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Supreme Court denies bail to Sahara supremo Subrata Roy


The Supreme Court today denied the bail application of Sahara supremo Subrata Roy, who has been held in jail for more than four months over his group’s failure to repay investors who bought bonds that were later ruled to be illegal.

The apex court said, “negotiations for selling properties in India can be done during the day and court will facilitate.” “We will allow you to hold negotiations outside jail between 10 AM to 4 PM under police custody,” a bench headed by Justice T S Thakur said, adding it is “premature” at this stage to make such arrangement as there is no “concrete” proposal right now.

The bench, also comprising justices Anil R Dave and A K Sikri asked him to approach the court when there is a proposal and assured him that suitable arrangements would be made by it. Sahara, whose assets include the landmark Plaza hotel in New York and Grosvenor House in London, offered to sell its three overseas hotels to meet the payment demands.

The court said it had sought more information from Sahara, including approval from Bank of China, with which the assets are pledged. Sahara Chairman Subrata Roy has been in a Delhi jail since March 4 after failing to appear at a contempt hearing in a long-running legal battle between his group and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

The court, which had put Sahara’s liability was between Rs 33,000 crore to Rs 35,000 crore, had asked Sahara to deposit Rs 10,000 crore initially to secure the release of Roy on bail.

Credit Suisse says swings to second-quarter net loss on U.S. tax settlement


Credit Suisse Group AG CSGN.VX reported its biggest quarterly loss since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, due to a 1.6 billion Swiss franc ($1.78 billion) charge taken following a May settlement with U.S. authorities over tax evasion charges.

“I want to reiterate that we deeply regret the past misconduct that led to this settlement and that we take full responsibility for it,” Brady Dougan, the Chief Executive of Zurich-based Credit Suisse, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The continued trust and support of our clients helped us mitigate the impact of the settlement on our business.”

Investors had been scrutinizing to see if any clients have pulled their money from Credit Suisse’s wealth management business in the wake of the bank’s guilty plea to a U.S. criminal charge as part of the settlement.

The bank swung to a second-quarter loss of 700 million francs, wider than a Reuters analyst poll which called for a 581 million franc net loss. (Full Story)

The private banking unit bore the brunt of the charge, tipping the unit to a loss. However, the unit won 10.1 billion francs of net new money in the quarter, a key indicator of future revenue.

Pre-tax profit at Credit Suisse’s investment bank, where it has shrunk areas such as its interest rate trading arm, was steady on the year at 752 million francs.

Credit Suisse wants to eventually return to double-digit capital returns from its core investment bank, including its equities and advisory divisions, following the overhaul.

American banks Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N, JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N and Citigroup Inc C.N recorded a 10-15 percent drop in revenue last week from fixed-income, currency and commodities (FICC) as a lack of volatility discouraged trading during the quarter.

 

India home to one in every three child brides in world: UN


India has the sixth highest prevalence of child marriage in the world with one in every three child bride living in India, a United Nations report said. Child marriage among girls is most common in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and India is among the top 10 countries with the highest rates of child marriage, UNICEF said in a report titled “Ending Child Marriage – Progress and prospects.” “South Asia is home to almost half (42 per cent) of all child brides worldwide; India alone accounts for one third of the global total,” the report said. Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children or before their 18th birthday. More than one in three – about 250 million – entered into union before age 15, the report said.

The 10 countries with the highest rates of child marriage are Niger, Bangladesh, Chad, Mali, Central African Republic, India, Guinea, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Nepal respectively. In India, about 27 per cent of women aged 20 to 49 years were married before age 15. About 31 per cent of women in that age group were married after age 15 but before they turned 18.

The report added that in India, the median age at first marriage is 19. 7 years for women in the richest quintile compared to 15.4 for the poorest women. In the Dominican Republic and India, the wealthiest women marry about four years later than the poorest women.

UNICEF said that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage are the two practices that affect millions of girls across the globe. It said while prevalence has decreased slightly over the past three decades, rates of progress need to be scaled up dramatically to offset population growth in the countries where the practices are most common.

