Urea boost

Aditya Birla Nuvo and Tata Chemicals might lead $US9 billion of spending to increase India's urea capacity by almost 50 per cent, spurred by a government policy guaranteeing returns on investments. Producers of the nitrogen-based soil nutrient, including state-run companies and co-operatives, might add 10 million tonnes of capacity over the next five years, said S.C. Sharma, an officer at the country's Planning Commission. The government will assure new urea units a profit margin of 12 per cent to 20 per cent. Government control on the price of urea and ambiguity over natural gas feedstock costs have deterred new investments in the sector for more than 10 years, leading to an increase in imports and state subsidies. An increase in urea capacity will also boost agricultural productivity, helping feed two-thirds of India's 1.2 billion people who live on less than $2 a day, and contain inflation that averaged 7.5 per cent in 2012.


Bond drive

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Japan's second-largest bank by market value, may sell a record value of dollar-denominated bonds next year to fund loan expansion abroad. The company's lending unit has targeted two issuances that could total as much as $US4.5 billion, matching this year's amount as the most in Sumitomo Mitsui's 11-year history, company president Koichi Miyata (pictured) said. The two sales would range from $US1 billion to $US3 billion each, he said. Japan's three mega-banks are increasing lending overseas as deflation and economic contraction hit credit demand and loan profitability at home. Selling bonds and collecting deposits in dollars was vital for Sumitomo Mitsui to expand lending abroad, Mr Miyata said. "We're going to trim dependence on yen-based funding," he said.


Russia benefits

The TNK billionaires, who agreed to sell out of their oil venture with BP for $US28 billion, say they plan to invest most of the proceeds in Russia after President Vladimir Putin said he "hoped" they would. "Russia was and always will be the basic platform for investment" for the shareholders' separate business interests, said a statement on Tuesday from Mikhail Fridman and German Khan's Alfa Group, Len Blavatnik's Access Industries and Viktor Vekselberg's Renova Group. "In Russia, in particular, they plan to invest most of the proceeds from selling their shares in TNK-BP." BP and AAR, which represents the billionaires in the TNK-BP oil venture, are ending a contentious, almost decade-long, partnership with each selling its half to state-run OAO Rosneft. The deal, Russia's largest, is set to make Rosneft the world's biggest publicly traded oil producer by volume.

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