Tuesday, January 27, 2009

RBI holds rates, asks banks to pass on easing

The Reserve Bank of India left its key interest rates steady on Tuesday, saying banks still had to pass on the benefits of previous cuts, but analysts expect another reduction in coming months to shore up the slowing economy.

Asia's third-largest economy is poised to grow at 7 percent or less in 2008/09, its slowest in six years, the central bank said in its quarterly review, as a global downturn following the financial crisis hurt the economy much more than expected.

"To arrest the moderation in economic growth, it is critical that banks expand the flow of credit to productive sectors of the economy and do so at viable rates," the central bank said.

Since the global financial crisis really hit India hard last September, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cut its short-term lending rate by 350 basis points and slashed reserve requirements to keep credit flowing, while the government has taken a slew of fiscal steps to stimulate the economy.

The central bank said there was now clear evidence of further slowdown as a consequence of global downturn and urged banks to do more in response to its rate cuts.

To read more, please, visit - Reuters

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Annalists expects more cuts. RBI is insisting on passing benefits to real economy in the form of rate cuts. As a real estate investor what do you expect? After all we are 'real economy'! Please, share your views in the comments. (Comments Policy)

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Tata Realty pulls back some of its planned projects amid a downturn in the real estate market and refunds Rs800 crore to Tata Sons


Tata Realty had embarked on major projects, including information technology parks and so-called special economic zones. It also planned to jointly develop real estate with group firms such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd and Indian Hotels Co. Ltd. (Current Projects)

“At the moment, we are well capitalized,” said Sanjay G. Ubale, managing director and chief executive officer of Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd, confirming the refund, which was approved by the Bombay high court earlier this month.

While seeking approval from shareholders for the refund, the firm had said, “In view of the significant downturn in the real estate markets, the company has now decided to shelve/reduce the size of some of its proposed projects, resulting in reduced fund requirements.”

Ubale said some of these projects would be financed through the $750 million (Rs3,690 crore) offshore fund, Tata Realty Initiatives Fund-I, that the company is managing.
To read more, please, visit - livemint.com

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

HDFC reports a drop in net profit and sluggish growth in lending during Q3 due to weak housing market

"High real estate prices and home loan rates have acted as a strong deterrent for the housing finance companies in recent times, as demand has moderated... The festive season discounts were also unable to spurt up demand. The economic slowdown has further worsened the scenario; recent announcements by public sector banks to offer home loans at low rates will put housing finance companies under further pressure," says Prabhudas Lilladher report.
A slowing housing market has pinched mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd (HDFC), though the finance firm expects loan demand to pick up in the coming quarters because of lower interest rates and cheaper real estate.

“The number of customer enquiries has been on the rise in the latter part of December and early January,” said HDFC vice-chairman and managing director Keki Mistry.
To read more, please, visit - livemint

Related Story:

HDFC cuts home loan rates in limited offer
Effective from today - for new borrowers:
floating rate - up to Rs 30 lakh - 9.75 per cent and
above Rs 30 lakh - 10.75 per cent Read more

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Hindustan Construction Company surprises market expectations negatively with its performance in the December 2008 quarter

Net sales increased marginally by 9.2% to Rs 819 crore, as compared to market expectation of 25% growth.

Operating profit grew 9.5% to Rs 106 crore helped by a 21% decline in construction expenses, while the raw material and employee costs spurted.

Consequently, operating margins were stable at 12.9%.

Finally, a 40% jump in interest costs and foreign exchange loss of Rs 6.8 crore resulted in a 7.4% fall in PAT at Rs 23.2 crore.

Order Book:

Meanwhile, Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) recorded strong 35% growth in the order book, now worth Rs 12,177 crore, 3.6 times its trailing four quarters' sales. The order book could strengthen further as the company's bids for over Rs 30,000 crore worth of orders are under evaluation, while it has emerged lowest bidder in orders worth Rs 5,000 crore.

Share of high margin and high growth segment shots up:

The composition of the order book is undergoing a healthy change. The share of high margin and high growth segments like power and irrigation has shot up from 66% to 79% y-o-y. The share of these sectors has gone up from 51% to 66% in sales of the December '08 quarter.

The scenario for order inflows, which jumped 35% y-o-y, appears healthy as 90% are government contracts, where the awarding is strong. Though this gives hope for better performance going ahead, execution risks still remain.

The much-awaited first phase of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link project is scheduled to become operational by March 2009.

HCC Real Estate:

The company's real estate projects such as 247 Park, an integrated IT and corporate park at Vikroli (Mumbai) and phase I of Lavasa, the largest and India's first hill station near Pune, are scheduled to open for occupation in March and October 2009 respectively.

