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Nov 10, 2017 10:30 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

News Live: Pakistan allows Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet wife

This blog will keep track of key global and local developments impacting business and markets through the day. Important local and global political developments will also find resonance here.


Top Headlines:
1. GST rate on mass consumption items cut to 18%
2. Google, Just Dial in deal talks, reports Business Standard. Just Dial denies report
3. SBI Q2 profit dips 38% YoY on higher provisions, slippages at Rs 9,026cr
4. Pakistan allows Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet wife
5. Reworked Petronet LNG gas contracts may save govt Rs 12,000cr, co eyes stake in Qatari LNG projects
6. NPS equity cap for govt staff may be raised to 50%, reports Business Standard
7. JSW-Jaypee Associates tie-up, bid for Jaypee Infratech, reports Times of India
8. Central govt employees can now take advance up to Rs 25 lakh for new home
9. Rajinikanth may announce political entry on December 12, reports CNN-News18

10. Flipkart may launch smartphone under the Billion brand

22:27 That's the end of the Liveblog! Thanks for tuning in and goodnight!

21:51 Pakistan allows Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet wife

Pakistan today said it will allow convicted Indian death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet his wife, months after India had requested Islamabad to grant a visa to his mother on humanitarian grounds.

"The Government of Pakistan has decided to arrange a meeting of Commander Kulbhushan Jhadav with his wife, in Pakistan, purely on humanitarian grounds," Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said in a statement.

21:10 HSIL Q2 net down 20 pc at Rs 23 cr; demerges 3 biz

Sanitaryware player HSIL today reported a 19.73 percent decline in its net profit at Rs 23.50 crore for the September quarter.

The company had posted a net profit at Rs 28.54 crore during the same period previous fiscal, Hindustan Sanitaryware and Industry (HSIL), which sells products under the Hindware

brand, said in a regulatory filing.

Besides, the company announced demerger of its consumer products distribution and marketing business into new entity Somany Home Innovation Ltd (SHIL). It also demerged its furniture and home decor retail business into SHIL as also the distribution and marketing business relating to building product into another new entity Brilloca Ltd which is wholly-owned subsidiary of SHIL.

21:02 Nestle India Q3 net grows 23% to Rs 343 crore
FMCG major Nestle India today reported a 23.26 percent increase in its net profit at Rs343.17 crore for the September quarter, driven by higher

income and volume-led momentum.

The company, which follows the January-December fiscal, had posted a net profit of Rs 278.41 crore during the same period in the previous fiscal, Nestle India said in a stock exchange filing.Total sales during the quarter under review stood at Rs 2,500.67 crore. It was Rs 2,412.91 crore in July-September of 2016-17.

21:00 NHAI Board to have NITI CEO as a part-time member

In a bid to facilitate smooth implementation of the ambitious Bharatmala project, the government has reconstituted the board of NHAI by inducting NITI Aayog CEO as a part-time member, an official said.

The decision comes barely a month after the government approved a mega plan to build 83,677 km of highways over the next five years at a cost of about Rs 7 lakh crore which includes the Bharatmala, one of the biggest highway projects.

20:50 BSNLFibre Home partner for manufacturing telecom gear

State-run telecom company BSNL today announced collaboration with Chinese firm Fibre Home to manufacture telecom equipment in the country.

"Today state-owned telecom giant Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has signed a memorandum of understanding with

Fibre Home Pvt Ltd to jointly start manufacturing telecom equipment and optical fibre cable in BSNL factories," the public sector telecom company said in a statement.

BSNL has seven telecom factories with a workforce of around 1,600. At present these factories are manufacturing several customer-end equipment and testing tools for the internal consumption of BSNL.

 

20:34 Tata Motors shares down 4%; mcap dips by Rs 5,095 crore

Shares of Tata Motors today fell by 4 percent even as the automaker reported a three-fold spike in net profit for the September quarter.

The stock lost 4.01 percent to settle at Rs 422.65 on BSE. During the day, it went down by 4.57 percent to Rs 420.15.

The scrip was the worst hit among the 30 Sensex components. At NSE, shares of the company dipped 3.99 percent to

close at Rs 422.55.

The company's market valuation also declined by Rs 5,095.22 crore to Rs 1,22,033.78 crore.

20:04 UNESCO names Audrey Azoulay as head

UNESCO member states today overwhelmingly approved the nomination of France's former culture minister Audrey Azoulay to head the embattled cultural

agency.

They confirmed the nomination by the agency's board last month of Azoulay, 45, who becomes UNESCO's second woman director general.

"The unity you have shown in this vote is a good omen for the coming period, in which we need to stand shoulder to shoulder," Azoulay told the members after garnering 131 votes with only 19 opposed.

19:46 Cochin Shipyard Q2 net dips 8 % to Rs 100 crore

Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL), the largest shipbuilding and repair facility in India, today

reported an 8 percent dip in net profit at Rs 100.21 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2017.

The state-run company had reported a net profit of Rs 109.02 crore for the corresponding quarter of the previous

fiscal, it said in a filing to the BSE. Total income during the quarter rose to Rs 648.40 crore as against Rs 586.08 crore in the year-ago quarter.

Earnings per share (EPS) for Q2 FY18 stood at Rs 7.93.

 

19:44 Reversing its two-session rise, the rupee today took a steep plunge of 22 paise to end at a fresh one-month low of 65.16 against the US dollar due to frantic demand for the American unit from importers and corporates.

This is the lowest closing for the home currency since October 10.

Imminent higher interest rate environment arising out of the US Federal Reserve's hawkish tone along with rapidly surging crude oil prices worldwide largely kept forex market undertone more nervous.

19:42 GST updates: Hotels with tarriffs over Rs 7,500 per night,won't fall under the 5 percent bracket. Get more updates here.

18:45 India's factory output slows to 3.8% in September

India’s industrial output slowed to 3.8 percent in September from the month ago when factory output grew at 4.3 percent.

