WEEKLY NEWS (24 august-4 september) Submitted by JasmeetKaur MBA 2(c) PUNJAB COLLEGE OF TECHNICAL EDUCATION, LUDHIANA
HSBC in talks to buy stake in Old Mutual’s Nedbank 24 August 2010
HSBC Holdings, Europe’s largest bank, to buy a controlling stake in Nedbank Group, the South African banking unit of Old Mutual, in order to benefit from business ties between Asia and Africa.
HSBC would seek to acquire 70% of the bank through a “a partial offer to all Nedbank Group shareholders,” London-based Old Mutual said in a statement on Monday. Nedbank has a market value of 71.5 billion rand.
HSBC is looking to expand in Africa as more companies in Asia, where the bank gets more than half of its profit, trade with the continent.
Old Mutual, the biggest insurer in Africa, wants to focus on insurance and pay down debt of as much as £1.5 billion ($2.33 billion), while Nedbank is keen to expand across the continent. Old Mutual rose as much as 5.4%, its biggest gain since May, and was up 4.6%, to 126.5 pence as of 9:34 am in London. HSBC gained 0.6% to 638 pence while Nedbank climbed 6.9% to 140.10 rand.
Cabinet OK's Direct Taxes Code Bill 26 August 2010 The Cabinet approved Direct Taxes Code (DTC) Bill, clearing decks for tabling the legislation in the Monsoon Session of Parliament and exemptions may come into effect from next fiscal. The code aims at reducing tax rates, but expanding the tax base by minimising exemptions. As of now, it is proposed to provide the EEE (Exempt-Exempt-Exempt) method of taxation for Government Provident Fund (GPF), Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Recognised Provident Funds (RPF)
The revised draft also puts pensions administered by the interim regulator PFRDA, including pension of government employees who were recruited since January 2004, under EEE treatment. As regards MAT, it has been clarified that tax would be levied on the book profit, as is the current practice, and not on gross assets has proposed in the draft.
Delhi to get 'counter magnet cities' 27 August 2010 In an effort to ease pressure on Delhi, the Centre has directed the neighbouring states to formulate plans for developing counter magnet cities that have already been identified by the Government. The Union Urban Development Ministry has asked Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttarkhand to prepare detailed plan so that counter magnet cities can be developed in a time bound manner. Counter magnets are cities developed to reduce the mass migration of people to big cities.
PNB launches PNB NRI REMIT-India 28August 2010 Public sector lender Punjab National Bank, said it has launched 'PNB NRI REMIT-India', an online cross-border remittance solution to send money from the US to India. The bank has launched the online cross-border remittance solution in association with The Bank of New York Mellon, New York, a press release issued here said. The bank also launched RET AD, an online reporting system meant for bank branches authorised to deal in foreign exchange.
An online base system, under this, branches can report their foreign exchange transaction, sale or purchase through the system. The bank also launched the World Travel Card in association with MasterCard. The PNB World Travel Card has been designed as a pre-paid wallet for persons travelling abroad that can be used outside India. This card is available in three currencies—Dollar, Euro and Pound.
US mission's plan to sell prime property hits MEA wall 29 August 2010 The US Embassy's plans to sell a plot of prime land have hit a wall with permission being refused by the government which feels that the deal is not proportionate to the commercial value of the property. The Embassy had struck a deal with a private builder for the sale of the two-acre plot located on TilakMarg for Rs 46 crore about six years back. It had sought the mandatory clearance from the External Affairs Ministry (MEA) which did not come all these years
No reasons were given by the MEA, but it was clearly linked to a dispute with the US government over imposition of property tax to the tune of USD seven million per year on some residential premises of Indian diplomats near the UN building in New York. As the tussle went on, the value of the property at TilakMarg went up many times prompting the MEA to contend that Rs 46 crore was not proportionate to the current market rate of the plot, the sources said. The US embassy is actively pursuing the matter with the MEA but no decision has yet been taken.
Punjab & Sind Bank plans Rs 5 bn IPO 30 August 2010 Punjab and Sind Bank plans to raise more than Rs 5 billion through its initial public offer, a top official said on Monday. "We intend to launch the issue in end of November or early December, depending upon the clearance from SEBI," Executive Director P.K. Anand said. The bank will issue 40 million shares with face value of Rs 10 each. The funds will be raised for credit expansion. The bank's current equity capital is Rs 1.83 billion and another Rs 2 billion is held as perpetual non-cumulative preference shares, which classifies as Tier I capital. The bank has also asked the government for Rs 7 billion of capital infusion
SEBI lifts ban on Barclays for issuing ODIs 31 August 2010 Market regulator SEBI has lifted ban on British bank Barclays for issuing offshore derivative instruments, a move which will allow the lender to facilitate investment by unregistered entities into Indian stock markets. ODIs are investment vehicles issued by Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) to unregistered overseas investors for parking their funds in Indian equities and derivatives.
