Tuesday, January 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






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Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki receives the Cannes Classical Living Composer Award, during the 34th MIDEM (International record music publishing and video music market) in Cannes, French riviera. — AP/PTI

India to slap 15% duty on milk imports
NEW DELHI, Jan 24 — India has successfully concluded a tariff rate quota deal with the USA, the European Union and Australia on imposing a Customs duty of 15 per cent on imports of skimmed and whole milk powder up to 10,000 tonnes from these countries.



EARLIER STORIES
 

Panel suggests fund for drug research
NEW DELHI, Jan 24 —The creation of a pharmaceutical research and development support fund through a 1 per cent cess on the sale price of all drug formulations sold throughout the country is among the important recommendations made by the Dr R.A. Mashelkar Committee that went into the question of spurring the Indian drug industry to face the post-WTO competition.

CII holds Stonemart at Jaipur from February 2
CHANDIGARH, Jan 24 — The first international stone industry exhibition conference and buyer-seller meet “India Stonemart 2000”, is being organised by CII and the Centre for Development of Stones at Jaipur, from February 2 to 6.

Bus body now with adjustable floor
JALANDHAR, Jan 24 — Sutlej Motors, a bus body fabrication unit, has come out with the country’s first ultra-low floor city bus equipped with a number of security features and facilities for passengers.

Jindal Strips net rises 149.28 pc
MUMBAI, Jan 24 — Jindal Strips has announced a 30 per cent interim dividend for the 1999-2000 fiscal having recorded a 149.28 per cent growth in net profit in the third quarter of 1999-00.

ICICI Bank to float ADS issue
MUMBAI, Jan 24 — ICICI Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a proposal to raise $ 125 million through American depository shares and if necessary a domestic issue within the next 12 weeks.

ITC net profit soars 23.21 pc
CALCUTTA, Jan 24 — ITC Ltd has posted handsome third quarter results with a 36.24 per cent growth in pre-tax profits.Top



India to slap 15% duty on milk imports

NEW DELHI, Jan 24 (PTI) — India has successfully concluded a tariff rate quota (TRQ) deal with the USA, the European Union (EU) and Australia on imposing a Customs duty of 15 per cent on imports of skimmed and whole milk powder up to 10,000 tonnes from these countries.

Mr S.K. Sinha, Secretary, Department of Dairying and Animal Husbandry, told reporters here that the TRQ deal would also enable India to impose duty of 60 per cent on imports above 10,000 tonnes.

“We have recently notified the World Trade Organisation (WTO) about the successful completion of the TRQ deal on skim milk powder and whole milk powder,” Sinha said.

The Finance Minister is expected to make certain announcements regarding the import of milk powder in his Budget speech slated for February 29.

Notwithstanding the agreement with the “principle supplying interests”, the import duty would come into effect only after a few months, Sinha said, adding this was in view of the time required to finalise the items on which India would have to provide market access at a concessional duty to these countries.

Sinha said it was the first TRQ deal under the WTO that India has entered into on any commodity.

India began bilateral negotiations with the USA, Australia and the EU following sharp increase in the import of skim milk powder, which was estimated at 18,000 tonnes between April-October 1999 compared to 2000-3000 tonnes in the same period a year ago.

India began the negotiations following representations from domestic milk processing units led by the Indian Dairy Association that demanded immediate steps to curb cheap imports that were threatening the existence of domestic units.

Skim milk powder is currently freely importable at nil import duty for manufacturing of various value-added milk products.

Sinha said India would have to compensate the losses of the “principle supplying interests” by providing greater market access on other commodities on reduced import duty.

Asked about the commodities on which India would offer duty concession in lieu of the TRQ deal on import duty on SMP, Sinha said there were about 16-17 commodities but refused to name them.

However, India is understood to have offered duty concessions to the USA, EU and Australia on 17 commodities, including pulses.

TRQ is a trade policy under the WTO that is used to protect domestically produced goods from cheap imports. Under TRQ a lower tariff is applied to imports below a certain quantitative limit (quota) agreed by the parties and permits higher tariff on imported goods after the quota is reached.Top



 

Panel suggests fund for drug research

NEW DELHI, Jan 24 (UNI) —The creation of a pharmaceutical research and development support fund through a 1 per cent cess on the sale price of all drug formulations sold throughout the country is among the important recommendations made by the Dr R.A. Mashelkar Committee that went into the question of spurring the Indian drug industry to face the post-WTO competition.Addressing a press conference here today, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Suresh Prabhu said other recommendations like fiscal and non-fiscal measures for increasing the funding for R and D in the pharmaceutical industry had been forwarded to the Finance Ministry and could find a berth in the coming Budget. This could also include effective venture capital financing incentives.

