Tata’s UK steel business has been reducing its £1m-a-day losses steadily for the past few months and is close to making an operating profit again for the first time in more than a year, The Sunday Telegraph understands.
Senior sources say the business, centred on Port Talbot, was headed for a profit even before its Indian parent put it up for sale last month.
The news comes as the hunt to find a buyer intensifies, with theGovernment saying it is willing to take a 25pc equity stake to help secure a sale, and the emergence of a management buyout bid.
The strip steel business was making losses of as much as £1m a day a year ago, Koushik Chatterjee, Tata group executive director, said a fortnight ago.
Such a huge burden was part of the reason Tata put its UK steel operations up for sale, putting the jobs of its 11,000 staff in jeopardy, along with twice as many positions in the supply chain. However, The Sunday Telegraph understands the strip steel business had been steadily cutting back the losses for months when Tata’s board decided to pull the plug by refusing to back a turnaround plan.
The ambitious plan – known as the “Bridge” – would have involved an immediate £100m cash injection, and it is understood that Tata was no longer willing to pump money into its troubled UK steel operations, having already invested £1.5bn since buying them in 2007 for £6.7bn.
Larsen and Toubro Infotech Ltd, the information technology services arm of engineering conglomerate Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), on Monday withdrew its draft prospectus for an initial public offering (IPO) to raise Rs.2,000 crore, about four-and-a-half months after it got approval from the capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).
Parent firm L&T, in a stock exchange announcement, cited “change in the offer structure and other considerations” as the reason for the move.
An L&T spokesman said, “One of the reasons for withdrawing the DRHP (draft red herring prospectus) was that market conditions were not right for the issue. It is possible that we may file a fresh DRHP at some future date, but we cannot offer a specific comment on the matter at this stage.”
“Since the DRHP was filed several months ago, and in the IT services industry business changes on a quarterly basis, when our company does take the L&T Infotech IPO to the market, it should do so on the basis of the most recent financial results. This is necessary to ensure that we are fair to our investors,” the spokesman added.
L&T Infotech had planned to sell 17 million shares, or 10.85% of the share capital, as part of the public issue, according to the draft prospectus filed on 28 September last year. The company won Sebi approval on 31 December with a one-year validity.
Chairman of Banks Board Bureau and former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai today expressed concern that the country’s economy has slipped to six per cent after excellent signs of growth.
“The Indian economy was displaying excellent signs of growth, buoyancy and remarkable resilience but from attempting to reach double digit growth in our GDP, we are sliding back to six per cent,” he said speaking at the 18th convocation of Indian Institute of Management-Kozhikode (IIM-K).
He also said it was not enough to be a country having the fourth largest number of billionaires in the world and yet hardly have any globally accepted patents to showcase industrial or manufacturing muscle.
“Ethical management and leadership is the cornerstone for any successful business enterprise. It should be the mantra as you begin your careers”, Rai told the passing out students.
He stressed on the need for students to be change agents to build a robust economy with a good framework for corporate governance and excellence.
As many as 358 students were awarded the Post Graduate Diploma in Management.
The International Monetary Fund is making what everyone assumed official. Christine Lagarde is heading toward a second five-year term as managing director unopposed.
The official nominating period closed at midnight last night and the fund has just put this statement out:
IMF Statement on the Managing Director’s Selection Process
The Dean of the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mr. Aleksei Mozhin, made the following statement today:
“The period for submitting nominations for the position of the next Managing Director closed on Wednesday, February 10. One candidate, current Managing Director Christine Lagarde, has been nominated.
“The Board will now work in line with the process described in its decision of January 20, including meetings between the candidate, Mme Lagarde, and Executive Directors. The Board’s goal is to complete the selection process as soon as possible.”
Former Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Dr K C Chakrabarty says technical write-offs by banks is a “scam” and should be stopped.
“Technical write-offs by Indian banks are inequitable and should be stopped. It is a big scam. Small loans are rarely written off, most of them are big loans,” London-based Chakrabarty, who handled the supervision department of the RBIfrom 2009 to 2014, told The Indian Express.
