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Govt mulls manufacturing investment regions
New Delhi, July 11
Riding on a resounding growth of over 12 per cent in the manufacturing sector in May 2006, the government said today it would soon announce a major policy initiative for setting up the manufacturing investment regions which would subsume within itself special economic zones.

New-look WagonR soon
LPG-run model also on the way
New Delhi, July 11
Buoyed by the success of Swift, car market leader Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) is now set to launch a brand new WagonR model later this month to strengthen its position in the competitive A2 segment.

RIL gas sale to RNRL opposed
New Delhi, July 11
Anil Ambani Group's plan to buy natural gas from Reliance Industries at less than half the market price is being opposed by the oil ministry, which in an internal note feels that such a price may lead to "huge financial loss to the government in the form of lower royalty and lower profit petroleum."

No bail-out package for banks: Govt
New Delhi, July 11
The government said today there would be no bail- out package for public sector banks as these had emerged strong and even Punjab and Sind Bank, which required Rs 500 crore capital infusion last year, had come out of the woods.

Corporate Results
Hero Honda Q1 net up 16.2 pc, to hike prices by month-end 

New Delhi, July 11
Hero Honda Motors Ltd today reported a 16.2 per cent rise in net profit in the quarter ended June 30, 2006, at Rs 237.74 crore against Rs 204.45 crore in the corresponding period last year, subdued due to an increase in input material prices, and said it would hike prices by month-end.

BSNL blames DoT for congestion
New Delhi, July 11
After being pulled up by all quarters for causing congestion in networks, BSNL has put the blame on the Department of Telecom, saying that the absence of timely allocation of additional spectrum by wireless planning coordination (WPC ) is the root cause.


Models display outfits by Vietnamese designer Minh Khoa at a fashion show in Hong Kong on Tuesday
Models display outfits by Vietnamese designer Minh Khoa at a fashion show in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Hong Kong fashion week hosts 1,100 exhibitors from 25 participating countries with several new collections daily from international designers. — AFP

EARLIER STORIES



 
Mr Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Motors Ltd, at the company’s annual general meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday
Mr Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Motors Ltd, at the company’s annual general meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday. India’s largest truck-maker, Tata Motors, is looking at the possibility of joint manufacturing of cars at Italian car-maker Fiat’s plant in western India, a senior company official said. — Reuters

REL seeks govt intervention
New Delhi, July 11
Unable to kickstart its maiden transmission project even two years after winning the bid, Reliance Energy Ltd has now sought government intervention to ensure that the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd signs the formal joint venture agreement at the earliest.

DLF bags township project for Rs 2,713 cr
Kolkata, July 11
In the biggest land deal in the eastern region, real estate major DLF has bagged the contract for developing a township-cum-industrial hub at Dankuni near here.

Hyundai cars to cost more
New Delhi, July 11
Hyundai Motor India today announced an increase in the prices of all its models to cover increased input costs as a result of the hike in oil prices. Company officials said here that the price hike had been necessitated by a variety of cost push factors like a surge in freight costs and raw material.

Opening up trade with India to benefit Pak more, says study
Islamabad, July 11
Debunking Pakistan’s arguments that the normalisation of trade relations with India benefited only the bigger partner, a study by the country’s State Bank has said the move actually favoured Islamabad.

Coca-Cola may buy major stake in Philippines bottler
Manila, July 11 
US beverage giant Coca-Cola may buy back a majority stake in its Philippines bottler from its local partner San Miguel Corp, the Filipino firm said today.

SCOPE trophy

 

 

 

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Govt mulls manufacturing investment regions

New Delhi, July 11
Riding on a resounding growth of over 12 per cent in the manufacturing sector in May 2006, the government said today it would soon announce a major policy initiative for setting up the manufacturing investment regions which would subsume within itself special economic zones.

Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry is meeting here on July 20 to discuss the proposal along with the report of the Ratan Tata-led Investment Commission which has recommended a host of measures to boost the country’s manufacturing sector.

