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Reserve Bank eases overseas investment norms
Mumbai, March 28
The Reserve Bank of India has liberalised the overseas investment norms further with a view to grant more operational flexibility to the Indian corporates in their expansion abroad and has also allowed star export houses to set up their subsidies or joint ventures in other countries.

Bankers press for cut in cash reserve ratio 
Mumbai: Representatives of the Indian Banks’ Association, an umbrella body of public sector banks in the country, met Reserve Bank of India Governor Y.V. Reddy today and pressed for a reduction of the cash reserve ratio.

Brussels takeover law not to scuttle Mittal’s bid
New Delhi, March 28
Luxembourg said today the takeover law that it planned to enact in May was in no way aimed at creating impediments to steel tycoon L. N. Mittal’s bid to takeover Arcelor.

Ranbaxy Italia to buy Glaxo division
Mumbai, March 28
Ranbaxy Laboratories today announced that it would acquire the unbranded generic business of Allen, a division of GlaxoSmithKline, in Italy, through its Italian subsidiary Ranbaxy Italia.

Models pose with South Korean Sangyong Motors’ model SUV-type Rexton II at a press unveiling in Seoul on Tuesday Models pose with South Korean Sangyong Motors’ model SUV-type Rexton II at a press unveiling in Seoul on Tuesday. Rexton II, priced at 34.3 million won ($35,100), is equipped with a diesel-powered 2,700 cc engine.
— AP/PTI

Biocon wins Nobex for $5 m
Bangalore, March 28
Biocon Limited,announced today that it had put up the winning bid for acquiring all assets of the Nobex Corporation, specialising in a proprietary drug-delivery system to enable oral delivery of peptide drugs. Biocon and Nobex had earlier tied up for development of oral insulin and oral B-type natriuretic peptide.


A model showcases a creation by Rocky S. on the first day of the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai on Tuesday
A model showcases a creation by Rocky S. on the first day of the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai on Tuesday. The first of two India fashion weeks kicked off in Mumbai. Thirty designers will show off their ready-to-wear autumn-winter lines at the five-day event taking place just before the larger India Fashion Week in New Delhi. — AFP

EARLIER STORIES
 
Matthew Talbot, Managing Director, Asia, Mobile 365, announces the launch of India operations in at a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday. Mobile 365, a leader in mobile messaging and data services, operates in 18 countries and facilitates the delivery of over 2 billion text messages a month
Matthew Talbot, Managing Director, Asia, Mobile 365, announces the launch of India operations in at a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday. Mobile 365, a leader in mobile messaging and data services, operates in 18 countries and facilitates the delivery of over 2 billion text messages a month. — A Tribune photograph

Haryana exports more than Punjab
Chandigarh, March 28
Rapid industrialisation in Haryana and a sound industrial policy has led to the exports in the state soaring to Rs 19,168 crore. Comparatively, exports from neighbouring Punjab have taken a beating and declined by 14.02 per cent.

India overtakes China in IT race 
New Delhi, March 28
India has left China and Russia far behind in the technology race, taking leaps in the information and communication field. According to the latest report ‘Global Information Technology Report’, released by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, the USA has regained the top position in 2005 after slipping to the fifth place in 2004.

Infy’s biggest campus to come up in Hyderabad
Hyderabad, March 28
Indian software giant, Infosys Technologies Limited, signed an MoU with the Andhra Pradesh Government yesterday to set up the biggest IT campus in 550 acres of land near the new international airport.

MBD to invest Rs 200 cr in Punjab
New Delhi, March 28
The MBD Group of Punjab today announced to set up MBD Neopolis comprising a five-star hotel, a multiplex and a mega mall in Ludhiana , a mall-cum-multiplex in Jalandhar and malls in Amritsar and Patiala at an estimated cost of over Rs 200 crore.

Texas Instruments eyes Bollywood
Bangalore, March 28
Semiconductor and innovative technologies giant Texas Instruments is targeting Bollywood to market its digital broadcasting technology and sees India as one of the biggest worldwide markets for digital cinema.
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Reserve Bank eases overseas investment norms

Mumbai, March 28
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has liberalised the overseas investment norms further with a view to grant more operational flexibility to the Indian corporates in their expansion abroad and has also allowed star export houses to set up their subsidies or joint ventures in other countries.

With a view to enable recognised star exporters with a proven track record and a consistently high export performance to reap the benefits of globalisation and liberalisation, the RBI allowed the proprietary or unregistered partnership firms to set up their subsidiaries or joint ventures outside India, with the prior approval of the RBI.

In a directive to all authorised foreign exchange dealers, including commercial banks, the RBI informed that the partnership or proprietorship export firm must be a DGFT (Director General of Foreign Trade) recognised star export house (export exceeding Rs 15 crore) per annum.

