Emami expects 15-20
pc growth in
Chyawanprash segment

MUMBAI, Jan 2: Kolkata-based FMCG firm Emami is expecting a 15-20 per cent growth in its Chyawanprash segment even as its plans to consolidate all its brands under the category, a top company official said. The company will also spend Rs 12-15-crore in the current fiscal to boost the sales of its popular brands through its new....more

Staff cost: MNC banks
pay highest,
HDFC lowest;IOB tops PSBs

MUMBAI, Jan 2: A study of 21 large banks in the country has found that foreign banks, led by Citi India, have the highest employee cost and HDFC has the lowest with the state-run lenders getting sandwiched in the middle. According to the Boston Consulting Group,....more

Assocham for national
fund for elections

NEW DELHI, Jan 2: In the wake of several scams, industry body Assocham has suggested to the government to create a national corpus for funding elections. While political parties should be allowed to accept corporate and individual donations, they must be forced by law to make public such receipt of fund on a weekly basis, it...more

Convience foods growing
in food basket of
working couples

NEW DELHI, Jan 2: Urbanisation and modernisation are taking their toll on the health of people with an ASSOCHAM survey revealing a hefty shift in food habits of working couples with 86 per cent of households going in for instant food. T...more

Cashew acreage unlikely
to meet target of
25,000 hectares

KOCHI, Jan 2: Cashew plantation acreage is unlikely to reach the 25,000 hectares target this financial year as farmers are venturing into rubber farming and mining, the Directorate of Cashewnut and Cocoa Development (DCCD) has said. "Our target to increase the acreage by 25,000 hectares this year has fallen short this year....more

Tata Steel, Nippon to ink Rs 2,400-cr JV by this month

JAMSHEDPUR, Jan 2: Tata Steel plans to ink an agreement with Japan-based Nippon Steel Corporation (NSC) by end-this month to set up a Rs 2,400-crore steel plant for producing auto-grade steel. The proposed JV facility is expected to commence...more

Assocham for national
fund for elections

NEW DELHI, Jan 2: In the wake of several scams, industry body Assocham has suggested to the government to create a national corpus for funding elections. While political parties should be allowed to accept corporate and individual donations, they must be forced by law to make public such receipt of fund on a weekly basis, it said, adding that a new law be.....more

Birla Wellness &
Healthcare eyes Rs 300
cr revenue in 3-yrs

MUMBAI, Jan 2: Yash Birla Group company Birla Wellness & Healthcare is eyeing up to Rs 300 crore revenue in the next three years time, a top company official has said. "We are at a nascent stage in our three verticals.....more

Govt not to impose duty on power equipment import.....

NMDC hikes iron ore prices by 5.22 pc for Jan-Mar quarter......

Govt likely to revise tax collection targets upwards.......

70% of mobiles sold in Jan-Nov, 2010, were Nokias or Samsungs....

 

Emami expects 15-20 pc growth in Chyawanprash segment

MUMBAI, Jan 2: Kolkata-based FMCG firm Emami is expecting a 15-20 per cent growth in its Chyawanprash segment even as its plans to consolidate all its brands under the category, a top company official said.

The company will also spend Rs 12-15-crore in the current fiscal to boost the sales of its popular brands through its new marketing initiative, the official said.

"This year we expect around Rs 15-20 per cent growth in our Chyawanprash segment as against a flat growth last fiscal. We have earmarked Rs 12-15-crores as marketing spend. We are looking at consolidating all our brands," Emami’s Director, Aditya Vardhan Agarwal said here.

Currently, the segment contributes around 10 per cent to the company’s total revenues, he added.

Emami’s popular brands are—Sona Chandi, Sona Chandi Kesar and Sona Chandi Amritprash. Zandu Chyawanprash and Zandu Kesri Jeevan was added to the company’s portfolio post acquisition of Zandu Pharmaceuticals Rs 700 crore in 2008.

