Wednesday, January 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Foreign capital flows to India pick up
WASHINGTON, Jan 25 — Foreign private capital flows to India have picked up riding on an unprecedented wave of investments in software companies, capital market reforms, and fading political concerns, the International Institute of Finance (IIF) has said.

Khatima: Sharda Hydle Power House Lohiahead, situated at Khatima in Udhamsingh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, made by British government in 1936. Nowadays quite alone due to strike of powermen in Uttar Pradesh
Khatima: Sharda Hydle Power House Lohiahead, situated at Khatima in Udhamsingh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, made by the British government in 1936, nowadays quiet due to the strike by powermen in Uttar Pradesh — PTI photo

Govt to privatise IA
NEW DELHI, Jan 25 — The Government today initiated the process of privatisation of Indian Airlines by reducing government equity to 49 per cent. It also approved a bid by Hindustan Lever Limited for buying the Government’s 74 per cent equity in Modern Food Industries Limited.



EARLIER STORIES
  Zenith launches multimedia PC
MUMBAI, Jan 25 — Zenith Computers Ltd today launched a PC named “Zenith Infotainer” to target the first time computer buyers looking at the purchase of a second TV with Internet facilities.

Govt to set up international trade mart
NEW DELHI, Jan 25 — The Government, in close coordination with exporters, has formulated a long-term strategy for increasing India’s share in the global handicraft export market, the Union Minister for Textiles, Mr Kashiram Rana, said here today.

SEBI allows Net trading
NEW DELHI, Jan 25 — The SEBI today allowed trading of shares through the Internet, approved the report on corporate governance and permitted high networth foreign individuals and corporates to invest in Indian stock markets.

BoB unveils scheme
CHANDIGARH, Jan 25 — Bank of Baroda today launched “BoB cash reach”, a unique cash management product, for its corporate clients in five major cities with collection centres at 22 centres in India.


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Foreign capital flows to India pick up

WASHINGTON, Jan 25 (PTI) — Foreign private capital flows to India have picked up riding on an unprecedented wave of investments in software companies, capital market reforms, and fading political concerns, the International Institute of Finance (IIF) has said.

“The rapid expansion of software companies, capital market reforms, and fading political concerns have led to strong portfolio investment flows to India. Inflows were about $ 3.7 billion in 1999, following a small outflow in 1998,” it said in its latest review.

The report, released yesterday by the 315-member group of major banks and financial institutions, said investment flows to the emerging markets of Southeast Asia, still reeling under the impact of a financial crisis in 1997, have also picked up.

Net private capital flows to emerging market economies are projected to rise to a little over $ 190 billion this year from below $ 150 billion in 1999, it said.

The figures show the devastating impact of the 1997 crisis and the contagion elsewhere. In 1996, net external financing was $ 335.5 billion. In 1997, it fell but was still very significant at $ 304.6 billion. The figure for 1999 was 160.6 billion dollars, and it is projected to rise to $ 202.2 billion in 2000.

Official development assistance will still be at an all time low at about $ 9 billion this year against a low of $ 11.9 billion in 1999 as compared to $ 52.8 billion in 1998.

A pick-up in private net lending to $ 40 billion is expected in 2000 after small negative net flows in 1999, the IIF review said.

Direct equity investment in emerging economies reached nearly $ 140 billion in 1999, when it accounted for over 90 per cent of the flows. It is expected to remain strong this year, though at a reduced level of $ 120 billion.

Portfolio equity investment continued erratic $ 33.7 billion in 1996, $ 25.7 billion in 1997, $ 13.7 billion in 1998 and $ 17 billion in 1999. In 2000, it is expected to bounce back to $ 33.7 billion.

The review said private flows to China were to rise significantly again to $ 43 billion in 2000 compared to 34 billion in 1998 and 1999. China, it said, is expected to maintain a growth rate of close to 7 per cent again this year.

