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4 Jet officials cleared to join Air Sahara Board
Jet-Sahara deal gets a push

New Delhi, June 5
Jet Airways' $500-million deal to takeover Air Sahara got a boost today, with the Home Ministry giving security clearance to four Jet officials to be on the Board of Air Sahara.

Punjab offers 300 acres to Volkswagen in Ropar
Company team to meet CM on June 8
Chandigarh, June 5
German auto major Volkswagen may set up its Rs 1,700-crore manufacturing facility in Ropar. The Punjab Government has offered 300 acres of land on the outskirts of Ropar for the purpose.

London court ratifies Unocal stake sale in HOEC 
New Delhi, June 5
The London Court of International Arbitration has ratified US energy firm Unocal Corp’s sale of its 26 per cent stake in Hindustan Oil Exploration Co (HOEC) to Burren Energy of UK.

RIL eyes global exploration
Mumbai, June 5
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has said that the company was pursuing global opportunities in exploration and production of energy sources like oil and natural gas.

Big foreign funds eye India
Mumbai, June 5
At least foreign fund biggies would soon enter the Indian mutual fund industry, a sign that re-affirms overseas interest in the country’s stock markets though indices continue to sway.

Thailand TVs to hit Indian market soon
New Delhi, June 5
With the low-priced TV sets from Thailand ready to hit the market by September, the prices of colour TV sets are expected to fall at least by 10 per cent in the coming days, giving a tough time to the domestic manufacturers.

Bumper returns may be history
New Delhi, June 5
The volatile stock market movements are likely to continue to spook the potential investors, while huge returns enjoyed just a few days ago may not be repeated, leading private banking major HDFC Bank said.


 

A Sony employee displays the new digital audio player "Walkman E-series"
A Sony employee displays the new digital audio player "Walkman E-series", equipped with a 2GB, 1GB or 512MB flash memory on the lipstick sized body, measuring 24.8 x 79.0 x 13.6mm and weighing 25g, and direct USB connector which offers easy and speedy downloading from a PC at the company's headquarters in Tokyo on Monday. Sony will put the music player on the market on June 10 with an estimated price of 18,000 yen ($160) for 2GB model, 13,000 yen ($120) for 1GB and 10,000 yen ($90) for 512MB. — AFP

EARLIER STORIES



 
 

BILT to buy 97.8 pc in Malaysian co
Mumbai, June 5
Ballarpur Industries Ltd (BILT) has decided to acquire a 97.8 per cent stake in Malaysia-based Sabah Forest Industries (SFI) for $261 million.

Visitors to the Dubai airport build-and-supply exhibition look
Visitors to the Dubai airport build-and-supply exhibition look at advertising billboards displayed at the civil aviation stand on Monday. — Reuters
 

Indage to invest Rs 25 cr in HP
Lucknow, June 5
The Rs 500-crore Indage Group will invest Rs 25 crore to set up an integrated manufacturing-cum-R&D facility with state-of-art technology in Himachal .

Glenmark signs royalty deal for
$27 million 

Mumbai, June 5
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc (GPI) has signed a $27 million royalty deal with international healthcare investment fund Paul Capital Partners’ Royalty Fund to finance the development of 16 dermatological products by the pharma major for the US market.

Patni Computer buys ZAiQ Tech for $425,000
Mumbai, June 5
Patni Computer Systems Ltd said today it had acquired ZAiQ Technologies, a small ASIC design company, in Woburn MA, by an asset purchase transaction for $425,000.

Mr Yoshiaki Murakami, a high-profile Japanese fund manager, leaves a press conference at the Tokyo Stock Exchange
Mr Yoshiaki Murakami, a high-profile Japanese fund manager, leaves a press conference at the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday, where he admitted to insider trading linked to the scandal-hit Livedoor Internet firm.Mr Murakami said he had signed a statement during questioning by prosecutors admitting to violating the securities and exchange law. The former Industry Ministry bureaucrat said he would quit the fund management business. — AFP

Biotech sector revenue to touch $1.5 b
Bangalore, June 5
The Indian biotech sector grew by over 30 to 40 per cent and is expected to touch $1.5 billion in revenue in 2005-06 as against $1 billion last year.

IFFCO pays dividend
Chandigarh, June 5
IFFCO today presented a cheque for Rs 4.15 crore as a 20 per cent dividend to HAFED on its share capital of Rs 20.78 crore for 2005-06.