Banks should be satisfied that the exporter is KYC (know your customer) compliant and engaged in the proposed business with a proven track record with export outstanding not over 10 per cent of the average export realisation of the preceding three years.

The amount of investment outside India should not exceed 10 per cent of the average of three year export realisation or 200 per cent of the net owned funds of the firm, whichever is lower, the RBI notification said.

The RBI has also enlarged the scope of guarantees covered under the automatic route for the Indian corporates.

Accordingly, Indian entities may offer any forms of guarantee — corporate or personal, primary or collateral — by the promoter company and guarantee by the group company, sister concern or associate company in India.

Presently, only parent corporate bodies are permitted to offer guarantees on behalf of their wholly-owned subsidiaries (WOS) and joint ventures (JVs), under the automatic route and issue of personal, collateral and third party guarantees which require prior approval of the RBI.

With a view to simplify the procedure, the RBI has decided to allow all ‘financial commitments’, including all forms of guarantees within the overall prescribed ceiling for overseas investment of the Indian party (which is currently within 200 per cent of the net worth of the investing company).

The RBI also liberalised the automatic route of disinvestment in its WOS and joint ventures abroad. Accordingly, Indian corporates may disinvest without prior approval of the Reserve Bank in the categories where the joint venture or WOS is listed in the overseas stock exchange and the Indian promoter company is listed on a stock exchange in India and has a networth of not less than Rs 100 crore. — UNI

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Bankers press for cut in cash reserve ratio 

Mumbai: Representatives of the Indian Banks’ Association, an umbrella body of public sector banks in the country, met Reserve Bank of India Governor Y.V. Reddy today and pressed for a reduction of the cash reserve ratio (CRR).

Mr H.S. Sinor, Chief Executive of the association, told reporters after the meeting that the banks are pressing for a reduction in CRR to help reduce the liquidity crunch in the economy.

The banks are also pressing for relaxation of rules pertaining to deposits made by non-resident Indians in Indian banks. The meeting comes ahead of the RBI annual monetary policy, which would be announced on April 18.

Bankers were of the opinion that a 2-percentage point reduction in CRR from the current level of 5 per cent could release around Rs 40,000 crore in the system.

The banking system in the country has been facing liquidity crunch, particularly after the RBI had hiked repo rates by 25 basis points in its third quarter review of the monetary policy in January this year. — TNS

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Brussels takeover law not to scuttle Mittal’s bid

New Delhi, March 28
Luxembourg said today the takeover law that it planned to enact in May was in no way aimed at creating impediments to steel tycoon L. N. Mittal’s bid to takeover Arcelor.

“The government will have no role in impeding the bid. We intend to bring the (takeover) Bill in May to put in the best international practices in our economy,” Luxembourg Minister for Economy and Foreign Trade Jeannot Krecke told reporters here.There was absolutely no intention on the part of the government to meddle with Mittal’s bid.

The Luxembourg Government, which owns 5.6 per cent in Arcelor, has been opposing Mittal’s $23 billion unsolicited bid.

The Bill is intended to secure the interests of shareholders — both majority and minority, Mr Krecke said. In a bid to allay fears among Indian entrepreneurs, he said the Bill, which Luxembourg would bring in May, would have to be brought by 25 EU nations too.

A separate takeover Bill would be introduced by the EU nations in their respective Parliaments to air their own views on takeovers.

Mr Krecke, who is heading a business delegation, said his current tour of India was aimed at strengthening bilateral economic ties.

The delegation, during a meeting organised by FICCI, tried to ascertain the areas crucial for investment in India and asked Indian business community to look towards Luxembourg and try and make best use of its world-class infrastructure.

Similarly, he argued that Luxembourg has enough expertise in handling crucial financial matters from which India could benefit. He reminded that his country has an asset base worth billions of dollars.

Billing Arcelor as one of the biggest steel producers, he said the company too was keen to expand its presence in India, but refused to say how. Mr Krecke reminded that beams and piling sheets were Arcelor’s specialised products which could be of great demand in India.

He sought a double taxation agreement from India to secure the interests of Luxembourg-based companies in India.

Emerging from the discussion, FICCI Secretary- General Amit Mitra told reporters that his industry body had suggested to the Luxembourg delegation to take the bilateral trade between India and Luxembourg to $20 million from the current $5 million.— PTI

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Ranbaxy Italia to buy Glaxo division

Mumbai, March 28
Ranbaxy Laboratories today announced that it would acquire the unbranded generic business of Allen, a division of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), in Italy, through its Italian subsidiary Ranbaxy Italia.

The company, which did not disclose the amount involved, said the deal would come into effect from April 1.

Company’s CEO and MD Malvinder Mohan Singh said the acquisition of the Allen generic business from GSK would fast track Ranbaxy’s growth plans in Italy.

This product portfolio compliments Ranbaxy’s own pipeline of products for the Italian market and will enable the company to utilise opportunities arising from future patent expiries, he said.