The manufacturing, with 80 per cent weightage in the overall index for industrial production, witnessed 12.2 per cent growth in May this fiscal.

Witnessing a major revival, the manufacturing had grown by 10.4 per cent in April this year, while the sector received as much as $ 2 billion of foreign direct investment in 2005-06.

“Manufacturing is the most important cog in the wheel and the prime driver of the economic development. The proposed Manufacturing Investment Regions (MIRs) will be set up on areas of 100 and 150 sq kms”, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said today.

The government has already announced the implementation of a 10-year National Facturing Initiative and the contours of this initiative are being finalised in consultation with the stakeholders. A high-level committee headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and comprising Commerce and Industry Minister, Finance Minister, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman and National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) Chairman and concerned Secretaries has been constituted to deal with policy-level issues that may arise in the implementation of this initiative.

He said the government’s aim is to take a share of manufacturing from 16 per cent of the GDP to 24 per cent by 2012 and 30 per cent by 2020. “This calls for stepping up the rate of growth first to 12 per cent and thereafter to 14 per cent.”

The MIRs will be specialised areas of over 100 sq km where world-class infrastructure, both external and internal, will be provided through Central and state efforts, as per a master plan by the private developers.

Single-Window clearance and flexibility in labour laws within these investment regions are also being explored, though these would require legal backing of state Laws.

A massive programme of national skill development is being worked out, so that 6,500 ITIs in the country start producing skills which are more contemporary and in large numbers.

A National Offset Policy is being considered for procurement by government departments and agencies, so that technology import incorporation, both in SMEs and in larger industries, becomes easier. Imports of goods from outside need to be linked up with import of first-class technology. — UNI

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New-look WagonR soon
LPG-run model also on the way
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 11
Buoyed by the success of Swift, car market leader Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) is now set to launch a brand new WagonR model later this month to strengthen its position in the competitive A2 segment.

Although the company is keeping the new WagonR under wraps, sources, who had an exclusive preview of the car, say the makeover in the new model would be of an extensive level and the company would be rolling out a completely different model from what is on the streets now.

“The boxy look of the Wagon R would disappear and the new model would have a bold, aggressive stance”, a top source in a dealership said. In addition, MUL would also be launching an LPG variant — WagonR Duo, creating a new wave in the A2 segment. Although both models are likely to be priced higher than the existing WagonR, the increase is not likely to be substancial and would place the car competitively in its segment.

Though WagonR sales have been growing at a phenomenal 32 per cent compounded per annum for the last three years, Maruti has gone for a makeover since there was some customer reluctance about the boxy shape of the car.

In addition to the regular variants, Lx, Lxi, Vxi and Ax, the WagonR Duo will run on LPG, thus making it the first factory-produced LPG passenger car in the country. This move gives Maruti access to a virtually untapped market, which is poised to see major growth with the availability of LPG on the rise across the country.

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RIL gas sale to RNRL opposed

New Delhi, July 11
Anil Ambani Group's plan to buy natural gas from Reliance Industries at less than half the market price is being opposed by the oil ministry, which in an internal note feels that such a price may lead to "huge financial loss to the government in the form of lower royalty and lower profit petroleum."

The note prepared for consideration of the Oil Minister Murli Deora states that RIL's sale price of $2.34 per million British thermal unit (mBtu) was significantly lower than the $4.75 per mBtu price charged for Panna/Mukta and Tapti field gas, where RIL is the joint operator.

Highly-placed sources said RIL had claimed that the $2.34 per mBtu sale price of gas produced from its KG basin field to Anil Ambani's Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) was the same price it had bid successfully for NTPC tender.

However, Directorate-General of Hydrocarbons has observed that "the reference gas price quoted by RIL to NTPC has not yet been finalised between RIL and NTPC and is stated to be subjudice," the note said.

“The agreement between RIL and RNRL is a part of their demerger agreement and the Gas Supply Master Agreement was signed between them when RNRL was an arm of RIL”.