Rajinder Nath is HCCI chief
Chandigarh, June 5
Mr Rajinder Nath, Chairman, of Gopi Appliances Ltd, Ambala City, brand of electrical appliances, was chosen unanimously as President of the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) at a meetin of the chamber held in Ambala yesterday.

 
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Sensex down 75 points.
(28k, 56k)

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4 Jet officials cleared to join Air Sahara Board
Jet-Sahara deal gets a push

New Delhi, June 5
Jet Airways' $500-million deal to takeover Air Sahara got a boost today, with the Home Ministry giving security clearance to four Jet officials to be on the Board of Air Sahara.

The officials who are part of the Jet Airways Board and would join the Air Sahara as Directors are Saroj Dutta, Vijay Kelkar, Javed Akhtar and Victoriano P Dunca, official sources said.

Following the acquisition, Air Sahara had applied for grant of clearances to the new members to the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to become members of their Board.

The file was forwarded by the Civil Aviation Ministry to the Union Home Ministry for security clearance, which was granted last week, the sources said, adding that the DGCA also cleared the four names after security clearance was granted to them.

Jet Airways is likely to operate Air Sahara as a wholly-owned subsidiary till some other regulatory clearances are granted to the acquisition process.

While the name of the 100 per cent subsidiary has been finalised, it will be announced only after all necessary approvals are received from regulatory bodies, including the DGCA.

The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) has listed the Jet-Sahara case for a final decision in July.

Once security clearance is granted, the reconstituted Air Sahara Board would meet to adopt a resolution to enable Jet operate the airline as its subsidiary, airline sources said.

Ten Jet officials have been working for the past two months with their Air Sahara counterparts to help them streamline sales, ticketing and several managerial issues, they said.

Jet Airways had acquired Air Sahara for an enterprise value of $500 million (about Rs 2,300 crore) in January and had paid an advance of Rs 500 crore in March end as part of the buyout package. — PTI

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Punjab offers 300 acres to Volkswagen in Ropar
Company team to meet CM on June 8

Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
German auto major Volkswagen may set up its Rs 1,700-crore manufacturing facility in Ropar. The Punjab Government has offered 300 acres of land on the outskirts of Ropar for the purpose.

Top officials in the Punjab Industries Department told TNS that a delegation of Volkswagen, led by its India operations head, will be arriving here on June 7. "The delegation will hold talks with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on June 8 to work out the modalities for setting up the plant," informed Mr S.C. Aggarwal, Principal Secretary, Industries, Punjab.

If the deal comes through, it will be the largest foreign investment in Punjab till date. Punjab had initially offered two sites to Volkswagen, one at Nabha and the other at Ropar, but the company officials have zeroed in on the Ropar site. The company proposes to manufacture its popular small car, Beetle, from the plant. Officials say that the auto major is likely to set up an assembly-line unit.

It may be mentioned that for the past two years, Volkswagen has been scouting for sites in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana. The Punjab Government will be offering a slew of sops to the company, including free land and tax incentives, for choosing Punjab as the destination for its investment. The setting up of the facility in Punjab could also aid the ailing auto ancillary units.

Punjab had also offered free land to the Tatas for setting up their small car unit near Mohali. "However, informed a source in the Industries Department, "the Tata officials were not just demanding free land, but asking the government to construct the buildings for the company's unit. Since the company was ready to invest only Rs 800 crore and employ 5,000 persons, the proposal was not viable," he added.

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London court ratifies Unocal stake sale in HOEC 

New Delhi, June 5
The London Court of International Arbitration has ratified US energy firm Unocal Corp’s sale of its 26 per cent stake in Hindustan Oil Exploration Co (HOEC) to Burren Energy of UK.

Hardy Oil and Gas Plc, which holds an 8.5 per cent stake in HOEC, had contested the stake sale saying that as per the shareholders’ agreement, it had the first right of refusal in case any of the promoters were to sell their holding.

“The Tribunal has declared that Hardy is not a party to the shareholders’ agreement dated October 14, 1998, and Hardy is not entitled to claim any rights and/or benefits “under it,” HOEC said in a statement .In February 2005, Burren paid Unocal $26 million to purchase a 26 per cent stake in HOEC, the owner of 100 per cent interest in the undeveloped PY-1 gas field, 80 per cent in an adjacent exploration block (CY-OSN-97/1) and 21 per cent in the producing PY-3 oil field (all in Cauvery basin, Tamil Nadu).

