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Britannia plans Rs 1,000 cr plant in Maharashtra

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Kolkata, Aug 7 : FMCG major Britannia Industries plans to set up its largest plant at Ranjangaon Food Park in Maharashtra with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore, its chairman Nusli Wadia announced on Monday.

“The company is planning to set up its largest plant at the Ranjangaon Food Park…,” Wadia told shareholders at the 98th Annual General Meeting here.

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Addressing a press conference later, Managing Director Varun Berry said: “We have made an application to Maharashtra government and we are looking at a mega food park.

“It (plant) would be made with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore and the investment would go for four to five years.”

To start with, the plant will have six biscuits lines, one cake line and one filled croissants line, Berry said.

The biscuit maker is also looking at putting up a plant in Nepal and Rs 55 crore would be invested in the Himalayan country, he said.

The company entered into a joint venture agreement with Chipita S.A., a Greek company, for the manufacture and sale of ready-to-eat filled croissants which is a very large category in certain countries demographically similar to India.

According to the company’s latest annual report, it will continue to scout for many such profitable growth opportunities to ensure that it stays ahead of the market while transforming itself into a total foods company.

Wadia said that the focus of the company would be on investments on new products and cost reduction.

As he also said that the company was planning to set up a dairy project, Berry said progress in this was to the tune of 85 per cent. “If we have dairy back-in, it is going to be Ranjangaon,” he said adding that the belt is known as the highest cow milk producer across the country.

According to Berry, the company acquired 96 acres of land for the Ranjangaon project and is looking at another 48 acres.

Meanwhile, the report said that the company remains committed to the strategy of strengthening its position in bastion categories – biscuit, cake, rusk and bread.

Wadia said the company has the higher ratio for own manufacturing as compared to third party manufacturing. Presently, own manufacturing constitutes about 55 per cent and in two years’ time, it is expected to be 65 per cent.

The report also said a greenfield plant was underway in Assam.

To improve the company’s competitiveness in the international market, a greenfield project in the Mundra Special Economic Zone was being put up and was expected to be commissioned in the coming year, it added.

The company is in the process of consolidating its brands and claimed to have around eight power brands, but it is looking to invest largely on its top five brands.

“Our investments were fragmented on a lot of brands. Money will now be spent on Top 5 brands”, Berry said.The company is also looking to consolidate its cream biscuit category, where it has three brands such as Pure Magic, Treat and Bourbon.

“We are looking to consolidate this category further,” said Vice President, Marketing, Ali Harris Shere.

The premium cream category market is of Rs1,800 crore and Britannia has 35 per cent market share in this space, Shere said.

The biscuit maker’s consolidated net profit in the June quarter declined by 1.4 per cent to Rs 216.12 crore as against to Rs 219.21 crore in the year-ago period.

Berry said the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax has had short term impact in June and July.

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Market Review: Amid volatility equity indices rise for 5th straight week

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SENSEX NIFTY MARKET

Mumbai, June 23: Despite volatility and a broadly bearish momentum, the key Indian equity indices rose for the fifth consecutive week, although with marginal gains.

Value buying by investors, primarily in banking, healthcare and auto stocks on Friday helped the indices end higher than the previous week’s levels.

The gains in the week ended Friday, were limited by global trade war concerns due to imposition of tariffs and counter-tariffs internationally.

Index-wise, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE rose by 67.46 points or 0.19 per cent to close at 35,689.60 points on a weekly basis.

The wider Nifty50 of the NSE closed the week’s trade at 10,821.85 points — up 4.15 points or 0.04 per cent — from its previous close.

According to analysts, market breadth was negative in all the five trading sessions of the week.

“Markets ended the week with marginal gains after trading in a rangebound manner for a major part of the week. It was nevertheless the fifth consecutive week of gains for the Nifty50,” said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research at HDFC Securities.

Shibani Kurian, Senior Vice President and Head of Equity Research at Kotak Mutual Fund told IANS: “Volatility in the market continued during the week ended June 22, 2018 amidst rhetoric of intensifying trade wars between the US and China and the possibility of imposition of further tariffs against imports from China.”

According to Equity99’s Senior Research Analyst, Rahul Sharma, stock specific actions were the flavor of the week, “wherein HDFC twins (HDFC, HDFC Bank) shimmered, gaining more than 2 per cent”.

Further, during the week all eyes were on the outcome of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) meet, said Prateek Jain, Director of Hem Securities. OPEC, was expected to decide on raising its oil production to cool down oil prices and eventually on Friday it announced an agreement to raise oil output by nearly one million barrels per day.

On the currency front, the rupee closed at 67.84 against the US dollar appreciating by 18 paise from its previous week’s close of 68.02 per greenback.