Factory output measured by the index of industrial production (IIP) is the closest approximation for measuring economic activity in the country’s business landscape.

Manufacturing sector, which accounts for more than three-fourths of the entire index, grew 3.4 percent in September, compared with 3.1 percent growth in August, and 0.9 percent in September 2016, government data showed


18:34 UK industrial output rises in Sept at fastest pace this year, trade gap improves

British industrial output increased in September at the fastest pace this year and the goods trade deficit improved, mostly upbeat official data showed on Friday.

Despite also showing a sharp downturn in construction, the figures as a whole are likely to hearten Bank of England officials who last week voted to raise interest rates for the first time in more than 10 years.

The Office for National Statistics said the data for September did not imply any change to its preliminary estimate that Britain’s economy grew by 0.4 percent in the third quarter, picking up a bit of speed from earlier in 2017 but still slower than growth in the eurozone.

The ONS said industrial and manufacturing output shot up by a monthly 0.7 percent in September, the fastest growth for each sector since December last year and above all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.

18:11 ArcelorMittal posts marginal rise in Q3 profit at USD 1.92 billion

The world's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal today posted a marginal 1.4 percent rise in operating profit at USD 1.92 billion for the third quarter to September on the back of higher sales.

The firm, led by billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, had posted operating profit of USD 1.89 billion in the year-ago period, it said in a statement.

The steelmaker follows January-December as its accounting cycle. Sales of the Luxembourg-based company rose 21.4 percent to USD 17.63 billion in July-September, from USD 14.52 billion in the same period last year.

The company's registered a "net debt of USD 12 billion as of September 30, 2017, as compared to USD 11.9 billion as of June 30, 2017, primarily due to a negative foreign exchange impact".

ArcelorMittal Chairman and CEO Lakshmi Mittal said the favourable market conditions have supported another solid quarterly performance, with Ebitda (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) for the first nine months considerably improving year-on-year.


17:49 Supreme Court refuses to stay release of 'Padmavati', Allahabad High Court

The Supreme Court today refused to stay the release of Deepika Padukone starrer 'Padmavati' over which the Allahabad High Court also declined to entertain a plea seeking a ban of the Bollywood film.

The Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed period drama, which also starred Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, in lead roles is due to be released on December 1.

The court verdicts come as a big boost to Bhansali in the aftermath of a mob attack in Jaipur and a vandalism incident in Kolhapur during the shooting of the film.

17:00 Axis Bank Board on Friday approved stake sale to Bain Capital and other investors in its bid to raise capital by issue of equity-linked securities on a preferential basis.

16:16 Miner Vedanta's first-half profit jumps 37 percent on higher output, prices

Diversified miner Vedanta Resources’ said its half-year profit rose 37.4 percent, helped by higher commodity prices and production.

Vedanta said on Friday that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose to USD1.69 billion in the six months ended Sept. 30, from USD 1.23 billion, a year ago.

The company, which mines zinc in India, South Africa and Namibia, reported a near 80 percent jump in operating profit from its zinc business, helped by a 42.1 percent jump in total zinc content mined in India. Zinc prices rose on average by more than 33 percent in the six months to Sept. 30.

16:08 Yashwant Sinha says my son deserves to be investigated, so does Jay Shah

Yashwant Sinha delivered a fresh instalment of biting criticism of the government, describing the new national sales tax or GST as "a total mess" which cannot be solved by "tinkering", reports NDTV. Sinha, a senior BJP leader and former Finance Minister, also said his son, union minister, Jayant Sinha should be among the politicians investigated after being named in the Paradise Papers - as long as BJP chief Amit Shah's son, Jay Shah, is also investigated for allegations of benefiting from crony capitalism.

On Monday, Jayant Sinha, who in the past has disagreed with his father's poor assessment of the government that he is a part of, was named in the Paradise Papers, which leak the offshore investments of prominent and wealthy politicians and corporates across the globe. Sinha, 54, a former venture capitalist, has said that the transactions he is linked to were not personal but related to the Omidyar Network, a company that he worked for; he said all the transactions were legal and legitimate.

His father said, "My request to government is to probe the politicians whose names have come in the Paradise Papers and it should be time-bound, within 15 days to one month." However, he said, the government also owes an independent assessment of the claims that Jay Shah, the entrepreneur son of the BJP chief, saw a spike in his firm's revenues after the BJP came to power and benefited from his father's office. Jay Shah has filed a Rs 100-crore defamation suit in response.

"My question is when an inquiry against Jayant Sinha, then why not Jay Shah - there you say file a case in court. So a probe should be against everyone," said the former Finance Minister, referring to the BJP stating that those accusing Jay Shah of corruption should approach a court with evidence, if they have any.

16:03 M&M Q2 profit beats estimates at Rs 1,411cr; approves 1:1 bonus issue

Car and utility vehicles manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) posted a better-than-expected performance for the September quarter, with profit rising over 22%. The company posted a profit of Rs 1,411 crore against Rs 1,156.7 crore posted during the same quarter last year. A poll of analysts by CNBC-TV18 had seen this figure around Rs 1,228 crore. Revenues were higher by 19.4% at Rs 12,018 crore versus Rs 10,065 crore YoY. At an operational level, EBITDA soared 35.1% at Rs 1,923.4 crore as against Rs 1,423.6 crore last year, while the operating margin came in at 16%, higher than last year’s 14.1%. The company’s board also approved a bonus issue in a 1:1 ratio.

15:42 Gold eased on Friday on a firmer dollar but uncertainty over US tax reforms helped prices stay close to a three-week high touched in the previous session. Bullion was on track for its first weekly gain in about a month.

15:38 Trump says Asia held hostage by North Korea's 'twisted fantasies'

US President Donald Trump said the Asia-Pacific region was being held hostage by the "twisted fantasies" of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, as he called on countries to stand united against Pyongyang, reports AFP. Trump has embarked on a tour of Asia this week trying to rally regional support for curbing North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, warning that time is running out over the crisis.

