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Dabhol promoters sue MSEB for Rs 26,000 cr
Mumbai, July 1
General Electric and Bechtel, who along with the ill-fated Enron, promoted the Dabhol Power Corporation, have sued the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) for Rs 26,000 crore.

Employees take over Escorts’ arm
New Delhi, July 1
Escorts Ltd’s equity in Escorts Auto Components Ltd (EACL) has been taken over by its current CEO Bharat Caprihan along with a few other executives and has started operations independently.

Lawyer seeks Rs 10 lakh damages from Sri Lankan Airlines
New Delhi, July 1
Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president P. H. Parekh has sued Sri Lankan Airlines in a city consumer court seeking damages of Rs 10 lakh for allegedly “ill treating” him during his recent flight to Delhi from Colombo.

Jolen Inc gets a breather
New Delhi, July 1
US cosmetic major Jolen has succeeded to get an interim stay from the Madras High Court against using its brand name by an Indian cosmetic manufacturer for its products.

Banana boost for economy

A worker unloads a bunch of bananas in Mumbai

A worker unloads a bunch of bananas in Mumbai on Thursday. India is the world’s largest producer of bananas contributing 10.2 million tonnes to the world production of 58.6 million tonnes, constituting 17.4 per cent of the whole, according to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Authority. — AFP


A campaign girl for Japan’s electronics giant Sony displays the world’s lightest and smallest portable audio player
A campaign girl for Japan’s electronics giant Sony displays the world’s lightest and smallest portable audio player, Net Walkman NW-HD1, equipped with 20 GB built-in hard disk, at a press preview in Tokyo on Thursday. Sony will put it on the market on July 10 at an estimated price of 5,300 yen ($ 490). — AFP

EARLIER STORIES

 


Assocham’s plea to FM
New Delhi, July 1
Assocham has urged the Centre to reduce customs duty on crude oil and other imported petroleum products by at least 50 per cent in the coming Budget.

Corporate news
Tisco to invest Rs 7,800 cr in 5 yrs

Mumbai, July 1
The Tata Iron and Steel Company Ltd (Tisco) will invest Rs 7,800 crore till 2009 to increase its steel output by 2.4 million tonnes, according to information provided to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). With this, the company’s output will touch 7.4 million tonnes annually.

  • Anchor-UK firm jv

  • Gail dividend

  • Petronet LNG

  • Blow Plast net up

Auto scene
Maruti 800 goes off the high-sales road
New Delhi, July 1
Maruti’s bread-and-butter model, Maruti 800, witnessed a decline in the sales for the second month in a row even as India’s largest carmaker saw a 10 per cent rise in sales in June this year at 39,574 units.

  • Hero Honda

  • Bajaj Auto

  • M&M tractors

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Dabhol promoters sue MSEB for Rs 26,000 cr
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 1
General Electric and Bechtel, who along with the ill-fated Enron, promoted the Dabhol Power Corporation, have sued the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) for Rs 26,000 crore.

The two companies announced here that they have demanded the compensation through an arbitration notice for recovering investments and lost profits in the venture. State government officials, however, dismissed the notice as an old issue since it was served in May last.

The Maharashtra government, which owns MSEB, contends that the notice was invalid since all arbitration proceedings on the matter have been stayed by a court order. The Maharashtra government obtained a stay on the arbitration proceedings after the two companies first served notice for arbitration proceedings in early 2002.

Enron, along with its partners General Electric and Bechtel, together originally owned 85 per cent of the Dabhol Power Corporation project, with the MSEB holding the rest. After the liquidation of Enron in the US, its shares in the project have been distributed among the two companies and other international creditors.

The DPC project originally worth $ 3 billion suspended operations after the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) stopped buying power saying it was too costly. The cash-strapped Maharashtra government is still keen on buying power from the plant at around Rs 2.80 per unit, far lower than the Rs 4 to Rs 7 demanded by DPC’s promoters.

Enron’s DPC has a capacity of 2184 MW after both its phases are completed.