Hardy stated that it had rights of pre-emption in relation to the sale of shares, a claim disputed by Burren. Subsequent to the purchase, Burren launched an open offer for acquiring additional 20 per cent share capital of HOEC. At the end of the offer, Burren’s stake grew to 26.01 per cent. HDFC has a 10.7 per cent stake while Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd 1.7 per cent in HOEC. — PTI 

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RIL eyes global exploration

Mumbai, June 5
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has said that the company was pursuing global opportunities in exploration and production of energy sources like oil and natural gas.

“The company has the capacity and the ability to emerge as a significant player on the global energy scene. To this effect, we are also pursuing global opportunities in exploration and production. We will share our progress in this area with you in the days to come,” RIL CMD Mukesh Ambani said in a letter to shareholders.

Mr Ambani said the exploration programme was going on “full throttle” and the signs were very encouraging.

“We believe that we will emerge as a significant producer of energy, both of oil and natural gas,” he said, adding that RIL has become the first private sector company to cross the Rs 9,000 crore mark in terms of net profit.

On the retail expansion, Mr Ambani said RIL was planning a pan-India footprint of multi-format retail outlets to provide the customer with choice in products and services. “All the outlets will be connected seamlessly through a state-of-the-art supply chain infrastructure,” he said. — PTI

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Big foreign funds eye India

Mumbai, June 5
At least foreign fund biggies would soon enter the Indian mutual fund industry, a sign that re-affirms overseas interest in the country’s stock markets though indices continue to sway.

USA-based American International Group and JP Morgan, British fund house Dawnie Day and Singapore-based Temasek are learnt to have drawn up their plans to enter the Indian mutual fund industry. These are expected to get operational in the next five-six months. Association of Mutual Funds in India Chairman A.P. Kurian said here.

These would enter India either by starting their own arm or in collaboration with some other companies.

“We are planning to enter the mutual fund business very soon. We have applied to Sebi for approval and are awaiting it. We also plan to launch a realty fund and are in talks with AIG Country Head Sunil Mehta said. AIG, besides starting an asset management company in India, had planned to start consumer finance, mortgage guarantee and capital recovery businesses. — PTI 

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Thailand TVs to hit Indian market soon
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
With the low-priced TV sets from Thailand ready to hit the market by September, the prices of colour TV sets are expected to fall at least by 10 per cent in the coming days, giving a tough time to the domestic manufacturers.

Indian manufacturers, which are feeling the heat of low-priced Chinese TV sets, are apprehensive that with a provision of zero per cent customs duty under the free trade agreement (FTA), these TVs could prove a death knell for the Indian manufacturers producing around 10 million sets annually.

“Since the colour TV set is included in the early harvest scheme of FTA with Thailand, the import duty on TV sets from Thailand would become zero from September 1. Indian manufacturers who are paying around 40 per cent taxes as against 7 per cent paid by the Thailand manufacturers, would be forced to revise the prices though at the cost of their survival,” said Mr Ravinder Zutshi, Deputy Managing Director, Samsung Electronics.

The domestic industry is also worried, he said, by the government’s proposal to introduce a 10 per cent licence fee on the purchase of each TV set, to finance the Prasar Bharati for running DD channels.

“Levying of the licence fee will increase the tax to about 50 per cent as compared to 15 per cent internal taxes in China, and just 7 per cent in Thailand, leading to sharp fall in domestic production, besides decline in government revenues,” said Consumer Electronics and TV Manufacturers Association (CETMA) president Anoop Kumar.

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Bumper returns may be history

New Delhi, June 5
The volatile stock market movements are likely to continue to spook the potential investors, while huge returns enjoyed just a few days ago may not be repeated, leading private banking major HDFC Bank said.

The current stock market valuations reflect the corporate earnings growth expectations more reasonably following the recent correction, the bank said in its latest monthly investment newsletter for its customers.

The shareholder returns should remain volatile going forward, while historic returns are unlikely to be repeated, the bank said.

The market has just gone through an unprecedented correction after rising sharply through the past 18 months.

Sensex surged to a life-time high of 12,612 on May 10, while more than doubling from the nearly 6,000 level in November, 2004.

When Sensex peaked above 12,600 last month, it was trading at one-year forward P/E of about 20x, making it one of the most expensive markets in the world, the bank said.