Capital flight from Russia is projected to continue at the rate of about $ 20 billion a year, it added.
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Zenith launches multimedia PC

MUMBAI, Jan 25 (PTI) — Zenith Computers Ltd today launched a PC named “Zenith Infotainer” to target the first time computer buyers looking at the purchase of a second TV with Internet facilities.

Priced at Rs 49,900, the Infotainer enables users to compute, browse on the Internet, have multimedia CD experience, listen to audio/video CD with theatre ambience at home, surf TV channels and also hook on to a home security system, Zenith Chairman and Managing Director Raj Saraf told reporters here today.

IT jobs fair

CHENNAI (UNI): Information Technology (IT) giants like Satyam, Wipro, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Pentafour, Motorola, Australian- based Anderson Consulting, Apar Infotech of the USA will converge in Bangalore on January 29 and 30, not to display their products but to offer jobs to IT professionals.

The “Career Expo”, is being jointly organised by the Australian based information technology careers group and Monotech Systems Limited in India for the first time in the country.

Mid-Day portal

MUMBAI (UNI): In a path-breaking move, MTNL and Mid-Day.com — a portal owned by the Mid-Day group, have forged an alliance to stimulate MTNL’s Internet access service to build brand preference for Mid-Day.com.

MSS terminal

HYDERABAD (UNI): A hand-held device using the INSAT satellite which enables transmission of information from any remote location of the country to the headquarters has been developed by Hyderabad-based Avantel Softech.
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Govt to privatise IA

NEW DELHI, Jan 25 (UNI) — The Government today initiated the process of privatisation of Indian Airlines by reducing government equity to 49 per cent.

It also approved a bid by Hindustan Lever Limited for buying the Government’s 74 per cent equity in Modern Food Industries Limited.

The proposal to bring down government equity in Indian Airnlines to 49 per cent was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment (CCD) presided over by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

The Government will offer 26 per cent equity to the strategic partner and the balance 25 per cent to the public and financial institutions, besides employees of Indian airlines.

Announcing these decisions, an official spokesperson told newspersons that no foreign airlines would be allowed to take 26 per cent equity in Indian Airlines.

The agreement of selling 26 per cent equity to the partner would be subject to clearance from the CCD. An inter-ministerial group (IMG) would be set up to process the privatisation of Indian Airlines, which has been incurring losses for the past several years.

The selling of 74 per cent equity in MFIL will fetch an amount of Rs 105.45 crore to the government. The HLL will also infuse fresh equity of Rs 20 crore into MFIL in such a way that the shareholding of HLL remains restricted to 74 per cent equity.

The government will hold 26 per cent in MFIL, after the selling process will be over.

The shareholding agreement provides five directors of HLL while the Government will nominate two Directors, including Chairman of the company.

The agreement also provides for selling the balance equity to HLL at a fair market value, which shall not be less than the value per share being paid in the bid.

Modern Food was incorporated in 1965 and has an equity of 13.01 crore.
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Govt to set up international trade mart
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Jan 25 — The Government, in close coordination with exporters, has formulated a long-term strategy for increasing India’s share in the global handicraft export market, the Union Minister for Textiles, Mr Kashiram Rana, said here today.

Presenting the handicraft export awards for the year 1997-98, the Minister said the strategy includes setting up of national design centres at Moradabad and New Delhi and setting up of an international trade mart which would have permanent showcases for exporters and an exposition area for organising product special trade fairs.

The main aim of setting up of trade mart would be to market Indian handicraft products to international buyers, the Minister said.

The Government assigns highest priority not only in increasing employment opportunities in the handicraft sector but was also committed to giving export earnings from handicrafts a quantum jump, Mr Rana assured the exporters.

The Minister informed the gathering that the Ministry had set a target of Rs 6950 crore in rupee terms and 1.6 billion in dollar terms for the year 2000-2001 for the handicraft sector other than hand-knotted carpets. During the current year till December 1999, handicraft exports have touched Rs 4669 crore ($ 1.080 billion ) registering an increase of 16.5 per cent (13 per cent in dollar terms) over the previous year.