"The future of this region and its beautiful people must not be held hostage to a dictator's twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail," he said. The region, he added, must "stand united in declaring that every single step the North Korean regime takes toward more weapons is a step it takes into greater and greater danger"

15:32 Alkem Labs Q2 net up 14% at Rs 327.44cr

Drug firm Alkem Laboratories reported a 13.63% rise in consolidated net profit at Rs 327.44 crore for the quarter ended September 30 on account of robust sales. The company had posted a net profit of Rs 288.15 crore for the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. Consolidated total income stood at Rs 1,888.95 crore for the quarter under consideration as against Rs 1,672.27 crore for the same period year ago.

15:29 Bosch posts Q2 net at Rs 353.34cr

Auto components major Bosch reported a standalone net profit of Rs 353.34 crore for the second quarter ended September 30. The company had posted a standalone net profit of Rs 703.74 crore in the same period last fiscal. The company said in the year-ago period it had recorded a profit before tax of Rs 365.26 crore from the sale of its starter motors and generators business.

Revenue from operations during Q2 was at Rs 2,811.85 crore. It was Rs 2,837.96 crore in the year-ago period. The figures are not comparable due to GST implementation in July, it added. In the second quarter the automotives business had revenue of Rs 2,420.51 crore as against Rs 2,453 crore in the year-ago period. Revenue from other business segment was at Rs 397.97 crore as compared to Rs 386.97 crore in the year-ago quarter.

15:25 MRF Q2 profit down 22% YoY to Rs 300cr

Tyre manufacturer MRF reported a 22.15% decline in standalone net profit at Rs 299.92 crore for the quarter ending September on account of lower income and higher expenses. The company had posted a net profit of Rs 385.29 crore during the same period previous fiscal. Total income during the quarter under review stood at Rs 3,660.22 crore as against Rs 3,736.70 crore in the July-September quarter of 2016-17. Expenses rose to Rs 3,219.30 crore compared to Rs 3,170.99 crore in the year ago period.

15:16 Bank of India Q2 profit rises 41% YoY at Rs 179cr

State-owned Bank of India (BoI) reported a 41.1% increase in net profit at Rs 179.07 crore for the quarter ending September following a decline in bad loans. The bank had a net profit of Rs 126.84 crore in July-September, 2016-17. Total income rose to Rs 11,600.47 crore in the July-September quarter of 2017-18 whereas the figure was Rs 11,469.11 crore for the same quarter of previous fiscal.

Asset quality improved as gross NPAs declined marginally to 12.62% of gross advances at the end of September 2017, from 13.45% a year earlier. Net NPAs improved to 6.47% of net advances, down from 7.56% a year ago. In absolute terms, gross NPAs stood at Rs 49,306.90 crore as on September 2017, from the earlier Rs 52,261.95 crore. Following reduction in NPAs, provisioning for bad loans declined to Rs 1,866.52 crore , as against Rs 2,189.65 crore in the same period last year.

15:09 GST rate on mass consumption items cut to 18%

The GST Council decided to reduce tax rate on a wide range of mass use items – from chewing gums to detergents -- to 18% per cent from current 28%, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said. The all-powerful council pruned the list of items attracting the top 28% tax rate to just 50 from 227 previously, he said. In effect, the council, in its 23rd meet today, cut rates on 177 goods.

Facing intense heat from opposition-ruled states over keeping mass used goods in the 28% bracket which was meant for luxury and de-merit goods, the Council pruned the list to 50 as against 62 that was recommended by its fitment committee.

He said all types of chewing gum, chocolates, preparation for facial make-up, shaving and after-shave items, shampoo deodorants, washing powder detergent and granite and marble will attract lower 18% tax rate. Paints and cement have been retained in the 28% tax bracket, he said. "Luxury goods like washing machines and air conditioners have been retained at 28%."

14:57 Tata Motors global sales up 2.7% at 103,761 units in October

Home grown auto major Tata Motors today reported a 2.7% increase in its global wholesales to 103,761 units in October this year. Global sales of commercial vehicles and Tata Daewoo range stood at 37,400 units during the month, up 1.3% compared to same period last year. The passenger vehicle segment saw a growth of 3.5% in global sales at 66,361 units in October. The global numbers includes its subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover. Global wholesales for JLR stood at 49,757 units, the company said, adding Jaguar sales for the month were 13,295 units, while that of Land Rover stood at 36,462 units.

14:53 DCM Shriram to invest Rs 838cr on expansion projects

DCM Shriram will invest Rs 838 crore for expansion of its sugar and chemical business, according to the company's quarterly report. Already, the company is implementing projects involving investments of Rs 350 crore for setting up of a distillery and aluminium chloride units besides expansion of its chlor-alkali unit. These will be commissioned in the second quarter of the next fiscal.

In its quarterly report, DCM Shriram said the board has given nod for additional investment of Rs 838 crore for expansion projects. Out of this, Rs 500 crore is estimated to be invested for expansion of its DSCL Sugar-Hariawan unit. With the capacity enhancement, total sugar business capacity will increase from 33,000 tonne crushing per day (TCD) to 38,000 TCD. The rationale behind the sugar capacity addition is increase in cane availability, it said.

In its chemical business, the company will invest about Rs 98 crore to raise the capacity of its Chlor Alkali units in Bharuch in Gujarat and Kota in Rajasthan from 1,425 tonne per day (TPD) to Rs 1,655 TPD. About Rs 240 crore will be invested to install a new 66 MW power plant to replace existing old and inefficient 50 MW plant and provide additional 16 MW captive power for caustic soda expansion.

14:45 Petronet LNG looks to buy stake in Qatari LNG projects

Petronet LNG is eyeing a stake in the planned LNG expansion projects in Qatar as it looks to venture overseas to diversify its portfolio, its MD and CEO Prabhat Singh told PTIPetronet, India's biggest LNG importer, wants to buy a stake that will give it a position on the board of the Qatari company, he said. It currently buys 7.5 million tonne of LNG per annum from RasGas of Qatar under a 25-year contract.