Till it was shut Phase I of the plant was operational while the second phase was nearing completion.
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The board retaliates

The Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) has issued a notice on General Electric (GE) and Bechtel, the two major shareholders in the controversial Dabhol Power Company (DPC), asking them why contempt of court case should not be filed against them for violating the judicial direction not to approach any international court for getting remedies.

In the midst of an emergency meeting with the Maharasthra Energy Minister Dilip Valse-Patil, MSEB Chairman Jayant Kawale told UNI here today that GE and Bechtel had sent a notice to the Maharashtra government and MSEB in May last claiming damages on account of the closure of the first phase of DPC in May 2001.

The damage was calculated on the basis of the profits the two companies would have earned for twenty years, the period of contract, had the plant continued to run. Both the companies have included the principal amount too in the damages.

To a question, the MSEB chairman said the Supreme Court had directed both the companies not to approach any international court till it gave its final verdict on this issue. — UNI
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Employees take over Escorts’ arm
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 1
Escorts Ltd’s equity in Escorts Auto Components Ltd (EACL) has been taken over by its current CEO Bharat Caprihan along with a few other executives and has started operations independently.

Escorts Ltd. held 78 per cent equity in EACL.

EACL has been engaged in the manufacture of the carburettors and other two-wheeler components for the last 26 years. EACL is a public limited company with over 2,800 shareholders, though not listed. The company has made profits in 22 years and has paid dividend in 20 years out of 26 years of its operations.

According to Mr Caprihan: “Twentyeight years ago, EACL was promoted with the concept of having employees participation and was accordingly named as Escorts Employees Ancillaries Ltd. Now, after 28 years of its existence, this vision is being actualised.”

Escorts Ltd had been trying to exit from this business for the last 12-15 months since it did not fit into their strategy. This takeover move is fully supported by the bankers of the company, the Federal Bank who have reposed confidence in the new management.

Mr Bharat Caprihan, who is the present CEO of the company, was earlier the Executive Director of Escorts Yamaha Motor Ltd. EACL name would be changed within 2 to 3 months.
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Lawyer seeks Rs 10 lakh damages from Sri Lankan Airlines
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 1
Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president P. H. Parekh has sued Sri Lankan Airlines in a city consumer court seeking damages of Rs 10 lakh for allegedly “ill treating” him during his recent flight to Delhi from Colombo.

The consumer court has issued notice to Sri Lankan Airlines, seeking its reply to the complaint lodged by Mr Parekh.

In his complaint the SCBA chief alleged that despite his having a confirmed business class fully paid ticket, which was purchased from an authorised travel agent in India before going to attend an international conference at Colombo, airline officials had made him to travel in the economy class by downgrading his seat.

He alleged that while his seat was downgraded, the seats of several other economy class passengers were upgraded by them.

The action of the airlines had caused a lot of agony to him as he had to spend almost one-and-half days time to negotiate with its officials on the issue and ultimately was forced to travel in the economy class, he said.

It amounted to violation of its commitment to the passengers by Sri Lankan Airlines, Mr Parekh claimed. 
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Jolen Inc gets a breather
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 1
US cosmetic major Jolen has succeeded to get an interim stay from the Madras High Court against using its brand name by an Indian cosmetic manufacturer for its products.

Jolen Inc, USA, had sued Delhi-based manufacturer Jolen International Ltd (JIL) and its proprietor Sohan Lal Jain for alleged violation of copyright and “passing on” its products to consumers under the internationally popular brand name Jolen.

While restraining JIL from using the ‘‘Jolen” brand name for its products, the court had directed the Indian manufacturer to sell its entire stock of empty cartons to the US company by July 12 to ensure that they were not misused.

In view of this, the court had suspended the operation of its order till July 12.

Giving details of the case, Jolen Inc in its release here said the company had claimed exclusive rights over the brand name, which was invented by its founders John and Evelyn in 1955 by picking up the letters ‘‘JO’’ from John and ‘‘LEN’’ of Evelyn.
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Assocham’s plea to FM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 1
Assocham has urged the Centre to reduce customs duty on crude oil and other imported petroleum products by at least 50 per cent in the coming Budget.

