CII National Committee on Steel chaired by CS Verma
CS Verma, Chairman of CII National Committee on Steel and Chairman, Steel Authority of India Limited, called for a cohesive and comprehensive agenda for the new government in order to accelerate growth in steel sector for a capacity building of 300 million tonnes per annum by 2025. The key focus areas discussed included ensuring availability of iron ore and coal mines to existing steel plants, improving viability of the alloy & stainless steel sector, impact of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements with Japan and Korea on the steel industry and rationalising the railway freight structure so that there is no cross-subsidisation. He was speaking at the meeting of CII National Committee on Steel. He said that though there are adequate resources of iron ore and coal available in the country, ironically, ensuring uninterrupted availability of these two key raw materials for the industry remains a challenge.
Vodacom to buy Tata Comm stake in Neotel
In a statement, Tata Communications said it had confirmed a deal to sell its 67.3 per cent stake in Neotel, its South African unit, for seven billion rand (Rs 3,950 crore) to Vodacom, a subsidiary of British telecom company Vodafone. Eight months ago, the two had agreed to explore a potential deal. For the deal, Standard Chartered Bank was the advisor to Tata Communications. The deal, to give Vodacom the largest fibre optic network for high-speed net, is expected to be closed by the end of this financial year. Both the companies said in a joint statement, “The structure of the deal and its commercial terms remain subject to regulatory and competition authority approvals and the parties will be immediately starting the necessary processes.”
SBI General Insurance FY14 premium income rises
SBI General Insurance has registered a healthy 54 per cent growth in premium income at Rs 1,188 crore in the past financial year. The company, the general insurance arm of the country’s largest lender SBI, said that its market share increased from 1.12 per cent to 1.56 per cent during this period. Its combined ratio, which is the critical parameter of profitability, improved to 132 per cent in FY14 from 201 per cent reported in the previous fiscal. “Despite a slowdown in the industry, we emerged as one of the fastest growing players and crossed the Rs 1,000-crore mark in just the fourth year of operations,” chief executive Bhaskar J Sarma said in a statement. While the company generated 65 per cent of its business from the retail segment, the SME segment contributed nearly 21 per cent and corporate segment accounted for 13 per cent during the last fiscal.
Wipro gets IT infrastructure deal from Corning
In a very strategic development, Wipro, the third largest software services firm, has got a multi-year IT infrastructure deal from specialty glass and ceramics maker Corning. The tech major said in a statement, through this calculated collaboration, Wipro will make Corning’s IT services more resilient to market volatility and enhance performance and operational efficiency. The statement added that the solution will be delivered as a multi-year managed service from Wipro’s global delivery and data centres. “The relationship between Corning and Wipro is anchored by the synergy of our core corporate values and we look forward to fostering an environment to support Corning in achieving its growth objectives,” Wipro Chief Executive (Manufacturing and Hi-Tech Industry SBU) NS Bala said. Manufacturing and Hi-tech segment accounted for 18.6 per cent of Wipro’s revenues ($6.6 billion) in FY2013-14 with a year-on-year growth of 1.3 per cent.
Manipal to buy Nanavati hospital
Manipal Health Enterprises (MHE) is eyeing control of Mumbai-based Balabhai Nanavati Hospital marking the South-based healthcare chain’s entry into India’s financial capital, people involved with the transaction said. Manipal plans to acquire the management rights of the 350-bed Nanavati Hospital in Vile Parle for over Rs 400 crore. The payout will cover Nanavati’s existing debt, working capital, expansion plans and voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for some of its 1,400 staff. Bengaluru-headquartered billionaire Ranjan Pai led-Manipal has been on the prowl for acquisitions to expand its geographical footprint in India and overseas.
HDFC Life profit mounts 61%
Private insurer HDFC Life registered a 61 per cent growth in profit to Rs 725.3 crore in 2013-14 from a year earlier. In FY13, profit stood at Rs 451 crore, HDFC Life said. Total premium increased 7 per cent to Rs 12,063 crore from Rs 11,323 crore in 2012-13, largely due to healthy growth in the renewal premium and group business. Renewal premium was up 17 per cent to Rs 8,024 crore from Rs 6,887 crore. HDFC Life’s market share among private companies stood at 3.8 per cent compared with 17.5 per cent in the previous year. Assets under management grew 25 per cent to Rs 50,258 crore from Rs 40,108 crore in the previous year.
Air India to join Star Alliance by July
National carrier Air India is likely to be inducted into one of the largest interline networks of the world by July, a senior airline official said. “In June, the board of the Star Alliance will call on a vote to either induct Air India or not. If the vote is in our favour, then Air India will be formally inducted from July,” Air India’s chairman Rohit Nandan told media. According to Rohit Nandan, most of the minimum joining requirements (MJRs) have been completed and the rest, which is mainly related to information technology (IT) aspect, is expected to be finished by mid-May.