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Friday,27-May-2022

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Budget 2022: Increase in custom duty on Aluminium scrap from 2.5 to 10% is key expectation

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Steel Industry

Steel Industry.

As the Indian economy pushes forward to grow at 9 per cent and above over the next few years, a key challenge for the country would be to rebalance its energy needs in favour of renewable sources by 2030 to 50 per cent as per the Paris agreement.

This is where the Aluminium sector will play a greater than ever before role. Extensive growth in electric vehicles, renewables, modern infrastructure, energy efficient consumer goods and greater dependence on strategic sectors such as aerospace and defence, will drive Aluminium consumption to grow at CAGR of 10 per cent or more. For example, Aluminium usage in EV battery is 40-50 per cent more than a normal ICE. Being 3 times lighter than steel it aids in fuel efficiency making it an efficient choice for EVs.

However, the Indian aluminium industry is struggling to revive itself over the last two years following the unprecedented Covid pandemic. The declining domestic producers market share with surging imports coupled with significant cost escalation for primary producers due to a rise in input costs of critical raw materials, escalating ocean freights & logistics costs due to container shortage, current coal crunch situation etc, is restricting the industry’s ability to support the future of the country at a time when India cannot rely on import sources alone to fuel this growth.

To give relief to the sector, there is a need for urgently looking at the duty structure. The basic custom duty on Aluminium and Aluminium scrap is not in line with other non-ferrous metals like Zink, lead, nickel and tin which is a huge disadvantage for domestic Aluminium producers. The industry expects increase in tariff rate of basic custom duty or peak custom duty rate from existing 10 per cent to 15 per cent. Currently custom duty on Primary Aluminium is 7.5 per cent, Downstream Aluminium is 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent and Aluminium scrap is only 2.5 per cent. This is the reason why despite having significant presence of primary Aluminium capacity and potential to generate sufficient domestic scrap, India’s consumption of scrap is 100 per cent import dependent. The way forward is to increase custom duty on Aluminium srap from 2.5 to 10 per cent.

Primary aluminium industry is facing severe threat from the increasing import of Aluminium scrap. The share of scrap in total imports increased from 52 per cent in FY-16 to 66 per cent in FY-21. resulting in Forex Outgo of $2 billion (Rs 15,000 crore).

What is also affecting the Indian industry is China’s renewed measures to restrict Scrap imports through National Sword Policy, which is leading to greater inflow of scrap into India. China imposed 25 per cent duty on Aluminium Scrap imports from USA, and classified Aluminium Scrap in restricted import list from July, 2019, with plan to completely ban all scrap and waste imports. Post that the share of import from the US in China’s total Aluminium scrap imports has declined from 53 per cent in 2017 to just 16 per cent in 2019. India has overtaken China as world’s largest aluminium scrap importer due to Chinese measures. As a result, entire global scrap chain is shifted to India in absence of any quality or BIS standards for scrap recycling/ usage and imports in the country. A major threat is from US scrap imports, as US is diverting large volume of scrap to India, since EU and other developed countries have stringent standards for scrap. The import from US as share of India’s total scrap imports increased from 8 per cent in FY16 to 24 per cent in FY21.

This precarious situation can be resolved by safeguarding the domestic industry against these non-essential imports in the upcoming union budget.

The industry demands increasing the basic custom duty on Chapter-76 (Aluminium & articles).

Business

Sacked fund manager slaps legal notice on Axis Mutual Fund

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Fund manager and Chief Dealer at Axis Mutual Fund, Viresh Joshi, who was sacked last fortnight, has served a legal notice to the company challenging what he terms as his illegal termination.

Joshi was first suspended and later relieved of his charge on May 18, as per a statement issued by the AMF on May 19, for his purported role against allegations of ‘front-running’ (or, tailgating) at the company which conducted an internal probe into the matter.

He has hired leading law firm, Mansukhlal Hiralal & Co. to challenge his termination order.

Confirming the development, lawyer Chirag M. Shah told IANS: “We are in communication with Axis Mutual Fund on behalf of our client Viresh Joshi and have duly replied to the unlawful termination notice.”

