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CST phase-out in UP put on backburner
New Delhi, May 8
Amid ongoing mudslinging match between Congress and Samajwadi party in UP, the Centre today hinted at deferring the phasing out of central sales tax due to adamant attitude of the Mulayam Singh government to implement the Value Addition Tax.

Infotrek applies for electronics exchange
Mumbai, May 8  
Infotrek Syscom Ltd plans to launch an e-exchange for the purpose of facilitating transactions of electrical and electronic goods and equipment, whether new or used, reusable or recyclable, for the first time in India.

Stocks on cellphones
Bangalore, May 8
Quotes of scrips traded at the National Stock Exchange will now be available on mobile phones thanks to an innovation by Bangalore based Live MarketWatch Solutions.

CII advocates moderate hike in oil prices
New Delhi, May 8
Supporting the government intention to effect a
long-pending hike in the oil prices, the CII today advocated a moderate hike and a nationwide drive to save oil.

Tribunal rejects Tatas, Rel plea
against CERC

New Delhi, May 8
In a big setback to power trading companies, including Tatas and Reliance, the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity has dismissed their plea against central power regulator CERC on imposing trading margins.

GAIL to set up LPG plants in Uzbekistan
New Delhi, May 8
GAIL has announced that the company will set up LPG plants with a capacity one lakh tonnes per annum each in western parts of Uzbekistan along with Uzbekneftegaz.

FIIs can invest in IPOs of DLF, Parsvanath
New Delhi, May 8
The Government has said there are no restrictions on foreign institutional investors to invest in the initial public offers of DLF, Parsvnath and other real estate companies.


Indian skipper Rahul Dravid poses with a Citizen watch in New Delhi on Monday
Indian skipper Rahul Dravid poses with a Citizen watch in New Delhi on Monday. Japanese watch-maker Citizen named Dravid as its new brand ambassador for the eco-drive range of watches for men, priced between Rs 3,990 and Rs 39,380. Citizen will invest about $4 million in the next two years to expand in India. — A Tribune photograph

 

Tea plantation workers pick leaves in a garden in Jorhat, 310 km east of Guwahati. India, the world’s biggest tea producer, is hoping that drought in Kenya will help boost its slumping sales.
Tea plantation workers pick leaves in a garden in Jorhat, 310 km east of Guwahati. India, the world’s biggest tea producer, is hoping that drought in Kenya will help boost its slumping sales. India’s $1.5-billion tea industry is slowly recovering from a crisis that caused the prices to fall since 1998 and exports to drop, but now the prices are firming up, officials say. Moreover, countries that used to buy tea from Kenya are looking to India for supplies.— AFP

MNCs lure away HAL staff
Bangalore, May 8
Defence aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is seriously concerned with talented and experienced employees being ‘’poached’’ by multinational companies setting shop in India to cash in on the high growth aviation sector. HAL Chairman Ashok Baweja said though the company had a strong workforce of over 30,000, it was facing a problem of employees being taken away by other companies.

Fidelity interest in Satnam
Mumbai, May 8
Fidelity International has purchased 1,40,000 shares of Satnam Overseas — a food brand — amounting to 0.70 per cent of the total paid up equity capital, taking its total stake to 8.74 per cent in the company.

Sonalika targets Rs 100-cr export revenue
New Delhi, May 8
Sonalika Tractors has signed an MoU with German auto giant CLASS under which the company will manufacture tractors under CLASS barnd anme at its Hoshiarpur facility and export them to CLASS customers in European countries, he said.

Corporate News
NIIT acquires UK co for $25 m

New Delhi, May 8
IT solutions company NIIT Technologies today acquired UK-based insurance solution provider Room Solutions, for $25 million in an all-cash deal.

  • Glenmark tie-up
  • Satyam pact
  • Tata Ace in Lanka

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CST phase-out in UP put on backburner
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 8
Amid ongoing mudslinging match between Congress and Samajwadi party in UP, the Centre today hinted at deferring the phasing out of central sales tax (CST) due to adamant attitude of the Mulayam Singh government to implement the Value Addition Tax (VAT).

After the decision of the BJP-ruled states to implement VAT from April 1 this year, the Centre had announced to phase out the CST by April next year, or at least reduce the rates of CST.

