Power utilities owe Rs 8,279 crore to Coal India

An NTPC official said that it has not received any communication in this regard.An NTPC official said that it has not received any communication in this regard.

NEW DELHI: Power generation utilities including country’s largest power producer NTPC and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) owed about Rs 8,279.19 crore to state-owned Coal India, as on November 30.

“Power generation companies, like NTPC and DVC have an outstanding dues of Rs 8,279.19 crore to Coal India as on November 30, 2015,” an official said.

While state-run power producer NTPC owe around Rs 500 to the coal PSU, DVC has an outstanding dues of around Rs 1,500 crore, the official said.

Power companies of states like West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh also owe dues to CIL, the official said.

An NTPC official said that it has not received any communication in this regard.

“NTPC’s negligible amount may be due with Coal India, which is a routine matter,” the official said.

The state electricity distribution companies, which buys electricity from power PSUs, like DVC owe significant outstanding dues to power firms as discoms are facing tough financial conditions, a Coal India official said.

“So this is can be seen as one of the reasons for the power generation firms owe huge dues to Coal India,” the CIL official said.

In a bid to rescue almost bankrupt state electricity retailers, the central government had last month approved a scheme to rejig Rs 4.3-lakh crore debt of the utilities.

The Union Cabinet had approved the scheme to ease the financial crunch of power distribution companies or discoms that has impaired their ability to buy electricity.

The rescue plan, called Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna or UDAY aims at reviving ailing state electricity boards and operational efficiencies of power distribution companies.

China industrial profits fall for 6th straight month

In October, profits fell 4.6 percent from a year earlier.BEIJING: Profits earned by Chinese industrial companies in November fell 1.4 percent from a year earlier, marking a sixth consecutive month of decline, data from the statistics bureau showed on Sunday.

Industrial profits – which cover large enterprises with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan from their main operations – fell 1.9 percent in the first 11 months of the year compared with the same period a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website.

The November profits of industrial firms have seen some improvement from the previous month. In October, profits fell 4.6 percent from a year earlier.

The NBS said investment returns for industrial companies in November increased from a year earlier by 9.25 billion yuan ($1.43 billion).

The jump in November profits from the auto manufacturing and electricity sectors, up 35 percent and 51 percent from a year earlier, respectively, helped narrow overall declines, the statistics bureau said.

Mining was still the laggard sector, with profits falling 56.5 percent in the first 11 months of the year from a year earlier, the NBS data showed.

Aluminium producer China Hongqiao Group said in early December it would cut annual capacity by 250,000 tonnes immediately to curb supplies.

Eight Chinese nickel producers including state-owned Jinchuan Group Co Ltd, said they would cut production by 15,000 tonnes of metal in December and reduce output next year by at least 20 percent from this year, in a bid to lift prices from their worst slump in over a decade.
The producer price index (PPI) contracted 5.9 percent in November from a year earlier, recent data showed. PPI has been in negative territory for nearly four years, pointing to weak domestic demand and overcapacity.

China’s top leader last week outlined main economic targets for next year after they held the annual Central Economic Work Conference, where it said the government will push forward “supply-side reform” to help generate new growth engines in the world’s second-largest economy while tackling factory overcapacity and property inventories.

Chinese firms are combating high debt levels, and a growing number of companies have struggled to make bond payments on time this year. The heavy industry, construction and mining sectors remain under severe pressure from slowing demand and falling prices.

Gold imports lose steam, fall 36.5% to $3.5 billion

India is the largest importer of gold in the world, the demand of which mostly comes from the jewellery industry.India is the largest importer of gold in the world, the demand of which mostly comes from the jewellery industry.
NEW DELHI: Gold imports shrank 36.5 per cent to $3.53 billion in November on the back of falling prices of the yellow metal, something that will keep the country’s current account deficit (CAD) in check.

The prices have been declining at global as well as domestic markets.

The gold imports stood at $5.57 billion in November 2014, according to commerce ministry data. The figure for November this year is the highest in the current fiscal.

The contraction in imports helped narrow the trade deficit to $9.78 billion in the previous month. It stood at $16.2 billion in November 2014.

This year, the imports of the yellow metal grew 62.2 per cent and 140 per cent in July and August, respectively. In September, the inward shipments declined 45.6 per cent.

India is the largest importer of gold in the world, the demand of which mostly comes from the jewellery industry.

During April-November this fiscal, the imports dropped to $22.65 billion as against $24.49 billion in the same period last year.

In 2014-15, gold was the third-largest commodity imported to India after crude oil and electronic items. That fiscal, the country’s imports stood at $34.32 billion.

CAD was down at 1.6 per cent of GDP at $8.2 billion in the September quarter, mainly due to a lower trade deficit.

Coal India produces 9 percent more in FY 2015

Coal India Limited (CIL).Coal India Limited (CIL).

