IndUS Business Journal

Equities gain despite weak global cues, banks stocks up

Apr 3, 2018 0

Mumbai– Despite volatility in the global markets, the key Indian equity indices closed Tuesday’s rangebound trade session with appreciable gains led by healthy buying in banking, auto, oil and gas, and healthcare stocks.

According to market observers, banking stocks got a fillip after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday allowed banks to spread bond losses over four quarters, which also led to an upsurge in the benchmark indices during the closing hour of trade.

On Tuseday, the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) edged higher by 33.20 points or 0.33 per cent to close at 10,245 points.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE closed at 33,370.63 points — up 115.27 points or 0.35 per cent from its previous session’s close.

The BSE market breadth was bullish with 1,848 advances and 798 declines.

In terms of the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index was up 0.92 points and the small-cap index up 1.35 points.

“Markets moved up further on Tuesday to end with modest gains for the second consecutive session. The Nifty in the process closed above the immediate resistances of 10,227 despite weak global cues,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“Major Asian markets closed on a negative note. European indices like FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40 traded in the red,” he added.

On the currency front, the Indian rupee strengthened by around 16 paise to close at 65.02 against the US dollar from Wednesday’s close at 65.18.

In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 376.51 crore, while the domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 479.18 crore.

Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “Market traded rangebound throughout the day due to volatility in the global market. But towards the close, pace picked-up supported by moderation in yield and growth in core sector.”

Official data released post market hours on Monday showed that the Index of Eight Core Industries (ECI) — which represents the output of major sectors like coal, steel, cement and electricity — rose by 5.3 per cent last month compared to an increase of 6.1 per cent in January.

However, on an year-on-year basis, the ECI showed an uptrend. It had inched up by 0.6 per cent in the corresponding month of 2017.

“Yield declined amid central bank allowing the banks to spread their bond trading losses which gave a positive sentiment to banking stocks. On the other hand, investors are gradually shifting focus to upcoming Q4 (fourth quarter) results and RBI policy outcome which will dictate the market outlook in the near term,” said Nair.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE banking index rose by 293.63 points, followed by auto index by 208.09 points and oil and gas index by 90.98 points.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE consumer durables index fell by 135.26 points, IT index by 29.60 points and Teck (media, entertainment and technology) index by 5.31 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Tuesday were: ICICI Bank, up 2.94 per cent at Rs 269.60; Mahindra and Mahindra, up 2.92 per cent at Rs 769.40; Tata Motors (DVR), up 2.22 per cent at Rs 193.40; Yes Bank, up 2.11 per cent at Rs 312.65; and Power Grid, up 1.90 per cent at Rs 198.40.

The Sensex losers were: Wipro, down 2.02 per cent at Rs 283.90; ONGC, down 1.28 per cent at Rs 177.70; Adani Ports, down 0.86 per cent at Rs 366.80; HDFC Bank, down 0.74 per cent at Rs 1,916.10; and Bajaj Auto, down 0.60 per cent at Rs 2,791.75. (IANS)

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With around Rs 30,000 cr turnover, Amul posts 14% growth

Apr 2, 2018 0

Anand (Gujarat)– The dairy brand Amul from the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF) on Monday announced huge gains in sales, with a provisional turnover of Rs 29,220 crore for the financial year ended March 31, 2018.

Amul, in a press statement said its branded consumer products such as cheese, butter, milk beverages, paneer, cream, buttermilk and dahi registered a growth of 14 per cent over the previous year, growing between 20 to 40 per cent.

Amul, which has registered a growth rate of over 18 per cent over last eight years, however, said its turnover last year had grown only 8 per cent over the previous year “mainly due to decline of 60 per cent in the commodity sales as a result of depressed market conditions” globally and back home.

Having a farmer-member strength of over 36 lakh across 18,700 villages of Gujarat, the 18 member unions of Amul procures an average total of 211 lakh litres of milk per day.

It also plans to enhances milk processing capacity to 380-400 lakh liters per day from the current level of 320 lakh litres and expects a turnover of over Rs 50,000 crore in the next two years. (IANS)

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Binani Cement’s CoC seeks more time to consider settlement offer

Apr 2, 2018 0

Kolkata– Amid ongoing battle for taking over insolvent Binani Cement, its Committee of Creditors (CoC) on Monday sought more time from National Company Law Tribunal’s (NCLT) bench here to consider firm’s parent company Binani Industries’ application for an out of the tribunal settlement.