The committee set up under the chairmanship of Dr Mashelkar, Director-General of the CSIR, submitted its report on December 1 last year. The committee had eminent industrialists and economists like Dr Parvinder Singh, Dr Anji Reddy, Dr Rakesh Mohan, Dr Amit Mitra and Dr Mira Shiva as members.

Mr Prabhu said his Ministry had already interacted with the other relevant Ministries and given concrete suggestions to the Finance Ministry on matters be included in the Budget.

Dr Mashelkar, who was present at the press conference, explained that no Indian drug manufacturing company could hope to be competitive after 2005 when the WTO stipulations on intellectual property rights and new patents regime came into full effect. The comprehensive suggestions made by the committee would help facilitate a hassle-free environment for equipping the Indian industry with world class R and D and production facilities, he added.

The task force recently appointed by the Prime Minister for strengthening knowledge-based industries had also taken up the question of strengthening the drug research and manufacturing industry.

The drug industry had some strengths in exports at the global level and reinforcing the R and D and marketing were crucial in the WTO environment.

The minister said the committee had also made comprehensive recommendations to immediately build up a pharmacopia for indigenous herbal medicines and launch an R and D system and global manufacturing and marketing system for such traditional therapeutic agents.

Responding to a question, Mr Prabhu said the implementation of the committee’s recommendations would facilitate inflow of foreign venture capital into the country for drug related R and D. As India was already having a drug R and D set-up, even rich countries that were striving to develop specific medicines and treatment for local diseases could fund research in Indian laboratories.Top


 

CII holds Stonemart at Jaipur from February 2
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 24 — The first international stone industry exhibition conference and buyer-seller meet “India Stonemart 2000”, is being organised by CII and the Centre for Development of Stones at Jaipur, from February 2 to 6.

Announcing this, Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman, CII Northern Region said the Government of Rajasthan and CII are developing a programme for conducting road shows at different industrial and economic clusters across the country to attract fresh investments into Rajasthan.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi Mr Arvind Mayaram, Secretary Industries, Rajasthan, said the event will provide Indian players access to changing technologies and markets necessary for combating competition in the post WTO markets.Top


 

Bus body now with adjustable floor
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, Jan 24 — Sutlej Motors, a bus body fabrication unit, has come out with the country’s first ultra-low floor city bus equipped with a number of security features and facilities for passengers.

Fitted with Germany’s 260 HP engine, the 120-seater vehicle with a Rs 36 lakh price tag can ideally be used for city transportation. According to Mr Daljit Singh, MD of the company, the unique feature of the 12 feet long bus is its adjustable floor, the height of which can be adjusted anywhere between eight and eighteen inches from the ground level according to the convenience of passengers and condition of the road.

The company has also fabricated a double-decker luxury bus boasts of facilities like individual air-conditioning, sofas, arrangement for food, toilet, coffee-tea mahine, TV, refrigerator and music system in addition to confortable seating arrangement. Mr Daljit Singh said the double-decker model has been priced at Rs 42 lakh.Top


 

Jindal Strips net rises 149.28 pc

MUMBAI, Jan 24 (UNI) — Jindal Strips has announced a 30 per cent interim dividend for the 1999-2000 fiscal having recorded a 149.28 per cent growth in net profit in the third quarter of 1999-00.

Net profit for the three-month period stood at Rs 17.25 crore from Rs 6.92 crore a year ago.

Jindal Strips’, sales for the quarter were at Rs 394 crore, up 36.8 per cent from Rs 288 crore in the same quarter last year.

“Improved market conditions, higher volume growth and various cost reduction initiatives have resulted in higher profitability during the quarter. This trend is likely to continue,” a company statement said.

Exports during 1999-00 are likely to top $ 20 million as against $ 5.3 million a year ago. The company had placed foreign currency convertible bonds of $ 30 million to fund its expansion plans.

Ind-Swift: The Chandigarh based Ind-Swift Ltd. has reported a turnover of Rs 18.7 crore for the quarter ended December 1999, as compared to Rs 14.04 crore in the corresponding period of the previus year, thus showing a increase of 33 per cent. Net profit during this period increased to Rs 1.55 crore as compared to Rs 0.71 crore, showing an increase of 118 per cent.Top


 

ICICI Bank to float ADS issue

MUMBAI, Jan 24 (PTI) — ICICI Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a proposal to raise $ 125 million through American depository shares (ADSs) and if necessary a domestic issue within the next 12 weeks.

