Stocks see-saw to combat cue
Rupee closes at 48.42
November industry growth 0.9%
New twist to MRPL tangle
PM pep talk on power reforms
Sri Vishnu sale to fund ICL revamp
Sri Vishnu sale to fund ICL revamp
HDFC Q3 net profit up 22%
Ficci sees gold in Kabul ruins
Foreign Exchange, Bullion, Stock Indices

 
 
STOCKS SEE-SAW TO COMBAT CUE 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Mumbai, Jan. 11: 
Eyes on the television screens and ears locked to war-talk, the markets almost lived through a nightmare today when a take-no-prisoners army chief said the simmering border was ready to erupt.

It was not clear till late in the evening if S. Padmanabhan had succeeded in sending his message to Pakistan, but bourses were spooked into selloff moments after he lobbed the scare on Delhi’s scribes.

Dalal Street, already on the edge ever since troops started massing on both sides, could not keep its nerve, sending the sensex crashing 80 points before it rallied in the dying hours of the session. The 30-share index was under pressure since the early hours of trading, but suddenly collapsed below 3300 points around 2.45 p.m., when the border bombshell was dropped.

“Indian armed forces are fully ready for war with Pakistan. The situation along the border is serious,” said the army chief in remarks that left operators unhinged.

Share prices later recovered some of the lost ground as local operators and institutions took to bottom fishing — looking for picks at bargain prices — and grasped the meaning of the army chief’s statements.

As a result, the sensex bounced back from the day’s trough, but still ended in negative territory at 3362.88, against Thursday’s close of 3381.96, a loss of 19.08 points.

The brunt of the panic-selling was felt by stocks of technology companies, while automobile and FMCG shares made rapid advances. The convulsions in ICE scrips came a day after worse-than-expected Infosys results that highlighted the pressure on billing rates. Infosys, Satyam, Hughes Software and NIIT were all big losers.

The sale of India Cement’s stake in Vishnu Cements to Zuari Industries triggered buying in cement stocks. Auto shares were in top gear too, as Hero Honda, Bajaj Auto and TVS Motors and Telco (up 6 per cent) raced up. Fuelling the surge were encouraging sales figures for December, coupled with mounting expectations that volumes would be sustained.

Mirroring the trend in Jeejebhoy Towers, National Stock Exchange’s S&P CNX Nifty opened steady at 1098.15, plumbed an intra-day low of 1073.45, but rallied to 1105.90 before ending at 1088.55 — up 9.65 points over its previous close of 1098.20.

On the BSE, 115 shares, including 18 from the index, suffered sharp to moderate losses; 50 closed with gains. The volume of business was relatively modest at Rs 2,008.11 crore compared with Thursday’s turnover of Rs 2,141.96 crore. Technology companies that were clobbered through the day were also the most heavily traded.

Satyam Computers notched up the highest turnover of Rs 386.92 crore, followed by Infosys Tech (Rs 270.23 crore), Digital Global (Rs 157.70 crore), Wipro (Rs 113.15 crore) and Polaris Software (Rs 106.90 crore).

Satyam dipped by Rs 16.30 at Rs 264.25, Infosys by Rs 298.70 at Rs 3955.50, Digital Global by Rs 4.10 at Rs 510.95, Wipro by Rs 61.45 at Rs 1545.80, ACC by Rs 2.50 at Rs 165.30, Colgate by Rs 3.10 at Rs 161.45, Global Tele by Rs 8.60 at Rs 111.75 and L&T by Rs 2.05 at 195.

The gainers included Bajaj Auto, which vaulted by Rs 12.50 at 414.65, Bhel by Rs 2.05 at 141.50, Grasim by Rs 4.85 at 288.85, GACL by Rs 2.10 at 214.90, HPCL by Rs 2.20 at Rs 150.90, ITC by Rs 23.60 at Rs 762.20 and Ranbaxy by Rs 15.45 at Rs 734.20. Others that finished higher were Reliance Industries, which jumped by Rs 5.85 at Rs 329.70, Telco by Rs 5.70 at Rs 112.95, Hero Honda by Rs 10.25 at Rs 310.75, TVS by Rs 9.25 at Rs 200.80, Sun Pharma by Rs 32.30 at Rs 634.30 and Apollo Tyres by Rs 6.10 at Rs 77.90.

   

 
 
RUPEE CLOSES AT 48.42 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Mumbai, Jan. 11: 
Continuing its losing streak, the rupee today ended at a new low against the dollar for the fourth straight session, plummeting to a close of 48.41/42 per dollar, very near its all-time intra-day low of 48.43 per dollar clocked in September last.

The loss in the value of the Indian currency came on dollar buying by companies and banks. Analysts observed that the nervousness in the markets due to the face-off with Pakistan was heightened by the statement made by the country’s army chief today.

Dealing room circles aver that it was dollar selling by banks at lower levels of the rupee today that cushioned its fall against the greenback.