NEW DELHI: State-run Coal India Limited (CIL) produced 9 percent more coal in the current fiscal than in 2014, the government said on Saturday.

In a tweet, coal secretary Anil Swaroop said: “Coal production by Coal India crosses nine percent over last year’s record production. Well done. Keep it going. Still a very long way to go.”

In the current fiscal, CIL’s production rose by 8.8 percent to 321.38 million tonnes from April to November against 295.4 million tonnes in the year ago period, an official said.

For CIL, the government set a target of one billion tonnes of coal production by 2020. This year’s target was fixed at 550 million tonnes while last fiscal’s target was missed by 3 percent with an output of 494.23 million tonnes.

World Bank may revise India’s growth projection: Kaushik Basu

(Representative image)

KOLKATA: World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu on Saturday indicated that the bank may revise its GDP growth projection for India after it goes for a stock-taking in a few months.

“There could be some changes in the January review of India’s growth forecast,” Basu said.

He was responding to media queries on whether failure of the Centre to get the GST Bill passed will have an impact on the projection.

“Decision-making and reforms can have an impact in terms of growth rate and the fact that a couple of important decisions did not go through could have an impact. But India is dominating for a couple of reasons,” Basu said here today.

Recession in Brazil and Russia and slowdown in China have made India the leading economy in terms of growth prospects for the first time this year, Basu said.

Until October, the World Bank retained India’s growth forecast at 7.5 per cent for 2015-16 and expected it to be 7.8 per cent in 2016-17 and 7.9 per cent in 2017-18.

Basu indicated that India’s dominance in growth will continue due to a couple of reasons. “China has slowed a lot and would go below 7 per cent growth, and Russia and Brazil are in recession,” Basu said.

“But what is helping India is a positive general mood which helps investment climate. The oil price drop is also helping India and Bangladesh.”

He, however, did not clarify on whether the uncertainty over the country-wide sales tax reform would influence the investment sentiment and the projection.

India gets oil deals as Russia opens doors

Representative image.

NEW DELHI: India returned to Russia after six years for a bouquet of oil deals, potentially worth $2-3 billion, as Moscow actively seeks partners for meeting capital needs of new fields, amid low crude prices and western sanctions.
On Thursday , Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly-traded oil company , formalised sale of 15% stake in its 100% subsidiary Vankorneft to ONGC Videsh (OVL) for $1.3 billion. The deal gives OVL access to Rosneft’s crown jewel Vanko, the largest onland Russian field developed in the last 25 years. This was followed by a preliminary agreement for giving OVL more stake later and partnerships in other onland fields.

Rosneft also signed a preliminary agreement with a consortium of IndianOil and OIl India (OIL) for selling a stake in another subsidiary , TaasYuryakh Neftegazodobycha, which is developing the Srednebotuobinskoye field. Though the IOC-OIL combine is seeking 29%, which could be worth in excess of $1 billion.Rosneft sold 20% in Tass-Yuryakh to BP for $750 million in October and is negotiating with another company .

OVL had made its last big deal in 2009 by acquiring Imperial Energy . The oil sector agreements, reached as part of the annual summit between PM Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin, we re overshadowed by weightier deals in defence and nuclear power. But they indicate a change of heart on both sides.

Punjab govt seeks more funds from Reserve Bank

Reserve Bank of India.Reserve Bank of India.

CHANDIGARH: Punjab government has asked the Reserve Bank to increase the credit limit so that payments could be made to farmers in view of the bumper paddy output, which led to a higher procurement by the state agencies.

State Food and Civil Supplies Minister Adaish Partap Singh Kairon today said RBI had sanctioned a limit of Rs 18,972 crore for paddy procurement this year.

This was later enhanced to Rs 20,608 crore.

The minister, who had a meeting with a delegation of commission agents here, said the government has urged RBI to enhance the limit to Rs 25,225 crore so that pending payments to the agents and farmers could be released.

The minister assured the that payments would be made latest by January 8.

Against the 119 lakh tonnes of paddy procured last year, government agencies procured over 140 lakh tonnes of paddy this season (October 1 to December 15).

Following the minister’s assurance, Vijay Kalra, President of the Federation of Arhtiya Association, agreed to call off the protest rally planned on December 28.

Bangladesh signs $12.65 billion deal with Russia for nuclear power plants

The first power plant is expected to begin operating by 2022 and the second by 2023. (Representative photo)

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s state-run Atomic Energy Commission signed a deal with Russia on Friday to set up two nuclear power plants, each with 1,200MW capacity, an investment totalling $12.65 billion, a government official said.

Work will begin early next year at Ruppur in Iswardi, 160km (100 miles) from Dhaka, said Kamrul Islam Bhyian, spokesman for the ministry of science and technology.

“Russia will finance up to 90 per cent of the total cost as credit with an interest rate of Libor plus 1.75 per cent,” Bhyian told Reuters.

