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Maruti, ONGC, RCF and Coal India may grab investors' attention today

In bid to counterbalance the pressure of unexpected currency fluctuation, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) has raised car prices by up to Rs 20,000 from January 16, 2013. In December 2012, the company announced the aforementioned price rise as Q2FY13 had witnessed adverse foreign exchange movement which had an overall impact of Rs 350 crore on the company. The country's largest carmaker has reported 3.2% increase in total sales for December at 95,145 units as against 92,161 units in the same month last year. The domestic sales of the company during the month stood at 82,073 units, up by 5.9% compared to 77,475 units in December last year.

State-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will produce 27 million tonnes of crude oil from its own fields and its share in joint ventures in 2012-13, close to its target of 27.5 million tonnes. For its own fields, ONGC has effectively revised its production guidance from 23.98 million tonnes to 23.64 million tonnes. In the following year, it hopes to produce 29.1 million tonnes, including 25.78 million tonnes from its own fields and the balance from its share of output in joint ventures. Thus, ONGC in FY14, on standalone basis, is targeting to produce over 2 million tonne more oil than its likely production in FY13. The company's total hydrocarbon output, including natural gas from its standalone and joint-venture fields in FY14 is targeted to be 55.545 million tonne of oil equivalent (mtoe) against likely production of 52.74 mtoe in FY13, which is 2.81 mtoe more or 5.3 percent higher.

A consortium of fertilizer companies, led by state-owned Rashtirya Chemical and Fertilizers (RCF), is planning to enter into a long term agreement with Canadian potash developer Encanto Potash for firming up supplies of muriate of potash (MOP). RCF will be hiring a consultant for price negotiations for the long-term nutrient supply arrangement. The Canadian company has offered to supply 2 million tonne MOP per annum on a long-term basis with 8% discount over ruling market price, which is around $500 a tonne. India imports 6.5 million tonne every year to meet its requirements. The country sources the nutrient from Canada, Belarus and Russian Federation.

Coal India (CIL) one of the largest producer of coal will seek the approval of its board for providing the fuel for another month, under the MoU route, to power plants commissioned in the 2012-13 fiscal. The earlier deadline for supply of coal through MoU route expired on December 31, 2012. Another one month is sought as power companies, including NTPC, are yet to sign fuel supply pacts with CIL. An MoU is not a legally binding document and now that route would be used till the issues holding up the Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) are resolved. The government had in May directed coal companies to supply fuel to power plants that have been commissioned in 2012 through the MoU route till FSA issues are resolved.

Tata Steel has been asked by the MoEF panel to get forest clearances prior to seeking environment nod for its coal mining project in Jharkhand. The Coal Ministry allocated Ganeshpur Coalmine in Latehar, Jharkhand, having an production capacity of four million tonne per annum (normative), jointly to Tata Steel and Adhunik Power & Natural Resource for their thermal power projects. The company has applied to the panel for environment clearances. The Expert Appraisal Committee of MoEF has also sought other information from the company including details of the changed location of power plant and mine among others.

Hindustan Motors (HM) has entered into a three-year agreement with Raaj Unocal Lubricants for manufacture and marketing of co-branded genuine oils exclusively for HM vehicles. The understanding entails manufacturing of co-branded products known as UNO HM GUARDOL (only for diesel vehicles), UNO HM GAS-O-DUO+ (for all non-diesel vehicles) and UNO AMBI DSL+. While the first two products will be made available at all HM service centres across 13 states in India, UNO AMBI DSL+ will be available only in the replacement market. This association is aimed at maximizing benefits to HM customers. The two companies expect to manufacture and distribute 45 tonne of genuine oils worth Rs 1 crore every quarter. This apart, Kolkata taxis drivers will get the opportunity to avail of special offers such as cash-back coupons, free check-ups and discounted labour cost at service centres.

Hero MotoCorp, the country's biggest motorcycle maker, is wooing rural buyers with promotions such as free health checkups after competition from former partner Honda Motor Co. prompted the first drop in sales in almost a decade. The New Delhi-based company, which gets over 45 percent of its revenue from sales in non-urban areas in the world's second- largest market for the two wheelers, is organizing free vehicle servicing and medical camps in over 100,000 villages around the country to bolster its presence and attract new customers. Hero is seeking to fortify its leadership in the South Asian country's villages and small towns after Tokyo-based Honda's deliveries of scooters and motorcycles jumped 37 percent in the April-December, compared with a 2 percent decline for the Indian manufacturer. Honda, which in 2010 exited a 26-year partnership with Hero, is targeting a 30 percent increase in sales to 2.75 million units in the year ending March 31.

Strengthening its overseas footprint, state-run BHEL's renovated hydro project with enhanced generation capacity has been commissioned in Tajikistan. The power equipment major is also implementing hydro projects in Rwanda, Afghanistan, Vietnam, DR Congo and Bhutan. BHEL has completed the renovation, modernization & uprating (RMU) of the 2x4.75 MW Varjob hydro power plant of Barki Tojik in Tajikistan. The project is funded by the Indian government. Both the units have achieved uprated full load and are running successfully following the RMU job.

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is keen to participate in the share auction process of cash-strapped Haldia Petrochemicals (HPL) for which due diligence is on. The final decision on it would be taken by the IOC board. IOC had earlier expressed interest in HPL and also acquired 8.9 percent shareholding in the company, there are lot of synergies between HPL and IOC's refinery at Haldia. IOC is already having a refinery and a pipeline required for carrying the main feedstock, naphtha. IOC being a PSU it was restrained from aggressive bidding. Recently, West Bengal government through WBIDC decided to pull out of the project and appointed a transactional advisor Deloitte for valuation of the HPL shares.

In yet another setback to the ailing media house Deccan Chronicle Holdings (DCHL), the National Stock Exchange has decided to suspend trading in its equities from January 23 for its failure to comply with the provisions of listing agreement. The NSE in a circular to members during early trading hours of Tuesday said the trading in DCHL equities will be suspended by the closing hours of January 22. Ever since it defaulted in payments to its lenders that forced the rating agency CARE downgraded it from 'A1+' to 'D' in July last year, the Hyderabad headquartered media firm either stopped disclosing or delayed informing the exchanges of several key corporate developments. The media company, which publishes English dailies Deccan Chronicle, Asian Age and Financial Chronicle and Telugu daily and weekly Andhra Bhoomi, did not disclose financial results for the last five quarters and full year results of FY2011-12 till date.


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