   

 
 
NOVEMBER INDUSTRY GROWTH 0.9% 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, Jan. 11: 
Industrial growth has slipped to a mere 2.2 per cent in the first eight months of this fiscal compared with 6 per cent growth during the same period last year.

The economic slowdown was underlined by industrial sector’s worst performance in November which registered 0.9 per cent growth compared with 7.5 per cent in the same month last fiscal.

Manufacturing sector’s growth stood at 2.3 per cent during the period as against 6.3 per cent last year, according to the quick estimates of Index of Industrial Production with base 1993-94, released by the Central Statistical Organisation.

Capital goods industry registered a negative growth of 5 per cent against a growth of 3.1 per cent in the first eight months of last fiscal.

   

 
 
NEW TWIST TO MRPL TANGLE 
 
 
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, Jan. 11: 
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is eyeing Aditya Birla group’s stake in Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals and is planning to open negotiations for it.

The Birla group had tried to sell off its 37.39 per cent stake in the refinery to its equal partners Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) but differences over the asking price held up the deal. While HPCL was willing to offer Rs 8-9 a share for the stake, Birlas were asking for between Rs 14 and Rs 17.

IOC officials said they were open to negotiations. Sources said the ministry had asked the company to step in to see if the battle for the stake sale in the loss-making refinery could be settled through a third-party intervention.

The decision comes in the wake of the Birla group starting talks with Kuwait Petroleum Corporation to offload its stake. “We don’t want another partner here... if IOC buys in, it will remain within our umbrella,” a senior HPCL official said.

IOC and Hindustan Petroleum have worked in tandem before in the retail sector, officials said, and it would be easy for the two to co-operate in running the refinery.

IOC has decided to pitch in for Mangalore even as it is toying with the idea of putting on hold some Rs 17,000 crore in investments in planned refineries at Paradip, Panipat and Koyali. These investments have been stalled due to a fall in domestic demand for petroleum products.

The deadlock on pricing between the Birlas and HPCL had found Kumar Mangalam Birla paying a call on petroleum minister Ram Naik last month.

This yielded a promise by the minister that the logjam would be settled one way or the other within a month’s time.

   

 
 
PM PEP TALK ON POWER REFORMS 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, Jan. 11: 
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today rapped state governments for the slow progress on power reforms while reiterating that political and bureaucratic interference in state electricity boards (SEBs) would defeat the very purpose of reforms.

Emphasising the need to hasten power reforms in order to provide affordable and assured electricity, Vajpayee said: “Eleven of our 28 states have still not taken the first step of setting up a regulatory commission.” Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Delhi, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have already adopted reforms.

Inaugurating the country’s first unified load dispatch centre here today, he said, “Even in states where reforms have been adopted, the successor companies of SEBs have not moved fast to implement them.” He regretted not much had been done despite the chief ministers’ meet in March last on eliminating power theft over a two-year period.

   

 
 
SRI VISHNU SALE TO FUND ICL REVAMP 
 
 
FROM VIVEK NAIR
 
Mumbai, Jan. 11: 
Fresh from the infusion of Rs 331 crore following the sale of its 94 per cent stake in Sri Vishnu Cements Ltd (SVCL), the Chennai-based India Cements Ltd is drawing up fresh plans for shoring up its bottomline. The company will utilise these proceeds to repay high-cost debts and also introduce a VRS programme that would see its payroll reduced by around 600.

India Cements, which has a massive debt burden of close to Rs 1,800 crore as of March 31, 2001, is also looking at leveraging its debt-equity ratio, now expected to go down to 1.8:1 from a high of 2.2:1 after repaying some debts. This it plans to do by a debt-restructuring programme, that entails raising low-cost borrowings to pay high cost debts.

India Cements aims to wipe out its entire debt burden over the next five years and bring down interest costs, which stood at Rs 190.2 crore in March 2001, to slightly over Rs 100 crore in the coming years.

Senior company officials told The Telegraph that a detailed plan on utilisation of the proceeds from the sale of its stake in SVCL would be firmed up within the next couple of months. However, it has been decided for now that most of the proceeds would be used in repaying debt. Further, India Cements is also partly setting aside some funds from the deal to undertake a “low modernisation”’ programme of its cement unit in Salem district, by converting it into a dry process plant from a wet process one.

Emphasis is also being laid on paring costs, for which it is planning a VRS programme.

   

 
 
SRI VISHNU SALE TO FUND ICL REVAMP 
 
 
FROM VIVEK NAIR
 
Mumbai, Jan. 11: 
Fresh from the infusion of Rs 331 crore following the sale of its 94 per cent stake in Sri Vishnu Cements Ltd (SVCL), the Chennai-based India Cements Ltd is drawing up fresh plans for shoring up its bottomline. The company will utilise these proceeds to repay high-cost debts and also introduce a VRS programme that would see its payroll reduced by around 600.