Maruti’s hold on best selling car models in India continues


Country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India continues its dominance on the Indian roads with its four models, led by entry level small car Alto heading the top ten best sellers list in April-June quarter this fiscal.

According to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) data, the company’s Dzire, Swift and WagonR were the second, third and fourth biggest selling models in the quarter. Rival Hyundai’s Grand i10 is the fifth largest selling model in India during the period under review followed by Honda Cars India’s sedan City at the sixth position.

Maruti Suzuki India’s (MSI) Alto sold 64,573 units in the April-June quarter this fiscal as compared to 56,335 units sold in the same period of previous fiscal. It is followed by compact sedan Dzire, with 50,951 units sold during the quarter.

The company had sold 49,259 units of the sedan in the same period of previous fiscal. Similarly, compact hatchback Swift continues to hold on to the third position during the April-June quarter this fiscal with 47,442 units sold during the period. Swift sales stood at 48,120 units in same period of previous fiscal. Wagon R, with 38,156 units sold during the first quarter of 2014-15, retains the fourth position in passenger car segment.

MSI had sold 35,141 units of the hatchback in the same period of 2013-14. Hyundai’s Grand i10 comes in at fifth position, with 26,830 units sold during the first quarter replacing i10 which has now moved out of the top ten. Honda’s mid-sized sedan City sold 21,985 units during the April-June quarter to become the sixth largest selling model in India. It had sold 6,949 units in the year-ago period.

Hyundai’s newly launched compact sedan Xcent, with 21,524 units sold during the first quarter, stood at seventh position. The South Korean carmaker’s entry level model Eon with a total sales of 19,379 units during the first quarter was the eighth best selling model, down from sixth with sale of 24,526 units in the same period last fiscal.

Thoughts for a Day


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Revenue collection expected to exceed target in FY15: FM


After missing target in the last financial year, the government today exuded confidence that tax collection during the current fiscal would exceed budget estimate of Rs 13.64 lakh crore. “Revenue collection targets fixed for 2014-15 will not only be achieved but also surpassed,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

He was addressing the 30th annual conference of Principle Chief Commissioners, Principle Director Generals (DGs), Chief Commissioners & DGs of Income Tax Department here. Jaitley emphasised that the credibility of Income Tax department is its greatest asset. “Credibility of income tax department is its greatest asset, that’s why highest standards of ethics are expected from officers of the department,” PIB said in a tweet.

The government estimates to garner Rs 13.64 lakh crore from both direct and indirect tax collection during the current fiscal. During 2013-14, tax collection fell short of target by a whopping Rs 77,000 crore. The government collected Rs 11.58 lakh crore against the budget estimate of Rs 12.35 lakh crore.

There are doubts about the meeting of indirect tax collection target for the current fiscal as there is slowdown in the economy. On income tax front, however, there is possibility of surpassing target.

Last week, Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das had said that the government would be able to achieve the direct tax collection target but the real challenge is with regards to indirect taxes. “It is a challenge, there is no doubt about that, but with a number of steps taken by the government to revive the economy, particularly manufacturing, reviving investment sentiment… we expect manufacturing sector, the entire industrial sector to get back in buoyant note than previous year,” he had said.

Wal-Mart adds $102.9 mn in Indian wholesale biz in June


Wal-Mart Stores Inc has infused fresh funds worth rupees 620 crores (USD 102.9 million) into its Indian wholesale business in June, according to a filing made by its Indian unit to the Registrar of Companies.

The funds were allotted as share application money, the filing showed. Wal-Mart runs 20 wholesale stores in the country and plans to roll out 50 more over four to five years. The retailer has already launched its e-commerce operations, to sell to small businesses, in the cities of Lucknow and Hyderabad earlier this month.

India to lose top rice exporter after poor monsoon


Thailand is set to reclaim its status as the world’s top rice exporter as weak monsoon rains curb India’s crop, helping the Southeast Asian country’s new military government offload bulging stockpiles.