“The phasing out of CST or even reducing the rates is not desirable in view of the UP and Tamil Nadu being still out of VAT. Though there are indications that after elections, Tamil Nadu and its neighbour Pondicherry will implement VAT, but the phasing out of CST needs networking of tax structures across states to have information to set off credit in other states,” said Advisor to Finance Minister Dr. Parthasarhi Shome here today.

He said Centre and states would sort out the issue of phasing out of CST after its revenue implications are completely resolved, which work out to the tune of Rs 18,000 crore. A committee is already working on it.

Notably, the UP government has categorically said no to the implementation of VAT in view of strong protest from the trading lobbies.

Releasing a joint study of Assocham and KPMG on ‘Implementation of State VAT - Early Experiences’, Dr. Shome said with the first year of VAT in place, the Centre has compensated states loss on account of VAT implementation to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore by March 31, 2006.

He said the state government, which has representation in the Empowerment Committee of state Finance Ministers, might join VAT later.

Within the stipulated time period as given by the Finance Minister in concurrence with the Empowered Committee on VAT, the CST phasing out may be possible if states like UP and Tamil Nadu and UT implement VAT, said Dr. Shome.

On Goods and Service Tax (GST), he said, country can implement this tax by 2010 provided the Centre and the state governments can take political decision. Technically, it would be feasible, since the tax departments in the states would be fully computerised and networked by that time.

It may require Constitutional amendment as well, he said, adding the states would have to agree on the categorisation of goods and services for taxation under Centre and State authority.

Assocham-KPMG study, however, called for introduction of goods and service tax earlier than 2010 as envisages by the Finance Minister as also sought consolidation of goods and service tax at all levels of governments and merge them with goods tax or service tax.

It has been pointed out that now the challenge is to broad base the tax system and extend it to trade sector as GST, is in operation at Central level at present. 

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Infotrek applies for electronics exchange

Mumbai, May 8
Infotrek Syscom Ltd plans to launch an e-exchange for the purpose of facilitating transactions of electrical and electronic goods and equipment, whether new or used, reusable or recyclable, for the first time in India.

The company informed the BSE today that while presently there are several exchanges working for various commodities and other valuable assets, there is, as yet, no specific exchange for electrical and electronic items.

The company’s communiqué stated that this e-exchange would have direct transaction mechanism between the buyer and the seller as also direct payment between the parties through the secured payment gateway.

Other unique features of this e-exchange are that the recognised shipping lines, transporters and courier agencies depending upon the volume and distance involved, will handle deliveries while the e-exchange will have the participants as its members with unique identification numbers.

The e-exchange will generate revenue from the transactions concluded by the members who may be located anywhere in the world besides having its having its own backbone of hardware and software to facilitate transactions.

Recognising the fact that the size of the electrical and electronic goods is extremely vast and also increasing day by day with new developments and atomisation, the exchange will also facilitate the electronic and electrical goods recyclers the world over in sourcing their requirements, thereby helping the recyclers to plan the inventory and minimise blocking of funds, stated the communiqué. — UNI 

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Stocks on cellphones

Bangalore, May 8
Quotes of scrips traded at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) will now be available on mobile phones thanks to an innovation by Bangalore based Live MarketWatch Solutions.

Company founder Brijesh Patel, announcing the launch of Live Market Watch, told newsmen that for the first time the rates would be available on mobile and trading could be carried based on the prices. Details including current share prices, fluctuation in share prices, graph on the trading on your mobile would be available on the mobile phones.

“This will avoid time taken to study the scrip movement and time spent to contact broker for details and orders can be placed for selling or buying shares,” he added.

Company Chief Executive Officer Ganesh Yala, the brain behind this innovation, said that out of seven million investors 98 per cent depend upon telephone for knowing the current share prices.

More than 900 scrips worth about Rs 50 crore are traded every day.

In the Live Market Watch two sites have been created — one to help large investors and another for middle-class investors.

Mr Patel said that there was a proposal to include BSE, Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange connected on Life Market Watch. — UNI

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CII advocates moderate hike in oil prices
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 8
Supporting the government intention to effect a long-pending hike in the oil prices, the CII today advocated a moderate hike and a nationwide drive to save oil. “The current situation of oil prices creeping to $74 per barrel makes a revision in the oil prices in India inevitable. Any further delay in the oil price revision will only make the impact much worse,” said Mr R. Seshasayee, President of the CII.