The NCLT’s Kolkata division bench comprising two judges directed the lenders’ committee to consider Binani Industries’ plea and extended the deadline till April 9.

Binani Industries had submitted an application before the tribunal seeking termination of insolvency proceedings against its cement manufacturing subsidiary and its counsel had said it could pay all its creditors.

The move came after it concluded a commercial understanding with the UltraTech Cement to sell its entire 98.43 per cent stake in its cement manufacturing subsidiary at a consideration of Rs 7,266 crore.

The NCLT bench in its order dated March 27, said: “In the larger interest of all the stake holders, possibility of having a harmonious settlement is to be considered…parties are free to consider it out of tribunal.”

Counsel appearing for the CoC on Monday said it could not consider the Binani Industries plea as a copy of the order of the tribunal in this regard was not available.

Asked if the CoC was willing to consider the proposal if they got a copy of the order, counsel replied that the committee needed “more time” because there were so many creditors to be consulted.

During the ongoing insolvency proceedings of Binani Cement, Resolution Professional (RP), Vijaykumar V Iyer, submitted the resolution plan of Dalmia Bharat-controlled Rajputana Properties before the bench as the “highest bidder” to take over the debt-laden company.

Meanwhile, UltraTech Cement had recently informed stock exchanges that it obtained the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) approval on its bid for the debt-laden company and the company claimed the CCI clearance validates its contention that “they were wrongly and unjustifiably rated H2 instead of H1”.

Rejecting this, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited’s Group CEO Mahendra Singhi had claimed: “The reasons cited by the unsuccessful bidder for its failed bid, in stock exchange filings and press interviews, are misleading. We have made the highest financial bid and had also obtained the highest score in the evaluation.” (IANS)

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Indian-owned Swami fills Accra’s accommodation gap with $12 mn estate

Apr 2, 2018 0

By Francis Kokutse

Accra– As the Ghanaian government struggles to find a solution to the country’s accommodation problem, Indian-owned Swami International has stepped in with a $12 million, 12.4 acre Paradise Estates township made up of 102 houses in the capital Accra.

This is part of the company’s $50 million investment in real estate across two other West African countries, Gambia and Senegal, its General Manager, Tarun Singh, told IANS.

Swami entered the West African real estate market two years ago, Singh said, in response to an African Development Bank (AfDB) report that the continent “was growing with an urbanisation rate of 3.4 per cent, with cities across the continent experiencing the fastest urban growth rate globally. Unfortunately, it looks like this is not being matched by the ability to provide affordable houses”.

He said the Swami Group entered a market that has real demand and is perhaps providing what governments across the continent are not able to do.

The international real estate group, Knight Frank, in a report on Africa’s real estate sector for 2017, said rapid population growth across Africa — faster than any other global region — together with urbanisation, is driving the property market activity across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Singh said the company had already completed a similar project in Senegal and had moved on to a second one at Diamniodo, a new development at the new airport.

“Our decision to come to West Africa is due to the peace and security we find in the countries that we are operating in,” he added.

Singh, however, said there were some problems that needed to be solved, including skilled workers to be engaged on large-scale housing projects and poor utility services, in order to attract more investors into the real estate sector in the three countries.

In addition to the provision of houses in Gambia, Singh said the company has also provided rural electrification and boreholes for the people. “In addition, we have also ventured into agriculture with the cultivation of potatoes in Senegal and bananas in the Gambia,” he said.

The AfDB has identified a huge deficit in the real estate sector which it said had hit the poor hard because of affordability and this had remained a key challenge to developing the housing finance market. (IANS)

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Green energy firm ReNew Power acquires Ostro Energy

Apr 2, 2018 0

New Delhi– Private producer ReNew Power on Monday announced its acquisition of Ostro Energy Private Ltd, which would take its clean energy portfolio capacity to over 5,600 MW through its biggest takeover till date.

The ReNew Power statement here, however, did not indicate the purchase price.

“ReNew Power currently has green energy assets of more than 4,500 MW, which include a commissioned capacity of approximately 2,800 MW. Ostro Energy has a total capacity of more than 1,100 MW, out of which nearly 850 MW is already commissioned.

