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Piped gas to 2 crore households in 3 yrs 
New Delhi, October 17
The government will soon come out with a comprehensive policy to encourage investment in building infrastructure to provide piped natural gas to 20 million urban households in cities and towns within three years, said Petroleum Minister Murli Deora.

No proposal to review SEZ policy
New Delhi, October 17
The government has no immediate proposal to review the policy of special economic zones (SEZs) despite stiff opposition from the Left parties, farmers and non-governmental organisations.

Tatas offer 455 pence a share of Corus
London/Mumbai, October 17
Corporate giant Tatas today announced it had made a “non-bidding” acquisition offer to British steel giant Corus at an estimated $10 billion which, if successful, would be the single largest takeover by an Indian entity abroad.

Power Grid to enter telecom sector soon 
Nagpur, October 17
Power Grid Corporation of India will soon enter the telecom service provider segment and is only waiting to implement the 20,000 km telecom network, providing an affordable highway for telecommunication, company officials said.

European tech park to invest Rs 1,100 cr in Haryana
London, October 17
The European technology park will make an initial investment of more than Rs 1,100 crore in a modern technology park in Haryana, state Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said today.

Ashok Leyland bags European Co for $35 m
Prague, October 17
Ashok Leyland, the Indian flagship of the Hinduja Group, has acquired the Avia Truck Business Unit, a leading vehicle manufacturer in Europe, at an estimated cost of around $35 million.

GTL buys UK Co for $9 m
Mumbai, October 17
GTL Ltd, India’s leading network services company, today announced 100 per cent buyout of Genesis Consultancy Ltd, a UK-based network management and professional services company, in an all-cash deal of $9 million (approximately Rs 40.50 crore), Chairman and Managing Director, Manoj Tirodkar said here.

Sony recalls 90,000 batteries
Tokyo, October 17
Sony, the world's second-largest maker of consumer electronics, is recalling 90,000 batteries used in its Vaio notebook computers.


 

 

Bollywood actress and brand ambassador of Longines Aishwarya Rai displays a watch from the BelleArti collection in New Delhi
Bollywood actress and brand ambassador of Longines Aishwarya Rai displays a watch from the BelleArti collection in New Delhi on Tuesday. Priced at Rs 67,000 onwards, the BelleArti range is available for both men and women. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

 
Shoppers emerge from a Wal-Mart super center branch in Beijing
Shoppers emerge from a Wal-Mart super center branch in Beijing on Tuesday. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to buy a Chinese hypermarket chain for about $1 billion to become the top foreign player in China's fragmented retail market, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.— Reuters

Internet search engine launched
Bangalore, October 17
India’s IT capital is set to house the country’s first local Internet search engine with two Delhi IIT graduates launching Guruji.com, which aimed at providing better search results by leveraging data in the Indian context.

Bank Account
HDFC Bank Q2 profit up by 31.7 pc

Mumbai, October 17
HDFC Bank Limited has clocked a 31.7 per cent jump in its net profit at Rs 262.9 crore in Q2 FY 07 while its total income increased to Rs 2,033.4 crore from Rs 1,283 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal.

  • CBoP profit up

Corporate Results
Jet Airways posts net loss of Rs 55 cr

Mumbai, October 17
Private carrier Jet Airways India Ltd has posted a net loss of Rs 55.13 crore for the quarter ended September 30 as compared to a net profit of Rs 68.59 crore for the same quarter last year.

 

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Piped gas to 2 crore households in 3 yrs 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 17
The government will soon come out with a comprehensive policy to encourage investment in building infrastructure to provide piped natural gas to 20 million urban households in cities and towns within three years, said Petroleum Minister Murli Deora.

The policy will make the dream of piped gas supply to urban homes a reality, especially in the mega city of Mumbai, besides facilitating the development of gas pipelines connecting gas production centres to consumer points in different parts of the country.

Mr Deora had convened a meeting to discuss the draft policy for development of natural gas pipelines and city or local natural gas distribution networks.

Various organisations, companies and institutions who attended the meeting at Mumbai included British Gas, Shell, ADAG, British Petroleum (India), all public sector units in the oil sector and representative of the Planning Commission.

He said the oil and gas exploration policy under implementation by the government since 2000 had resulted in yielding large quantities of natural gas as the blocks had becoming operational. As much as 100 million cubic metres of gas would be available initially.

After meeting the primary demands from fertiliser, power and other industries the gas would be provided to urban households as cheaper and cleaner fuel for domestic purposes, the minister said.

