State-owned iron ore producer NMDC needs to come up with a specific strategy to acquire mines overseas, according to government auditor CAG. NMDC has been scouting for both iron ore mines and coal assets in Brazil and Russia. It sealed its maiden overseas buy by acquiring 50 percent stake in Australian firm Legacy Iron Ore last year. Acquisitions are a must for the company to maintain its share in the country's iron ore production which has fallen to 11 percent in 2009-10 from 14 percent in 2005-06. The production of the company also fell from 32 million tonnes in 2007-08 to 28.52 million tonnes in 2008-09, to 23.8 million tonnes in 2009-10 and further to 25.16 million tonnes in 2010-11. Also, amid charges of selling iron ore at high rates, state-owned miner NMDC will decide on prices for January at a board meeting scheduled on Wednesday. The pricing will be based mainly on demand-supply situation as well as the prevailing rates globally. The consulting firm KPMG, appointed by the miner to help it devise a pricing formula for the mineral, is expected to submit the report by January-end.
Power Ministry is awaiting procedural clearances related to re-allocation of three coal blocks to NTPC before moving ahead with the over Rs 12,000 crore disinvestment plan for the state-run utility. The government has decided to re-allocate three coal blocks -- Chatti-Bariatu, Kerandari and Chatti-Bariatu (South) -- to NTPC but all the necessary clearances are not in place. The issue is pending before the Law Ministry. At a time when NTPC is grappling with fuel scarcity, the re-allocation will help boost the country's largest power producer's market valuation. It will also help government get higher returns from the share sale. Earlier this month, Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had stated that the coal blocks would be re-allocated to NTPC at the earliest. The three blocks were taken back from NTPC by the Coal Ministry citing long delays by the power producer in developing them.
GAIL (India) has started issuing compensation for laying down gas pipeline project in Kerala to landowners of Poyya village in Thrissur. The Deputy Collector and Competent Authority handed over the first cheque for amounting the sum of Rs 3,77,520 to Benny Alex, a resident of Poyya. GAIL is laying the gas pipeline from Kochi to Koottanad in Palakkad district, and thereon to Bangalore and Mangalore. Phase 2 of the project that has a length of 900 km, passes through Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The company's gas pipe laying work slowed down after resistance from local people asking more compensation for the land through which the pipe was passing. So far only 4 kms have been completed in phase-2. GAIL is India's flagship natural gas company integrating all aspects of the natural gas value chain including exploration and production, processing, transmission, distribution and marketing and related services.
Ambuja Cements is planning to invest Rs 2,000 crore for capacity expansion in Rajasthan and northern regions. It aims to add five million tonne capacity to the company's total production through proposed project at Rajasthan. The entity has decided to increase capacity of its Sankrail grinding unit in West Bengal to 2.4 million tonnes at an investment of Rs 325 crore, while it will add 1.5 million tonne a year at Gujarat besides a one million tonne bulk terminal at Mangalore to improve distribution. Ambuja Cements was set up in 1986. In the last decade the company has grown tenfold. The total cement capacity of the company is 18.5 million tones. Its plants are some of the most efficient in the world. With environment protection measures that are on par with the finest in the developed world.
Jet Airways, India's premier international airline, in order to enhance its connectivity to UAE will be launching second service flight between Delhi and Dubai at day time with effect from January 18, 2013, complementing the night flight presently operating between the national capital and the financial hub of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Jet will deploy its new generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft, offering twin class configuration of 16 Premiere and 138 Economy seating. JetPrivilege members will have the opportunity of earning double JPMiles while they book their travel on this flight between January 18 and February 18, 2013. Besides, this launch will further strengthen the presence of the airline company in the Indo-Gulf sector, making it one of the region's leading carriers. The new service from Delhi will now complement the airline's existing daily Gulf operations to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Doha, Kuwait, Muscat and Sharjah, as well as to Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam from several cities in India.
Maharashtra government own power distribution company's (MahaVitaran) policy of not to solely rely on the procurement of power from state run power generation company (MahaGenco) but to explore multiple options through competitive bidding has ones again received regulatory support. The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has approved procurement of 1,090 MW from Indiabulls Power (650 MW) and Adani Power (440 MW) from 2017-18 onwards. The level wise tariff for Indiabull's project would be Rs 3.42 per unit and Rs 3.28 per unit for Adani Power. MERC has asked MahaVitaran to submit the signed power purchase agreements (PPA). MahaVitaran in its petition had submitted that it was necessary to ensure continuous power supply at a reasonable rate to the consumers of electricity in the state. Additionally, justifying its PPAs with Indiabulls and Adani Power, MahaVitaran added that it had resorted to load shedding over the last seven years leading to unrest among the consumers and the consumers especially from the rural areas were the worst affected.
Reliance Communications (RCOM) has told the government that it lost 11.2% of its customers in December as it deactivated 15 million subscribers who have not used their phones for more than two months, and added that the falling user base was an indicator of the weakening ecosystem for the CDMA technology platform. This marks the second time in the last couple of months that RCOM has lost millions of customers. RCOM and Tata Teleservices had lost over 36 million subscribers over the last 18 months as customers switched to the more popular GSM technology due to better and cheaper handsets and more choice of services. The Anil Ambani-promoted telco had lost 13% of its then customer base in July when it cut off close to 21 million inactive subscribers. Currently, CDMA operators in India hold second generation airwaves in the 800 MHz band, while GSM operators are allotted 2G spectrum in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands.
Emami Paper Mills is planning to diversify into packaging business at an estimated investment of Rs 1,000 crore. It has decided to establish split-location packaging units with an annual capacity of three lakh tonnes in the next three to four years. The entity will also establish a 1.5-lakh-tonne a year greenfield project either near Madurai in Tamil Nadu or in Gujarat. Emami Paper Mills (EPML), is a part of Kolkata based Emami Group. The company is engaged in manufacturing of NP and Printing and Writing Paper (PWP) with aggregate installed capacity of 145,000 tonnes per annum. The company is one of the leading NP manufacturers in India and caters to majority of the newsprint buyers in Eastern India.
The Chennai Port Trust has asked Essar Ports, the sole bidder for the Rs 3,683-crore container terminal project at Chennai, to reconsider its offer that had offered a revenue share of 5.25 percent. Essar Ports has offered a revenue share of 5.25 percent, which is slightly higher than Adani Ports's earlier bid of five percent. The revenue share offered is too low and the Port Trust has asked Essar Port to increase the share. Essar and Adani were the two final contenders, while seven companies entered the qualification stage for the container terminal project, which will have a capacity to handle four million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) per annum. Of the total project cost, Chennai Port Trust's share will be Rs 561 crore, while the private partner, who will build, own and transfer the project, will invest Rs 3,125 crore. The proposed investment includes Rs 963 crore towards breakwater, Rs 362.25 crore for dredging, Rs 496.80 crore to construct berths, Rs 124.20 crore for reclamation and the rest is for others.
The government is likely to tighten the estimated expenditure for Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL) in the next Budget, as both the state-run telecom operators have failed to utilize most of the funds estimated in the last Budget. During financial year 2011-12, MTNL was able to use only 14.66 percent of the Budget estimate, while BSNL reported a better performance. During 2011-12, the government had budgeted an allocation of Rs 19,881.09 crore which was later revised to Rs 11,878.07 crore. However, till February 2012, the Department of Telecom (DoT) was only being able to utilize just 41.67 percent or Rs 4,949.22 crore as both MTNL and BSNL failed to use most of the funds set aside for them.