As per production sharing contract entered into by oil and gas field operators, the government as the owner of the fields is entitled for a share in production (called profit petroleum) and royalty. — PTI

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BSNL blames DoT for congestion

New Delhi, July 11
After being pulled up by all quarters for causing congestion in networks, BSNL has put the blame on the Department of Telecom, saying that the absence of timely allocation of additional spectrum by wireless planning coordination (WPC ) is the root cause.

WPC has not been able to provide timely allocation of additional spectrum to BSNL. This has resulted in poor quality of service to subscribers, unnecessary capital expenditure in terms of number of BTS sites and increase in operational expenditure in terms of manpower requirement and other expenses in a large number of unnecessary sites, BSNL said in its response to TRAI on 3G spectrum pricing.

BSNL has not spared DoT over the delay in 3G spectrum allocation, saying that “the spectrum for 3G mobile services has been in discussion for the past two years and still the issues seems far from resolved.”

“The non-finalisation of the policy for the allocation of the spectrum will seriously affect the rollout plans of BSNL for the launch of the 3G services as every thing will be ready except for the availability of the spectrum. The spectrum in 900 and 1800 MHz band has not been freed from Defence and it is likely that no future allotment beyond 8 MHz will be there for operators in these bands”, the PSU said.

Urging the licensor and regulator for the early release and allocation of spectrum in IMT 2000 band to operators, so that they can start the services early, it said: “BSNL has already floated a tender for 63.5 million lines of mobile equipment based on GSM and WCDMA technology. The WCDMA technology is a logical extension of the GSM for the provision of the 3G mobile services.” — PTI

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No bail-out package for banks: Govt

New Delhi, July 11
The government said today there would be no bail- out package for public sector banks as these had emerged strong and even Punjab and Sind Bank, which required Rs 500 crore capital infusion last year, had come out of the woods.

“We are not proposing bailouts... because as far as public sector banks are concerned, they do not require it,” a top banking official said here.

Punjab and Sind Bank, which was the only bank that was tottering with large non-performing assets, had also started looking up and the annual results announced for 2005-06 showed the ailing bank had vastly improved.

“The additional capital (Rs 500 crore) has helped PSB tremendously. It is out of the woods now and fairly well- positioned, even to the extent that the RBI has lifted prompt corrective action, imposed on the bank earlier,” he said.

Every public sector bank now was strong enough not to require a bailout package from the government. “Even the banks, which are 100 per cent government owned are strong enough”.

“Apart from PSB, the other three public sector banks with 100 per cent government equity are United Bank of India, Indian Bank, Central Bank of India,” he said.

“I am fairly confident that PSB will also become stable by 2006-07,” he said.

Bailout also meant that there was not going to be any forced merger, he said. “We don’t have requirement of a weak public sector bank being merged because otherwise it would fold up,” he added.

While the government merged the ailing private sector GTB bank with public sector Oriental Bank of Commerce in 2004, Ganesh Bank of Kurundwad was amalgamated with Federal Bank Ltd earlier this year.— PTI

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Corporate Results
Hero Honda Q1 net up 16.2 pc,
to hike prices by month-end

New Delhi, July 11
Hero Honda Motors Ltd today reported a 16.2 per cent rise in net profit in the quarter ended June 30, 2006, at Rs 237.74 crore against Rs 204.45 crore in the corresponding period last year, subdued due to an increase in input material prices, and said it would hike prices by month-end.

Turnover (net of excise) in the period increased to Rs 2,416.65 crore from Rs 2,007.63 crore in April-June 2005, a growth of 20.5 per cent.

Significantly, operating margins for the company dropped to 13.5 per cent in the April-June, 2006, quarter from 16.1 per cent in the previous quarter. Raw material costs were up at Rs 1,717 crore against Rs 1,408 crore in Q1FY05.

Company Managing Director Pawan Munjal said the bike prices would be increased by this month-end to offset the increase in inputs. However, he refused to specify the quantum of hike or the models which would see the price increase.