RasGas had in the contract promised to give 5% stake to Petronet or its nominee in the liquefication plant in the Gulf nation. But Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) which was assigned to pick up the equity hesitated in making the $135 million payment. The stake is now worth $2 billion. The company can take a stake in either of the planned projects of QatarGas or RasGas. Typically, each train or plant of LNG is a separate company and Petronet can pick a stake in that.

14:34 JSW-Jaypee Associates tie-up, bid for Jaypee Infratech, says report

Sajjan Jindal-promoted JSW is expected to acquire a 30% stake in Jaypee Associates and jointly bid to invest in Jaypee Infratech that is facing insolvency proceedings, reports Times of India. The proposal is expected to be formally announced following a meeting of the committee of Creditors that is scheduled on Friday afternoon.

The insolvency professional has invited bids from investors willing to pump in at least Rs 2000 crore to complete the project that involves nearly 32,000 apartments, plots and villas. "Talks have been on for the last few weeks between the Gaurs and Jindal and the details including the valuation are being worked out," sources said. The details are expected to be finalised over the next four weeks or so, the source added.

14:28 CBI opposes Maran brothers' discharge plea in exchange case

The CBI strongly opposed the discharge petitions filed by former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother Kalanidhi Maran in the illegal telephone exchange case, reports PTI. When the case came up before the XIV Additional Judge for CBI cases S Natarajan, the CBI strongly opposed the discharge applications moved by the Maran brothers.

Maintaining that all charges framed against them were supported with material and documentary evidence, the CBI wanted the special court to dismiss the discharge applications moved by the duo and also filed an additional affidavit. The judge adjourned the case after the counsel for Maran brothers sought time for filing reply to the additional affidavit filed by the CBI to November 21 for further hearing.

13:18 Motherson Sumi Q2 profit jumps 24% YoY to Rs 593cr

Auto ancillary products maker Motherson Sumi Systems has reported better-than-expected profit growth of 23.7% for the July-September quarter, but operational numbers missed estimates on Friday. Consolidated profit increased to Rs 593.4 crore in the quarter-ended September 2017, from Rs 479.8 crore in year-ago. It was estimated at Rs 498 crore for the quarter, according to average of analyst estimates polled by CNBC-TV18.

Revenue from operations during the quarter grew by 32.7% YoY to Rs 13,431 crore. Operating profit grew 26% YoY to Rs 1,251 crore with margin shrinking by 50 basis points to 9.3%, but below estimates of Rs 1,328 crore and 9.8%, respectively.

13:12 SBI Q2 profit dips 38% YoY on higher provisions, slippages at Rs 9,026cr

State Bank of India's second quarter standalone profit missed analyst expectations, falling 38% YoY to Rs 1,581.55 crore from Rs 2,538.32 crore. Net interest income grew 27.3% to Rs 18,585.9 crore from Rs 14,600.2 crore YoY, which was slightly higher than CNBC-TV18 analysts’ poll estimates of Rs 19,088.7 crore. Gross NPAs came in lower at 9.83% as against 9.97% QoQ.

13:02 NPS equity cap for govt staff may be raised to 50%, says report

The pension regulator has approached the Centre to allow government employees to raise their investments in equity to 50% from the current 15% under the National Pension System (NPS), reports Business Standard. This, it says, will help address the issue of declining interest rates. A committee of secretaries is looking at the request.

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) wants it to be increased to 25% under one scheme and 50% under another. It has also sought a greater say for employees in choosing their fund managers and investment pattern. “We have requested the government to allow employees to invest a higher portion of funds in equity to deal with the situation of lower returns on debts,” PFRDA Chairman Hemant Contractor said.

12:54 'Panic-stricken' Modi govt has no option but to change GST rates: Chidambaram

Congress leader P Chidambaram said a "shower of changes" is expected from the GST Council meeting in Guwahati and the "panic-stricken" Modi government has no option but to change the new tax rates, reports PTI. He said the government will be forced to heed the advice of the opposition and experts due to the Gujarat assembly elections next month. "Expect a shower of changes in GST rates from GST Council meeting today. Panic-stricken government has no option but to concede demands for change. Thanks to Gujarat elections, the government is forced to heed advice of Opposition and experts on flaws in implementation of GST," he tweeted.

12:48 Govt expects mineral auction worth Rs 50,000cr in FY18

Minerals worth at least Rs 50,000 crore can be auctioned from 13-15 blocks in the remaining four months of the current fiscal with the upcoming proposed amendments in the auctioning rules, an official from the Ministry of Mines told PTI. These 13-15 mines could include limestone, iron ore, emerald and molybdenum among others.

"We would like the progress to pick up. We are certainly hoping that we will easily cross the Rs 1 lakh crore figure for the current year, with new 13-15 blocks expected in the remaining four months of FY18," Union Mines Secretary Arun Kumar said. "We have auctioned about Rs 50,000 crore worth of minerals from 12 mines in this financial year so far,” the senior official said.

12:42 SC rejects TMC MLA's plea against linking Aadhaar with bank accounts

The Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea filed by a Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA challenging the linking of bank accounts with Aadhaar, reports PTI. The apex court said there were several petitions challenging Aadhaar which were already pending before it and it cannot entertain thousands of pleas raising similar issue. "Why should we entertain thousands of petitions on the same issue? These issues have already been raised in other petitions. We will permit you to raise this issues through impleadment application before the Constitution Bench," a bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said.

12:37 Philippines' Duterte says he once stabbed a person to death

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he stabbed a person to death as a teenager, in a defiant speech to promote his drug war ahead of a summit of world leaders in Manila, reports PTIDuterte also threatened to slap a UN rights rapporteur if he met her, and used obscene language to hit back at critics of his deadly drugs crackdown. "When I was a teenager, I would go in and out of jail. I'd have rumbles here, rumbles there," said Duterte, who is in Danang for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. "At the age of 16, I already killed someone. A real person, a rumble, a stabbing. I was just 16 years old. It was just over a look. How much more now that I am president?"