Fewer Indian exports would allow Bangkok to win better prices for the grain that it has been selling at a huge discount, curbing losses on the stocks built up under a costly state intervention scheme. “It is a good opportunity for Thailand to manage its huge stocks at competitive prices,” said Kiattisak Kallayasirivat, managing-director of Bangkok-based Novel Agritrading Co Ltd.

Thai rice prices flipped to a discount versus Vietnam grades for the first time in decades earlier this year as the previous Yingluck Shinawatra-led government aggressively sold from stockpiles. Prices have since risen to par or premiums after the junta stopped sales to inspect the quality of the rice pile.

Thailand plans to export 500,000-600,000 tonnes of rice a month from August. At that rate, it will take about three years to sell the 18 million tonnes built under the rice-buying scheme introduced by the Yingluck government that was ousted in May. “Thailand will be able to fetch higher prices now that we have concerns over supplies from India and better demand,” a Singapore-based trader said.

“The increase in price will reduce their losses to some extent.” The country sold 5 percent broken rice from its stocks for USD 360 per tonne, on a free on board (FOB) basis, earlier this year but now a similar variety of old-crop rice is being offered at around USD 395 per tonne. This, however, is still short of the estimated cost of 22,000 baht (USD 680) per tonne that the ousted government incurred on buying paddy from farmers, milling and storage.

India among biggest UK foreign investors


India has retained its position as a leading foreign investor into Britain, according to latest UK Trade and Industry (UKTI) figures released Sunday. India ranks seventh in the top overseas sources of investment with 74 projects during 2013-14 — a year with the highest number of projects since records began in the 1980s.

UKTI said the UK remains the most attractive destination in Europe for foreign business investment, winning almost 1,800 new projects in the past year. Trade minister Lord Ian Livingston said it had been an “exceptional year for foreign investment”, which had created 66,390 new jobs, the highest number since 2001.

“It shows that our strategy to attract investors to the UK by creating one of the most business-friendly environments in the world is the right one, and it is proof that foreign investors have confidence in the UK as the best place to do business,” Lord Livingston said. The US led the rush to invest in Britain with 501 projects in the UK, followed by Japan (116), France (110), Germany (102), Canada (89) and China (88).

Below India in the tally are Italy (70), Australia (69) and Ireland (55). John Cridland, the director-general of the CBI, said: “Investment in Britain is flying high. The UK is a very strong brand overseas, and this is an engine for providing the growth and jobs we need to drive forward a healthy and sustainable recovery.” UKTI says investment rose 8 percent to a record level of 975 billion pound and resulted in the creation of 66,390 new jobs, the highest total since 2001.

Europe provided 566 billion pounds of the total, the Americas 325 billion pound and Asia 72 billion pound. The rest came from Australasia and Africa. The 975 billion pound was the second-highest total of all the countries surveyed, behind the US (2,890 billion pound), and ahead of Hong Kong (845 billion pound), France (630 billion pound) and China (560 billion pound).

FM reiterates govt’s plan on financial inclusion


Finance Minister Arun Jaitely has reiterated the government’s plan to cut its stake in public sector banks that will help raise resources to recapitalise them over a period of time. The finance ministry is still preparing the roadmap on this front and plans to seek Cabinet nod on the same, after August 14.

“It’s not merely inclusion. All this would further bring in the unbanked money into the banking system,” said Jaitely adding that if the unbanked money, which is fairly large in amount, gets into the system, would be very useful for the economy.

He said the government is also coming up with the proposal of recapitalization of public sector banks over the next 4 years. While government equity will remain a majority, a lot of PSB equity can be off loaded in the open market for retail investors. This in turn through the government will go back to the banking system to enable banks to expand and thereby increase the whole process of financial inclusion.

Moreover, Banking Secretary GS Sandhu has denied cutting government stake in State Bank of India (SBI) immediately, from 58 percent to a 52-53 percent level, saying the ministry is yet to take a call on how much equity should be offloaded this fiscal.

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