Given the current prices in the international market, he said, India has to look at reducing its dependency on oil imports. Mr Seshasayee stressed the need for large-scale accelerated conservation measures being adopted by all sections of society, including industry.

The CII suggested that the duties and levies on petroleum products need to be carefully looked into so that the impact of the potential price revision is shared among the government, the oil marketing companies and the consumers.

The CII President added that current levels of low inflation and high growth make it possible for the government to take a clear decision. However, it must not create a dent on the Indian growth story.

Mr Seshasayee said time was ripe to take a hard look at our subsidy imbalance and start taking steps to correct it.

He advocated the need for a target to cut consumption by 7 per cent which would translate to about Rs 9,000 crore of savings on the oil import bill at today’s prices. Currently, India’s imports about 95 million tonnes of oil per year.

With the daily loss by the oil marketing companies touching almost Rs 90 crore, the CII President said the government must look at means to deal with the situation. For the short term, the CII urged the government to correct the distorted petroleum product pricing in line with the recommendations of the Rangarajan Committee, prepare a roadmap for better traffic management across country and go for a phased removal of the subsidies on LPG to metros.

For the medium term the CII recommended technology upgradation at future refinery augmentation, intensification of domestic exploration and production efforts, use of biofuels like ethanol, use of cost-efficient transportation and acceleration of the rural electrification programme.

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Tribunal rejects Tatas, Rel plea against CERC

New Delhi, May 8
In a big setback to power trading companies, including Tatas and Reliance, the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity has dismissed their plea against central power regulator CERC on imposing trading margins.

Reliance Energy Trading, Tata Power Trading and market leader PTC India had filed separate petitions in the Tribunal against the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (CERC) January 23, 2006, order to fix margin at 4 paise per unit.

The three companies had challenged the validity of CERC (fixation of trading margin) Regulations, 2006, and wanted the Tribunal to set aside the regulator’s order. They argued that CERC could have determined margins as per licence conditions but opted to frame the regulations to avoid the challenge. — PTI

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GAIL to set up LPG plants in Uzbekistan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 8
GAIL has announced that the company will set up LPG plants with a capacity one lakh tonnes per annum each in western parts of Uzbekistan along with Uzbekneftegaz.

The estimated capital investment in each LPG plant will be $50-60 million. These multiple gas-based LPG plants will produce LPG predominantly for the domestic market of Uzbekistan.

The company and Uzbekneftegaz signed a memorandum of cooperation agreement (MoC) during the recent visit of the Prime Minister to Uzbekistan. The MoC was signed by the Indian Ambassador on behalf of the company and Chairman, Uzbekneftegaz - Mr Abdusalom Azizov, on behalf of Uzbekneftegaz.

Under the MoC, the two companies will jointly pursue gas sector projects covering exploration and production and gas processing. 

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FIIs can invest in IPOs of DLF, Parsvanath

New Delhi, May 8
The Government has said there are no restrictions on foreign institutional investors to invest in the initial public offers of DLF, Parsvnath and other real estate companies.

The government’s response comes in wake of DLF and Parsvanath seeking clarifications from the Industry Ministry on whether or not FIIs were permitted to make investments.

The ministry responding to their letters has written that guidelines will be applicable only on foreign direct investment and not on FII, official sources said.

As per current norms for the Indian real estate sector, 100 per cent FDI is allowed with certain conditions.

The minimum area to be developed for each project is 25 acres and minimum capital investment for wholly owned subsidiaries is $10 million which is $5 million for joint ventures.

The original investment can be fully repatriated after three years.

Though the FIIs can invest in the IPO, but if they make any investments in these companies pre-issue it will attract FDI guidelines which these companies will have to adhere to. — PTI 

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MNCs lure away HAL staff

Bangalore, May 8
Defence aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is seriously concerned with talented and experienced employees being ‘’poached’’ by multinational companies setting shop in India to cash in on the high growth aviation sector.

HAL Chairman Ashok Baweja said though the company had a strong workforce of over 30,000, it was facing a problem of employees being taken away by other companies.

He referred to an engineer working in a critical area who had been offered a job by a multinational offering a six-figure salary. This was not affecting HAL alone. Even Defence Research and Development Organisations were also losing scientists, he added.