India Cements, which has a massive debt burden of close to Rs 1,800 crore as of March 31, 2001, is also looking at leveraging its debt-equity ratio, now expected to go down to 1.8:1 from a high of 2.2:1 after repaying some debts. This it plans to do by a debt-restructuring programme, that entails raising low-cost borrowings to pay high cost debts.

India Cements aims to wipe out its entire debt burden over the next five years and bring down interest costs, which stood at Rs 190.2 crore in March 2001, to slightly over Rs 100 crore in the coming years.

Senior company officials told The Telegraph that a detailed plan on utilisation of the proceeds from the sale of its stake in SVCL would be firmed up within the next couple of months. However, it has been decided for now that most of the proceeds would be used in repaying debt. Further, India Cements is also partly setting aside some funds from the deal to undertake a “low modernisation”’ programme of its cement unit in Salem district, by converting it into a dry process plant from a wet process one.

Emphasis is also being laid on paring costs, for which it is planning a VRS programme.

   

 
 
HDFC Q3 NET PROFIT UP 22% 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Mumbai, Jan. 11: 
The Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (HDFC) has posted a 22 per cent rise in net profits to Rs 121.01 crore for the third quarter ending December 31 compared with Rs 99.25 crore in the same period last year. Income from operations shot up to Rs 665.22 crore in the reporting quarter as against Rs 579.81 crore in the same period last year. Other income was also higher at Rs 1.06 crore compared with Rs 2 lakh in the third quarter of last fiscal, it added.

For the nine months ended December net profit was Rs 373.56 crore (Rs 316.05 crore) while income from operations stood at Rs 1,969.78 crore (Rs 1,718.43 crore). HDFC’s gross non-performing loans as of December 31, aggregated to 1.17 per cent of the loan portfolio.

Mastek Q2 net zooms

Mastek Ltd has posted a 237.07 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 9.41 crore for the second quarter ended December 31 compared with Rs 2.80 crore in the previous corresponding quarter.

Income from operations was higher at Rs 23.89 crore in the reporting quarter as against Rs 20.90 crore last year, the company said in a release here today. Other income stood at Rs 58 lakh (Rs 20 lakh last year), it added.

For the first half ended December, Mastek has reported a net profit of Rs 11.04 crore as against Rs 9.79 crore in the same period last year.

   

 
 
FICCI SEES GOLD IN KABUL RUINS 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, Jan. 11: 
Indian industry is eyeing the lucrative consultancy and project rebuilding contracts in Afghanistan which is set to get international grants worth over $ 9 billion in the next five years. Of this, the country will get $ 3.5 billion this year.

A delegation led by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) will go to Afghanistan later this month to evaluate proposals for infrastructure projects there.

“Afghanistan will get a huge amount of money to re-build its economy. A meeting is scheduled in Tokyo on January 21 to decide how much money should be spent and in which area. Before that we will be meeting the embassy people and S.K. Lambah, India’s special envoy to Afghanistan, to present the way Indian industry can work there. We definitely want to be on the spot and bag some of the projects before the foreign firms get to them,” Ficci secretary-general Amit Mitra said.

Ficci will focus on construction of airports, houses, building roads and railways, bridges, telecommunications, power generation, education, health and agriculture. The special Ficci cell for Afghanistan will help Indian entrepreneurs.

Mohammad Arif Noorzi, minister of small industries of Afghanistan, said, “Afghanistan will have both, a public and private sector. We plan to establish an industrial estate zone in Kabul and expect help from Indian industry. We will initially concentrate on power, light industries and food processing.”

   

 
 
FOREIGN EXCHANGE, BULLION, STOCK INDICES 
 
 
 
 

Foreign Exchange

US $1	Rs. 48.42	HK $1	Rs.  6.10*
UK £1	Rs. 69.92	SW Fr 1	Rs. 28.75*
Euro	Rs. 43.23	Sing $1	Rs. 25.90*
Yen 100	Rs. 36.66	Aus $1	Rs. 24.90*
*SBI TC buying rates; others are forex market closing rates

Bullion

Calcutta			Bombay

Gold Std (10gm)	Rs. 4770	Gold Std(10 gm)	Rs. 4750
Gold 22 carat	Rs. 4505	Gold 22 carat	NA
Silver bar (Kg)	Rs. 7800	Silver (Kg)	Rs. 7910
Silver portion	Rs. 7900	Silver portion	NA

Stock Indices

Sensex		3362.88		- 19.08
BSE-100		1590.51		- 12.89
S&P CNX Nifty	1088.55		-  9.65
Calcutta	 113.41		+  1.16
Skindia GDR	 536.49		-  1.95
   
 

FRONT PAGE / NATIONAL / EDITORIAL / BUSINESS / THE EAST / SPORTS
ABOUT US /FEEDBACK / ARCHIVE 
 
Maintained by Web Development Company