12:34 USFDA withdraws warning letter to Divi's Lab unit

Drug firm Divi's Laboratories said the US health regulator has "closed out" a warning letter issued to a unit at Visakhapatnam following evaluation of corrective actions taken by the company at the plant. "Divi's Laboratories has been informed by the US Food and Drug Authority (USFDA) that the agency has completed evaluation of the company's corrective actions in response to FDA's warning letter dated April 13, 2017," the company said in a BSE filing. "We also note from the update on FDA's website that they have closed-out the warning letter," it added.

12:32 L&T construction arm bags orders worth Rs 4,023cr

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) said its construction arm has won orders worth Rs 4,023 crore across business segments. "The construction arm of L&T has won orders worth Rs 4,023 crore," the engineering and construction major said in a BSE filing. L&T said its heavy civil infrastructure business has bagged orders worth Rs 1,906 crore in the domestic market, while its building and factories business received an order worth Rs 830 crore. L&T's water and effluent treatment business and power transmission and distribution business has bagged orders worth Rs 788 crore and Rs 342 crore, respectively. Smart world communication business of L&T has won an order worth Rs 157 crore.

12:28 Car sales down 5.32%; passenger vehicles dip marginally in October

Domestic passenger vehicle sales declined marginally to 2,79,837 units in October from 2,80,677 units in the same month last year, reports PTI. Car sales were down 5.32% to 1,84,666 units last month as against 1,95,036 units in October last year, according to the data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) today. Motorcycle sales last month declined by 3.5% to 11,04,498 units compared to 11,44,512 units in October 2016.

Total two-wheeler sales in October were also lower by 2.76% to 17,50,966 units compared to 18,00,668 units in the year-ago month. Sales of commercial vehicles, however, rose by 6.44% to 69,793 units in October, SIAM said. Vehicle sales across categories registered a decline of 1.79% to 21,62,164 units, from 22,01,489 units in October 2016, it added.

12:16 Air pollution: NGT to examine odd-even scheme

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) said it would examine at 2 pm today the Delhi government's decision to roll out odd-even car rationing scheme for five days starting from November 13, reports PTI. The AAP government had on Thursday announced introduction of the odd-even scheme as part of a Graded Response Plan to tackle the alarming pollution situation in the national capital.

11:56 Penalty on Rupani HUF set aside; Sebi to pass fresh order

Regulator Sebi will pass a fresh order in a case of alleged manipulative share trade involving Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Ramniklal Rupani's HUF and 21 others, after its Rs 6.91 crore penalty against them was set aside by the Securities Appellate Tribunal, reports PTI. The tribunal has "set aside" the penalty order, dated October 27, after hearing an appeal filed by Akash Harishbhai Desai, one of the 22 entities penalised by the regulator for alleged manipulative trading in the shares of Saran Chemicals during the January-June 2011 period.

The individual penalty amount was varied for entities and was Rs 15 lakh in the case of Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) of Rupani, who took over as the chief minister in August 2016 and is currently in the thick of BJP's campaign for the state's two-phase assembly polls on December 9 and 14. In a two-page order, dated November 8, SAT said "Sebi shall pass fresh order after giving an opportunity of hearing to all the parties".

The appellant and other parties against whom the order was passed have been asked to submit their replies within three weeks from November 8, as per the SAT order. Noting that the appeal was "taken up by the consent of both the parties", the tribunal said the appellant has submitted that the Sebi order was passed without giving them an opportunity to file their replies and without any personal hearing.

11:34 Google, Just Dial in deal talks, says report

US internet giant Google, a subsidiary of parent Alphabet, is in talks with Mumbai-based search engine Just Dial to acquire its business, reports Business Standard. “Google has been talking to Just Dial for an acquisition for some time. Both the companies entered into exclusive talks about two months ago,” said an investment banker. “It may take some more time before the discussions are finalised,” he added.

Google has expanded its offers in India to include business listings with Google Maps, too. The introduction of Google Aero, an aggregator services app, in collaboration with already established players such as UrbanClap and Faasos in the services and food-ordering business, respectively, has put it into competition with Just Dial. While Google has been adding local listings to its database organically, acquiring Just Dial will provide it with a database of 20 million pan-Indian listings.

Commenting on the same, Just Dial Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Abhishek Bansal said, “Just Dial, as part of its regular business, does meet various relevant corporates for exploring any business/strategic tie–ups. In case there are any developments to disclose, we shall do it at an appropriate time.”

11:09 Zydus Cadila, Intas under scanner for launching hypertension drug without permit, says report

Two domestic drug makers are under the scanner of the pharmaceutical regulator for allegedly launching a combination drug to treat hypertension without mandatory prior approval, reports Mint. The Central Drug Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) initiated an inquiry against Zydus Cadila and Intas Pharmaceuticals after receiving a complaint from another drug company conducting clinic trials for the launch of the same project, said a senior CDSCO official.

A drug maker needs approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) before launching any product. The drug has so far been approved for launch only in the US and Canada. According to the clinical trials guidelines of the CDSCO, if the product is approved elsewhere and not in India, phase III clinical trials and bio-equivalence studies are required to establish its safety and efficacy on the Indian population. The complainant alleged that the product had been launched without mandatory trials being conducted.

11:02 Flipkart may launch smartphone under the Billion brand, says report

India’s largest online retail firm Flipkart will launch a new smartphone under its Billion brand, reports Mint. This will be the first major initiative by Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Sachin Bansal since he stepped aside as Chief Executive in January 2016. The new, so-called Made for India smartphone called Billion Capture+ will go on sale on Flipkart on November 15. The Flipkart smartphone, based on the Android operating system, will be priced at Rs 10,999 for the 32GB model and at Rs 12,999 for the 64GB model, Billion category head Hrishikesh Thite said. The phone has been designed, engineered, manufactured and tested in India, he added.