"This year the focus will be to push the sales rather than garnering market share," Agarwal said, adding that the growth will be driven by the increase in demand for ayurvedic and health products among consumers and secondly the overall growth the category has witnessed in the last few years. (PTI)

Staff cost: MNC banks pay highest,
HDFC lowest;IOB tops PSBs

MUMBAI, Jan 2: A study of 21 large banks in the country has found that foreign banks, led by Citi India, have the highest employee cost and HDFC has the lowest with the state-run lenders getting sandwiched in the middle.

According to the Boston Consulting Group, Citi India leads the pack of salary cost in relation to the asset base with the average cost being a Rs 19 lakh as of last fiscal, followed by StanChart at Rs 13 lakh and HSBC at Rs 12.3 lakh.

But what is to be noted here is that Citi India also makes its employees pay back the maximum with its average revenue per employee standing at Rs 127 lakh, way above SBI’s average revenue of Rs 20 lakh per employee.

At the fourth slot is the mid-sized public sector bank Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) with an average salary cost of Rs 6.5 lakh per employee, thereby making it at the top of the PSBs.

Against this, the largest lender SBI has a notch down at Rs 6.4 lakh per employee while the new-age state-run bank IDBI Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce cough up Rs 6.3 lakh each on their every employee on an average.

While banking behemoth SBI as over 2 lakh employees as of last fiscal, Citi India has just about 7,500, and the Chennai-based IOB has about 30,000 employees. State Bank employees together generated Rs 1,33,851 crore in revenues with a profit of Rs 11,733 crore in the past fiscal.

Similarly, IOB also has the largest cost to income ratio among these banks at 67 per cent, while Citi has one of the lowest at 24 per cent, which is topped by HSBC at 23 per cent. For SBI, this stands at 51 per cent, says the BCG study.

The largest private sector lender spends an average of Rs 5.5 lakh on its every employee, while Indian Bank spends Rs 6.2 lakh, BoB (Rs 6 lakh), Axis Bank and Bank of India (Rs 5.8 lakh each), PNB (Rs 5.5 lakh), Canara (Rs 5.1 lakh), UBI (Rs 4.9 lakh), Syndicate Bank, Allahabad Bank and Corporation (Rs 4.8 lakh each), Uco Bank (Rs 4.5 lakh) and Central Bank spends Rs 4.4 lakh each on its employee.

When it comes to cost to income ratio of other banks, Central Bank is at the second slot with 52 per cent, followed by Syndicate Bank at 51 per cent, HDFC Bank at 49 per cent, Uco at 48 per cent, BoI (44 per cent), BoB (42 per cent), Axis and OBC (41 per cent each), UBI and IDBI Bank (40 per cent each), PNB and Canara (39 per cent each), Indian Bank and ICICI Bank (38 per cent each) Corp Bank (37 per cent), Allahabad Bank (36 per cent) and StanChart (30 per cent), says the report. (PTI)

Assocham for national fund for elections

NEW DELHI, Jan 2: In the wake of several scams, industry body Assocham has suggested to the government to create a national corpus for funding elections.

While political parties should be allowed to accept corporate and individual donations, they must be forced by law to make public such receipt of fund on a weekly basis, it said, adding that a new law be passed in this regard.

Besides, unlisted companies and partnerships should be asked to inform the Income Tax Department about their contributions to the political parties.

"In one sweep, this alone would cleanse our public life, help businesses to resist pressure for unaccounted donations and enable public to know who is financing whom," the chamber said.

With a string of scandals like Rs 1.76 crore 2G scams, corruption charges in Commonwealth Games construction and Niira Radia tapes leakage, political leaders, bureaucrats, media and the industry have become targets of public discourse.

Assocham has suggested to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for creation of a national fund for partly meeting election expenses with strictly enforceable ceilings.

"The election expenditure should be part financed from the public fund and part from public and corporate donations," it said.

Also, political parties should regularly publish a consolidated list of donors and all individual donations exceeding Rs 1 lakh should be open to public scrutiny.