Taking into account the current favourable conditions in the equity markets, particularly the international markets, the board decided that an international issuance of equity capital should be considered including ADS by means of a prospectus and, if necessary a domestic issuance, the bank said in a statement here.

The Board also approved an employee stock option scheme under which it proposes to issue shares upto 5 per cent of the paid up capital.Top


 

ITC net profit soars 23.21 pc

CALCUTTA, Jan 24 (UNI) — ITC Ltd has posted handsome third quarter results with a 36.24 per cent growth in pre-tax profits.

The net profit for the quarter grew by 23.21 per cent and net sales by 14.7 per cent. Consequently ITC’s performance for the nine month period ending December last has been robust.

Pre-tax profits at Rs 917 crore for the nine month period is up 26 per cent over the same period last year. Net profit for the period at Rs 567 crore is up 17 per cent.

According to an ITC release, the cigarette market was now now on a recovery path despite the decline in micro cigarettes following steep excise hike in the last Union Budget.

It added that ITC continued to strengthen its leadership position in cigarettes through its key strategy of continuous value addition and enriched product mix.

As in the previous months, the third quarter also recorded substantial savings in interest costs as a result of better working capital management and refinancing of debt.

The company till date earned foreign exchange worth Rs 490 crore through export and hotel business. This is quite satisfactory in the context of the difficult global trading environment, namely hotels, packaging and paperboards are now on a growth path. ITC’s investments in the hotel business are proceeding on schedule. Top


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CORPORATE RESULTS

Telco loss up

TELCO’s net loss for the third quarter of the current fiscal stood at Rs 60.36 crore, up 180 per cent from Rs 21.58 crore a year earlier.

Its sales for the quarter were at Rs 2,390.17 crore, up 58 per cent from Rs 1,517.74 crore for the same quarter last year, the company said in a statement issued here today.

Other income for the quarter fell sharply to Rs 5 crore compared with Rs 21.74 crore a year ago. For the nine months ended December 31, 1999, other income was Rs 104.78 crore as compared with Rs 53.95 crore in the previous year.

Aptech net up

Aptech Limited on Monday reported a 52 per cent jump in net profits at Rs 51.08 crore for the year ended December 31, 1999.

Besides issuing a 1:1 bonus, the company would give 30 per cent dividend, a press release said.

Parke Davis

Parke Davis India said its net profit rose sharply by 277 per cent at Rs 6.78 crore for the third quarter of its financial year, 1999-2000, from Rs 1.8 crore a year ago.

Torrent Pharma

Torrent Pharmaceuticals has recorded a 102 per cent surge in net profit in the first nine months of 1999-2000 to touch Rs 60.55 crore as against Rs 29.97 crore a year ago.

Mirza Tanners

Mirza Tanners has reported a net profit of Rs 6.74 crore in the third quarter of 1999-2000 against a profit of Rs 4.97 crore in the corresponding period last year showing an increase of 36 per cent.

IEC Software

IEC Software on Monday reported a net profit of Rs 1.04 crore during the third quarter ended December 31, 1999, a rise of 489 per cent from the net profit of Rs 17 lakh in the same quarter in 1998.

BPL net dips

BPL Limited on Monday reported a marginal dip in net profit at Rs 2.8 crore for third quarter ending December 31, 1999 as against Rs 2.9 crore for the same period last year. Its net sales increased to Rs 575.2 crore from Rs 518 crore for the quarter under review.

BLB

BLB Limited has declared a profit before tax of Rs 6.97 crore and a net profit of Rs 4.29 crore.

— AgenciesTop



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PSWC
CHANDIGARH, Jan 24 (TNS)— Mr Sampuran Singh Cheema, Chairman, PSWC, said here today PSWC has achieved a record profit of Rs 40 crore during the current financial year. This is the highest profit achieved by the corporation since its inception. This is in spite of the staff strength falling from 2,108 in 1990 to 1828 in 1999. The earning per employee has also increased from 0.89 lakh to 4.13 lakh.

‘Help the poor’
CHANDIGARH, Jan 24 (TNS) — The State Bank of Patiala has launched a “Help the poor scheme” at Tungwali village near Bathinda. The launch ceremony, organised by the Bank and the Lions Club, was presided over the Deputy General Manager of the bank, Mr Mahadev Balani, who distributed 50 blankets to poor persons.

SBI camp
CHANDIGARH, Jan 24 (TNS) — The State Bank of India’s, SBS Road Ludhiana branch organised a medical check-up camp today. About 100 persons were examined. Mr S.K. Kapoor, branch manager, said the staff members of the branch had contributed their personal savings for the purchase of medicines.Top



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