Reliance Industries hikes stake in EIH to 14.80% 1 september 2010 Reliance Industries today said it has hiked its stake in hospitality firm EIH Ltd to 14.80 per cent, taking the MukeshAmbani-led firm a step closer to the threshold limit of 15 per cent for making an open offer. RIL's move comes within two days of announcing its entry into the hospitality sector with the acquisition of a 14.12 per cent stake in EIH Ltd, which runs the Oberoi and Trident hotels and resorts. RIL's latest move is aimed at keeping rival ITC from making an open offer to increase its stake in EIH.
Equifax launches credit information service in India 2 september 2010 Equifax Inc, a global leader in information solutions, said that it has begun providing its in-depth credit information solutions across India, using member-contributed data from the country's largest banks and financial institutions. Equifax applied to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a Certificate of Registration to establish the new credit information company under The Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act, 2005, and was approved for a license in March of this year. Equifax Credit Information Services (ECIS) brings Equifax's global experience to the growing Indian economy through its joint venture with six leading Indian financial institutions.
SBI branch exclusively for crorepatis 3 september 2010 After wooing the urban poor here with its 'One Rupee Bank' account, State Bank of India (SBI) is now aggressively targeting the crorepatis. The government lender has inaugurated first-of-its-kind branch for high networth individuals (HNIs), where it takes minimum Rs 1 crore to open an account, and that too on an invitation only. Kohinoor Banjara Premium Banking Centre spread over 4,000 sq ft, offers specialised banking facilities like relationship managers, 24/7 lockers, extended banking hours, doorstep pick-up and drop facilities, in addition to pampering customers with five-star amenities at the branch.
Sebi floats new rules to curb price volatility 3 september 2010 Market regulator Sebi today said that trading of shares of companies going for a merger, demerger or a change in capital structure will have to be done in a price range for the first ten days of post-restructuring, in a move aimed at curbing volatility in trading of these scrips. In addition, trading in these shares will have to be settled between buyers and seller without a clearing house for the first ten days, SEBI said. This means that intra-day trading cannot happen in these shares for the first ten days. SEBI said the circular will not apply to “original scrips, on which derivatives products are available, or included in indices on which derivatives products are available. Scrips that are only traded in the cash segment will have to follow these rulesSebi said the move is aimed at “moderating sharp and destabilising price movements in shares of companies to encourage better price discovery and to increase transparency in the securities market."
HP wins 3PAR bid for $2.4 billion 4 september 2010 Hewlett-Packard Co won the bidding war to buy data storage company 3PAR Inc for $2.4 billion, as rival Dell Inc bowed out on Thursday. HP raised its cash offer by $3 to $33 per share, beating Dell's $32-a-share offer and ending an escalation of bids.
Axis Bank plans to open branch in London 4 september 2010 Axis Bank has sought approval from Bank of England to open a branch in London, executive director of the bank S K Chakrabarti said here today. He said the Reserve Bank of India has already given its nod to open a branch in London
10% of global reinsurers close doors on Indian cos 4 september 2010 Nearly 10% of the world’s reinsurance markets have closed down for Indian insurers following the government’s decision to tax premium paid out by domestic companies to global underwriters. Last year, the government made it mandatory for insurance companies to deduct tax at source for all reinsurance transactions. Insurance companies had earlier argued that reinsurance companies do not have any set-up in India and do not attract the provision of Section 9 of the IT Act which describes income deemed to accrue or arise in India. Companies which are dealing with underwriters in countries where there is a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) have found a way around the problem, but a significant amount of reinsurance — almost 10% — is done outside the DTAA countries.
Several non-life companies based in the south have received notices from the I-T department for recovery of tax on premium paid to reinsurance companies Insurers say further that it is possible to avoid tax payments if the reinsurer is based in a country with which India has a DTAA. There are 79 countries with which India has a DTAA. Most of the reinsurance companies are based in European markets. In recent years, new reinsurance markets have come up in the Caribbean and Hong Kong which are not part of the DTAA. Insurers say it might become uneconomical to do business in these markets because of the withholding tax.