According to HDFC Bank, the sharp rally in the recent past has been primarily driven by two factors — strong earning growth and a re-rating in P/E of Indian companies.

However, the record high level witnessed on May 10, reflected a one-year forward P/E of as high as 18.6x, sharply higher than a ratio of 8.5x on March 31, 2003.

However, the record high level witnessed on May 10, reflected a one-year forward P/E of as high as 18.6x, sharply higher than a ratio of 8.5x on March 31, 2003.

The average earnings growth of 30 Sensex companies also dropped considerably to nearly 15 per cent as on May 10 this year, from as high as 36.46 per cent on March 31.

However, the correction witnessed on the bourses between May 10-22 led to a sharp decline in the P/E ratio to 15.6x making the current valuations more reasonable.

An analysis of the past movements in the stock market shows that a 1,000-point rally has shown a faster pace than the previous thousand-point jump, except for the 8,000-9,000 movement.

The quantum of accelerating rally in Sensex could be gauged from the fact that average return per day has also consistently increased with each 1,000-point rally in the past.

The Sensex’s average return per day was an astounding 0.83 per cent during the 600-point jump between April 20 and May 10, as against a meager 0.13 per cent between November 17, 2004, and June 21, 2005, when Sensex surged from 6,000 to 7,000.

Back in December, 2002, the market was grossly undervalued and was de-rated consequently due to various reasons, the bank said.

The barometer index had jumped nearly 314 per cent, from its March, 2003 level, when it scaled a new peak last month. — PTI 

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BILT to buy 97.8 pc in Malaysian co

Mumbai, June 5
Ballarpur Industries Ltd (BILT) has decided to acquire a 97.8 per cent stake in Malaysia-based Sabah Forest Industries (SFI) for $261 million.

The company signed a conditional agreement yesterday for acquiring 97.8 per cent equity of SFI either directly or through its affiliates, it said.

The acquisition is proposed to be done jointly with J P Morgan, which would purchase a 20 per cent stake in SFI with the balance being acquired by Ballarpur. The consideration of $261 million would be paid over 18 months.

SFI, which operates Malaysia’s largest integrated paper and pulp mill, has a paper capacity of 1,44,000 MTPA and a pulp capacity of 1,20,000 MTPA. — PTI

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Indage to invest Rs 25 cr in HP

Lucknow, June 5
The Rs 500-crore Indage Group will invest Rs 25 crore to set up an integrated manufacturing-cum-R&D facility with state-of-art technology in Himachal .

The French conglomerate has major interests in verticals such as wines and champagnes, hotels, fruit juices and confectionaries. “The company already has an R&D unit in Goa on a smaller scale. However, to cater to our expanding business operations, we decided to set up the new facility,’’ Seabuckthorn Indage Ltd (SIL) President M S Dhanota said here today. — UNI

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Glenmark signs royalty deal for $27 million 

Mumbai, June 5
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc (GPI) has signed a $27 million royalty deal with international healthcare investment fund Paul Capital Partners’ Royalty Fund to finance the development of 16 dermatological products by the pharma major for the US market.

In return, Paul royalty will receive undisclosed royalties on net sales, following US FDA approval, and launch of each product.

GPI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd (Glenmark), the research-led global pharmaceutical company.

“The products in the portfolio currently have a total US market revenue of about $1 billion. Under the agreement, Glenmark will be responsible for pre-clinical development, manage the clinical trials and manufacture the products,” Managing Director and CEO Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Glen Saldanha said here today.

GPI will be responsible for filing the abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) and, upon approval, marketing the products in the USA.

“Paul Royalty will finance product development through milestone payments to GPI over the next two years. In return, Paul Royalty will receive a royalty on net sales for these products, with the percentage varying by product and performance,” Mr Saldanha said.

“Sharing clinical and operational risks inherent in the portfolio and reducing impact of generic R&D expenditure are among the key reasons we entered into this deal,” he said. — PTI 

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Patni Computer buys ZAiQ Tech for $425,000

Mumbai, June 5
Patni Computer Systems Ltd said today it had acquired ZAiQ Technologies, a small ASIC design company, in Woburn MA, by an asset purchase transaction for $425,000.

The company is buying intellectual property in Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) design and validation space, active customer contracts and business pipeline along with a sales head and trademarks including other capital assets like hardware and software, Patni said.

