Apar Industries to set up transformer oil manufacturing unit at Hamriyah Free Zone

Updated 20 November 2014

Apar Industries to set up transformer oil manufacturing unit at Hamriyah Free Zone

Singapore-based Petroleum Specialties Pte. Ltd (PSPL), a fully-owned subsidiary of the world renowned Apar Industries Ltd., is tset up a manufacturing unit at Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA).
The group signed an agreement with Sheikh Khalid bin Abdullah bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, chairman of Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA), Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF ZONE) and the Sharjah Sea Ports and Customs Department.
Kushal N. Desai, managing director of Apar Industries represented the Apar Industries Ltd.
Saud Al-Mazrouei, director of HFZA & SAIF ZONE; Sanjay Abhyankar, senior vice president of Apar Industries and project manager for HFZA project; Shirish Patwardhan, executive director, Rchemie International FZC; Sanjit Ghate, director of operations, Rcheme International FZC and other top officials were present at the signing ceremony that took place at SAIF ZONE.
Apar Industries Ltd. is the largest manufacturer of transformer oil, white oils, rubber process oils and lubricants (industrial & automotive) in India. 
The GCC and Africa accounts for a significantly large portion of Apar’s export revenues. 
The group has a $850 million diversified company offering value-added products and services in power transmission conductors, petroleum specialties and power cables.
The group accounts for about 50 percent of the Indian transformer oils market and about 22 percent of its aluminum conductor market. 
 “Our goal to create a robust business environment by meeting the needs and demands of our investors,” Saud Salim Al-Mazrouei said, while welcoming the 4th largest manufacturer of  transformer oils in the world to HFZA.
“We are keen to set up a manufacturing unit at HFZA, which can cater to the African/MENA market and help in expanding our reach to the  CIS countries,” said Kushal Desai, managing director of Apar Industries.
“We will set up this manufacturing facility through our Singapore-based subsidiary Petroleum Specialties Pte Ltd,” he added. 
When asked about the investment, he said: “The project is huge and still on the drawing board. Once detailed engineering is done we will be able to furnish further information about the project cost, working capital, etc.”
Abhyankar said: “HFZA has extended extensive support to us and PSPL has been awarded 30,000 square meters of land in HFZA to develop the facility and we plan to complete the project by December 2015."
He said: "“We are moving to HFZA due to its strategic location and as per the recommendation of our business associates Rchemie International FZC that already has a base in HFZA."
While evaluating their current market presence in the MENA/Africa region, Abhyankar said that Apar Industries Ltd. has decent market and sales in Africa, including MENA, and PSPL has strengthened the business of its customers through proactive product development.
“Currently, Apar Industries, which is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), exports specialty oils to more than 70 countries,” Abhyankar said.
Hamriyah Free Zone houses 6,000 companies from across 155 nations, welcoming foreign investment from more than 500 industries in the key sectors of oil and gas, petrochemicals, maritime, steel, construction, and food.


Gold rush at Turkish bazaar a test of trust for lowly lira

Updated 15 August 2020

Gold rush at Turkish bazaar a test of trust for lowly lira

  • As precious metal prices soar, Turks rush to buy amid economic uncertainty and a volatile currency

ISTANBUL: Hasan Ayhan followed his wife’s instructions last week and took their savings to buy gold at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar as Turks scooped up bullion worth $7 billion in a just a fortnight.

With memories of a currency crisis which rocked Turkey’s economy only two years ago fresh in his mind, the retired police officer was among those playing it safe as he queued in the city’s sprawling market, where a screen showed the gold price rise by one Turkish lira ($0.1366) in just 10 minutes.

“I think it is the best investment right now so I converted my dollars to buy gold,” the 57-year-old said. “I might withdraw my lira and buy gold with it too, but I am scared to go to the bank right now because of coronavirus.”

The day after Ayhan bought his gold on Aug. 6, the lira hit a historic low and remains skittish, laying bare concerns that Turkey’s reserves have been badly depleted by market interventions, which are showing signs of fizzling out.

Turks traditionally use gold for savings and there may be 5,000 tons of it “under mattresses,” with more added after the recent buying spree, Mehmet Ali Yildirimturk, deputy head of an Istanbul gold shops association, said.

Although bullion has never been more expensive, vendors at the Grand Bazaar said almost no one was selling their gold jewelry. There are only buyers.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Currency touched record lows in three volatile weeks.
  • Local holdings of hard currencies at all-time high.
  • All are buyers at Grand Bazaar, despite expensive gold.

“I’ve been chatting with hundreds of people who are thinking about selling their cars or houses to invest in gold,” vendor Gunay Gunes said.

In the last three weeks, as selling gripped the lira, local holdings of hard assets such as dollars and gold jumped $15 billion to a record of nearly $220 billion.

There is no evidence suggesting people are about to pull savings from banks, and this week the lira has hovered around 7.3 versus the dollar, although it remains among the worst emerging-market performers this year.

Demand has eased since Turks withdrew some $2 billion in hard foreign cash from their banks during a March-May period in which a lockdown was imposed and the lira hit its last low. Analysts say that if Ankara cannot boost confidence in the currency, which has fallen almost 20 percent this year, import-heavy Turkey risks inflation and even a balance of payments crisis that will worsen fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

Given foreign investors now have only a small stake in Turkish assets, they say the key for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is convincing Turks to stop turning to the perceived stability of dollars and gold.

The central bank and treasury did not immediately comment on the dollarization trend or any policy response.

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s son-in-law, said on Wednesday the lira’s competitiveness was more important than exchange rate volatility.

The central bank has effectively borrowed on local dollar liquidity to fuel foreign exchange market interventions, which are meant to stabilize the lira.

Through Turkish state banks, which together are “short” foreign exchange by $12 billion, the central bank has sold over $110 billion since last year. In turn, the bank’s gross FX buffer has fallen by nearly half this year to below $47 billion, its lowest in years.

The central bank has said its reserves naturally fluctuate in stressful periods, and the treasury says the bank intervenes at times to stabilize the currency.

But ratings agencies say Ankara should take decisive steps, such as an interest rate hike, to rebuild reserves and restore confidence. Otherwise, rising current account deficits and possible debt defaults could tarnish a solid reputation for meeting foreign obligations.

“Locals don’t want to keep Turkish lira, they’ve been dollarizing and buying gold. Turks have hardly ever done that,” said Shamaila Khan, New York-based head of EM debt strategy at AllianceBernstein, which manages $600 billion. “That is why you need proactive policies because if you get to that stage where locals are unwilling to keep their money in the bank then you’re heading to a balance of payments crisis. That’s when the alarm bells will start ringing.” 

Some banks imposed fees on withdrawals this week, while the central bank has curbed cheap credit channels it opened to ease the coronavirus fallout. Yet while lira deposits now earn more than the 8.25 percent policy rate, their real return is negative with inflation at 11.8 percent.

Traders say such backdoor tightening needs to reach 11.25 percent to stabilize the lira, which has nearly halved in value since early 2018.

Market expectations have risen for a formal rate hike that economists say would reinforce central bank independence, even while it could slow economic recovery.

Politics may stand in the way.Erdogan, whose popularity has dipped this year, holds the view that high rates cause inflation, and sacked the last central bank governor for disobedience.

He said on Monday he hoped market rates would fall further.

But firms such as System Denim, which imports materials and makes clothes for companies like Zara and Diesel, are feeling the pinch from rising costs. Owner Seref Fayat said he converted his 4 percent euro-denominated loans to lira at 10 percent. “No need to take on additional FX risk,” he said. “I pay a higher rate, but at least I can see ahead.”