Business Today

News that you have missed last fortnight

News that you have missed last fortnight
     Print Edition: Sep 15, 2013

Rare Commodity: Scams and the sinking rupee may be worrying factors, but so are soaring onion prices, and their political fallout for the ruling regime. As onion prices soared to over Rs 80 a kg, the government notified the minimum export price at $650 a tonne and moved to import onions. Fresh arrivals are expected to ease the situation in September.

CORPORATE
The country's 10 leading business houses, including Reliance Group, Vedanta, Essar and Adani, have seen their total debt levels soar by 15 per cent to over Rs 6 lakh crore during the last fiscal year, while profitability remains under pressure. The cumulative debt of these groups - the other six being Jaypee, GMR, GVK, JSW, Lanco and Videocon - is likely to further increase in the current fiscal year because of the economic scenario, especially rupee depreciation and delays in projects being undertaken by many of them. So says Credit Suisse in its annual House of Debt report for India. The collective debt of these 10 groups rose to Rs 631,025 crore at the end of last fiscal year, up from Rs 547,361 crore a year ago.

  • Carmakers are rushing to launch new vehicles or upgrade existing models, hoping to catch the elusive customer during the festival season. Among the offerings are: Rolls-Royce's two-door coupe Wraith, Maruti Suzuki's subcompact hatchback Stingray, Volkswagen's crossover version of its Polo hatchback and Nissan's new compact SUV Terrano.
Samsung has overtaken Nokia as India's largest mobile phone maker in the last financial year. The South Korean giant had a 31.5 per cent market share compared with 27.2 per cent for its Finnish counterpart, according to a Voice & Data survey. Micromax is at Number 3 slot, with a 8.72 per cent marketshare in value terms in FY13. The mobile handset industry revenues grew to Rs 35,946 crore for the financial year ended March 2013.

  • BlackBerry Ltd is mulling options that include an outright sale. BlackBerry has bled market share to Apple Inc and phones using Google Inc's Android operating system, and its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones have failed to gain traction with consumers. BlackBerry's fate may involve the Canadian government, which vets foreign takeovers of domestic companies.
ECONOMY
Moody's has reiterated its stable outlook on India's Baa3 sovereign rating, the lowest investment grade level. It said it would continue to assess the country's foreign exchange reserves adequacy. The ratings agency said India has adequate reserves for nearterm balance of payments.

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has conceded that some crucial files pertaining to the alleged irregularities in allocation of captive coal blocks between1993 and 2004 have gone missing from the records. The CBI is pursuing the matter with the ministry. The disappearance has the Opposition snapping at the heels of the UPA regime.

The much awaited launch of GSLV-D5, ISRO's geo-synchronous satellite launch vehicle, was aborted an hour and 14 minutes before lift-off. The reason: detection of a fuel leak in the launch vehicle's second stage, even as the indigenous cryogenic engine was being fuelled. ISRO has been working hard to succeed as four of its previous seven (and two of the last three) GSLV launches have been failures.

Rs 30,000 cr The amount telecom operators, including BSNL and Bharti Airtel, owe the government as outstanding spectrum charges. The dues of GSM players stood at Rs 25,748.91 crore, while the CDMA operators owe Rs 4,409.14 crore as spectrum charges.

34% Dip in Corporate India's merger and acquisition deal value in July, compared to the corresponding period last year, according to Grant Thornton.

125 The number of embezzlement cases by companies reported since 2009. The new Companies Bill provides for jail term and fines for offenders.
 
MARKETS
In the days to come, retail customers of home, auto and consumer loans will have to pay more as interest rates are expected to rise sooner rather than later. The benchmark 10-year yield on government securities (G-secs) has crossed nine per cent per annum, a five-year high and the highest in the post-Lehman era. This benchmark rate is the highest risk-free rate in India, and is seen as the benchmark rate for banks and other lenders for setting their lending rates for customers.

The Reserve Bank of India has simplified rules for investment in shares and debentures of Indian companies listed on a local exchange by non-resident Indians.

COMING UP
The government is planning to set up 25 branches of the proposed public sector Bharatiya Mahila Bank, India's first all-women bank, by the end of this financial year. The first six branches are likely to come up at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Indore and Guwahati by October 15.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is planning the release of two new phones on September 10, including a muchanticipated cheaper iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 5C. This first lower-end version is expected to include fingerprint-detecting technology.


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