1)EVEN as the Indo-US nuclear deal is making its passage in the US Congress, French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday made clear his country’s intention to forge ahead with the civil nuclear cooperation with India which will be sealed in an agreement he is signing with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Paris on Tuesday.
ECONOMY & POLICY
2)After much dilly-dallying, the finance ministry is likely to take a call in the next few days on its proposal to make it mandatory for listed companies to have public holding of at least 25% of their total paid-up capital for all times. “In the next few days, we are most likely to decide on the issue,” finance ministry sources said.
CORPORATE / INDUSTRY
3)With terror threats looming large in every sphere, Government and private agencies are tightening their grip on security measures. The security solutions’ industry is seeing a four-fold growth backed by awareness and demand from various quarters. The market is seen at Rs 1,800 crore.
4)Transport Corporation of India aims to be a Rs 2,000 crore organisation by 2010; it plans to invest Rs 125 crore for ship acquisitions and Rs 50-60 crore for purchase of trucks and construcing several warehouses across the country. The focus will be on value- added products.
MONEY & BANKING
5)The Indian banking sector saw mark-to-market (MTM) losses of around Rs 400 crore due to their investments in instruments of troubled US financial giants Lehman Brothers and AIG. About 75 per cent of these losses is accounted for by the ICICI Bank alone.
6)The tight liquidity conditions have kept some banks from rolling over existing short-term loans to companies, especially public sector undertakings, once these loans mature. Such banks, including the country’s largest bank, State Bank of India, have decided to reduce the flow of loans with tenure of up to 12 months and instead focus on sanctioned credit limits.
7)Indian equity markets, which witnessed extensive volatility in the last week’s trades, are likely to start on a positive note this week. The US house of representatives has approved India to resume the trade in nuclear fuel and technology. This dealers say that, will be viewed as a positive development and bring in some cheer. And at the same time, traders would be watching out for key developments, both domestic and global, in the week ahead. Anita Gandhi, head institutional business at Arihant Capital Market said, “This news can bring much awaited relief in the domestic markets. In the past weeks we saw huge volatility in the market, but in the days to come we assume that global markets will continue to determine the market direction for some more time now.”
8)COMPANIES that have issued foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) could be a jittery lot as the market continues to buckle under mounting pressure of global financial turmoil. With no strong recovery in sight in the near term, investment bankers fear some of the companies, particularly the cash-starved ones where FCCBs are due for maturity in the next few months, may run the risk of diluting promoters’ stakes substantially if they are not able to repay the debt to investors.
9)UTI Mutual Fund is likely to launch its Wealth Builder Fund-Series II on October 21. This is billed as the first ever scheme in the mutual funds industry that would allow investors to get exposure in equities as well as gold under the banner of the same fund. Wealth Builder Fund Series -II is an open ended equity oriented scheme that would look to achieve long term capital appreciation by investing predominantely in diversified portfolio of equity instruments along with gold and gold related instruments.
10)The financial meltdown in the US economy is unlikely to affect the Indian commodity sector but there is a need to strengthen the regulatory mechanism in the country, a top government official said. “The financial meltdown in the US is a great lesson for us. It may not affect the commodity sector in India but we need to strengthen our regulatory mechanism,” Forward Markets Commission(FMC) Chairman B C Khatua said, while addressing the Globoil India conference in Mumbai.
11)India may be eyeing to become the largest producer and exporter of cotton in the world but it fails to attract higher prices of its cotton in the international market because it lacks a quality benchmark or certification. As part of its efforts to brand Indian cotton by creating a quality benchmark, The National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange(NCDEX), a leading comex in the country, has come out with a novel concept called Gold Circle. Gold Circle will be a elite group of Indian ginners, who will undertake stringent checks and balances in ginning and sorting of cotton. The parameters will be set by NCDEX and the exchange will also certify the cotton.
12)The international pepper market appears to be facing a tight supply position when there is every possibility of potential demand emerging in the coming weeks from the US and European markets to cover for their uncovered portion of the winter/New Year requirements. However, it might depend on how far the crisis in the US economy is going to impact the pepper market there. Anyway, the pepper prices have moved up during the week and an upward swing is seen in the international market also. All the contracts went up during the week and the increase was from Rs 736 to Rs 786 a quintal on NCDEX and on NMCE, it was from Rs 686 to Rs 829 a quintal.
13)Reliance Communications Ltd(Rcomm) has commenced the soft launch of its GSM network across major cities including Mumbai,Delhi, Gujarat, Punjab and Southern states. The company has invested Rs 800 crore each in Mumbai and Delhi to set up 2,500 towers respectively in the two largest circles in the country.
BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING
14)Hinduja group company and outsourcing major HTMT Global Solutions has allocated $100-million for BPO company acquisitions in the domestic and international markets, a top company official said. “We are looking at acquisition of BPO companies and have earmarked a $100 million for the purpose. But we are not in a rush,” HTMT’s Chairman, Ramkrishan P Hinduja, said at the company’s annual general meeting held in Mumbai.
KNOWLEDGE PROCESS OUTSOURCING
15)The Wall Street collapse will take the most toll on the knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) business in India, according to industry experts, but firms are optimistic that the meltdown will still create opportunities for outsourcing. The filing of bankruptcy by investment bank Lehman Brothers has hit its KPO services provider eClerx Services, hard. The KPO firm earned around 13% of its business from Lehman Brothers. “Lehman Brothers was one of our top five clients, and their collapse will definitely affect the business in a negative way. But it will be a short-term affect,” commented PD Mundhra, executive director, eClerx Services.
LEGAL PROCESS OUTSOURING
16)At a time when the off-shoring industry is plagued with instances of employee layoffs, companies providing legal process outsourcing (LPO) services are on a hiring spree as demand for litigation services from the US rises. In the next six months to a year, several LPOs have plans to at least double headcount in order to cater to the increased work flow resulting from the recent turmoil in the US that has seen several financial institutions collapse.
17)INFOSYS is likely to make a one-time move to match or surpass HCL’s offer to acquire London-headquartered SAP consulting firm Axon, but would guard itself from embroiling in an expensive bidding war, sources said. Axon board, which received HCL’s 650 pence counter offer amounting to $811 million on Friday, is expected to formally discuss the development after providing Infosys the mandatory 60-hour window to react.
18)The Indo-US civil nuclear deal moved into the final lap, clearing a major hurdle, when the House of Representatives approved a legislation that will now go to the Senate, which is likely to vote on it on Monday.
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