No SFIO reference on ICICI Bank to Corporate Affairs: Secretary

Apr 4, 2018 0

New Delhi– No reference has been made to the Union Corporate Affairs Ministry by its Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) on the issue involving the private sector ICICI Bank and Videocon Group, its Secretary Injeti Srinivas said on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters here on the sidelines of a conference on Resolving Insolvency organised by industry chamber CII, Srinivas, however, also said that it is well within the rights of the SFIO to make a reference on the matter.

“If the SFIO considers it necessary to make a reference to the ministry, it is well within its ambit,” he said, adding that no such reference had been made to the ministry.

Officials here said on Tuesday that the Income Tax Department has issued a notice to Deepak Kochhar, the husband of ICICI Bank Chief Executive Chanda Kochhar, in connection with its ongoing tax evasion probe in the Videocon bank loan case.

He has been named by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its preliminary enquiry registered last week and the agency had also questioned a few ICICI bank officials as part of the probe to find if any quid pro quo was involved in the bank issuing a Rs 3,250 crore loan to the Videocon Group in 2012.

The deal recently made news after reports questioned the loan and linked it to a possible quid pro quo that Videocon group promoter Venugopal Dhoot allegedly had with NuPower Renewables, a company founded by Deepak Kochhar.

In its preliminary enquiry — a precursor before lodging an FIR — the CBI had named Dhoot, Deepak Kochhar and unidentified others.

In his address at the conference earlier, Srinivas, who heads the Insolvency Law Committee, that made public its recommendations on Tuesday, said that Less than half of the staggering Rs 9 lakh crore worth of non-performing assets (NPAs), or bad loans, accumulated by banks had returned due to the system set in place by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code enacted by Parliament in 2016. (IANS)

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India, Iran to set up expert group on trade remedy measures

Apr 4, 2018 0

New Delhi– The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday gave its ex post facto approval to an agreement between India and Iran to set up an expert group on trade remedy measures.

“The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will promote cooperation between the two countries in area of trade remedies such as exchange of information, capacity building activities, cooperation in investigations related to anti-dumping and countervailing duty,” said an official statement.

The MoU, signed on February 17, 2018 during the visit of Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, is aimed to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest. (IANS)

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Government launches 3 portals for ease of agri-exports

Apr 3, 2018 0

New Delhi– In a digital initiative to promote ease of exports, particularly for Indian agricultural products, the Commerce Ministry on Tuesday launched three portals – for Safe Food Export Traceability, Single Laboratory for Accreditation and Approvals, and the third for Monitoring Export Alerts from importing regulators.

While the Safe Food Export portal offers comprehensive linkages to primary producers, suppliers, establishments, laboratories and export certification, the “One Lab One Assessment” portal simplifies procedures by eliminating multiple asessments by multiple authorities for testing, which is an essential for food exports

The portal dedicated to monitoring export alerts is designed to improve efficiency of the system of corrective action on non-compliance alerts in food exports given by importing regulators, officials said here.

Lauding the Export Inspection Council’s digital initiative, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said at the launch that India’s vast potential for food and agri-exports is “truly underestimated”. To realise this potential requires putting in place certain processes like these digital ones for easing exports and quality control, he said.

“Food is a regulated item and so it is important to ensure that what consumers eat is what is promised to them. There is the need in India to process according to world is a quality issue,” he said.

Noting that India has 7,600 km of coastline along 13 states, Prabhu said the country has enormous potential in marine and fish exports.

“We have 35 agro-climatic zones in the country and can produce everything the world eats,” he added.

He also said that substantial vegetable produce is lost due to lack of proper storage , while India has the unenviable tag of being the “second largest waster in the world” in this regard.

“Almost 30 per cent of our vegetable produce is wasted,” he said.

The Minister also said that that the government has drafted an Agricultural Export Policy that has been put in the public domain inviting suggestions and comments. (IANS)

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India to be partner country for Ambiente 2019

Apr 3, 2018 0

New Delhi– India will be the partner country for International Frankfurt Trade Fair, Ambiente 2019 to be held during February 8-12, 2019, a statement said.