In a representation submitted to Finance Minister P Chidambaram, its president Mahendra K. Sanghi today sought the duty cut on crude oil from the existing 10 per cent to 5 per cent and for petroleum products from 20 per cent to 10 per cent.

Assocham said the government should rationalise the present duty structure to help the domestic petroleum industry to bear the additional burden on account of rising crude oil prices internationally.

The chamber said the domestic petroleum industry both in downstream and upstream sector needed immediate relief in the form of duty cut which should be incorporated in the Budget proposals for fiscal 2004-05.

According to Assocham, the Finance Ministry during the last financial year earned Rs 10,670 crore from the petroleum sector through imposition of customs levy on the imports of various petroleum products. Of this, the government earned a revenue of Rs 7,619 crore through the imposition of customs duty on crude oil imports. 
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Corporate news
Tisco to invest Rs 7,800 cr in 5 yrs

Mumbai, July 1
The Tata Iron and Steel Company Ltd (Tisco) will invest Rs 7,800 crore till 2009 to increase its steel output by 2.4 million tonnes, according to information provided to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). With this, the company’s output will touch 7.4 million tonnes annually.

The company will raise the funds for the expansion programme through internal accruals and long-term borrowings, it said.

According to TISCO, steel consumption in India may touch 45 million by 2010 creating a shortage of supply in the coming years if new capacities are not added. Steel consumption as on 2003-2004 was around 32 million tonnes.

Anchor-UK firm jv

Anchor has forged a joint venture with the UK’s British General targeting the high-end segment in an attempt to boost exports and garner 25 per cent of its turnover from international sales in three years.

Under the 76:24 joint venture, Anchor Electronics and Electrical will design, manufacture and sell certain products of the British firm in India and other SAARC countries, company officials said.

An initial investment of Rs 15 crore has been made in the joint venture company, Anchor Woods Private Ltd, Country Head (Woods), Mr Dinesh Aggarwal, told reporters here.

Gail dividend

Gail India has declared a total dividend of 80 per cent (Rs 8 per share) for the 2003-04 financial year.

The company paid the 70 per cent total dividend in the last fiscal year, a Gail release said here.

For 2003-04, the total dividend of 80 per cent on the paid-up share capital of the company includes interim dividend at the rate of 40 per cent (Rs 4 per share) paid earlier.

Petronet LNG

Petronet LNG has prepaid Rs 1,260 crore promoter-guaranteed short-term loans.

“We made the first draw down of Rs 1,260 crore from the project loan this week to prepay the promoter-guarantee loan,” senior company officials said here.

It had borrowed short-term loans from banks in 2000 for starting construction on its over Rs 2,500 crore, 5 million tonnes per year LNG import and regassification terminal at Dahej in Gujarat. However, the company drew only Rs 1,260 crore against the sanctioned limit of Rs 1,400 crore.

Blow Plast net up

Blow Plast has registered a 194 per cent rise in its post-tax profit at Rs 11.11 crore during 2003-04 as compared to Rs 3.78 crore in the previous fiscal.

The company, a member of the Rs 800-crore D G Piramal group, clocked a turnover of Rs 240.42 crore as compared to Rs 236.69 crore in 2002-03, a company statement said. — TNS and agencies
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Auto scene
Maruti 800 goes off the high-sales road

New Delhi, July 1
Maruti’s bread-and-butter model, Maruti 800, witnessed a decline in the sales for the second month in a row even as India’s largest carmaker saw a 10 per cent rise in sales in June this year at 39,574 units.

Following the 40.7 per cent drop last month, Maruti 800 sales dropped 18 per cent to 10,761 units against 13,126 in June last year.

The company’s overall sales, including exports, stood at 39,574 units in June, an increase of 10 per cent over 36,038 in June 2003.

The drop in sales of the M 800 model offset the gains the company made following higher sales of Alto, Wagon R and Zen models which saw an 82 per cent jump at 18,768 units against 10,337 units sold in the corresponding month last year.

The company also saw a big drop in exports which fell 52 per cent to 3,159 units against 6,672 units sold abroad in June last year. The company attributed the drop in exports to the transporters’ strike last year.

