• Cement maker ACC Ltd on Tuesday reported a 44.66% rise in consolidated net profit at Rs 302.56 crore for the third quarter ended September 30, 2019. The company had posted a net profit of Rs 209.14 crore in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, ACC said in a BSE filing. Consolidated net sales stood at Rs 3,464.43 crore for the period under review as against Rs 3,363.96 crore for the same period an year ago.
  • Mr Neeraj Akhoury, MD and CEO said that ACC continues to deliver its profitable growth strategy with strong EBITDA and net profit growth. Our new product offerings, particularly in premium segments along with growth in ready mix volumes supported in delivering higher net sales. The company continues to deliver significant operational efficiencies which resulted in reduction of fixed and variable costs, he added and said that the company remains confident that cement demand growth will strengthen in the coming months. 
  • India’s exports contracted by 6.57% to $ 26 billion in September mainly due to significant dip in shipments from key sectors such as petroleum, engineering, leather, chemicals, and gems & jewellery. Imports too declined by 13.85% to $ 36.89 billion, narrowing trade deficit to $ 10.86 billion in September, according to official data released on Tuesday 15, 2019.
  • Trade deficit in September last year stood at $ 14.95 billion. Out of 30 key export sectors, as many as 22 showed a negative growth in September. In September, oil imports declined by 18.33% to $ 8.98 billion, and non-oil imports fell by 12.3 to $ 27.91 billion. Cumulatively, during April-September 2019, exports were down 2.39% to $ 159.57 billion while imports contracted by 7% to $ 243.28 billion.
  • The Essel Group-owned Essel Infraprojects is in advanced talks to sell six road projects to the National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF), two people aware of the development told Media. This move will come as a big relief as it tries to reduce its massive debt load, which is currently at about ₹7,000 crore.
  • Essel Infraprojects has already sold three of its road projects to Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Canada’s second-largest fund manager, in a deal valued at about ₹3,500 crore. For the other six road projects, the Essel Group is expecting to make over ₹4,000 crore. The entire proceeds of the sale is expected to go into debt repayment.
  • Mr Mansukhlal Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge), on October 15, 2019 after a meeting of the Maritime State Development Council, said that with three-fourth of the non-major ports not operational in the country, the Shipping Ministry will conduct a detailed study to find out if those ports can be developed, and if so, how and for what purpose should they be developed. There are 204 non-major ports from which hardly 44 are functioning.
  • The study will be completed in six months, stating that this study will be “different than Sagarmala study, Mandaviya added that the Ministry will consider making a national grid of ports so that cargo or agricultural produce located near the non-major ports can be shipped to major ports.
  • He said that this study will be shared with the States so that they don’t have to conduct separate studies. They will be free to develop it themselves or through public-private partnership ports. All States will implement a set of common rules to ease movement of barges across the coastal route.

Briefs from the third India Energy Forum by CERAWeek held on Tuesday. Coal and Mines Minister Mr Pralhad Joshi said:

  • Formulating policies to bring foreign investments in coal sector.
  • Deliberation on offering bigger sized blocks to global investors.
  • Government may Issue a new policy to attract foreign investments in coal within a fortnight.
  • Will need over 1200 million tonne of coal by 2023 annually and coal gasification will have a place in India’s energy basket soon.

At the India Energy Forum by CERAWEEK on Tuesday, India called for a reset on climate debate on coal as a fuel, in the backdrop of the country becoming one of the top renewable energy producers globally with ambitious capacity expansion plans. India’s position was articulated by power and renewable energy minister Raj Kumar Singh; commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal and coal and mines minister Prahlad Joshi.

Raj Kumar Singh said that the debate about coal needs to be restated or restructured. What needs to be discussed is emissions and not coal production. India’s per capita power consumption, about 1149 kilowatt-hour (kWh), is among the lowest in the world. In comparison, the world’s per capita consumption is 3600 kWh.

The US today consumes twice of what India consumes even today, said Goyal. India’s coal requirement is expected to go up to 1123 million tonnes by 2023 from the present levels of around 700 million tonnes. The earlier plan was to mine 1.5 billion tonnes of coal by 2020. Of this, one billion tonnes was to come from state run Coal India Ltd and 500 million tonnes from non-Coal India sources in line with the government’s push to raise natural resources production and kickstart economic growth.

India plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 33-35% from its 2005 levels by 2030, as part of its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015.

Explaining India’s position, Singh said, No other country has increased renewable energy capacity the way we have done it, our concern for environment is second to none. India has been trying to rejig its energy mix in favour of green energy sources and has an installed renewable energy capacity of about 82,580MW, with about 31,150MW under execution. India is running the world’s largest renewable energy programme, with plans to achieve 175GW by 2022 and 500GW by 2030, as part of its climate commitments.

Mr Singh said, India has laid down very stringent norms for coal plants. So far, only 59 nations have signalled their intention to submit an enhanced climate action plan, and an additional nine have started an internal process to boost ambition and have this reflected in their national plans.