“India will take over the partner country globe from the Netherlands. This was announced by Messe Frankfurt at a festive ceremony on the penultimate day of Ambiente (2018),” said the organisers in the statement.

“The country that receives the globe can then present itself at a special show at the next Ambiente,” it added.

Union Minister of State for Textiles Ajay Tamta, said: “India is looking forward to this collaboration that will help to develop long-term sustainable partnerships of Indian industry with the value chain in Germany and other countries.” (IANS)

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India’s manufacturing sector expansion slows in March: PMI

Apr 3, 2018 0

Mumbai–India’s manufacturing sector grew at a slower pace in March 2018, the Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed on Tuesday.

The composite indicator of manufacturing performance increased to 51 in March 2018 from 52.1 reported for February. An index reading of above 50 indicates an overall increase in economic activity and below 50 an overall decrease.

According to the key macro-economic data point, Indian goods manufacturers raised “their output for the eighth successive month during March” and that higher production was mainly linked to new order growth and favourable demand conditions.

As per the PMI report, amid “reports of spare operating capacity”, firms reduced their payroll numbers for the first time in eight months, “albeit at a fractional pace”.

Commenting on the PMI data, Aashna Dodhia, Economist at IHS Markit and the author of the report, said: “India’s manufacturing sector continued to grow, albeit at the weakest pace since October, reflecting weaker gains in new business and a decline in employment for the first time in eight months.”

“New export orders rose during March, thereby marking a five-month period of growth. The impact of US tariffs on steel and aluminium on India is expected to be limited, as India’s exports in both metals to the US accounted for less than 0.4 per cent of total merchandise exports. On a negative note, further advances in trade disputes could potentially weigh on sales to international clients.” (IANS)

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Petrol at Rs 73.95 a litre in Delhi, highest since September 2013

Apr 3, 2018 0

New Delhi– Petrol prices continued to spiral on Tuesday, touching a nearly five year high of Rs 73.95 per litre in Delhi.

The previous high in the capital was Rs 74.10 a litre in September 2013.

In Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai too, prices climbed to new multi-year highs at Rs 81.80, Rs 76.66 and Rs 76.72 a litre, the Indian Oil website said.

The previous high in these cities was Rs 82.07 (Mumbai, March 2014), Rs 77.88 (Kolkata, May 2012) and Rs 77.53 (Chennai, May 2012).

Diesel prices also touched new record levels.

On Tuesday, diesel prices in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai were Rs 64.82, Rs 69.02, Rs 67.51 and Rs 68.38 a litre respectively.

Prices of petrol and diesel have been on the rise off late after global crude oil prices increased due to trade tensions between the US and China.

On Tuesday, Brent crude oil was priced around $68.01 per barrel, whereas in 2013 it was priced at over $100 a barrel.

Prices of transport fuels are now changed on a daily basis to cope with volatility in global crude oil prices, unlike the previous fortnightly revision of prices. (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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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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Coal India likely to offtake record 581 mn tonnes in FY18

Mar 30, 2018 0

New Delhi– Coal India Ltd (CIL) is expected to carry out a record offtake of 581 million tonne coal in 2017-18 (April-March) due to improved cooperation between the mining company and Indian Railways, the Ministry of Coal said on Friday.

“With the continuing cooperation from Railways, CIL is expected to achieve record offtake of about 581 mt (million tonne) during the current fiscal, registering a growth of 7 per cent,” a Ministry statement said.

It added: “Having realised the potential for moving over 340 rakes of coal (in a day), increased thrust is being made to carry forward the momentum to bring the power sector out of criticality and to meet the demands of other sectors of consumers.”

On March 28, the state-run company recorded the highest offtake in a day, of 2 million tonnes and the Indian Railways helped movement of 344.5 coal rakes the day, surpassing the target of 342 rakes, the Ministry said.

The synergy between Coal India and Indian Railways has improved in order “to overcome the crisis faced by thermal power plants from the month of July 2017”, it said.

“The daily average despatch to power plants during the last 10 days has also crossed the target of 1.4 million tonnes,” it said. “As a result, the stocks at the power stations’ end which had plunged to the lowest level of about 7 mt during October 2017 has now improved to 16 mt, despite rapid increase in coal consumption.”(IANS)

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