The company's infrastructure subsidiary for BOT projects has two projects worth Rs 887 crore under execution and another one - in joint venture with John Laing and Sadbhav - to be awarded for Rs 1,415 crore.
To read more, please, visit - The Economic Times

Related Stories:



1) Hindustan Construction Company advances phase-II development of Lavasa

2) Lavasa - bookings for the 2nd phase to open in the coming festive season

3) Hindustan Construction Company’s upcoming townships in Pune, Nashik and Thane on hold

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hunting for private equity

For now, several domestic and international PE firms have lined up to buy stake in real estate projects and SEZs, including Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Blackstone, Lehman Brothers, Kshitij Real Estate Funds (a Pantaloon Group company), HDFC Realty, and so on.

According to a source, DLF’s subsidiary DAL (DLF Assets) is in discussions with global investment company TPG (Texas Pacific Group) and Mumbai-based investment firm JM Financial to raise over Rs 2,500 crore.

Unitech Ltd, the second largest realty firm in the country, is looking to raise about Rs 28,000 crore ($560 million) from PE funds, for which company is in continuous talks with several agencies.

The company already has a debt of over Rs 8,000 crore, which it has to repay by March 31, 2009. The company is facing tough times as it has lost over 93 per cent of its market value in the last 12 months. According to Fitch Ratings, the management of Unitech is in talks with several banks and is expected to raise Rs 900 crore from them.

According to an insider, the company is in talks with PE funds to raise Rs 15,000 crore at the corporate level and as much as Rs 7,400 crore for specific projects.

Striding with caution:

According to market experts, as the demand for real estate is sluggish, and the projections by builders on selling price and swiftness of sales are also on the negative side, PE funds too are treading with caution.

Jain of DTZ assumes that the situation would get even more demanding in the next few months on account of the downturn in the market. “But this also offers a great opportunity for PE investors to look at the real estate industry again,” he says. “Also PE should not always be considered as a substitute for debt, as it comes at a much higher cost than debt. However, as debt has become difficult to arrange today due to the reduced lending from the financial institutions, developers are looking for other alternatives.”

Moreover, as the real estate sector has a long gestation period and does not show results in less than two to four years, PE funds too need to come in with a long-term investment horizon. “This should be a good time for PE firms to start evaluating deals,” says Jain.

To read more, please, visit - Praveen K Singh-IndianExpress

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Economic Crisis & Satyam Saga : Boon or Bane for India

Confessions of Ramalinga Raju, Chairman, Satyam:

Former chairman Ramalinga Raju has already confessed to having cooked the books, and shown vastly inflated profits and cash.

This confession letter was sent on January 7 to his Board as well as the whole world. The letter came two weeks after an aborted attempt by him and his Board to inject $1.6 billion of Satyam’s cash into a real estate company owned by his family. Investors were upset, and unleashed their fury by selling Satyam stock, destroying several billion dollars of stock value.

Hastily, the company reversed its decision. Subsequently, we learnt that Raju and family had pledged their Satyam shares for huge loans, possibly to make investments in real estate. As the stock market crashed, Satyam shares crashed too.

And since these shares were kept as collateral with lenders, they wanted more collateral from Raju and family. Or just cash. Nothing was forthcoming, and hence lenders were forced to liquidate the collateral (which was already degraded in value).

US Mortgage Crisis: Ripple effect busted many financial institutions:

At this point, somebody probably had a brainwave, that if the IT company’s cash was used, something could be salvaged. The rest of the story is still unfolding. (As Shah Rukh Khan said, “Picture abhi baaki hai” !) . The connection to the subprime crisis is that, were it not for the collapsing stock and mortgage markets in the USA, this Satyam fraud might never have surfaced.

The financial meltdown on Wall Street left many financial institutions with big holes in their pockets. So they sold off their profitable holdings worldwide to recover cash. One “victim” of such a panic sellout was the Indian stock market. Due to herd mentality , even the not-so-badly-hurt financial investors started selling.

And once the selling frenzy got going, there was no stopping . Thus the Sensex fell by 50 per cent. Hence Raju’s pledged collateral also fell steeply. Assuming he had some land parcels to sell and make good the loss of collateral ,that too didn’t help.

Real Estate collapse caused downward spiral:

Land prices, especially speculative real estate, were also collapsing. It is this downward spiral which probably caused Raju to take a desperate step of raiding Satyam’s cash pile. Of course, Raju now claims that Satyam did not have any cash to begin with.