Pfizer net up

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer Ltd today reported 84.02 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 24.77 crore for the quarter ended February 28, 2006, as compared to Rs 13.46 crore for the same quarter last year.

Total income has increased 11.55 per cent to Rs 158.04 crore for the first quarter from Rs 141.67 crore in the year-ago period, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.

L&T pact with Kanoo

Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) today joined hands with Saudi Arabia’s reputed house of Kanoo to offer a range of high-end ‘intelligent’ electrical systems to Saudi Arabian market.

A joint venture of Larsen & Toubro International FZE and Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo will offer architecture for the control and distribution of power.

It entails manufacture, marketing and sale of switchboards and related system solutions, as well as allied products, according to a release issued to BSE.

The joint venture to this effect has been signed by L&T’s whole-time Director R.N. Mukhija and YBA Kanoo Director Bader Abdulaziz Kanoo.

L&T will hold majority stake, besides the management and operational control of the joint venture company.

Sterling Biotech

Sterling Biotech Ltd today reported a 16.26 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 32.24 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2005 as compared to Rs 27.73 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2004.

Total income rose to Rs 130.71 crore for the fourth quarter ended December 2005 from Rs 113.36 crore in the year-ago period, up 15.30 per cent.

For the year ended December 31, 2005, the company posted a net profit of Rs 112.08 crore as against Rs 78.29 crore for the year ended December 31, 2004.

The company’s Board has recommended a 50 per cent dividend, that is, Rs 0.50 per equity share of face value Re 1 for the year ended December 31, 2005.

Stake in Jindal Poly

SAIF Partners, one of APAC’s largest private equity funds, has announced to acquire 6.66 per cent stake in the Haryana based Jindal Group’s Jindal Poly Films Limited — India’s largest manufacturer of flexible packaging films —in an off-market transaction.

SAIF Partners have acquired 18.72 lakh shares in the company for a consideration of approximately Rs 56 crore.

Speaking on the investment, Mr. Vibhor Mehra, SAIF Partners said: “ With expectations of high double digit growth in the modern retail formats such as shopping malls, food processing and packaging, and consequently the flexible packaging industry, we believe that Jindal Poly Films is poised for significant growth in the next few years.” — Agencies, TNS

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Biocon wins Nobex for $5 m
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, March 28
Biocon Limited,announced today that it had put up the winning bid for acquiring all assets of the Nobex Corporation, specialising in a proprietary drug-delivery system to enable oral delivery of peptide drugs. Biocon and Nobex had earlier tied up for development of oral insulin and oral B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP).

Nobex had filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 on December 1, 2005. The auction was conducted on March 16, 2006, and the court approved the best bid by Biocon on March 20. Biocon made an opening stalking horse bid of $3.5 million to acquire the assets of Nobex before the auction and emerged as the final bidder with a total commitment, including the settlement with the creditors committee, of $5 million and certain back-end royalties.

The assets acquired by Biocon include IN-105, an oral insulin for type 2 diabetes; BN-054, an oral B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) for cardiovascular disease.

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Haryana exports more than Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Rapid industrialisation in Haryana and a sound industrial policy has led to the exports in the state soaring to Rs 19,168 crore. Comparatively, exports from neighbouring Punjab have taken a beating and declined by 14.02 per cent.

This was disclosed at the meeting of the State Level Bankers’ Committee for Export Promotion for both Punjab and Haryana held here today. The meetings for both states were presided over by Mr C.P. Swarankar, Executive Director, Punjab National Bank.

Other than the bankers in the region, representatives from various export promotion councils, state government officials and officials from Director General Foreign Trade attended the meeting.

Export turnover from Gurgaon, Faridabad, Hisar, Panipat and Sonepat contributed to 89 per cent of the export from the state, with maximum exports coming from Gurgaon at Rs 9,488 crore.

Software and electronic goods export units, automobiles and auto parts units, handlooms and textiles, rice and readymade garments contributed to the growth for Haryana.

In Punjab, readymade garment units, cycle and cycle-parts business, engineering goods manufacturers, pharma units, handicrafts and food products units registered a negative growth. As against the export turnover of Rs 5,259.61 crore last year, the turnover from export units in Punjab fell to Rs 4,522. 67 crore.

However, rice, yarn and textiles, leather goods, hand tools, machine tools, auto parts and sewing machine exports showed a positive trend in export turnover. Ludhiana and Patiala showed a positive trend in growth (Rs 3012.67 crore and Rs 24.28 crore, respectively), while exports from Jalandhar showed a sharp decline of Rs 629 crore.

Mr. C.P. Swarankar informed that exports from India grew by 26.3 per cent between April 2005 and February 2006.

