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Bad loans a challenge, large corporates at root: Jaitley

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Arun Jaitely

New Delhi, March 15: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said that the bad loans of banks remain a challenge, with “very large” corporates at the core of the problem.

To deal with the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) or bad loans of the banks is a challenging task even though they have shown declining trend in the last quarter of the current financial year,” Jaitley said at the first meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Finance.

The meeting was addressing the issue of NPAs of banks.

Jaitley said that the core problem of NPAs was with “very large corporates”, predominantly in the steel, power, infrastructure and textile sectors.

The Finance Minister added that the steel sector was on its path of recovery, while many decisions have been taken in the infrastructure, power and textile sectors to resolve their problems.

He said that the corporates had expanded their capacity during the boom period (2003-08), but could not cope with the onslaught of global financial crisis and consequent slow-down thereafter.

The government is taking sectoral specific measures to deal with the problem of NPAs specifically in the resolution of large debts,” he added.

The Finance Minister said that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had formed an Oversight Committee to look into process of the cases referred to it by the banks.

After seeing the response and its performance, Jaitley said that the government was considering multiplication of such committees.

On the issue of setting up a “bad bank”, he said that several possible alternatives were already there and the issue was being debated on public platforms.

At the meeting, some members suggested that the government must go ahead to establish Public Sector Asset Rehabilitation Agency (PARA) and it should only consider those NPAs where sector specific reforms do not work.

The suggestion included that a Special Bank be created where NPAs of all the public sector banks could be transferred.

There was also a need to restore the confidence of the officers of the banks which had been adversely affected due to increasing NPAs, the meeting pointed out.

Measures be taken to comfort these officials and to enable them to take commercially viable and rational decisions. They suggested creating a Special Performance Vehicle (SPV) committee outside the banking system to guide commercial decisions,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

Jaitley said that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India has already been set up under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.

To deal with the problem of NPAs in the steel sector, a Minimum Import Price (MIP) was introduced in December 2016 on import of specific steel products.

In the road sector, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had approved premium recast of 14-15 distressed projects.

The RBI has made formation of Joint Lenders’ Forum (JLF) mandatory when aggregate exposure is more than Rs 100 crore.

IANS

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Equity indices close higher, RIL top gainer

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SENSEX-

Mumbai, April 24: Healthy buying in oil and gas, banking and auto stocks, coupled with broadly positive global cues, lifted the key Indian equity indices on Tuesday.

Index heavyweights like Reliance Industries (RIL), Yes Bank, Adani Ports, Mahindra, Larsen and Toubro were the top gainers on the BSE.

However, heavy selling pressure in metals, IT and consumer durables stocks trimmed some gains of the benchmark indices, market observers said.

The wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) rose by 34.05 points or 0.32 per cent to provisionally close (at 3.30 p.m.) at 10,618.75 points.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 34,491.38 points, closed at 34,616.64 points — up 165.87 points or 0.48 per cent from its previous session’s close.

The Sensex touched a high of 34,706.71 points and a low of 34,465.49 points during the intra-day trade.

In contrast, the BSE market breadth remained bearish with 1,479 declines and 1,191 advances.

On Monday, the equity indices closed a volatile trade session on a flat-to-positive note as healthy quarterly results drove investors’ sentiments.

The Nifty50 closed higher by 20.65 points or 0.20 per cent at 10,584.70 points, while the Sensex closed at 34,450.77 points — up 35.19 points or 0.10 per cent.

IANS

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Xiaomi, Jio top India market

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xiaomi jio

New Delhi, April 24: Xiaomi continued to lead the Indian smartphone market with 31.1 percent market share while Reliance Jio topped the feature phone market with a massive 35.8 percent share in the first quarter of 2018, a new report has said.

Xiaomi was the leader with 25 per cent market share in Q4 of 2017.

According to Counterpoint’s “Market Monitor” service, Samsung with 26.2 per cent share was second, followed by Vivo at 5.8 per cent share in the smartphone segment.

Driven by the feature phone segment which doubled owing to strong shipments of Reliance JioPhone, India’s overall mobile phone shipments grew 48 per cent (YoY) in Q1 2018.

Honor (Huawei) entered top five smartphone brands for the first time. Honor (146 per cent), Xiaomi (134 per cent) and OnePlus (112 per cent) were the fastest growing smartphone brands.

“Q1 2018 started off with some brands sitting on inventory post the festive season in Q4 2017, which continued throughout the quarter as industry moves to a Full View display portfolio,” Karn Chauhan, Research Analyst, said in a statement.

Furthermore, the quarter was also marked with less than normal smartphone launches as very few brands refreshed their portfolio, except for Xiaomi and Samsung which benefitted from the new launches.

“However, we expect the demand to start picking up from early Q2 2018 onwards, driven by faster replacement rate of existing 2G and 3G smartphone users upgrading to 4G mobile phones,” Chauhan added.

This is the first time that the top five smartphone brands accounted for more than 70 per cent market share in a single quarter.

“Xiaomi and Samsung alone captured 58 per cent of the total smartphone market. Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5 and 5 Pro were the most popular models for the Chinese brand, whereas Samsung Galaxy J7 NXT and J2 (2017) drove volumes for the Korean vendor,” said Anshika Jain, Research Analyst.

The performance of Chinese brands remained strong, accounting for 57 per cent of the total smartphone market in Q1 2018, up from 53 per cent during Q1 2017.

“The demand for JioPhone continued through Q1 2018 as Reliance Jio’s feature phone market share raced from 0 per cent last year to 36 per cent in Q1 2018. This demand was catalysed by the introduction of a cheaper data plan,” said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director.

China based Transsion Group (the holding group of Tecno, Itel and Infinix) has become the fifth largest player with four per cent market share in Q1 2018 (combined for all three brands).

The race for the fifth position is quite close between Lava, Micromax, Honor, Nokia (HMD) and Lenovo (+Moto) brands.

Itel is the third largest player in the feature phone segment with 17 per cent growth (YoY).

IANS

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Key equity indices provisionally end in green

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Mumbai, April 23: The key Indian equity indices provisionally closed in the green on Monday on the back of healthy buying in consumer durables, healthcare and IT stocks.

However, selling pressure on metal and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) stocks trimmed gains in the market.

At 3.30 p.m., the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) provisionally closed higher by 20.65 points or 0.20 per cent at 10,584.70 points.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 34,493.69 points, closed at 34,450.77 points (3.30 p.m.) — up 35.19 points or 0.10 per cent — from its previous session’s close.

The Sensex touched a high of 34,663.95 points and a low of 34,259.27 during the intra-day trade.

The BSE market breadth was bullish with 1,399 advances and 1,284 declines.

On Monday, the major gainers on the BSE were IndusInd Bank, Mahindra and Mahindra, Sun Pharma, Asian Paints and Yes Bank while HDFC Bank, Tata Motors (DVR), Coal India, Hero MotoCorp and ICICI Bank were among the major losers.

On NSE, the top gainers were IndusInd Bank, Mahindra and Mahindra and BPCL. The major losers were Hindalco Industries, Indiabulls Housing Finance and UPL.

On Friday, negative global cues such as high crude oil prices, along with a weak rupee and heavy selling pressure in banking stocks subdued the key Indian equity markets.

The Nifty50 closed at 10,564.05 points on Friday, down 1.25 points or 0.01 per cent from its previous close and the Sensex closed at 34,415.58 points, down 11.71 points or 0.03 per cent.

IANS

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