10:50 India plans 20GW solar tender, eyes domestic manufacturing boost, says report

India plans to invite bids for setting up 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar power capacity—the world’s largest solar tender—at one go, in an attempt to spur domestic manufacturing of solar power equipment, reports Mint. This will help further lower the country’s solar power tariffs and provide a boost to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s Make in India plans. “We are planning to introduce the idea of mega bids to boost solar equipment manufacturing in India. This may also result in a substantial reduction in tariffs,” a senior government official said.

According to the contours of the tender being worked out, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) plans to award these contracts to developers who will quote the lowest price at which they will sell electricity in the auction process for the grid-linked capacity. The projects are expected to be commissioned in phases. “The tender is being conceptualised by MNRE. These contracts will be awarded in one go with developers to construct projects in phases. Once people see visibility of such projects, then manufacturing can kick in,” sources said.

10:39 HSBC Global bets on cyclicals, IT

Tushar Pradhan, CIO, HSBC Global Asset Management-India, is upbeat on cyclical sectors as he sees a pick up in the economic cycle. “The cues are also seen from the surge in banking stocks,” he told CNBC-TV18.

He is not too bullish on NBFCs as ‘the bank recap package may not necessarily lead to a big impact’.

Pradhan is turning bullish on IT stocks. They have had their share of bad news, but right now the environment in the US hints at good corporate health, which augurs well for IT firms, he added.

10:30 Mahindra Logistics shares fall 2.1% on market debut

Shares of Mahindra Logistics fell as much as 2.1% on its market debut on Friday after the company raised Rs 8.3 billion ($128 million) via an initial public offering last week. The issue was, however, subscribed nearly eight times on the last day of the sale.

09:46 Rajinikanth may announce political entry on December 12

After Kamal Haasan, it could be the turn of actor Rajinikanth to announce his political plunge. The actor is likely to reveal his political foray on December 12, his birthday, sources told CNN-News18. "Rajini would form a separate party. He may join the BJP later," sources said.

09:21 Central govt employees can now take advance up to Rs 25 lakh for new home

Central government employees can now take an advance up to Rs 25 lakh for construction or purchase of house at a simple interest rate of 8.5%, a move aimed at giving fillip to the housing sector, reports PTI. Earlier, the maximum borrowing limit was Rs 7.50 lakh with interest rate slabs ranging from 6% to 9.5%.

A senior official in the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry said that around Rs 11 lakh could be saved by availing 'House Building Advance (HBA)' as compared to borrowing from lending institutions on an Rs 25-lakh loan for a 20-year period. He explained that if loan of Rs 25 lakh is taken for 20 years at the prevailing rate 8.35% (compound interest) from banks like the SBI, the monthly instalment comes to Rs 21,459. "The total amount to be paid at the end of 20 years comes to around Rs 51.50 lakh, including interest component of Rs 26.50 lakh," he added.

09:00 Reworked Petronet LNG gas contracts may save govt Rs 12,000cr

Renegotiation of two long-term liquid gas supply contracts of Petronet LNG, India's largest gas importer, in little less than last two years will result into total savings of Rs 12,000 crore in costs for gas consumers and reduce the country's foreign exchange outgo, reports The Times of India. The savings will accrue from reduced prices of LNG (liquefied natural gas) from RasGas of Qatar and ExxonMobil, a partner in Australia's Gorgon project - the deal that was renegotiated in September by Petronet, which has posted a record 28% jump in second quarter profit. "The revised price of Gorgon LNG will come into force from January 1. At current level of prices it will result in a saving of about $1 per mBtu (million British thermal unit), which roughly translates into a total saving of Rs 4,000 crore over the contract period," Petronet MD Prabhat Singh said on Thursday.08:46 Congress's election committee likely to meet today

The Congress's Central Election Committee (CEC) is expected to meet today to shortlist candidates for the Gujarat polls, reports PTI. The meeting is likely to be chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and attended by the party's senior leaders, including those from the poll-bound state, sources said. Gujarat goes to poll in two phases on December 9 and December 14. The election result will be declared on December 18.

08:42 JSPL Q2 net loss narrows to Rs 499cr

Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL) said its consolidated net loss narrowed to Rs 499 crore during the quarter ended September 2017. The Naveen Jindal-led firm had posted a net loss of Rs 747.27 crore in the same quarter a year-ago. However, the company's total consolidated income was higher at Rs 6,124.78 crore in July-September quarter this fiscal from Rs 5,028.67 crore during the corresponding period of 2016-17. Total expenses rose to Rs 6,674.43 crore from Rs 6,049.81 crore in the year-ago quarter.

08:40 FIIs invest $1.9bn in Indian shares over October and November so far

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs), who took a break from buying Indian shares in August and September, are returning after recent government announcements such as the Rs 2.11 trillion PSU bank recapitalisation plan, reports Mint. Over October and November so far, FIIs have invested a net of $1.9 billion in Indian equities. For the year to date, they are buyers to the tune of $7.4 billion.

08:23 GST Council meet today: Taxes on daily use items set to be lowered from 28%

Tax rates on 150-200 items are likely to be cut from 28%, with the GST Council set to approve sweeping changes including simpler procedures, a single return filing form for small firms and several changes to make composition scheme more attractive, reports Moneycontrol News’ Shreya Nandi. The GST Council—the apex body for decision making headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley— today in its 23rd meeting in Guwahati may also decide to do away with the distinction between air-conditioned (AC) and non-air conditioned restaurants (not under composition scheme) and tax them at 12%.

08:07 US jobless claims rise more than expected as hurricane backlog clears

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, suggesting that claims processing disrupted by recent hurricanes has begun to improve, reports Reuters. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 239,000 for the week ended November 4, the Labour Department said. Claims had fallen to 229,000 in the prior week, near a 44-1/2-year low, and remain well below the 300,000 level generally regarded as signalling a healthy labour market.