The draft policy framework proposed incentives to investors for non-lucrative urban areas and a protected period for limited access to pipelines laid by an investor. The investors would be encouraged to venture out in smaller cities also. The objective of the draft policy was to promote investment from the public and private sector in natural gas pipeline and city & local natural gas distribution networks. 

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No proposal to review SEZ policy
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 17
The government has no immediate proposal to review the policy of special economic zones (SEZs) despite stiff opposition from the Left parties, farmers and non-governmental organisations.

“There is no proposal presently to review the SEZ policy,” Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh told The Tribune today.

He was talking on the sidelines of Indian Handicrafts and Gifts Fair held at Greater Noida today.

The five-day long fair has generated export business amounting to Rs 1,700 crore, said Mr Rakesh Kumar, Executive Director, Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts.

Notably, during his visit to UK and Finland, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also said the SEZs were here to stay and government would implement the policy while protecting interests of all stakeholders.

The Finance Ministry and the Left parties are, however, pressing for a review of the policy, protesting that the Commerce Ministry was indiscriminately approving the SEZs without taking into account long- term consequences of the policy.

Referring to India’s trade talks with Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), he said, India had almost finalised trade agreements with the trading block and a meeting to discuss certain pending issues was likely to be held by December.

The Commerce Ministry had recently asked the exporters to provide a feedback on the non-trade barriers impacting the exports to BIMSTEC countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand).

Concerned over the possibility of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) of BIMSTEC nations becoming an obstacle to the projected 74 per cent jump in India’s exports to them from 2003 figures, the government is collecting data regarding the current and future revenue loss incurred due to the NTBs.

It will also find out if the NTBs of BIMSTEC nations are forcing exporters to circumvent the law and cause revenue loss to India.

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Tatas offer 455 pence a share of Corus

London/Mumbai, October 17
Corporate giant Tatas today announced it had made a “non-bidding” acquisition offer to British steel giant Corus at an estimated $10 billion which, if successful, would be the single largest takeover by an Indian entity abroad.

If accepted by Corus, the deal at 455 pence a share that puts the enterprise value of the UK-based company at over Rs 46,000 crore would catapult the Indian steel company to the league of the world’s top 10 steelmakers.

The offer to Corus is part of the aggressive acquisition and takeover strategy of the Tata Group across the globe, particularly in Europe and the US, where it acquired mineral water maker Glaceau as also coffee chain Eight’o Clock.

In an almost synchronised announcements, the two companies said that further statements would be made as and when appropriate as there was no certainty that the “final offer” would be made.

In its communique to the Bombay Stock Exchange, Tata Steel said the company had “made an indicative non-bidding offer to acquire 100 per cent equity in Corus Group Plc through a recommendatory offer route at 455 pence per share in cash.” Corus said discussions were on with Tata Steel.— PTI

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Power Grid to enter telecom sector soon 

Nagpur, October 17
Power Grid Corporation of India will soon enter the telecom service provider segment and is only waiting to implement the 20,000 km telecom network, providing an affordable highway for telecommunication, company officials said.

The company has already diversified into the telecom segment as a carrier while utilising spare telecommunication capacity of its Unified Load Dispatch Centre (ULDC) schemes, leveraging its countrywide transmission infrastructure, its Chairman-cum-Managing Director R.P. Singh said here today.

“Once we stabilise in the business of carrier, we will venture into basic telephony,” Mr R.P. Singh said at a press conference.

The company was in the process of implementing a telecom network of about 20,000 km, which would provide a robust highway of telecommunication at affordable cost with ultra modern and eco-friendly implementation techniques, he said. Agreements had been signed with leading telecom players like MTNL, BSNL and Reliance for using Power Grid’s telecom network.

Most part of the telecom network, connecting major cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai, besides the capitals in the North East was operational.

On the PSU’s financial performance, he said it had achieved a turnover of Rs 3,554 crore with a net profit of Rs 1,009 crore during the first quarter of 2005-06, thereby registering a growth rate of 26 per cent in turnover and 28 per cent in net profit compared to previous year.

The company’s gross asset base had gone up to Rs 24,888 crore in 2005-06.— PTI 

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European tech park to invest Rs 1,100 cr in Haryana

London, October 17
The European technology park will make an initial investment of more than Rs 1,100 crore in a modern technology park in Haryana, state Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said today.

"Ultimately, they will invest 2 billion euros (Rs 11,389 crore approx) in the state in the coming years," Mr Hooda, who is here heading a business and industrial delegation said.

A memorandum of understanding in this connection was signed at Amsterdam last Tuesday.

Another MoU was signed in Berlin with the Osram Group, which will invest Rs 100 crore in Haryana for setting up their unit.

