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Banks, metal & oil cos lead Q1 advance tax payments
June, 24th 2008

Metals, ores, banking and predictably the oil sector are the chart-busters in advance tax payments. A detailed look at their advance tax figures shows that companies in these sectors are confident of the growth potential and are willing to bet on growing demand. Bankers, for instance, are confident that investments are on track and projections on GDP figures will be met. While mining company NMDC has shown a more than 80% growth in tax payment, HDFC with 53%, Tata Steel with 61% and Sesa Goa with 315% growth are equally impressive. ONGC, which is witnessing a huge upside of rising oil prices, reported over 30% growth in advance tax. ONGC Videsh followed the footsteps of the parent company with a 30.40% growth in tax payment for the first quarter to Rs 163 crore.

Direct taxes have grown by over 72% in the first two months of this fiscal to Rs 22,840 crore and advance tax collections rose about 30%. Advance tax paid in June is the first of the four installments and 15% of the total tax estimated to be paid in the fiscal. The higher advanced tax payout by mining companies is a direct reflection of higher revenues that companies expect owing to a upcycle in mineral prices especially iron ore, an official of a steel company said. The confidence in the banking sector is evident with most banks paying higher tax. State Bank of India led the tally, recording a growth of 31.81% to Rs 663 crore. ICICI Bank paid 36% higher advance tax at Rs 340 crore. Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) witnessed a rise of 40.63% in its tax payment to Rs 225 crore, while Citibanks outgo rose 22.86%.

We do believe growth can moderate to 7.5-8%, but this is just a temporary aberration. We expect the economy to sustain this pace of growth. Corporates will continue to access credit at a healthy pace. Liquidity is available for banks, earnings have been substantial for banks since treasuries have been doing well, Bank of India chairman T S Narayanasami said. He added the bank did not see a case to revisit deposit rates as of now due to comfortable liquidity conditions and would wait for RBI to take monetary steps. Bank of India saw a 36% increase in its advance tax payment to Rs 122 crore.

Informed sources in SBI said the bank expected growth to continue. By and large, we expect the first quarter growth to continue. In about two months, we expect conditions to become normal again. It remains to be seen what will be the impact of rising yields on the portfolio of the bank, they said. The mood is also upbeat in other financial services. Life Insurance Corporation, which figures in the top ten taxpayers, saw a growth of 22.19% in advance tax to Rs 435 crore. Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation paid 19.55% more tax of Rs 247 crore.
Telecom sector also reflects the upbeat trend. BSNL paid 197.48% higher advance tax of Rs 312 crore in June 2008, earning itself the distinction of being the tenth highest taxpayer.

And the laggards: State-run power major NTPC saw a negative growth of 6.93% in June 2008 compared to June 2007. Despite the metal and mineral sector showing an upturn, Hindustan Zinc paid 40% lower advance tax of Rs 150 crore. Leading cement company Gujarat Ambuja Cements advance tax payment was 16.67% lower than June 2007. Bharti Airtels advance tax payment was 51.15% lower than June 2007 at Rs 72 crore.

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