Bangladesh will clear the total loan within 28 years with a 10-year grace period.
Bangladesh finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said it would be the country’s biggest power project.

The first power plant is expected to begin operating by 2022 and the second by 2023.

The official said the plant would use a new generation reactor that has a lifespan of 60 years with an option of extending it for 20 years.

The reactor contains improved safety features, and its passive safety system can work for 72 hours in any critical or emergency situation, it said.

Rosatom will maintain the plant for the first year of its commercial operation before handing over to the Bangladesh authorities, and will bear fuel costs for the first year of operation.

Rel Jio’s 4G entry not a threat: Idea

Himanshu Kapania, Idea Cellular's Managing Director. (Reuters photo)

Idea Cellular, the country’s third-biggest mobile operator with over 170 million subscribers, has joined the 4G bandwagon ahead of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio launch. Reliance Jio is expected to be launched commercially in March-April, while a soft launch for employees will take place on Sunday. While Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are also expanding their 4G footprint, Idea has forayed into the high-speed network from the southern states and is looking to scale it up to 10 telecom circles by March-end next year from four at present. TOI speaks to Himanshu Kapania, managing director of the Aditya Birla group company, to understand the company’s plans:

Did it take you long to decide as you are the last of top three incumbents to enter 4G?

It certainly has not been long as we made an announcement about our 4G plans in September this year. The 4G spectrum was originally auctioned in 2010 in the 2,300 MHz band, which was bagged by Airtel and Reliance Jio. We had participated in the auction of 1,800 MHz frequency, which happened in 2014 and 2015. We were deferring the launch to first sort out (spectrum) re newal issues, which we could complete only by March this year. Also, we were waiting for the 4G ecosystem (equipment and devices) to be ready.

So, how are you going about it?

We are starting with four telecom service areas of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. By March next year, we intend to spread to 10 telecom circles, which will make us available to half of the country’s telecom subscriber base and 60% of Idea’s revenue subscriber base. Once we have an approval from the telecom department, we will also expand to Gujarat and UP (West) circles that we have recently acquired from Videocon through a spectrum trading deal.

 Industry analysts say there is a tough challenge for incumbent telecom players as cash-rich Re liance Jio can can give steep competition. Do you agree?
You have to understand that this business is a marathon, not a sprint. It is a massive infrastructure project and has to reach every nook and corner of the country.

If you talk about competition, the market structure is not as hyper in the 4G business as it used to be in the mobile voice area where we had 16 players in 2008-09 and still have to fight it out with 8-10 telcos. In 4G, we will have mainly about three to four operators in competition, such as Airtel, Reliance Jio, Idea and to some extent Vodafone. Currently, there are around 90 million users on 3G and we believe that in the next four to five years, the number of people on the high-speed 3G and 4G networks will go up to 400500 million as data tariffs fall and devices get cheaper.This is a big opportunity.

Sold! Sales of Small Businesses Continue to Rise

The number of small businesses changing hands is on the rise, new research finds.

Overall, 66 percent of business brokers experienced an increase in the number of small businesses bought and sold in 2015, compared to just 14 percent who saw a decrease in such activity levels, found BizBuySell, an online marketplace for buying and selling small businesses.

Business brokers attribute the uptick in activity to a combination of reasons, including an increased number of interested buyers, a better small business environment highlighted by improved revenue and profit, and a surge in the number of owners looking to sell.

An increase in the number of baby boomers wanting to retire is also contributing to the increased number of small businesses being bought and sold, the research found. The study revealed that 77 percent of brokers attributed at least one-quarter of their closed transactions to baby boomers, while 46 percent said more than half of their sales came from retiring baby boomers.

“While the market has been strong for several years now, brokers have yet to experience any decline in number of quality listings,” Bob House, group general manager of BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com, said in a statement. “With sellers growing more confident in their valuations, buyers gaining additional access to capital and the small business environment continuing to improve economically, the market is set up for strong transaction levels in 2016.”

In all, 73 percent of the business brokers surveyed said they expect transaction activity to increase even more next year.

“It’s promising to see that brokers are optimistic that the market will continue to improve in 2016,” House said.

Moving forward, continuing health care and minimum wage changes could also help spur on more transactions. This year, 20 percent of the brokers surveyed said they had clients sell their businesses due to higher health care costs, while 8 percent had clients sell their businesses largely due to a minimum wage increase or potential minimum wage increases.

“It will be important for small business owners to keep an eye on these issues and decide how upcoming changes could affect their exit strategy,” House said.

Currently, most brokers said they view the small business transaction landscape as a buyer’s market. Specifically, 52 percent of those surveyed said the market favors buyers, while 24 percent said it’s balanced. Just 19 percent said the market favors sellers.

The study was based on surveys of 240 business brokers from across the United States.