He said the company was expanding capacity at its Gurgaon and Dharuhera plants in Haryana by 4,50,000 units each, which would be completed by August, 2006, and increase capacity to 3.9 million units for this year.

Mr Munjal said the third plant would have a production capacity of 5,00,000 units.—PTI

Essar Steel profit down

Essar Steel has posted a decline in net profit at Rs 86.37 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2006, as against Rs 272.78 crore in the corresponding period last year.

The company’s total income (net of excise) stood at Rs 1690.71 crore for the quarter as compared to Rs 1926.64 crore for the corresponding period of the previous year. The EBIDTA for the quarter stood at Rs 340.51 crore as against Rs 699.49 crore.

For FY 2005-06, the company reported a total income of Rs 6390.72 crore (net of excise) as compared to Rs 6121.27 crore last year, an increase of 4.4 per cent. The company s Net profit was Rs 530.18 crore as against Rs 590.15 crore in FY 2004-05.

BASF India

BASF India Ltd has posted a net profit of Rs 17.22 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2006, as compared to Rs 11.69 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2005.

Announcing the results, the company said its total income (net of excise) had increased from Rs 168.15 crore in Q1 FY 05-06 to Rs 207.49 crore for Q1 FY 06-07.— TNS, Agencies

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REL seeks govt intervention

New Delhi, July 11
Unable to kickstart its maiden transmission project even two years after winning the bid, Reliance Energy Ltd has now sought government intervention to ensure that the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd signs the formal joint venture agreement at the earliest.

The Anil Ambani group firm has written to the Power Ministry, seeking directions to PGCIL to ink the shareholders agreement on the Rs 750— crore project that would evacuate power from NTPC’s 800 MW Koldam and NHPC’s 800- MW Parbati hydroelectric projects in Himachal Pradesh, official sources said.

The Power Ministry, in turn, has asked for a reply from the central transmission utility since any delay in completing the Koldam-Parbati transmission system would affect the evacuation of power from the two projects that are scheduled to begin generation for the northern grid by mid-2008, the sources said. — PTI

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DLF bags township project for Rs 2,713 cr

Kolkata, July 11
In the biggest land deal in the eastern region, real estate major DLF has bagged the contract for developing a township-cum-industrial hub at Dankuni near here.
The global tender for the project, floated by Kolkata Municipal Development Corporation (KMDA), was opened last night by a five-member committee.

According to the KMDA sources, the DLF group quoted a price of Rs 2,713 crore to be the highest bidder, followed by the Emmar NGF Group (Rs 1,698 crore) and the Suncity Group (Rs 1,551 crore).

“This is the biggest ever land deal in eastern India,” the sources said adding the DLF Group would give KMDA 10 per cent upfront price of the total amount as booking charge.

The project envisaged development of a township over a 3,900 acre area which will include shopping complexes and multiplexes.

The proposed industrial hub would be built over an area of 1,000 acre, they said. — UNI

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Hyundai cars to cost more
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 11
Hyundai Motor India today announced an increase in the prices of all its models to cover increased input costs as a result of the hike in oil prices. Company officials said here that the price hike had been necessitated by a variety of cost push factors like a surge in freight costs and raw material.

The prices of Santro have been raised by Rs 3,500. The price hike in the Getz and Accent models is between Rs 1,600 and Rs 2,601. The highest rise has been in the Elantra (CRDi-LP) model at Rs 26,300. The prices of the general Elantra car have been increased by Rs 6,300.

The Sonata and Tucson models will be costlier by Rs 700 each. The price increase will come into effect tomorrow.

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Opening up trade with India
to benefit Pak more, says study

Islamabad, July 11
Debunking Pakistan’s arguments that the normalisation of trade relations with India benefited only the bigger partner, a study by the country’s State Bank has said the move actually favoured Islamabad.

The study by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) estimated that if Pakistan opened up, the bilateral trade volume could cross a whopping $ billion.

It called for liberalisation of trade with India which, it believed, would benefit Pakistan more, with imports mopping up net savings ranging from $400 to 900 million.