“With the acquisition of these assets, ReNew Power’s capacity will now exceed 5,600 MW.” it said.

“Ostro has built an impressive business with diversified geographical spread; good quality infrastructure; and stable long term PPAs (power purchase agreements). Its assets are spread across Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.”

ReNew Power also said the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is investing an additional $247 million to support this acquisition.

“As a result, the CPPIB’s combined investment in ReNew Power now stands at $391 million, following an earlier investment of $144 million in January 2018,” it added. (IANS)

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How China can help India take a giant leap in Artificial Intelligence

Apr 2, 2018 0

By Nishant Arora

New Delhi– Tech honchos in Silicon Valley are deeply worried at China’s rapid progress in harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that has shown encouraging results in changing the way we work and live.

According to Eric Schmidt, former chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, China will overtake the US in AI by 2025.

Measured by start-up financing deals and dollars from venture capitalists, the United States’ AI start-up ecosystem currently dominates — followed by China, says a recent Accenture analysis titled “Rewire for Growth”.

When it comes to India, the number of AI start-ups has increased since 2011 at a compounded annual growth rate of 86 per cent.

But the size of funding till date is substantially smaller in India than in the US and China, reflecting the limited success of India’s AI start-ups in achieving scale so far, the report noted.

“According to our analysis, AI has the potential to add $957 billion, or 15 per cent of current gross value added, to India’s economy in 2035,” said Accenture.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi now wants that AI technology should be “Made in India” and “Made to Work for India” but despite promising starts, the country’s policy initiatives are not comprehensive yet and lag other G20 countries.

China, on the other hand, today harbours one of the biggest clusters of AI scientists.

According to The Economist, China’s State Council has issued an ambitious policy blueprint, calling for the country to become “the world’s primary AI innovation centre” by 2030.

“China’s AI programme is highly structured and driven ‘top down’ whereas India’s approach is more ‘organic’ — at least till this point — driven largely by the private sector and driven by their unique needs for AI,” said Dr Prashant Pradhan, Chief Technology Officer, IBM India/South Asia.

These represent very different approaches to “getting ready” for AI.

“China’s approach carefully manages investment, infrastructure, focus verticals and training. This has benefits in speed of execution and outcomes — especially when there is clarity on the priority areas of application,” Pradhan told IANS.

Advances in AI largely happen in an open, peer-reviewed community with free exchange of ideas. “Over time, there may be more coordinated government investment — especially in resource-constrained environments,” Pradhan noted.

When it comes to funding, Machine Learning (ML), recommendation engines and computer vision are the most popular segments of AI, accounting for almost 80 per cent of total funding globally.

“Big industry players that have the financial strength and business experience to invest in AI research and development (R&D) typically lead the strategic charge on global competitiveness for their country,” the Accenture analysis stressed.

Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are spearheading AI innovations in the US, and Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu are funding the AI research in China.

In line with the global trends, the digital platform companies are becoming the driving force of AI innovations in India too.

According to Rajesh Janey, Managing Director and President, India Enterprise, Dell EMC, the country is entering an era of monumental technological change, rich with opportunity.

“Globally, businesses plan to triple their investments in advanced AI within five years. India too will see the same enthusiasm, with investments in AI jumping from 31 per cent to 89 per cent in the same time-frame,” Janey told IANS.

AI will improve our interaction with technology, understand the abundance of data and rely on the predictions to automate excessively complex or mundane tasks, said Shaakun Khanna, Senior Director, HCM Strategy and Transformation, Asia Pacific at Oracle.

In February, Modi inaugurated the Wadhwani Institute of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Mumbai’s Kalina campus — reported to be the first AI research lab in the country.

US-based philanthropist brothers Romesh Wadhwani and Sunil Wadhwani have established the institute and want it to become like San Francisco-based non-profit “OpenAI” that has SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk as one of its co-founders.

In order to become a true AI powerhouse, it is high time that New Delhi makes Beijing a bigger partner in fuelling AI research at home.

According to Accenture, AI research has been motivated by societal needs in India so far and the first step now is to create a comprehensive, long-term vision and road-map for AI.

“The national AI plan with clear milestones should be set as a priority. Here, India can follow the lead of China which has laid out clear targets for AI development in phases, initially by 2020 and going forward by 2030,” it added.