08:05 Duelling Republican tax plans advance in Congress

US Senate Republicans unveiled a tax plan on Thursday that differed from the House of Representatives’ version on several key fronts, including how they treat the corporate tax rate, the tax deduction for state and local taxes, and the estate tax, reports Reuters. Complicating a Republican push for the biggest overhaul of US tax law since the 1980s, senators said that, like the House, they wanted to slash the corporate tax rate to 20% from 35%, but in 2019, not right away. The House was set to vote on its measure next week after its tax-writing Ways and Means Committee approved the legislation on Thursday along party lines, with Democrats united in opposition.

07:55 Cong demands Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani’s resignation over Sebi penalty

The Congress has demanded the removal of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani over the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) slapping fine on his firm for alleged manipulative share trade, reports PTI. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also took a dig at the ruling party on the issue, saying the revelation "was another tale of 'na khaoonga, na khane doonga'". He was referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise of not allowing corruption under his watch.

Referring to allegations against BJP chief Amit Shah's son Jay Shah and NSA Ajit Doval's son Shaurya Doval, Gandhi said the case involving Rupani's entity belonged to the series of irregularities. Both Jay Shah and Shaurya Doval have denied the allegations against them. "Na Khaoonga, na khane doonga ki kahaniShah-zadaShaurya aur ab Vijay Rupani (the tale of not allowing corruption; Shah-zadaShaurya and now Vijay Rupani)," Gandhi tweeted.

07:48 Saudi Arabia says 201 people held in anti-graft swoop

Saudi Arabia said today 201 people are being held for questioning over an estimated $100 billion in embezzlement and corruption, after the biggest purge of the kingdom's elite in its modern history, reports AFP. Princes, ministers and a billionaire business tycoon were among dozens of high-profile figures arrested or sacked at the weekend, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidates power. "A total of 208 individuals have been called in for questioning so far... Seven have been released without charge," the Saudi information ministry said in a statement, quoting attorney general Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb.

07:46 Ryan student murder: 'Ashok to file case against officers who framed him'

Two days after a 16-year-old student of Gurgaon's Ryan International School was apprehended by the CBI in connection with the murder of a class 2 student, the family of Ashok Kumar, the school bus conductor who was arrested initially, decided to file a case against police officers who "framed" him, reports PTI.

"Now it is almost clear that my son Ashok was framed and made a scapegoat. We have decided to file a case against Gurgaon Police SIT officers who framed and used torture and even drugged him to confess before the media that he had committed the crime," said Ashok's father Amirchand.

07:43 Sharad Pawar says people have started accepting Rahul Gandhi now

Claiming that the overall atmosphere in poll-bound Gujarat was against the ruling BJPNCP chief Sharad Pawar said people had started "accepting" Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi which was reflected in the "huge" crowds at his rallies, reports PTI. "A lot of fun was being made of Rahul Gandhi by those in power. But today, the reverse is happening. People are accepting him now and huge crowds can be seen at his rallies," Pawar said.

Gandhi has been spearheading an aggressive campaign in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat, where Assembly polls will be held next month. The Congress has been out of power in the state for over two decades. The veteran politician said the overall atmosphere in Gujarat is against the BJP, but refused to hazard a guess on the poll outcome.

07:34 TRAI data shows Tata Tele tops list in terms of acquiring new users in August

Loss-making telco Tata Teleservices surprisingly added more new customers in August than other operators including, latest entrant Reliance Jio, as per TRAI data. Tata Teleservices added close to 49 lakh new mobile customers in August, increasing its total customer base by over 10% to 4.69 crore. The company is in the process of merging its telecom business with telecom major Bharti Airtel, reports PTI.

Reliance Jio added close to 41 lakh new customers in August taking its total subscriber base to 13.2 crore, as per monthly subscriber report of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. State-run BSNL was at the third spot with an addition of 7 lakh new customers. All other operators, including Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, lost mobile customers. The overall telecom user base in the country declined marginally to 120.9 crore customers with eight mobile operators losing mobile customers -- the segment which dominates telephone connections in the country.

07:28 Steel Authority of India posts 10th straight quarterly loss

State-run Steel Authority of India (SAIL) said its standalone net loss narrowed to Rs 539.06 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2017. The PSU had clocked a net loss of Rs 731.58 crore in the corresponding quarter of 2016-17. Total standalone income of the Maharatna firm rose by 8% to Rs 13,666.05 crore in July-September period of this fiscal from Rs 12,645.76 crore during the same quarter in 2016-17. Total expenses also rose by 2.72% to Rs 14,108.84 crore in the quarter under review as against Rs 13,734.80 crore in the year-ago period.

In a separate statement, SAIL said "despite improved sales revenue, earnings were impacted by huge rise in imported coal price, which partially negated the higher accruals." In order to neutralise the rise in input costs, SAIL said it is continually ramping up production from new facilities. Simultaneously, the company is optimising the utilisation of its finishing facilities to increase the high-value product offerings for better market realisation.

07:19 EPFO trustees may consider interest rate, ETF credits on Nov 23

Retirement fund manager EPFO is likely to decide on the rate of interest on provident fund deposits for this fiscal at its trustee meeting on November 23, reports PTI. The apex decision-making body of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) headed by Union labour minister is set to meet on November 23, 2017, a senior official said. The official further said, "The interest rate on provident fund deposits for 2017-18 may be placed before the trustees for approval."

The EPFO has over 45 million subscribers. In December last year, the CBT had decided to lower the rate of interest on EPF to 8.65% for 2016-17, from 8.8% for 2015-16. The trustees may consider a proposal to credit subscribers' share of Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) investments to their provident fund accounts which can be redeemed at the time of withdrawal, the official also said.
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  • November 10, 2017 09:51 PM IST

    Pakistan allows Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet wife

    Pakistan today said it will allow convicted Indian death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet his wife, months after India had requested Islamabad to grant a visa to his mother on humanitarian grounds.