The Minister presented 15 trophies to handicraft exporters for various product categories, including art metal wares, wood wares, zari handicrafts, iron crafts and paper mache. The top export award for overall performance was bagged by Moradabad-based C.L. Gupta and Sons company. There were 58 award winners in different categories.

The Textiles Secretary, Mr Shyamal Ghosh, urged the Indian handicraft exporters to further upgrade their skills and develop products of international standards which would help them in achieving the export target for the year.

There was an urgent need to meet the challenge from handicraft exporter of countries like China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea and Pakistan, he added.

He cautioned that in the recent years, smaller countries of South East Asia and Far East were making in-roads in to the traditional markets of Indian handicrafts, which necessitated an urgent action from exporters in terms of improving the quality of the products and increasing production capacities.
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SEBI allows Net trading

NEW DELHI, Jan 25 (PTI) — The SEBI today allowed trading of shares through the Internet, approved the report on corporate governance and permitted high networth foreign individuals and corporates to invest in Indian stock markets.

The board, which met here, also approved recommendations of the Chandrasekharan Committee on venture capital investment allowing first-time entrepreneurs easier access to funds.

“We decided to allow net trading in stock market and it can be started even without the Cyber Laws in place, with investors routing orders through brokers,” SEBI Chairman D.R. Mehta told reporters after the meeting.

However, brokers will have to undertake the entire responsibility of the trade like compliance of margins, he said.

Mehta said the board accepted “in-toto” the Kumaramangalam Birla Committee report on Corporate Governance and 150 top companies in the A group of BSE will have to comply with the norms by March 31, 2001.

The norms, which don’t require the approval of other regulatory agencies, would come into effect soon, he said.
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BoB unveils scheme
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 25 — Bank of Baroda today launched “BoB cash reach”, a unique cash management product, for its corporate clients in five major cities with collection centres at 22 centres in India.

“BoB cash reach” at the Chandigarh centre was launched by Mr T.V. Lakshminarayanan, Assistant General Manager. The salient features of the product include encashment of outstation cheques in 24 hours, making it the fastest vehicle for funds travel. In Punjab this product was simultaneously launched at the Clock Tower, Ludhiana and Town Hall, Amritsar branches of the bank.


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CORPORATE RESULTS

Ashok Leyland registered a turnaround in the third quarter of the current fiscal, moving out of the red to record a net profit of Rs 9.5 crore as against a loss of Rs 10.3 crore a year ago.

The company’s sales for the quarter were at Rs 645.2 crore, up 50 per cent from Rs 430 crore a year ago.

The company attributed this growth to a 49 per cent increase in sales volume and benefits from effective cost management measures. It sold a total of 9,481 vehicles during the third quarter as against 6,359 units a year ago.

For the first nine months of the 1999-2000 fiscal, net profit stands at Rs 11.48 crore, as against a loss of Rs 49.81 crore a year ago. Sales turnover for the nine-month period stood at Rs 1,738.12 crore, up 35 per cent from Rs 1,288.73 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal.

The Board of Directors of Navneet publication (India) has recommended a 101 per cent total dividend for the year ended September 30, 1999, including a special millennium dividend of 41 per cent. The Board has also recommended a one-to-one bonus for all the shareholders. The company had recorded a 34 per cent growth in net profit to Rs 23.75 crore.

Tata Tea net profit for the third quarter increased by over 15 per cent to Rs 32.52 crore, but it still remained lower at Rs 104.82 crore for the nine months ended December 31, 1999, compared to Rs 122.52 crore in the first three quarters of 1998-99.

Bombay Dyeing reported excellent results in the third quarter ending December 31, 1999 with the net profit jumping up to Rs 14.73 crore as against Rs 3.11 crore during the corresponding period last year.