The first critical thing is to understand the role AI is likely to play across multiple professions. “Targeted augmentation in every field will be the key to success for the country to have an AI-ready workforce,” Pradhan stressed. (IANS)

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Fuel price: Pradhan wants petroleum under GST

Apr 2, 2018 0

New Delhi– Petroleum products should be brought under GST so that consumers can get the benefit of price rationalisation, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday, a day after transport fuel prices in Delhi hit record highs, even as cleaner Euro-VI grade petrol and diesel supply began here.

Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

Speaking at an event here to mark Sunday’s launch in Delhi of the “cleanest available” Euro VI emission norm-compliant BS VI fuels, in place of the earlier Euro IV grade, Pradhan recalled how the Central government had cut excise duties on fuels last year in the face of rising global crude prices and some states had followed suit by cutting local taxes.

“On prices we have nothing to hide… petrol, diesel are international commodities and whenever there is a hike or fall in global rates we pass it on to the consumers,” Pradhan said, noting that prices change on a daily basis under dynamic pricing.

“India is a consumer sensitive country and the government has cut excise duties last year… some states also reduced VAT on fuels. States should now respond accordingly and responsibly.”

“In this regard, I appeal again to the GST Council, finally this product has to come under GST (Goods and Services Tax) so that the consumer can benefit from price rationalisation,” he said in a reference to states not being in favour of including petroleum in the new indirect tax regime for fear of losing excise revenue.

The price of petrol in Delhi on Monday was at Rs 73.83 a litre, which marks a four-year high, while diesel was at an all-time high of Rs 64.69.

Pradhan also noted that the price of the Indian basket of crude oils had gone over $70 a barrel by the close of trade on the weekend.

State-run IndianOil Corp (IOC) Chairman Sanjiv Singh said though massive investments had been made to supply the improved BS VI fuel, Delhi consumers are not being passed on any of the additional cost of production for the time being.

He said a mechanism for recovering the cost would be worked out when the entire country shifts to Euro-VI grade fuel.

The April 2020 deadline for the country to implement BS-VI grade fuels had been advanced for Delhi to April 1, 2018, in view of the extremely high levels of air pollution.

Singh also said the Euro VI fuel combined with the lesser grade cars and two-wheelers, presently available, would result in 10-20 per cent reduction in particulate emission in Delhi but for full benefit, the vehicles too need to have Euro VI engines.

In this connection, Pradhan suggested that auto manufacturers can make the minor remodifications required for the domestic market to the Euro VI compliant vehicles that they are currently exporting.

“It would require that they change the left-hand drive of these export cars to the right side… but are SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) prepared to do so,” he asked. (IANS)

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Positive global cues, healthy auto sales data lift equity indices

Apr 2, 2018 0

Mumbai– Key Indian equity indices closed the first day of the 2018-19 financial year with appreciable gains as broadly positive global peers, along with robust automobile sales data, lifted investors’ risk-taking appetite.

According to market observers, healthy buying was witnessed in auto, capital goods and healthcare stocks.

On a closing basis, the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) rose by 98.10 points, or 0.97 per cent, to 10,211.80 points.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE closed at 33,255.36 points — up 286.68 points, or 0.87 per cent, from its previous session’s close.

The BSE market breadth was bullish with 2,101 advances and 537 declines.

In terms of the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index edged higher by 1.40 per cent and the small-cap index by 2.35 per cent.

“Markets ended sharply higher on Monday after the correction seen in the previous trading session. It was the first trading session of the near month April derivative series and also the first trading session of the financial year 2018-19,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“Markets moved higher on the back of positive Asian equity markets and beginning of new derivatives series/new fiscal year,” he added.

In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 689.75 crore, while the domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 413.16 crore.

Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “Markets rallied on account of stellar auto sales and value buying of pharma stocks influenced by US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approvals. US stock futures dropped and other Asian markets reversed an early advance, where volume was low as many markets remained closed.

