are Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) and NMDC, where it is likely to replicate the French Auction model for the institutional portion of the public offers. Unfortunately, many of the issues that weighed upon NTPC’s offer feature prominently in these offers as well. Unless market conditions and investor sentiments improve dramatically, these public offers may go the NTPC way.