Where did it all go? Does it mean that all that Satyam bravado was hiding a lossmaking business?

Warren Buffet , the legendary stock market investor, has famously said that when the tide recedes, you know who’s been swimming naked. During high tide, everybody seems decent.

Crisis restores credibility of Public sector banks:


Due to the Satyam fiasco, Infosys, a rival company, decided to be extra transparent in its latest quarterly disclosure .

We learn from Infosys that it has Rs 7,419 crore in cash, of which two-thirds is in public sector banks, like State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank Of Baroda and Syndicate Bank.

SBI alone has more than Rs 2000 crore. An unintended impact of subprime is a renewed belief on the safety of public sector banks.

The great nationwide rush of deposits into public sector banks will help them increase lending to needy sectors.

Even the once reviled concept of priority sector lending is coming back. That’s the euphemism used by many sectors asking for bailouts and subsidised loans.

The Economic Times

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Hiranandani's put off EGM to vote on merger plans

As issues of corporate governance in Indian companies hog the headlines, the Hiranandanis have had to rethink their plans to merge Hirco plc, the Aim-listed India-focused property fund with property companies owned by the Hiranandani family in India, in the face of opposition from international investors.

In a notice to the London Stock Exchange on Monday, Hirco plc announced that the EGM scheduled for 16 January in Mumbai to vote on these proposals has been adjourned till 'further written notice'.

'Over the past week, the company has met and spoken with a number of shareholders including Laxey Partners. Following these discussions it is apparent that there is a variety of views about the proposed merger, and how best to address Hirco's share price discount. The Board feels it essential that sufficient time is allowed for all views to be considered and discussions to be held with shareholders,' Hirco plc said in a notice.
To read more, please, visit - Sudeshna Sen-The Economic Times

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Research and Markets announces the addition of the 'Indian Realty Finance Journal' to their offering

Indian Realty Finance Journal (IREF) promises to reach out to you with news and analyses about the finance and real estate link-up. As you scan this launch issue of IREF, you will get acquainted with the prominent real estate deals that have taken place in the past one year in the Market Watch; you will explore the maze of FDI in real estate along with the deal expert -Jayesh Kariya, Partner, Deloitte Haskins & Sells."

Born of the widely recognised private equity-focused IVCJ vertical, the Indian Realty Finance Journal, with the acronym - IREF, is a quarterly journal that attempts to cater to realty's own critical mass of readers.

The realty finance sector has grown significantly in terms of size, scale and dynamics. The lull in the realty finance was broken by private equity. Now, a multitude of financing options has come up for the real estate, much to the relief of the developer community. Exploring the financial base for the real estate sector is the aim of IREF, and this is being done in close association with the leading industry players, real estate consultancies and financial experts geared towards real estate.

IREF intends to serve as a platform for raising issues, topical and pervading. In the present scenario, we are striving to explore the financial spaces for the realty sector at the same time recognizing its boundaries for the benefit of all the stakeholders in real estate, especially the developer community.

The analyses by financial experts, researches by the IREF team and revelations by the industry players form the well-balanced content of the journal, which fulfills the information needs of its readers and unfolds new avenues for its patrons. Its readership base could comprise developers, capital market players, consultants to investors, from the VC/PE communities, merchant bankers and managers of the evolving REITs and REMFs. IREF, the journal along with the website, could be considered to be a functional resource by its patrons.

USP: Capturing the Indian Market Dynamics:

On witnessing the growing activity in the realty space in the recent years, the Indian Venture Capital Journal (IVCJ) has conceptualised a new knowledge product - the Indian Realty Finance (IREF) Journal. Popularly known as IREF, our latest publication is an attempt to cater to the information needs of various stakeholders in the realty finance space. We intend to intensively as well as extensively research all the financial facets of the real estate sector, crystallise expert opinion as well as disseminate vital information on real estate finance.

To make IREF an aperture for an incisive financial insight into real estate, in-depth analyses are accepted from authors who are leading industry players and financial experts from the real estate domain. The IREF team is striving to keep you updated with current trends in real estate with its well-researched in-house articles.

Target Audience:

The entire range of articles in IREF has been mapped out carefully to be a functional resource for a wide audience including developers, capital market players, consultants to investors from the VC/PE communities, merchant bankers and managers of the evolving REITs and REMFs. Towards Optimal Solutions

IREF promises to reach out to you with news and analyses about the finance and real estate link-up in India. As you scan this launch issue of IREF, you will get acquainted with the prominent Indian real estate deals that have taken place in the past one year in the Market Watch; you will explore the maze of FDI in real estate in India with the deal expert -Jayesh Kariya, Partner, Deloitte Haskins & India.