Public sector banks have written off Rs 1,14,000 crore in the last three years, as reported in The Indian Express on February 8, based on a response by the Reserve Bank of India to an RTI application.
Banks are planning to write off more bad loans in the current year, and this could be Rs 52,227 crore, similar to the quantum written off in 2014-15.
There’s a reason for the eagerness on the part of banks to write off loans though a loan is technically the bank’s asset. “It benefits banks in terms of tax liability,” M Narendra, former chairman and MD of Indian Overseas Bank, said. The other benefit is that the bad loan no longer stays in the bank’s books.
The write-off instruction comes from the head office.
We all know that Kuroda fooled the markets on negative rates, denying their consideration right up to a January 21 interview.
Which, in effect, has cost him credibility, but also bullets in his fight for a weaker yen.
Such a shame.
This piece from Reuters takes an inside look at Kuroda even fooled the BOJ Board (bolding is mine):
Most of the nine board members were only told of the scheme in the week leading up to Friday’s rate review, according to interviews with more than a dozen officials familiar with the deliberations.
“If you’re a board member, you’re told about the plan at the last minute,” said a former board member, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s hard to argue against it or draft a counter proposal when there’s so little time left.”
Crisis-ridden United Spirits on Tuesday said its networth has eroded by more than 50 per cent of its peak networth due to a host of reasons, including provisions on advances to its erstwhile promoter group firm United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd.
United Spirits (USL) has called an Extraordinary General Meeting of its shareholders on January 22, 2016.
In a notice for EGM, USL said, “The company shall report to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) of the fact that the accumulated losses of the company as on March 31, 2015, have resulted in erosion of more than fifty per cent of its peak networth during the immediately preceding four financial years.”
It further said: “This extraordinary general meeting is being convened to consider and approve the enclosed report of the Board of Directors on such erosion and its causes, and the measures being taken as per the relevant provisions of SICA (Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act, 1985), and also to approve the reporting of such erosion to BIFR in terms of Section 23 of SICA.”
The company said its accumulated losses as on March 31, 2015 at Rs5,045.45 crore is greater than 50 per cent of the peak net worth in the immediately preceding four financial years at Rs5,849.62 crore.
United spirits said two main reasons for accumulated losses are “diminution in the value of long-term investments in subsidiaries and loans and advances to subsidiaries due to low capacity utilisation, negative margins, or strategic shift in business (Rs716.16 crore)” and “provision on advances to United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd (Rs995.45 crore)”.
A French court has ordered Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, to face trial over her role in a disputed €400m payout made to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008.
Ms Lagarde, who was French finance minister at the time, has for years denied wrongdoing in the affair that has entangled several members of the cabinet of former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
She appeared to have won the day in September when prosecutors argued that the case against her should be dropped.
But France’s Cour de justice de la République, a special tribunal set up to try ministers, said on Thursday that she would stand trial over the affair. Ms Lagarde is accused of negligence in public office in relation to misuse of public funds, an offence that carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of up to €15,000.
The decision to put the IMF chief on trial is the latest twist in the 22-year legal saga.
It concerns more than €400m paid out to Mr Tapie by the French government in 2008 in compensation after he claimed he was defrauded by Crédit Lyonnais, at that point a state-owned bank, into selling his stake in sports equipment company Adidas for lower than it was worth in 1993.
Over the weekend I posted on China edges closer to IMF’s SDR inclusion, what does it mean for the yuan?
More now according to “three people briefed on the IMF discussions, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue”:
IMF staff are set to give the all-clear for China’s yuan to be included in the SDR basket
Approval lays the groundwork for a favourable decision by policy makers
The IMF’s executive board is scheduled to decide in mid- to late-November
“Everything is on course technically and there is no obvious political obstacle. The report leans clearly towards including the RMB in the (basket) but leaves the decision for the board” one of the officials said
“There is no real discussion, no obstacles, all seems on course,” a second official said
Reuters have more–
This will not only have implications for the yuan (see the link in the first line, above), but also for China’s bond market (more attractive).