“The markets are expected to remain choppy and support levels are likely to be tested globally due to looming uncertainty. Back home, investors are focusing on upcoming RBI (Reserve Bank of India) policy while consensus shows status quo on key rates due to declining yield and inflation,” he added.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE auto index augmented by 515.45 points, followed by capital goods index by 375.74 points and healthcare index by 326.36 points.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE banking indiex fell by 99.57 points and the oil and gas index by 18.75 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Monday were: Kotak Bank, up 4.65 per cent at Rs 1,097.40; Adani Ports, up 4.33 per cent at Rs 370; Tata Motors, up 3.47 per cent at Rs 338.80; Wipro, up 2.95 per cent at Rs 289.75; and Tata Motors (DVR), up 2.88 per cent at Rs 189.20.

The Sensex losers were: ICICI Bank, down 5.93 per cent at Rs 261.90; Axis Bank, down 2.20 per cent at Rs 498.20; Coal India, down 2.01 per cent at Rs 277.80; State Bank of India, down 1.52 per cent at Rs 246.30; and Bharti Airtel, down 1.12 per cent at Rs 394.45. (IANS)

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Huawei posts 28% rise in 2017 net profit, to hike R&D investments

Mar 30, 2018 0

New Delhi– Eyeing the growth-driven Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G markets, Shenzhen-based Huawei on Friday reported net profit of 47.5 billion yuan ($7.3 billion) for 2017, an increase of 28.1 per cent year-on-year, and registered revenue of 603.6 billion yuan ($92.5 billion) — a rise of 15.7 per cent over 2016.

In 2017, Huawei’s annual investment in research and development reached 89.7 billion yuan ($13.8 billion), up 17.4 per cent compared with 2016.

The company’s total R&D spend over the past decade has exceeded 394 billion yuan ($60.4 billion).

“We’re on a new journey. Over the next 10 years, Huawei will continue to increase investment in technological innovation, investing more than $10 billion back into R&D every year,” Ken Hu, Huawei’s Rotating Chairman, said in a statement.

“We will actively pursue open collaboration, attract and cultivate top talent, and step up efforts in exploratory research. We want to better enable all industries to go digital and intelligent,” Hu added.

Focusing on helping global carriers maximise the potential of their existing network assets and seize new opportunities in video, Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud markets, Huawei’s Carrier business group generated 297.8 billion yuan ($45.7 billion) in revenue, an increase of 2.5 per cent year-on-year.

Huawei’s enterprise business group enhanced innovations in cloud, big data, campus networks, data centres, IoT and other domains.

In 2017, the enterprise business generated 54.9 billion yuan ($8.4 billion) in revenue, an increase of 35.1 per cent compared with 2016.

Huawei set up a Cloud Business Unit in 2017, which launched 99 cloud services across 14 major categories, and over 50 solutions.

The company also unveiled the Enterprise Intelligence (EI) platform and developed over 2,000 cloud service partners.

“As we look to 2018, emerging technologies like IoT, cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 5G will soon see large-scale application,” Hu added. (IANS)

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Indian banks’ credibility at all-time low, says Congress

Mar 30, 2018 0

Bengaluru– With several fraud cases worth thousands of crores of rupees surfacing in Indian banks, the banking sector gone into a “deep crisis” with credibility at all time low due to failure of regulatory oversight, Congress said on Friday.

“Unimaginable sums of thousands of crores have been looted by select few by faking letters of undertaking (LoUs), not paying loans and fraudulent means under a complicit banking system,” party spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala told media persons here.

About Rs 61,000 crores was swindled through the 11 banking fraud cases that were uncovered over the past few months, he said.

“India’s banking sector is in deep crisis due to the undermining of integrity of regulatory institutions and the failure of regulatory oversight.”

Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being on an indefinite vow of silence, Surjewala said under his “direct watch”, the duping, loot, cheating and swindling of banks were taking place.

“‘A scam a day’ and ‘Let the looters run away’ were the slogans of the Modi government.

“People’s money was allowed to be brazenly looted by the likes of (liquor baron) Vijay Mallya, (former Indian Premier League Chairman) Lalit Modi and (Punjab National Bank fraud accused diamantaire) Nirav Modi, who were all allowed to flee the country,” the Congress leader said.

As a result of the scams, the gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of the banking sector in the country have tripled, he alleged, adding that there isn’t any bank in the country that is unaffected by the scams.

Attacking the Modi government, he said it has been in deep slumber and has also refused to acknowledge publicly the “looting and duping” of common man’s money by Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi through Ponzi gold schemes.

Even as the frauds were piling up, the PM and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were maintaining their deafening silence, Surjewala added. (IANS)

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