‘’I am quite concerned about this,’’ Mr Baweja said, adding that ‘’I call it poaching’’. ‘’ Salary is not the only thing, but it is important,’’ he added.

When asked whether a non-poaching agreement, akin to the airline industry, could be worked out, he said it would not work in the free market as companies that could pay more would hire people at a higher pay.. ‘’The problem is more acute with the entry and middle- level employees. Senior officers at the level of General Manager are not leaving the organisation,’’ Mr Baweja.

He lamented that the company being in the public sector could not have any say with regard to the pay package. However, it was taking steps to ensure that the rich talent with the company is retained. — UNI

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Fidelity interest in Satnam

Mumbai, May 8
Fidelity International has purchased 1,40,000 shares of Satnam Overseas — a food brand — amounting to 0.70 per cent of the total paid up equity capital, taking its total stake to 8.74 per cent in the company.

The current shareholding pattern of Satnam Overseas reflects a promoter holding of 44.12 per cent, while domestic institutions hold 8.63 per cent. FIIs hold 8.74 per cent and public holds 38.51 per cent of paid up equity share capital of Rs 19.60 crore, a company press note issued here today said.

The company has recently announced setting up of frozen food processing facility at Bahalgarh in Sonepat, Haryana. — UNI 

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Sonalika targets Rs 100-cr export revenue
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 8
Sonalika Tractors has signed an MoU with German auto giant CLASS under which the company will manufacture tractors under CLASS barnd anme at its Hoshiarpur facility and export them to CLASS customers in European countries, he said.

Anticipating huge demand from overseas market, especially in African continent, the tractor manufacturer has doubled its export revenue target to Rs 100 crore for the current fiscal.

The Punjab-based company had exported 1,500 tractors amounting to Rs 50 crore in the last financial year and has doubled the export target keeping in view the huge demand in foreign countries, particularly in African continent, Mr L. D. Mittal, Chairman of the company, said in a statement.

He said the company is focussing on African countries and has formulated a plan to set up four regional hubs in Tanzania, Ehtiopia, Ghana and Morocco to cover all regions of the continent.

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Corporate News
NIIT acquires UK co for $25 m

New Delhi, May 8
IT solutions company NIIT Technologies today acquired UK-based insurance solution provider Room Solutions, for $25 million in an all-cash deal.

“The company has acquired 51 per cent stake at present and would acquire the remaining 49 per cent equity in Room Solutions over a period of 18 months,” NIIT Technologies said.

Room has revenues of $25 million and has 120 employees. It will become a fully-owned subsidiary of NIIT Technologies.

“The strategic direction for the company has been to sharply focus and scale its business in a few select industry segments such as insurance. Room Solutions strengthens the Company’s insurance capability by bringing in deep domain expertise in the commercial insurance space,” NIIT Technologies Chairman Rajendra S. Pawar said here.

Room Solutions is focused on the commercial insurance market, including IT solutions to the customers of Lloyds.

Glenmark tie-up

Leading pharmaceutical firm Glenmark today said it had signed a supply and marketing agreement with Aspen USA for joint manufacturing and sales of three generic products in US.

The three generic solid dose formulations are in the pain management therapeutic segment and have a cumulative market size of about $44 million and have limited competition, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals India (GPI) said in a statement.

As per the agreement, signed by GPI’s wholly-owned US subsidiary, Aspen will supply the products to GPI, which will market them under the Glenmark label.

GPI would make an undisclosed initial milestone payment to Aspen for the exclusive marketing rights to the products and the two parties would share the profits on net sales in the US market, it added.

The company said it expected to launch the three products over a period of three months starting from May this year in the retail and hospital segments.

Satyam pact

Satyam Computer Services Ltd today said it has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Denmark-based NNIT, a leading consultancy firm in IT operations.

The partnership includes the implementation of new SAP solutions, support and development of existing solutions, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Tata Ace in Lanka

Buoyed by its success in India, leading automobile manufacturer Tata Motors today announced the launch of its mini-truck, Tata Ace, in Sri Lanka.

The sub-one tonne truck is suitable for both rural and urban use and has the ability to carry a variety of payloads with turning radius of 4.3 metres to navigate narrow by-lanes, a company release said.

