Sugar industry needs more than export subsidy for turnaround
The sugar industry is today in crisis with cane dues owed by mills to farmers crossing ₹21,000 crore, with depressed prices and declining exports.
Surplus supply in the market along with lower overseas prices led to a sharp fall in domestic sugar prices; and margins of sugar companies are under strain due to weak realisation on sugar sales, making it harder for the sugar mills to make payments.
Raw sugar sops
In order to provide a helping hand for the sugar industry, the government, in February 2015, passed the long-awaited proposal of export subsidy on raw sugar for the current production season.
According to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), sugar mills may export 14 lakh tonnes of raw sugar and receive a benefit of a subsidy of ₹4,000 per tonne for this season 2014-15 i.e. October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015. The government also raised import duty on sugar to 40 per cent from 25 per cent and proposed to build a buffer stock to take out some sugar from the available surplus.
These steps were taken mainly to help mills to clear the mountain of dues to sugarcane growers.
Despite the subsidy announcement by government to encourage raw sugar exports, mills had to struggle to increase shipments as global prices remain weak with cheaper surplus supplies from world’s largest producer Brazil.
Depressed global sugar prices make exports of sugar unviable. So far, mills have exported only 4.6 lakh tonnes of sugar till the first week of May 2015.
Another 2-3 lakh tonnes of sugar may get exported in the rest of the season.
Recently, India’s largest sugar producing state Maharashtra has also announced subsidy of ₹1,000/tonne for raw sugar exports produced in the 2014/15 marketing year with an intension to cut down the stocks.
Subsidy will be applicable for exports of 800,000 tonnes raw sugar.
ISMA data says that India’s sugar production up to May 15 stood at an eight-year high of 27.848 million tonnes. Thus, there is an increase of 16 per cent during the current season as compared to 24.003 million tonnes produced in the same period last year.
It is estimated that India will produce around 28 million tonnes of sugar in the current season against the demand of 24.5 million tonnes.
According to ISMA, sugar stocks at the end of season (in September) will touch 10.30 million tonnes, the highest in the last six sugar seasons.
However, all these actions taken by government failed to support the sweetener’s prices, because of surplus production, dull exports and weak overseas prices.
In order to help the industry, the government should buy sufficient sugar from the market to build up the buffer stock and also go for some active measures to help the industry. Moreover, the government should act quickly.
CCI clears acquisition of Rohit Ferro-Tech’s unit by Balasore Alloy Ltd
Fair trade regulator CCI has cleared Balasore Alloys’ proposed acquisition of Odisha unit of Rohit Ferro-Tech saying that the deal may not have an adverse impact on competition in the country.
“…the proposed combination is not likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India and therefore, the Commission hereby approves the same,” the Competition Commission of India said in an order.
CCI keeps a tab on unfair business practices across sectors.
Rohit Ferro-Tech provides a whole range of ferro alloys, while Balasore Alloys Ltd (BAL) is engaged in the production of ferrochrome only.
Rohit Ferro-Tech has three ferro alloy producing facilities located at Bishnupur and Haldia in West Bengal and Jajpur in Odisha.
Regarding acquisition of the facility of Rohit Ferro-Tech by Balasore Alloys, CCI noted that the post combination market share of the BAL and the presence of other major producers of ferrochrome and other ferro alloys in India such as Tata Steel, Ferro Alloys Corporation, Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys, Jindal Steel, Visa Steel would not allow BAL to raise any competition concerns.
Feasibility study on Colachel port to be ready soon: Radhakrishnan
The Union Minister of State for Shipping, Mr Pon Radhakrishnan, has said that the feasibility study on the port project at Colachel in Kanyakumari district would be ready within two weeks. Being close to the international shipping route, the port, when commissioned, would enable the berthing of large vessels, reducing the dependence on Colombo and, thereby, cutting the cost of exports, he stressed.
Speaking at a meeting on “Strategies for Making Indian Textile Industry Globally Competitive” here, the Minister urged the entrepreneurs to look beyond the textile industry and come forward to implement infrastructure works at the port in order to compete better in the global market.
This post was written by Atlantic Admin