In terms of investments, provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrip worth Rs 2,088.81 crore, while the domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 4,720.76 crore during the week.

Figures from the National Securities Depository (NSDL) revealed that foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) divested equities worth Rs 4,528.63 crore, or $665.71 million, in the week ended on June 22.

Sectorally, the top gainers were the Bank Nifty, pharma and energy indices, while the top losers were metal, public sector banks and IT indices, Jasani told IANS.

The top weekly Sensex gainers were ICICI Bank (up 6.57 per cent at Rs 300.85); HDFC (up 3.86 per cent at Rs 1,902.40); HDFC Bank (up 2.52 per cent at Rs 2,081.80); Tata Motors (up 1.63 per cent at Rs 308.15); and Yes Bank (up 1.41 per cent at Rs 335.20 per share).

The major losers were Coal India (down 5 per cent at Rs 265.10); Vedanta (down 4.23 per cent at Rs 228.65); ONGC (down 3.63 per cent at Rs 159.45); Wipro (down 3.34 per cent at Rs 257.95); and Infosys (down 2.66 per cent at Rs 1,246.45 per share).

IANS

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Oil prices rally after OPEC meeting

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OPEC

Vienna, June 23 (IANS) Oil prices surged as investors were closely watching the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting.

The West Texas Intermediate for August delivery on Friday rose $3.04 to settle at $68.58 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for August delivery was up $2.50 to close at $75.55 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange, Xinhua news agency reported.

The OPEC on Friday announced an agreement to raise oil output which, in accord with non-OPEC producers, had been reduced last year in order to boost prices that had been in free fall mainly due to a supply glut.

Following a ministerial meeting here of the 14-nation cartel, the statement released, however, did not provide any details of the production increases to be allocated among members.

Current OPEC Chairman, the UAE Energy Minister Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, told reporters after the meeting that the increase agreed upon is “a little bit less than 1 million barrels” over OPEC’s current output.

OPEC and non-OPEC producers, including Russia, had put in place 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) cut from January 2017, which helped boost crude prices go over $80 a barrel last month.

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Nepal, China to enhance cooperation under Belt & Road Initiative

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Belt and Road initiative

Beijing, June 22 (IANS) Nepal and China have agreed to execute projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to enhance connectivity that encompasses ports, roads, railways, aviation and communications within the overarching framework of Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network.

In a joint statement issued during the visit of Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, the two sides agreed to take practical measures to promote cooperation in all fields mentioned in the MOUs that included conducting a feasibility study of Kerung-Kathmandu railway, reconstruction of two friendship fridges, protocol on the utilization of Tibetan highways for cargo transport and investment and cooperation on production capacity.

On the railway pact that aims to extend the Chinese railway network to Kathmandu, the joint statement said: “Nepal and China underscored it as the most significant initiative in the history of bilateral cooperation and believed that it would herald a new era of cross-border connectivity.

Other pacts reached during Oli’s visit from June 19-24 were setting up of a mechanism for facilitation on the implementation of China-Nepal Cooperation Programmes and Projects in the Himalayan nation, MOUs on strengthening cooperation between their Foreign Ministries, cooperation in fields of energy and human resource development.

Beijing and Kathmandu also agreed to work together in areas of economy, trade, investment, industrial capacity, post-disaster reconstruction and other mutually beneficial areas, according to the statement.

Another takeaway of the visit was an early finalization of the joint feasibility study on the China-Nepal Free Trade Agreement (FTA), establishing cross-border economic cooperation zones and an agreement on completing the post disaster recovery of two frontier inspection stations on Nepal-China border.

Beijing agreed to support the Chinese-funded banks for opening their branches in Nepal. It said that it was ready to negotiate the financing modalities of the projects on road, railway connectivity, hydropower and transmission lines, among others, proposed by Nepal.

The two sides will also boost cooperation between the law enforcement agencies on information exchanges, capacity building and training. They will negotiate the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and Treaty on Extradition to fight against illegal border crossing and transnational crimes.

There will be more exchanges and cooperation between China and Nepal in areas of education, culture, tourism, media, think tanks, youth and people-to-people relations.

China said it will provide more government scholarships every year to Nepal, whereas Kathmandu said it will facilitate the teaching programme of volunteer Chinese language teachers.

“The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the UN and other multilateral forums and to safeguard common interests of developing, least developed and landlocked developing countries in particular,” the joint statement added.

The two countries will also view and support each other’s participation in the regional cooperation process and enhance coordination and cooperation within the SCO, SAARC and other regional cooperation mechanisms within the agreed frameworks and guidelines.

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