Tata Motors has sold about 30,000 vehicles of Tata Ace since it launch in May 2005 in India. The mini truck has been so far launched in states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Pondicherry, Gujarat, Rajasthan and New Delhi, it said.

The release added the truck would also be launched in other states across the country in a phased manner.

Ace, a low maintenance mini-truck has sporty car-like features, which ensures comfort in ride and handling, it added. — PTI

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BRIEFLY


A man takes a photo of Rolls-Royce 101EX in Singapore on Monday.
A man takes a photo of Rolls-Royce 101EX in Singapore on Monday. Rolls-Royce’s latest experimental car was unveiled for the first time in Asia.
— Reuters

VSNL bags Primus
Mumbai, May 8
Telecommunications major Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) has acquired the fixed broadband wireless Internet services provider Direct Internet Ltd (DIL) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Primus Telecommunications India Ltd (PTIL), for an enterprise valuation of Rs 75 crore. In a press note issued to BSE, VSNL stated that it has signed a share purchase agreement (SPA) to acquire DIL and its subsidiary, PTIL. — UNI

Fuel surcharge
Chennai, May 8
Paramount Airways today announced that it would levy a fuel surcharge of Rs 299 on all routes, effective from May 1. “The surcharge has been necessitated by the continued escalation in Aviation Turbine Fuel prices,” a Paramount press note said. The surcharge will not be applicable on sale of tickets made on or before April 30, it said. — PTI

Shreyas Shipping
Mumbai, May 8
Shreyas Shipping & Logistics Ltd today said it has bagged an exclusive contract from Reliance Industries Ltd for transportation of polymer to Pakistan. The contract entails movement of about 60,000 mt polymer from India to Karachi, to be carried by Shreyas Shipping in its own containers and vessels, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange. — PTI

Kalpataru Power
Mumbai, May 8
The Board of Directors of Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd has recommended payment of dividend at the rate of 50 per cent to the shareholders of the company on enhanced share capital after issuance of bonus shares, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) today. — UNI

Oman insurance
Dubai, May 8
Omani companies employing Indian workers will have to provide a two-year insurance cover to new recruits, according to an official statement. In order to protect the interests of workers, the Indian embassy has teamed up with the New India Assurance Co Ltd to provide a two-year insurance cover. The sponsor would have to pay a fee of 10 Omani riyals (Rs 1,600) for a two-year cover, apart from the ticket. — UNI

Transit project
Colombo, May 8
Indian and Malaysian companies are collaborating in a proposed joint venture to build a Mass Rapid Transit System (MRT) in Colombo, an official has announced. They will be signing a memorandum of understanding with Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment (BOI) for a feasibility study on the project, BOI chairman Lakshman R Watawala said on Saturday. Mr Watawala said the group would be given construction rights after details have been finalised. — Bernama

Jaiprakash Hydro
Mumbai, May 8
Jaiprakash Hydro-Power Limited, a part of the Jaypee Group, today said it has resumed power generation at its 300 MW Baspa-II hydroelectric power station in Himachal Pradesh. Power generation at the plant resumed from May 2, the company said. Located in Kinnaur district of the state, the plant had suffered damages in January this year due to heavy rains and snowfall, which led to a rock fall near the powerhouse. — PTI

Gangotri Textiles
Mumbai, May 8
Gangotri Textiles Ltd today said will form a strategic alliance for joint marketing and branding of its brand ‘Tibre’ with Switzerland-based Trailer Ltd in Europe and Asia. Both companies would open exclusive retail outlets in Europe and Asia including India, which would retail both ‘Tibre’ and ‘Trailer’ brands, the Coimbatore-based company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange. A new brand would be launched by Trailer Ltd and Gangotri Textiles to take advantage of emerging business opportunities, it added. — PTI

Weston DTH TV
New Delhi, May 8
Consumer electronics company Weston today announced the launch of a Direct to Home ready colour television, which will enable consumers to watch free to air channels. “The DTH television, SAT 20 is aimed specifically towards millions of consumers in India who do not have access to cable and satellite networks, particularly in non-metro and remote areas,” Weston’s Vice-President Marketing Sunil Sethi said. Priced at Rs 7,790, the product is incorporated with a DTH decoder with television hardware and consumers can watch 37 free-to-air channels and 17 radio channels, including two FM channels, it said. — PTI 
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