    "The Government of Pakistan has decided to arrange a meeting of Commander Kulbhushan Jhadav with his wife, in Pakistan, purely on humanitarian grounds," Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said in a statement.

  • November 10, 2017 06:45 PM IST

    India's factory output slows to 3.8% in September

    India’s industrial output slowed to 3.8 percent in September from the month ago when factory output grew at 4.3 percent.

    Factory output measured by the index of industrial production (IIP) is the closest approximation for measuring economic activity in the country’s business landscape.

    Manufacturing sector, which accounts for more than three-fourths of the entire index, grew 3.4 percent in September, compared with 3.1 percent growth in August, and 0.9 percent in September 2016, government data showed.

  • November 10, 2017 03:26 PM IST

    Top Headlines:

    1. GST rate on mass consumption items cut to 18%

    2. Google, Just Dial in deal talks, reports Business Standard. Just Dial denies report

    3. SBI Q2 profit dips 38% YoY on higher provisions, slippages at Rs 9,026cr

    4. Pakistan allows Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet wife

    5. Reworked Petronet LNG gas contracts may save govt Rs 12,000cr, co eyes stake in Qatari LNG projects

    6. NPS equity cap for govt staff may be raised to 50%, reports Business Standard

    7. JSW-Jaypee Associates tie-up, bid for Jaypee Infratech, reports Times of India

    8. Central govt employees can now take advance up to Rs 25 lakh for new home

    9. Rajinikanth may announce political entry on December 12, reports CNN-News18

    10. Flipkart may launch smartphone under the Billion brand

  • November 10, 2017 10:27 PM IST

    That's the end of the Liveblog ! Thanks for tuning in and goodnight !

  • November 10, 2017 09:10 PM IST

    HSIL Q2 net down 20 pc at Rs 23 cr; demerges 3 biz
     
    Sanitaryware player HSIL today reported a 19.73 percent decline in its net profit at Rs
    23.50 crore for the September quarter.

    The company had posted a net profit at Rs 28.54 crore during the same period previous fiscal, Hindustan Sanitaryware and Industry (HSIL), which sells products under the Hindware
    brand, said in a regulatory filing.

    Besides, the company announced demerger of its consumer products distribution and marketing business into new entity Somany Home Innovation Ltd (SHIL). It also demerged its furniture and home decor retail business into SHIL as also the distribution and marketing business relating to building product into another new entity Brilloca Ltd which is wholly-owned subsidiary of SHIL.
     

  • November 10, 2017 09:02 PM IST

    Nestle India Q3 net grows 23% to Rs 343 crore


    FMCG major Nestle India today reported a 23.26 percent increase in its net profit at Rs343.17 crore for the September quarter, driven by higher
    income and volume-led momentum.

    The company, which follows the January-December fiscal, had posted a net profit of Rs 278.41 crore during the same period in the previous fiscal, Nestle India said in a stock exchange filing.Total sales during the quarter under review stood at Rs 2,500.67 crore. It was Rs 2,412.91 crore in July-September of 2016-17.
     

  • November 10, 2017 09:00 PM IST

    NHAI Board to have NITI CEO as a part-time member


    In a bid to facilitate smooth implementation of the ambitious Bharatmala project, the government has reconstituted the board of NHAI by inducting NITI Aayog CEO as a part time member, an official said.

    The decision comes barely a month after the government approved a mega plan to build 83,677 km of highways over the next five years at a cost of about Rs 7 lakh crore which includes the Bharatmala, one of the biggest highway projects.

  • November 10, 2017 08:50 PM IST

    BSNL, Fibre Home partner for manufacturing telecom gear


    State-run telecom company BSNL today announced collaboration with Chinese firm Fibre Home to manufacture telecom equipment in the country.

    "Today state-owned telecom giant Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has signed a memorandum of understanding with
    Fibre Home Pvt Ltd to jointly start manufacturing telecom equipment and optical fibre cable in BSNL factories," the public sector telecom company said in a statement.
     

    BSNL has seven telecom factories with a workforce of around 1,600. At present these factories are manufacturing several customer-end equipment and testing tools for the internal consumption of BSNL.
     

  • November 10, 2017 08:32 PM IST

    Tata Motors shares down 4%; mcap dips by Rs 5,095 crore


    Shares of Tata Motors today fell by 4 per cent even as the automaker reported a three-fold spike in net profit for the September quarter.

    The stock lost 4.01 percent to settle at Rs 422.65 on BSE. During the day, it went down by 4.57 percent to Rs 420.15.

    The scrip was the worst hit among the 30 Sensex components. At NSE, shares of the company dipped 3.99 percent to
    close at Rs 422.55.

    The company's market valuation also declined by Rs 5,095.22 crore to Rs 1,22,033.78 crore.

  • November 10, 2017 08:03 PM IST

    UNESCO names Audrey Azoulay as head 


    UNESCO member states today overwhelmingly approved the nomination of France's former culture minister Audrey Azoulay to head the embattled cultural
    agency.

    They confirmed the nomination by the agency's board last month of Azoulay, 45, who becomes UNESCO's second woman director general.

    "The unity you have shown in this vote is a good omen for the coming period, in which we need to stand shoulder to shoulder," Azoulay told the members after garnering 131 votes with only 19 opposed.
     

      UNESCO names Audrey Azoulay as head   

  
UNESCO member states today overwhelmingly approved the nomination of France's former culture minister Audrey Azoulay to head the embattled cultural 
agency. 

 They confirmed the nomination by the agency's board last month of Azoulay, 45, who becomes UNESCO's second woman director general. 

 "The unity you have shown in this vote is a good omen for the coming period, in which we need to stand shoulder to shoulder," Azoulay told the members after garnering 131 votes with only 19 opposed. 
 
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