ZAiQ would provide ASIC capabilities for Patni’s PES business unit. Patni aims to benefit from ZAiQ’s technical capabilities and would get access to ZAiQ’s intellectual property for verification and validation. — PTI

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Biotech sector revenue to touch $1.5 b
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, June 5
The Indian biotech sector grew by over 30 to 40 per cent and is expected to touch $1.5 billion in revenue in 2005-06 as against $1 billion last year.

Disclosing this here at a meet held on the eve of the sixth edition of “Bangalore Bio” here, Biocon Chairperson Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said Karnataka had earned leadership in the biotech sector and was set to maintain its position in the years to come.

"The country’s Biotech Vision 2010 of reaching $10 billion in revenue and providing employment to 1 million people is well on track," said Ms Shaw, who is also Chairperson of Karnataka Vision Group of Biotechnology. She said right now it was their endeavour to build a world-class incubator centre in Bangalore for biotech firms.

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IFFCO pays dividend

Chandigarh, June 5
IFFCO today presented a cheque for Rs 4.15 crore as a 20 per cent dividend to HAFED on its share capital of Rs 20.78 crore for 2005-06.

Presenting the cheque to Mr Rajan Gupta, MD, Hafed, the state Marketing Manager of IFFCO, Haryana, Mr S.S. Panwar, said this was the fifth year in a row that IFFCO had distributed a 20 per cent dividend to its shareholders. — TNS

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Rajinder Nath is HCCI chief

Rajinder NathChandigarh, June 5
Mr Rajinder Nath, Chairman, of Gopi Appliances Ltd, Ambala City, brand of electrical appliances, was chosen unanimously as President of the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) at a meeting of the chamber held in Ambala yesterday. The other office-bearers who were also elected unanimously are Mr Rajinder Singhal — Senior Vice-President, Mr A.D. Gandhi — General Secretary, Mr Rajnish Garg(Panchkula), Mr Roop Chandna (Karnal) and Mr Sukhmal Jain (Panipat) — all Vice-Presidents, Mr Romesh Goyal (Yamunanagar) and Mr Ashuwant Gupta (Ambala) — Honorary Secretaries, and Mr Bharat Bhushan Jain (Ambala) — Joint Secretary. — TNS

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BRIEFLY

RCoVL to raise $1 billion
Mumbai, June 5
Reliance Communication Ventures Ltd (RCoVL) said today it would raise up to $1 billion through its Sponsored Global Depository Receipts and American Depository Receipts programme. The shareholders at the EGM approved the issue of sponsored GDRs and ADRs up to $1 billion, with a green shoe option of 20 per cent of the offer size, the company informed the BSE. — PTI

PFC public offer
New Delhi, June 5
The Power Finance Corporation today filed a draft prospectus with SEBI for public offering and divesting a 5 per cent government stake. PFC is offering an aggregate of up to 154,567,500 equity shares of Rs 10 each for cash at a price to be decided through the book- building process, the company said, adding that the offer comprises up to 103,045,000 equity shares and an offer for sale up to 51,522,500 equity shares by the government.— PTI

Essar Shipping
Mumbai, June 5
Essar Shipping Ltd will divest its entire holding in Vadinar Oil Terminal Ltd (VOTL) and Essar Logistics Ltd (ELL) to Essar Shipping and Logistics Ltd for $215 million. The Board approved the sale of the company’s 100 per cent equity holding in subsidiaries VOTL and ELL to Essar Shipping and Logistics, Essar Shipping said.— PTI

Stake bought
Mumbai, June 5
Indiabulls Financial Services Limited said today foreign institutional investor FIM Limited has bought a 36 per cent stake in Indiabulls Buildcon Limited (IBL) for Rs 15 crore. Indiabulls Financial Services said that it now owned the remaining 64 per cent stake in IBL, a company engaged in the construction-development projects in the country. — PTI

Indo-Asian Fusegear
New Delhi, June 5
Indo Asian Fusegear Ltd has announced its entry into Nepal and said it was aiming at business of over Rs 20 crore in the first year of operations. “Having been present in the European and West Asian markets, we were keenly looking at our neighbouring markets such as Nepal, which have immense potential,” Indo- Asian Fusegear Chairman and Managing Director V. P. Mahendru said today. The company has tied up with a local industrial house, Golchaa Industries, for the distribution of its Hausmann range of products. — PTI
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