Their annual accounts should be regularly submitted to the Income Tax authorities, showing all details of their receipts and expenditure.

Further, the chamber said, those candidates who do not disclose the contributions received by corporates or individual donators should be penalised. (PTI)

Convience foods growing in
food basket of working couples

NEW DELHI, Jan 2: Urbanisation and modernisation are taking their toll on the health of people with an ASSOCHAM survey revealing a hefty shift in food habits of working couples with 86 per cent of households going in for instant food.

The reasons are not far to see; dual incomes where both husband and wife are earning, a general rise in income levels and standard of living, convenience and the fast catching up of western culture.

The other reasons can be high powered advertisements by well known brands, entry of several companies to cash in on the opportunity and coming up of several organised retail chains where ready to cook and fast food packets are well laid out, tempting the consumer to buy the product.

The survey on ‘Ready to Eat Food in Metropolitan cities’ is based on responses from 3,000 representative households with children or without children.

With time being a premium, the demand for these products is growing briskly. The good old formal and full meals, taken in a leisurly style, are becoming less common, among families where the couple are working, bachelors and nuclear families.

It is well known that a sedentary life style and foods which are not easy to digest and low in fibre lead to life style diseases.

The traditional Indian methods entail grinding and cooking or fermenting for a long time.

The survey estimates that the food processing industry will grow annually at 40 to 60 per cent in the next five years. Expected policy changes, such as allowing FDI in retail, can only give a fillip to this trend.

The survey shows that 86 per cent of the nuclear families, where the couple are employed, prefer such foods or bachelors take recourse to convenience foods. It is preferable to restaurant food, which is costlier and more oily.

According to the survey, metropolitan cities are the largest consumers of processed food.

The major metropolitan cities in which respondents were interviewed by the survey included Mumbai, Cochin, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna, Pune, Delhi, Chandigarh and Dehradun.

The survey showed that consumer spending rate on processed food has increased at an average rate of 7.6 per cent annually during the years 2008 to 2010. This is expected to continue as the consumer expense will rise at an average of around 8.6 per cent till the year 2012.

The survey highlighted that 85 per cent of parents with children under five year are serving easy-to-prepare meals at least 7-10 times per month.

A high 92 per cent of the nuclear families feel that they have less free time than before they had kids. They spend less time in the kitchen, and are turning to eating out, delivered food, and taking recourse to semi-prepared meals.

As many as 72 per cent of bachelors prefer convenience food.

The consumers also cite hygienic production processes and it being free from microbial contamination as the other reasons for consuming packaged food.

As many as 67 per cent of working women prefer such foods.

Food manufacturers are adopting innovative styles and methods to manufacture and sell.

The demand for processed food products such as juice based drinking concentrates, bottled water, organic food, herbal tea, fortified drinks and low fat dairy products have increased manifold in the last five years.

Canned foods, fast foods, frozen foods, instant products, dried foods and preserved foods are covered under instant or ready-to-eat foods which has encouraged the introduction of a big range of ready to eat snacks, breakfast food and protein supplementary foods. (UNI)

Cashew acreage unlikely to meet target of 25,000 hectares

KOCHI, Jan 2: Cashew plantation acreage is unlikely to reach the 25,000 hectares target this financial year as farmers are venturing into rubber farming and mining, the Directorate of Cashewnut and Cocoa Development (DCCD) has said.

"Our target to increase the acreage by 25,000 hectares this year has fallen short this year to just 13,000-14,000 hectares, despite the government’s decision to hike of 77 per cent in financial assistance," DCCD Director Venkatesh Hubbali said.

The total acreage this fiscal increased by the usual 20,000 hectares, with the season already over, as farmers in Karnataka and Kerala are converting into rubber plantations and in Goa they are venturing into mining, he said.

In the Budget for 2010-11, the Government had proposed to increase financial assistance to cashew planters to Rs 20,000 per hectare from Rs 11,250 earlier. The assistance is given for replanting and new planting of cashew.