The IREF research team has interviewed AP Kurian, Chairman, AMFI and senior industry experts like Sankaran Naren, ICICI Prudential; with inputs from HDFC and Sahara fund managers to bring to you the reality of infrastructure mutual funds of India as an investment tool.

Exploring the past, present and future of the Neelkanth Group, India in an exclusive interview with Mukesh Patel, we demystify the sustained success of 3 generations of developers, of the formerly known Velji Harkha Patel Group.

For the benefit of the developers dedicated to the organized retail space, we have profiled Kshitij Investment Advisory Limited.

For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4ce5c5/indian_realty_fina

Research and Markets: The Indian Realty Finance Journal

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Call to set up real estate special purpose vehicle

The stoppage of construction business would cause cascading effects on other sectors like retail, gold sales and other businesses that drive the UAE economy and cause a contraction of UAE's gross domestic product

Financial experts and consultants have suggested setting up a realty special purpose vehicle (SPV) as part of UAE Government initiatives to prevent a total stoppage of construction activity in the UAE and tide over the tight liquidity situation caused by banks' reluctance to refinance $20 billion (Dh73.4bn) short-term loans.

A special purpose vehicle, started with the initial funding of the government, and participation of high networth GCC nationals and institutional investors like the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, banks and foreign investors, can solve the liquidity problem.

An SPV is a company formed for specific purposes, in this case, to buy completed or under-development property. Using pass-through securities (PTS), the SPV can buy illiquid assets from developers and their customers, who will continue to pay their monthly installments to the SPV. Investors get a principal and interest every month and pay a small fee to the SPV.

To read more, please, visit - business24-7

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Friday, January 2, 2009

India Cuts Rates, Unveils Stimulus Package

The Reserve Bank of India slashed its key rates and the federal government took a slew of measures on Friday as part of a second stimulus package aimed at spurring growth in Asia's third-largest economy.

The central bank cut the repurchase rate, or repo rate, by one percentage point to 5.5% with immediate effect.

'Even as some public sector and private sector banks have cut lending rates in response to the Reserve Bank's monetary policy stance, concerns over rising credit risk together with the slowing of economic activity appear to have moderated credit growth,' the RBI said.

The RBI also lowered the reverse repurchase rate by one percentage point to 4% to discourage banks from parking their surplus funds with the central bank.

The cash reserve ratio, or the proportion of deposits banks must set aside as cash, was trimmed by half a percentage point to 5% for the fortnight beginning Jan. 17, which will free up 200 billion rupees ($4.1 billion) in the banking system.
To read more, please, visit - Neelabh Chaturvedi and Mukesh Jagota - WSJ.com

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Uttaranchal waits for foreign investment

After reduction of the minimum mandatory area to allow FDI in real estate sector from 100 acres to 25 acres there has been a sudden spurt in the real estate investment in India.
The new FDI policy, allows up to 100 per cent investment under automatic route in townships, housing, built-up infrastructure, and construction-development projects.
With 100 per cent FDI in real estate, more opportunities are opening.

Most builders have already come up with various theme townships in the state

“The state has all the advantages that can attract any foreign investor to invest in the real estate. It has a pollution free environment, there is no problem of law and order. There is no problem of connectivity as we have an international airport. Labour is surplus as we have them from Himachal Pradesh and the nearby states even. Uttaranchal might top the preference list of foreign investors who wants to invest in India,” said Rakesh Chauhan, Director, Digvijay Real Estate Development Private Limited, Uttarakhand.

With government policy of 100 per cent tax exemption for ten years from central exercise and income tax exemption for next five years, housing and building companies are competing to develop virgin lands of Dehradun.

“There is a lot of scope for investments here because the mediums which we have whether they are hydro, tourism or medicinal plants, each have its own scope for investments. But whether it manages to attract international investors or not, we will have to see to it. But the way the state has represented its picture, I am hopeful that foreign investors might hop on,” said B.C Khanduri, Uttaranchal Chief Minister. (ANI)
To read more, please, visit - thaindian

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

How bad will slowdown be?

India averaged almost 9% growth over the past five years. A lower growth rate is almost inevitable. But the data of the past 30 years suggest that a complete collapse of growth below 5% is very unlikely.

The bigger problem that could trouble us this year is the state of finances—both in overleveraged companies and a government that has run up large fiscal deficits. An inability to finance them could unsettle the Indian economy in 2009.
To read more, please, visit - livemint.com

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