Ready for click-n-mouse stock play
RIL may bid for Hind Organic
ITI asked to reduce research expenditure

New Delhi, Jan 2 

Brokers feel dematerialisation of shares has already reduced the problem of fake or forged shares. “In terms of delivery, I think there will be faster, better and safer delivery systems,” said a DSE official who expects about 99 per cent of the scrips to be traded in the demat form by this year. “The impact of demat is good. The proportion of good deliveries has gone up and the system is becoming cleaner,” he added.

Sebi feels the new year will see a number of foreign companies listing on Indian bourses. “The matter has been taken up at the high-level committee of the finance ministry and a decision is expected soon,” Raval said.

Currently, several Indian companies are listed either on the Nasdaq or other international exchanges. “We hope to see foreign companies listing in India. Initially, we expect companies from neighbouring countries to list on Indian bourses and later expect others from the west to follow,” Raval said.

Jain expects derivatives trading to be in place this year. “The National Stock Exchange is ready for trading in derivatives and we expect scrip-based futures and scrip-based options soon.”

Another important opportunity that awaits stock exchanges is stock lending. “Not only mutual funds, but even large dealers will participate in this because it is something that puts additional income in the hands of these players,” Jain said.

A Delhi-based analyst said mutual funds would be the main driver of capital markets in the new millennium and would hold more resources than banks. More than 150 funds are expected to participate in the capital and money markets.

Finally, brokers nurture a dream of being able to trade shares of foreign companies on foreign bourses. This, however, seems to be impossible in the near future as it would require them to have deep pockets first. Currently, only mutual funds are allowed to invest in ADR/GDR issues of Indian companies listed abroad.    

New Delhi, Jan 2 
Reliance Industries (RIL) may enter the race for picking up equity in Hindustan Organic Chemicals (HOCL), a public sector company in which the government intends to divest its stake to a strategic partner.

Highly-placed industry sources say RIL’s specialised wing scouting for acquisitions has been conducting due diligence on Hind Organics. The Ambanis, who have kept their intentions close to their chest, may announce their decision after Reliance clinches a deal to buy a slice of Indian Petrochemicals’ (IPCL) equity. RIL is already a front-runner in the race for the IPCL pie.

For the Reliance group, strategic partnership with IPCL and Hind Organics will offer synergies not only for the supply of feedstock from its refinery but also add value through forward integration without fresh investment in a greenfield project. Both RIL and IPCL make a few common products like PVC over which they can enjoy a market monopoly.

IPCL consumes large quantities of naphtha, besides propylene and LPG. For years, these feedstocks were being supplied by IOC’s refinery adjacent to it.

The takeover of IPCL by Reliance would deprive IOC of its single biggest naphtha consumer. This is precisely why IOC is desperately trying to enter the race for IPCL. For Reliance, IPCL could be a captive consumer for naphtha from its 27-million tonne per annum refinery at Jamnagar.

Similarly, Hind Organics buys its feedstock from various public-sector refineries. Of late, it has begun purchasing aromatics such as benzene and toulene from Reliance Petroleum. The company sources naphtha from various PSU refineries. The takeover of HOC would provide Reliance with another captive consumer for these feedstocks.

Last year, the disinvestment commission headed by G.V. Ramakrishna recommended that the government disinvest a 26 per cent stake in Hind Organics to a strategic partner. Hind Organics, a profitable PSU, is rated as an efficiently run company. The recommendation for disinvestment was prompted by the perception that chemical industry should not be a priority for the government.

The disinvestment in Hind Organics was to be taken up by the first quarter of this year. The administrative ministry is understood to have prepared a Cabinet note, expected to be sent for clearance by the end of this month.

The government will appoint a global coordinator after the Cabinet approves the proposal. Sources say international companies such as ICI, Bayer and Dow Chemicals have evinced interest in taking over Hind Organic.    

New Delhi, Jan 2 
Indian Telephone Industries Ltd (ITI) has cut its investment in research and development following pressure from the department of telecommunications (DoT) to restrict its expenditure.

The move could have a significant impact on the growth of the telecom equipment manufacturer. ITI had tried in vain to restrict DoT’s efforts to undermine its research and development efforts.

According to a note to the board of ITI which met on December 27 last, “DoT had mentioned that R&D expenditure should be cut. The provision made in the original budget was for Rs 22 crore. Based on a review of the likely expenditure, the allocation for R&D has been revised to Rs 10 crore. It had just emerged as one of the public sector companies which could produce good technology equipment. Any move to hit R&D efforts would force the company to either opt for foreign technology or close down,” a senior official in ITI said.    


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