Hubbali said this shortfall is mainly due to slackness shown by state government bodies in implementing various Central schemes.

"The state government implementing bodies are not effectively creating awareness about various Central schemes that will encourage farmers to venture into cashew plantation," he added.

The total cashew acreage in the country is around 8.72 lakh hectares and production is 6.29 lakh tonne. (PTI)

Tata Steel, Nippon to ink Rs 2,400-cr JV by this month

JAMSHEDPUR, Jan 2: Tata Steel plans to ink an agreement with Japan-based Nippon Steel Corporation (NSC) by end-this month to set up a Rs 2,400-crore steel plant for producing auto-grade steel.

The proposed JV facility is expected to commence operation in the next two years at the Tata Steel’s existing unit in Jamshedpur.

"The JV with Nippon will be signed by January this year and we expect to start production from this facility by early 2013," Tata Steel Managing Director H M Nerurkar told PTI here.

The JV with 50:50 holdings would come up at an investment of Rs 2,400-crore. The facility’s initial capacity would be 0.6 million tonne(MT) per year, Nerurkar said.

It aims to capture the growing demand for high-tensile auto-grade steel in India. Nippon, the world’s second largest steelmaker will transfer its technology for producing auto-grade steel.

"The demand for small cars in India is rapidly growing and we aim to tap the this growing market," Nerurkar said adding, Nippon’s technology would help Tata Steel to tap the Japanese auto makers in the Indian auto market.

Global automajors like Honda, General Motors and Hyundai Motors currently import steel for making cars.

"We hope the new facility will cater to the demand of the growing automobile industry in India," he said.

Japan’s JFE Steel Holdings has recently picked up a 14.9 per cent stake in JSW Steel to make auto-grade steel. (PTI)

Assocham for national fund for elections

NEW DELHI, Jan 2: In the wake of several scams, industry body Assocham has suggested to the government to create a national corpus for funding elections.

While political parties should be allowed to accept corporate and individual donations, they must be forced by law to make public such receipt of fund on a weekly basis, it said, adding that a new law be passed in this regard.

Besides, unlisted companies and partnerships should be asked to inform the Income Tax Department about their contributions to the political parties.

"In one sweep, this alone would cleanse our public life, help businesses to resist pressure for unaccounted donations and enable public to know who is financing whom," the chamber said.

With a string of scandals like Rs 1.76 crore 2G scams, corruption charges in Commonwealth Games construction and Niira Radia tapes leakage, political leaders, bureaucrats, media and the industry have become targets of public discourse.

Assocham has suggested to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for creation of a national fund for partly meeting election expenses with strictly enforceable ceilings.

"The election expenditure should be part financed from the public fund and part from public and corporate donations," it said.

Also, political parties should regularly publish a consolidated list of donors and all individual donations exceeding Rs 1 lakh should be open to public scrutiny.

Their annual accounts should be regularly submitted to the Income Tax authorities, showing all details of their receipts and expenditure.

Further, the chamber said, those candidates who do not disclose the contributions received by corporates or individual donators should be penalised. *(PTI)

Birla Wellness & Healthcare eyes
Rs 300 cr revenue in 3-yrs

MUMBAI, Jan 2: Yash Birla Group company Birla Wellness & Healthcare is eyeing up to Rs 300 crore revenue in the next three years time, a top company official has said.

"We are at a nascent stage in our three verticals—Birla Kerala Vaidyashala, Evolve Med Spa and Birla Life Science and Research. We are hoping to achieve Rs 200-300 crore revenue in next 2-3 years through our product and presence expansion," Birla Wellness & Healthcare Managing Director and CEO N Venkat said.

He said, the firm’s revenue is expected to be at Rs 35 crore by FY 11.

The company is looking at significant sales in both over the counter (OTC) ayurvedic and ethical products and expansion of its store brand - Rebirth - in Tier II and III cities, he said.

Under Birla Life Science and Research, the company is planning to raise its OTC ayurvedic products to eight from the present three by FY 12.