Shah added that AMF terminated Joshi unceremoniously on unsubstantiated charges of alleged ‘front-running’ and he has sent a notice to the company against the unlawful termination.

The AMF further stated that it had been conducting a suo moto internal investigation into the issue since February 2022 using a reputed external advisor to assist with the ongoing probe.

“Further to our investigation, his conduct and following the decision to suspend him, the employment of Mr. Viresh Joshi has been terminated with effect from May 18, 2022,” said the company.

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Reliance subsidiary SankhyaSutra unveils ‘make in India’ software at Drone fest

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Bengaluru-based subsidiary of Jio Platforms, SankhyaSutra Labs, which makes high-fidelity multi-physics and aerodynamics simulation software, on Friday showcased its products and solutions at the ‘Drone Festival of India 2022’.

According to the company, achieving accurate simulation of turbulent flows often required in aerospace and defence designing is a challenging task due to the involvement of multiple scales of swirling motions, also known as vortices.

SankhyaSutra Labs said it develops next-generation high-fidelity CFD tools that do not use approximate turbulence models.

“When we speak about self-reliance in defence, we often tend to focus on the ability to manufacture various hardware components indigenously,” Dr Sunil Sherlekar, CEO at SankhyaSutra Labs, said in a statement.

“This journey towards self-reliance would be incomplete without indigenous design tools, which are the key enablers of this journey. At SankhyaSutra, we are developing deep technology for India and the world,” he added.

Incubated in 2015, SankhyaSutra Labs has its R&D centre in Bengaluru with target customers across the globe.

The company has planned a major product launch in October this year.

“Accurate and reliable simulations can potentially reduce the need for expensive and time-consuming experiments, such as wind tunnel experiments, which are used in the designing of aircrafts,” said Dr Vinay Kariwala, VP Business Development at SankhyaSutra Labs.

Reliance Industries Ltd had acquired an 83 per cent stake in SankhyaSutra Labs in 2019, with an investment of Rs 216 crore.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the two-day ‘Bharat Drone Mahotsav 2022’ in the capital.

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India Cements to monetise land, increase price by Rs 55 per bag

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Cement major India Cements Ltd will monetise some of its land to settle its debt and for capital expenditure, said a top company official.

He also said, in order to recover production costs that went up owing to drastic increase in coal prices, the company will be increasing the cement prices by Rs 55 per bag in three phases between June and July.

Speaking to reporters here on Friday N. Srinivasan, Vice Chairman and Managing Director said the company would monetise surplus land for repayment of loan and for some capital expenditure.

“We are not in distress sale mode. We have about 26,000 acres of land in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The lands are of different categories,” Srinivasan said.

According to him, the company has to repay about Rs 500 crore of its debt and to that extent land monetisation would happen.

India Cements total debt at the end of last fiscal was about Rs 3,000 crore.

The capital expenditure is not much except for some balancing equipment and waste recovery plant in Chilamkur in Andhra Pradesh.

Srinivasan said the company would increase the cement prices by Rs 55 per bag in three parts — Rs 20 on June 1, Rs 15 on June 15 and Rs 20 on July 1.

He said the company’s products are already premium priced.

According to Srinivasan, the consumer has a choice as cement bags are now available in the price points ranging between Rs 320-450.

When queried that other cement players had expressed their plans to reduce their selling prices Srinivasan remarked: “Don’t compare. All costs have gone up. If I don’t increase the prices, I will runup huge losses.”

With a slow recovery in the southern markets further affected by record rains and floods in the previous quarter, the selling price of cement was under constant pressure resulting in uncompensated increase in the cost of production.

This was further compounded by the reduction in volume as the company as a prudent policy withdrew from the far off markets to focus on home markets.

Meanwhile, the company closed last fiscal with a total income of Rs 4,729.83 crore (FY21 Rs 4,460.12 crore) and a net profit of Rs 38.98 crore down from Rs 222.04 crore logged in FY21.

The company Board has recommended a dividend of Re.1 per share of Rs.10 each.

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