QBiz: Tata Motors Profit Falls 50%; Rupee Nears All-Time Low
1. Tata Motors Profit Falls 50% on Weak JLR Sales
Tata Motors Ltd’s March quarter profit fell by half from a year ago as vehicle sales declined at its British unit Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Automotive Plc and its Indian operation reported a loss.
Net profit, including those of its units, fell to Rs 2,175.16 crore for the three months ended 31 March from Rs 4,336.43 crore in the same period a year earlier. Sales rose 15.9% to Rs 91,279.09 crore from Rs 78,746.61 crore a year ago.
A Bloomberg poll of 16 analysts had estimated a quarterly profit at Rs 3,748 crore on sales of Rs 88,196 crore.
Profit was hit by a weak performance by JLR – which accounts for over 80% of Tata Motors’ profit – in addition to loss at the domestic unit.
2. Rupee Nears Its All-Time Low on Global Cues
The rupee and stocks tumbled along with other global markets on Wednesday, 23 May, after the US dollar strengthened, as events across Italy, Turkey and North Korea triggered risk-off bets.
Investors pulled out money out of risky assets on fears of Italy exiting the eurozone. The sentiment was hurt as prospects of trade talks between the US and China and a summit with North Korea faded.
Most emerging market currencies tumbled after a slide in the Turkish lira sparked fears of contagion. The dollar index, a gauge for the greenback’s performance against major global currencies, breached 94 for the first time in 2018. The euro and the British pound fell to their 2018 lows of 1.17 and 1.33, respectively, against the dollar.
3. Tamil Nadu Plant Complies With Environmental Norms, Says Sterlite Copper
After 11 people died in police firing during a protest against Vedanta Ltd unit Sterlite Copper’s plant at Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, the company said it complies with environmental norms.
Environmental concerns have been dealt with in various courts of law like the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal, Sterlite Copper Chief Executive Officer P Ramnath told BloombergQuint in an interview. “We have spent over Rs 500 crore for environmental mitigation in our facility.” State-of-the-art environment protection measures have been implemented, he added.
The plant is currently non-operational as it awaits approval for it. Consent to operate has not been renewed by the state Pollution Control Board, Ramnath said. “The company hopes to start the plant as soon as it gets a favourable verdict from the courts.” The next hearing is scheduled for 6 June.
4. India Climbs One Spot to 44th in Competitive Rankings, China at 13
As the Narendra Modi government completes four years this month, India continues to perform modestly in the global competitive rankings, rising one place to 44 this year out of 63 countries ranked by the IMD World Competitiveness Center.
India started from the 40th position in 2013 and dropped to the 44th rank in 2014, the year the National Democratic Alliance assumed power. India’s rank remained at 44 in 2015 and jumped four places to 41 in 2016, dropping to 45 in 2017, and rising to 44 in 2018.
In contrast, China bagged the 13th rank this year as compared to the 18th rank in 2016. China stands fifth in the Asia-Pacific rankings as compared to India’s 13th place last year, the Lausanne-based Center said on Wednesday, 23 May.
5. Bombay HC Extends Interim Stay in SGX’s Products till Saturday
The Bombay high court on Wednesday granted an extension on stay of Singapore Exchange Ltd’s (SGX) launch of Nifty-based products till Saturday, after the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd (NSE) challenged the move.
“This an extension of the earlier stay granted on 21 May, which was till Wednesday.”
SGX proposed the launch of its India-focussed products on 4 June.
NSE, during arguments on Wednesday, wanted SGX to publish the stay order on its website and make a statement to investors that the product launch has been challenged. The matter will be heard next on Saturday, 26 May.
6. Centre Mulling Long-Term Solution To Soaring Fuel Prices: Ravi Shankar Prasad
With petrol and diesel prices being hiked for the tenth day in a row, the government on Wednesday, 23 May, said it is working on a long-term solution to address the volatility and frequent revisions in rates.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government had in June last year junked a 15-year old practice of revising rates every fortnight and introduced daily revisions which worked well except periods immediately preceding an election.
There was a 19-day freeze in revising rates before Karnataka went to polls, and since the time the hiatus ended on 14 May, rates have gone up by Rs 2.54 a litre in case of petrol and Rs 2.41 in diesel.
7. Jet Airways Reports Surprise Loss In March Quarter
Jet Airways Ltd’s posted an unexpected loss in the quarter ended March on account of higher fuel expenses and currency fluctuations.
The airline’s net loss stood at Rs 1,036 crore as compared with a profit of Rs 602.4 crore in the same quarter last year, it said in a stock exchange filing. That compares with the a Rs 20.57 crore profit estimate by analysts tracked by Bloomberg. The bottom line was hit by a 30.5 percent increase in fuel expenses to Rs 2,063 crore as international oil prices rallied.
“Financial performance during the quarter was weaker due to the continuing increase in the price of Brent fuel without a corresponding increase in air fares, as well as mark-to-market adjustments due to a weaker rupee,” Vinay Dube, chief executive officer at Jet Airways said in a separate media statement
8. Congress Facing Financial Crisis Ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections
The Congress party is facing a financial crisis that could undermine its ability to wrest power from Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019.
For the past five months, Congress leadership has stopped sending the funds required to run its offices in various states, party officials with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media. To overcome the crisis, Congress has urged members to step up contributions and asked officials to cut expenses, they said.
Led by Rahul Gandhi, the party’s steady flow of money from industrialists has all but dried up, leaving a cash crunch so serious that it’s been forced to crowd-fund for a candidate.
9. India Mulls GST On Trading Of Virtual Currencies
India may levy Goods and Services Tax on cryptocurrency trading, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter, even as there’s lack of clarity about their legal status in the country.
The government may levy an 18 percent GST, the people said requesting anonymity as they weren’t authorised to speak to the media. The proposal, being considered by Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, will be tabled before the GST Council after it’s finalised, they said.
Cryptocurrencies could be classified as intangible goods on a par with software, they said, adding that its use in illegal activities would have to be dealt with under other laws.