"These products will be available through our all India distribution network as against its current presence in only five states," he said.

Similarly, the company is planning to increase its ethical products (that needs doctor’s prescription), to 30 from the present 12 by FY 12 across the country, he added.

While, Rebirth will witness additional 15 stores by FY 12 to the already existing 14 stores that houses its brands like Chant, Nutrinext and Birlaveda, he said.

Chant has a range of personal care products endowed with herbal nature-based active ingredients, while Nutrinext offers a basket of sugarless health and nutritious food products and Birlaveda is a holistic range of pure and natural healthcare medicines.

"We will also raise the ‘Chant’ range of products to around 300 from the current 80 and ‘Nutrinext’ to 100 from the present 30 by mid next year, Venkat said.

The company is also looking at acquisition of small nutraceutical herbal manufacturing firm. "We have already zeroed down on one company and something concrete will happen in next 5-6 months," he said.

Venkat said, Evolve Med Spa - which started as a 50:50 joint venture between Yash Birla Group and Singapore’s Pacific Healthcare and has four branches in Mumbai - is coming out with an Initial Public Offering (IPO) to raise capital to fund its expansion plans.

"We have already filed Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) with the regulator and hope to come out with the IPO in another 5-6 months," he said.

Evolve provides cosmetic dermatology, cosmetic and plastic surgery, general and specialist dentistry and maxillo facial prosthesis.

Under the third category, Birla Kerala Vaidyashala (a joint venture between Yash Birla Group and Kerala Vaidyashala) the company is looking at cautious expansion to establish itself in the ayurvedic and herbal healthcare segment.

Birla Kerala Vaidyashala has its spa centres across Kerala, Goa, Mumbai Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai. (PTI)

Govt not to impose duty on power equipment import

KOLKATA, Jan 2: The government is not going to impose duty on capital goods import of power equipment for mega power projects during the present plan period, a top government official has said.

"The finance ministry has decided not to impose duty on power equipment imports for mega power projects during the current plan period," Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra said here.

He said that a committee of secretaries had been set up to look into the issue of the difficulty in maintaining duty-free imports of capital goods for mega power projects as Chinese imports were causing injury to the domestic industry.

Mitra said that it had been decided that it would not be proper to impose a duty in the midst of the current plan period as it would disturb the ongoing projects.

"Some projects are partly underway and equipment orders had been already made for others. How can we disturb them by imposing a duty now," he said.

The official said that the issue would be re-visited in the 12th Five Year Plan which starts after March 2012.

The government move might upset Indian power equipment manufacturers, partly BHEL, which had been insisting on for a level playing field on the face of Chinese onslaught.

Recently, executive director of BHEL Trichy Complex, which manufactures boilers, A V Krishnan said that the company had approached the power ministry for the problems which it was facing due to cheap Chinese imports.

He said that Chinese power equipment were 20 per cent cheaper as there was no import duty.

Krishnan said while BHEL was paying all kinds of taxes, zero-duty import was posing a real threat as Chinese companies were taking advantage and penetrating the country power sector as a result of which it lost orders for several projects.

BHEL maintained that it was seeking that some duty be imposed on power equipment imports so that the problem was rectified.

Krishnan also said that the company was expecting a positive gesture in the coming budget. (PTI)

NMDC hikes iron ore prices by 5.22 pc for Jan-Mar quarter

NEW DELHI, Jan 2: The country’s largest iron ore miner NMDC today said it has raised iron ore prices by 5.22 per cent for the January-March quarter, a move which could prompt domestic steel-makers like JSW and Tata Steel to increase prices.

"We have increased the prices of iron ore for the January-March quarter by 5.22 per cent from January, based on the recommendations of our pricing committee, which met recently in Hyderabad," NMDC Chairman Rana Som said.

The step was taken in the wake of a rise in iron ore demand and a squeeze in global supply, Som said.

NMDC’s Pricing Committee fixes the price of the iron ore on a quarterly basis.

