India’s manufacturing PMI in expansionary zone for fifth straight month

Aided by improved domestic demand, business activity in India’s manufacturing sector continued to recover in December 2020. IHS Markit’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose from 56.3 in November to 56.4 in December. The loosening of Covid-19 restrictions, strengthening demand, and improved market conditions had led to an increase in factory orders during December. PMI is a month-on-month calculation, and a value of more than 50 represents an expansion when compared to the previous month.

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SII to sell first 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine at Rs 200 per dose

Serum Institute of India (SII), the manufacturer of the Covishield vaccine, has announced that it plans to charge a special price of Rs 200 per dose for the first 100 million shots that it supplies to the government. Adar Poonawalla (the CEO of SII), stated that his firm is making around 50-60 million doses a month of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is cheaper than the one developed by Pfizer-BioNTech. It is also easier to store and transport. He further said that SII plans to price the vaccine at Rs 1,000 per dose in the open market if the government allows it to do so.

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No plans to enter contract farming, won’t purchase any agricultural land: Reliance Industries

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on Monday said it has no plans to enter contract or corporate farming and is committed to empowering farmers. RIL stated that it never bought agricultural land for corporate or contract farming and had no plans to do so either. RIL further said that its subsidiary, Reliance Retail, does not purchase food grains directly from farmers. 

Over the past few weeks, around 1,500 mobile towers and telecom gear owned by RIL’s Jio were vandalised in Punjab, allegedly by farmers. It was reported that farmers were angry over the company’s perceived role in framing three agricultural laws recently passed by Parliament. RIL also said it has filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against vandalism of its communication towers.

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Jindal Steel & Power posts record sales, production numbers in December

Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) posted a record 30% YoY jump in its standalone production and 25% YoY growth in sales during December 2020. The company’s total production from its plants in India was at 7.27 lakh tonne (LT) in December, as compared to 5.59 LT during the same month in 2019. The firm’s standalone sales were at 7.11 LT during the same month, as against 5.67 LT in December 2019. JSPL said the company recorded its highest ever production and sales numbers in December 2020, as well as in the October-December period.

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Income Tax Department raids 15 locations of Zee Entertainment

The Income Tax (I-T) Department has conducted a search and survey at 15 locations of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL). The searches are based on alleged tax evasion data submitted by the Directorate General of GST Intelligence to the I-T department. A spokesperson for ZEEL stated that concerned officials of the company are providing all the required information and extending complete co-operation.

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L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering secures order worth over Rs 7,000 crore from HPCL Rajasthan Refinery

L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering (LTHE) has bagged an order worth over Rs 7,000 crore from HPCL Rajasthan Refinery Ltd (HRRL). The engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning (EPCC) contract is for setting up a Dual Feed Cracker Unit (DFCU) for the Rajasthan Refinery Project at Barmer, Rajasthan. HRRL is a joint venture between Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) and the Government of Rajasthan. 

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GMR Hyderabad, Dubai Airports launch global vaccine supply corridor

GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd and GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dubai Airports to build an exclusive vaccine air freight corridor product called HYDXB-VAXCOR (Hyderabad to Dubai Global Vaccine Corridor). They will prioritise the temperature-sensitive vaccine shipments moving between GMR Hyderabad and Dubai Airports for further connections to various continents for vaccine customers and logistics stakeholders. Hyderabad is the world’s emerging vaccine capital, with five major vaccine producers in the vicinity.

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Bajaj Auto sales rise 11% in December at 3.72 lakh units

Bajaj Auto Ltd, on Monday, reported an 11% YoY increase in total sales at 3,72,532 units in December 2020. The company had sold a total of 3,36,055 units in December 2019. Total motorcycle sales were at 3.38 lakh units in December, as compared to 2.84 lakh units in December 2019. Exports jumped 27% to 2.32 lakh units, as compared to 1.82 lakh units in the same month a year ago.

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Govt to divest 26% stake in BEML, invites bids till March 1

The Indian Government has invited preliminary bids for the strategic sale of a 26% stake, along with the transfer of management control, in BEML Limited. Bidders can submit their Expression of Interest (EoI) for buying the stake in BEML by March 1. SBI Capital Markets Limited has been appointed as the transaction adviser to advise and manage the strategic disinvestment process. BEML Ltd is engaged in the manufacturing and supply of equipment for mining, construction, defence, and rail projects. 

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Marico reports double-digit volume growth in Q3 FY21

Marico Ltd on Monday said it has witnessed a faster than expected recovery in consumer sentiment in India, aided by the festival season and a declining Covid-19 graph. The FMCG major’s Indian business posted a double-digit volume growth, while revenue growth was at par with volume expansion. The company stated that it has witnessed strong performance across its portfolio, with general trade continuing to grow healthily.

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Cochin Shipyard declares interim  dividend of Rs 9 per share

The Board of Directors of Cochin Shipyard Ltd has declared an interim dividend of Rs 9 per equity share of Rs 10 each, for the financial year 2020-21. The company has fixed January 14, 2021, as the record date for the interim dividend. The dividend will be payable to the eligible shareholders on or before February 2, 2021.

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