Clariant (India) has reported a 19.3 per cent increase in net profit to Rs 4.39 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 1999, as its sales rose by 16 per cent to Rs 69.9 crore during the quarter.

ITC Bhadrachalam has reduced losses for the first nine months of this fiscal to Rs 24.3 crore from last year’s Rs 73.7 crore.

Net loss for the third quarter was at Rs 3.56 crore as against a loss of Rs 27.3 crore in the corresponding period last year.

DCM Shriram Consolidated has reported a net profit of Rs 10.14 crore for the third quarter ending December 1999, as against Rs 8.03 crore during the same period last year showing an increase of 26 per cent.

JK Paper today announced the launch of www.jkpaper.com. to reach out to consumers.

Blue Dart Express on Tuesday reported a 125 per cent jump in profit before tax at Rs 4.52 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 1999. The sales improved 25 per cent at Rs 53.84 crore for the third quarter.

Esab India slipped into the red in the first nine months of current fiscal to record a net loss of Rs 3.04 crore as compared to a profit of Rs 4.58 crore a year ago. Its sales for the nine-month period stood at Rs 91.28 crore, down 15 per cent from Rs 107.69 crore a year earlier.

Jain Studios recorded a net profit of Rs 153.27 lakh for the third quarter ending December 1999, as compared to Rs 0.17 lakh during the same period last year.

Hindustan Motors continued to reel in the red recording a net loss of Rs 11.73 crore in the third quarter of 1999-2000 as against a loss of Rs 10.94 crore a year ago. Sales during the quarter were at Rs 297 crore, up 8 per cent from Rs 275 crore in the same period last year.

Havell’s India Ltd has shown an increase in sales of 22 per cent and net profit of 33 per cent in the third quarter results announced here today.

ITC Hotels has reported a 16.5 per cent slide in gross profit for the quarter ended December 31, 1999, to Rs 6.57 crore from Rs 7.87 crore a year ago. Its gross profit for the April-December period stood at Rs 11.68 crore, up 16 per cent, as compared to Rs 10.06 crore of last year.

S. Kumars Synfabs has reported a 166 per cent increase in net profit to Rs 13.42 crore for the first quarter ended December 31, 1999 as compared to the corresponding period last year of Rs 5.05 crore.
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BIZ BRIEFS

Bullion
Gold Std. Rs 4530
Gold 22-Ct Rs 4380
Silver Ready Rs 7970
Silver delivery Rs 8000

Forex
US $ Rs 43.58/59
Stg Rs 71.64/66
Euro Rs 43.67/69
Yen (100) Rs 41.1820

CII training
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 25 —Self-discipline is the master key to effective time management, said Mr Anupam Bhasin, Vice-President, Hero Corporate Services, while addressing a training programme on time management at Gurgaon organised by the CII’s TQM & HRD Sub-Committee today.

PSIEC
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 25 — The Governor of Punjab has appointed Mr Avtar Singh Boparai in place of Mr Yeshveer Mahajan, PCS, as Director on the Board of Directors of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation.

Iffco dividend
NEW DELHI, Jan 25 (UNI) — Iffco, today paid Rs 52.13 crore, its highest ever dividend, to the Government for the year 1998-99. The cheque was presented to the PM by Mr Surender Kumar Jakhar and Mr U.S. Awasthi, Iffco Chairman and Managing Director.

CBI case
NEW DELHI, Jan 25 (UNI) — The CBI has registered a case against a private firm, Shalini Exports Pvt Ltd, Mumbai, on the charge of causing a loss of more than Rs 40 crore to VSNL, and the Department of Electronics by misusing the international leased circuits taken from VSNL for software export.

Central Bank
CHANDIGARH, Jan 25 — Central Bank of India has upgraded its extension counter at New Public School, Sector 18, to a branch. The branch was inaugurated by Mr R.P. Sharma Deputy General Manager, today.

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