After a series of hikes during the first half of 2010, NMDC had reduced iron ore prices by about 5 per cent in the October-December quarter.

Earlier, the company had hiked ore prices for the April-June quarter by about 90 per cent to USD 120-135 a tonne. In the subsequent quarter (July-September), prices were raised to about USD 145 a tonne.

Steel industry sources said the hike will affect all steel companies—which use iron ore as a key input material in the steel-making process—forcing them to increase their prices in order to maintain profit margins.

While a JSW spokesperson admitted the company was mulling a price hike and a final decision was yet to be taken, Tata Steel officials could not be reached.

SAIL, the largest domestic steel producer, is unlikely to be impacted by the hike, as it meets its own requirement of iron ore through captive reserves.

NMDC, which produced 24 million tonnes of iron ore last year, exports about 3 million tonnes of iron ore per annum to Japanese and Korean steel mills at prices that form the benchmark rate for domestic consumers.(PTI)

Govt likely to revise tax collection targets upwards

KOLKATA, Jan 2: The Government is likely to revise revenue collection targets upwards for the current financial year, a top government official said.

"We are likely to make modest advancements in the targets as we have entered the third quarter. We will wait for a few days and then take a decision," Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra said here.

Mitra, who was in the city to attend a meeting of the revenue officials of eastern zone along with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, said that direct tax collection achieved so far was 69 per cent of target and indirect tax collection at 67 per cent of target.

"We are hopeful of meeting the targets", Mitra said.

Against a target of Rs 4,30,000 crore for direct tax collection, revenue collected so far was Rs 2,96,121 crore.

For indirect taxes, it was Rs 1,98,540 crore against the target of Rs 3,15,000 crore.

Chairman of Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) Sumit Dutt Majumdar said that there had been good growth in customs revenue collection.

Customs revenue was growing at 67 per cent, he said.

Majumdar said that this reflected the pick up in manufacturing activity which had been a result of the stimulus packages.

He said that good customs growth meant that imports were taking place substantially.

Majumdar said that central excise was growing at 34 per cent and service tax at 18 per cent.

M C Joshi, member CBDT, said that direct tax was growing at 18 per cent to 20 per cent. (PTI)

70% of mobiles sold in Jan-Nov, 2010, were Nokias or Samsungs

NEW DELHI, Jan 2: Nokia and Samsung were the top picks for Indian consumers when it came to mobile phones in January-November, 2010, with the two handset-makers cornering almost 70 per cent of the market during the period in terms of total sales revenue.

Data released by global market research firm GfK Nielsen shows that Finland-based Nokia retained the top slot in Indian mobile phone buyers’ minds in the January-November, 2010, period, with a market share of 49.2 per cent in terms of revenue. Korean electronics giant Samsung had a 20.5 per cent share, as per the GfK Nielsen data.

Among the other manufacturers, GfK Nielsen has pegged LG’s market share at 5.3 per cent and Micromax’s at 5 per cent, on the basis of their revenues.

Nokia continued to be the market leader in India and its latest offering, N-8 -- a touchscreen phone—has boosted the brand’s appeal.

Samsung also consolidated its share of the Indian mobile phones market in the year 2010, registering strong sales growth during the year on the back of strong demand for its Galaxy and WAVE series smartphones, besides its dual-sim phones.

The company strengthened its dual-sim portfolio considerably during the period and was the leader in the touchscreen segment, with a 36 per cent market share, as per GfK Nielsen.

Meanwhile, according to another research firm—IDC—Nokia had a 31.5 per cent share of the mobile handset market in India during the July-September, 2010, period in terms of the number of units shipped (sales).

A total of 155.9 million mobile phones were sold in India during the whole of 2010, as per estimates.

With the country’s mobile subscriber base growing by as many as 20 million new customers every month, the mobile handset market in India is set to register faster growth than anywhere in the world in the near-term.

According to analysts, growing demand in the rural market and Tier-II and III cities will further fuel booming sales in the Indian mobile phone market. (PTI)