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India overtakes China in IT race 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 28
India has left China and Russia far behind in the technology race, taking leaps in the information and communication field. According to the latest report ‘Global Information Technology Report’, released by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, the USA has regained the top position in 2005 after slipping to the fifth place in 2004.

Singapore, first in 2004, came second and Denmark third. Four Nordic countries - the others being Iceland, Finland and Sweden - are in the top 10 alongside Canada, Taiwan and Switzerland.

India is ranked at 40 despite its booming ICT sector. But China, which is set to overtake the USA in the number of Internet users, has fallen nine places to 50 and Russia to 72, and Pakistan to the 67th rank.

The UK, at the 10th place, is top-ranked among the European Union’s large economies, followed by Germany (17), France (22) and Italy (42).

The WEF, which for 2005 ranked 115 economies worldwide, said information and communications technologies were clearly emerging as one of the key drivers of economic growth and competitiveness.

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Infy’s biggest campus to come up in Hyderabad
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, March 28
Indian software giant, Infosys Technologies Limited, signed an MoU with the Andhra Pradesh Government yesterday to set up the biggest IT campus in 550 acres of land near the new international airport.

Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and Infosys chief N. R. Narayana Murthy were present during the signing of the agreement at a function held on the lawns of the 50-acre Infosys campus at Gachibowli last evening.

The company is expected to invest over Rs 1,250 crore in its second campus in Hyderabad, and is expected to employ about 25,000 software professional over 10 years. Infosys’ present campus in the city employs about 5,000 software engineers.

As per the MoU, the state government would allot 150 acres in the first phase and the remaining 400 acres later and also provide the necessary infrastructure facilities for the new campus, which will have a work space of 3 million sq ft.

The company would invest Rs 450 crore in the first phase and Rs 400 crore each in the second and third phases of the project, Chief Financial Officer and Director (Finance and Administration) T. V. Mohandas Pai said.

The land to be handed over to Infosys falls under the proposed IT SEZ coming up in 1,200 acres near the upcoming Shamshabad international airport.

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MBD to invest Rs 200 cr in Punjab
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 28
The MBD Group of Punjab today announced to set up MBD Neopolis comprising a five-star hotel, a multiplex and a mega mall in Ludhiana , a mall-cum-multiplex in Jalandhar and malls in Amritsar and Patiala at an estimated cost of over Rs 200 crore.

“The MBD Group, which had set up a five-star hotel Radisson in Noida two years ago, has decided to invest in the hospitality industry in Punjab and other parts of the country in a big way. The company has joined hands with the UK-based Debenhams Group for offering international brands in Punjab,” said Mr Ashok Kumar Malhotra, CMD MBD Group, today.

MBD Neopolis would be spread over four acres and was expected to be launched in June,2008. The group simultaneously announced a mall with a multiplex in Jalandhar, with plans for malls in Amritsar and Patiala in Punjab.

The MBD Group is also looking for projects in - Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa.

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Texas Instruments eyes Bollywood
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, March 28
Semiconductor and innovative technologies giant Texas Instruments is targeting Bollywood to market its digital broadcasting technology and sees India as one of the biggest worldwide markets for digital cinema.

Company President and CEO Richard K. Templeton disclosed here today during a visit to oversee the company’s Indian operations that the company was already in talks with a few Bollywood producers to go in for digital screening rather than the conventional reel system.

He said through this technology data could even be transferred by broadband.

He said discussions were also being carried out with the producers to ascertain how more multiplexes could be introduced in the country. He said though everyone was in agreement with the need for digital cinema and realised its long-term benefit, the issue of rights management and contents were still to be thrashed out.

The CEO said that the three-hour duration of films in India was coming in the way of the company’s objective to show movies on mobile phones. 

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BRIEFLY

RNRL issue
Mumbai, March 28
Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) will raise Rs 1,100 crore through issue of shares on preferential basis. The EGM of the shareholders will be held on April 14 to consider issue of equity shares or warrants through preferential issue in one or more tranches to domestic or foreign institutions, corporate bodies or other investors, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange. — PTI

Power Grid order
Mumbai, March 28
RPG Transmission Ltd, a group company of the Rs 8,450-crore RPG Enterprises, today said it has bagged Rs 119 crore order from Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) for a transmission project funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB). — PTI

Union Bank CMD
Mumbai, March 28
The Centre has appointed Mr M V Nair as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of the Union Bank of India from the date of his taking charge of the post on, or after, April 1. Mr Nair is presently the CMD of Dena Bank. — UNI

Merger decision
Mumbai, March 28
Software services company Melstar Information Technologies Ltd today said it would merge Melstar Fashions Pvt Ltd with itself. The Board of Directors gave their approval to the scheme of amalgamation pursuant to which the company would issue its shares of Rs 10 each for every 50 shares of Rs 10 held in MFPL. A token consideration of Rs 20,000 would be discharged to the shareholders of Melstar Fashions, who are promoters of the company. — PTI

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