The report titled “Implications of liberalising trade and investment with India”, also suggested joint ventures, which the Pakistan Government has studiously shunned, to benefit from the Indian experience in different sectors.

The bank said 32 per cent of Pakistan’s export products were currently bought by India from other countries and constituted a third of its total imports.

The two countries, bogged down with political disputes have achieved only 2 per cent of the total trade potential during the past 25 years, said excerpts of the report published in Dawn newspaper here today.

About 1,181 items worth $3.9 billion, covering 45 per cent of the total items exported by Pakistan, were common with India’s imports during 2004, it observed.

About 70.3 per cent of the common items exported from Pakistan had unit values less or equal to Indian imports’ unit values.

It said, “there is a large scope for export of these items simply by producing the quality required in India. The potential of trade (exports plus imports) between the two countries estimated by the SBP amounts to $5.2 billion.”— PTI

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Coca-Cola may buy major
stake in Philippines bottler

Manila, July 11 
US beverage giant Coca-Cola may buy back a majority stake in its Philippines bottler from its local partner San Miguel Corp, the Filipino firm said today.

A San Miguel statement said the brewer, which holds 65 per cent of the venture, was in talks with Atlanta-based Coca-Cola over their venture, Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc (CCBPI). It stressed that no definite agreements had been reached so far. CCBPI is one of the top 10 bottlers of Coca-Cola worldwide.— AFP

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SCOPE trophy

New Delhi, July 11
Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has bagged the gold trophy of the prestigious SCOPE Award for excellence and outstanding contributions to public sector management for 2004-05. SAIL emerged winner after recording best-ever physical and financial parameters during 2004-05. — UNI

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BRIEFLY

Tata Power pact with Siemens
Mumbai, July 11
Tata Power today announced that it had signed an agreement with Germany’s Siemens Project Ventures GmbH (SPV), a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens Financial Services, to jointly bid for the ultra mega power projects (UMPP). The two parties will cooperate in the development and implementation of the Sasan (Madhya Pradesh) and Mundra (Gujarat) projects under the UMPP initiative. The government has announced the implementation of several ultra mega power projects through an international competitive bidding process. Tata Power has qualified for the Sasan and Mundra projects.—TNS

A model poses with LG’s latest mobile phones — KG-800 Black Label series
A model poses with LG’s latest mobile phones — KG-800 Black Label series, also known as chocolate phone — launched in New Delhi on Tuesday. The chocolate phone boasts of an MP3/AAC music player, 128 MB on-board memory, a 1.3 mega pixel camera and video camera and has a password-protection facility. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Blackstone to invest $50 m
New Delhi, July 11
US-based Blackstone group will invest $50 million in Pune-based Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd as a part of its India investment plans. The investment was approved by Emcure’s Board as a part of an agreement between the company and the Blackstone group, a statement from the Blackstone group said. — PTI

Haier phones
Bangalore, July 11
Haier Telecom, one of the leading suppliers to TATA in CDMA, today announced a new range of touch- screen GSM mobile phones in the country. Haier Telecom wants to foray into the GSM segment with clear leadership in a new upcoming segment of touch- screen phones, the company said. Speaking at the launch, Mr Arun Khanna, MD, Haier Telecom, said these mobile phones were available at a price range of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000.— PTI

Panacea Biotec
New Delhi, July 11
Panacea Biotec said today it was working on four vaccines, including those for treating anthrax and Japanese encephalitis. Panacea today entered into a manufacturing and marketing agreement with Indonesian state-run drug company, PT Bio Farma, to supply their measles vaccine in India as well as other global markets. The company would procure bulk vaccines from PT Bio Farma and formulate it into a finished product, which would be sold in India and other defined global markets. — TNS

Ind Organics
Mumbai, July 11
Manufacturer of pharmaceutical bulk drugs Industrial Organics Ltd said today it had decided to invest Rs 72.95 crore for expansion plans and setting up of a co-generation project. The Board of Directors on July 7 approved the revised cost of the project to be financed by way of loans. —PTI

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