Hero Honda

The country’s largest motor cycle-maker Hero Honda Motors today said sales grew 25 per cent in June this year at 2,00,922 units against 1,60,889 units sold in the same month last year.

For the quarter ended June 2004, the cumulative sales of the company stood at 6,09,123 units as against 4,58,784 units in the corresponding period of last year, recording a 33 per cent growth.

The company, in which Japan’s Honda Motors Co and India’s Munjals’ own 26 per cent stake each, said its CD Dawn model continued to dominate the entry-level segment with healthy sales.

Bajaj Auto

Bajaj Auto Ltd has reported a 9.3 per cent growth in its two-wheeler sales in June 2004 at 1,12,647 units as compared to 1,03,105 units in June 2003.

Two-wheeler sales for the April-June quarter rose by 5.4 per cent to 3,18,916 units as against 3,02,580 in the same quarter of 2003-04.

BAL recorded an 11.1 per cent rise in two and three-wheeler sales at 1,34,397 units in June as against 1,20,996 units in the same period last year, the company said in a release here today.

It recorded a 7.3 per cent growth in two and three wheelers at 3,72,996 units in the reporting quarter compared to 347,582 units in April-June 2003, it said.

The Pune-based company sold 97,595 motor cycles during the reporting month as against 82,239 in June 2003.

M&M tractors

Mahindra & Mahindra almost doubled the sales of its tractors at 6,300 units in June 2004 over 3,155 tractors sold in corresponding period previous year.

The cumulative sales at 14,807 tractors also marks a growth of 65 per cent in the first quarter of FY-05 compared to the corresponding period last year, M&M said in a release here today.

Success of the New Sarpanch range of tractors has largely contributed to this impressive growth, it said. — Agencies
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BRIEFLY


Asia Pacific's director of sales David Kleiman and World Phone India chairman Aditya Ahluwalia display a large mock-up of a World Phone Premium calling card
Asia Pacific's director of sales David Kleiman (left) and World Phone India chairman Aditya Ahluwalia display a large mock-up of a "World Phone Premium" calling card, a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) based international prepaid calling card, during its launch in New Delhi on Thursday. The card, priced between Rs 100 and Rs 1000, will enable users to place international calls to more than 200 countries with tariffs lower than traditional phone service. — AFP

ITT complex
Chandigarh, July 1
A Rs 200-cr multi-storey Information Technology and Telecommunication (ITT) complex will be set up over an area of seven acres in Electronic City, Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon. A decision to this effect was taken at the 95th meeting of the board of Hartron here today. — TNS

Bharti Tele
New Delhi, July 1
Bharti Tele-ventures and Siemens Mobile today announced a $ 50-million initiative to build and manage Airtel networks in Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal circles. Bharti today also launched a unique Airtel Tourist Pack for visitors to Himachal Pradesh. STD rates have been slashed to Rs 3.49 per minute to anywhere in India, as per the package. — UNI

BHEL bags order
New Delhi, July 1
BHEL has bagged a Rs 1,701 crore order from Damodar Valley Corporation to set up two power generation units in West Bengal. The two units of 250 MW each at Mejia Thermal Power Station in the state will be completed during the current plan period, a BHEL release said here today. — PTI

Alcoa jobs
New York, July 1
The Aluminum Corporation of America, the world’s largest producer of the metal, is considering eliminating about 130 jobs over the next year as it moves data processing work to India in a cost-cutting effort. — UNI

BoI FCNR rates
Mumbai, July 1
The bank of India has revised the rates of interest on FCNR deposits in US dollar, British pound and euro currencies with immediate effect. While the deposit rates in US dollar eased from 2.18 per cent to 2.13 per cent for 1 year to less than 2 years, the pound deposit also moved from 5.16 per cent to 5.02 per cent for 1 year to less than 2 years. — UNI

IDBI Bank
Mumbai, July 1
IDBI Bank, in association with the India Sponsor Foundation, has launched a unique platform called “citizenidbibank” aimed at bridging the gap various donors and NGOs working on diverse causes. — UNI
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