In yet another MoU signed in Paris, Arcelor-Mittal would set up a joint venture auto-component manufacturing company in the state, the Chief Minister said.

JCB group in the UK, known for its excavation work and is already operating in the state, would set up an engine manufacturing unit in Ballabhgarh. — PTI 

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Ashok Leyland bags European Co for $35 m

Prague, October 17
Ashok Leyland, the Indian flagship of the Hinduja Group, has acquired the Avia Truck Business Unit, a leading vehicle manufacturer in Europe, at an estimated cost of around $35 million.

Started as an aircraft and engine manufacturer in 1919, Avia diversified later into trucks and signed licence agreement with Renault in 1967. In 1995, Avia was acquired by Daewoo Motor Corporation Ltd with a majority share.

But despite huge investment, its ambitious programme to have a strong base in Europe in light commercial vehicles and intermediary commercial vehicles, failed to materialise as it went into bankruptcy in 2000.

It will be the first Indian company to have a truck manufacturing unit in Europe. 
— PTI

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GTL buys UK Co for $9 m

Mumbai, October 17
GTL Ltd, India’s leading network services company, today announced 100 per cent buyout of Genesis Consultancy Ltd, a UK-based network management and professional services company, in an all-cash deal of $9 million (approximately Rs 40.50 crore), Chairman and Managing Director, Manoj Tirodkar said here.

This buy-out is one among the series of acquisitions the company intends to complete in a couple of years by investing about Rs 1,000 crore.

Meanwhile, GTL has posted an increase of 9.14 per cent in net profit after tax at Rs 7.64 crore for the quarter ended September 30, as compared to Rs 7 crore for the same quarter a year ago.

The total income increased to Rs 145.56 crore for the quarter ended September 30 from Rs 137.22 crore a year ago.

The group posted a net profit after tax of Rs 18.24 crore for the quarter ended September 30 as compared to Rs 10.31 crore for the same period last year. The total income of the group increased to Rs 235.21 crore for the quarter ended September 30 from Rs 202.75 crore a year ago.— PTI 

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Sony recalls 90,000 batteries

Tokyo, October 17
Sony, the world's second-largest maker of consumer electronics, is recalling 90,000 batteries used in its Vaio notebook computers.

About 60,000 of the power packs will be replaced in Japan, and the rest in China, company spokesman Daichi Yamafuji said today. He declined to say how much the recall will cost.— Bloomberg

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Internet search engine launched
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, October 17
India’s IT capital is set to house the country’s first local Internet search engine with two Delhi IIT graduates launching Guruji.com, which aimed at providing better search results by leveraging data in the Indian context.

Aimed at the Indian web consumer, Guruji.com has come about after Sequoia Capital India provided a seed funding of $7 million for the project, the company founder and CEO Anurag Dod disclosed. Mr Dod has partnered with Mr Gaurav Mishra to start the project.

The search engine, which is expected to have about one lakh hits per day, also aims to capitalise on searches made in vernacular languages. He said this market was presently not tapped at all and the search engine would like to address itself to this issue.

The search engine uses crawl technology that crawls the web, identifying Indian content using sophisticated algorithms. 

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Bank Account
HDFC Bank Q2 profit up by 31.7 pc

Mumbai, October 17
HDFC Bank Limited has clocked a 31.7 per cent jump in its net profit at Rs 262.9 crore in Q2 FY 07 while its total income increased to Rs 2,033.4 crore from Rs 1,283 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal.

Net revenues witnessed an increase of 42.5 per cent at Rs 1,243.3 crore as against Rs 872.3 crore while interest earnings stood at Rs 1,635.7 crore as against Rs 1,022.9 crore in the previous corresponding quarter.

Driven by an average asset growth of 40 per cent and a stable core net interest margin at just about 4 per cent, the bank's net interest income expanded by Rs 233.5 crore (38.1 per cent) to Rs 845.6 crore.

CBoP profit up

Centurion Bank of Punjab (CBoP) has announced a net profit of Rs 31.1 crore for the quarter ended September 30 (Q2-FY2007). The net profit for the quarter grew by 49 per cent as compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Profit before tax for the quarter at Rs 50.6 crore demonstrates a growth of 593 per cent over the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The net advances of the bank at Rs 8,385 crore on September 30 have grown by 64 per cent over those on September 30, 2005. The bank’s deposits grew by 41 per cent over those last year.— PTI, TNS

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Corporate Results
Jet Airways posts net loss of Rs 55 cr

Mumbai, October 17
Private carrier Jet Airways India Ltd has posted a net loss of Rs 55.13 crore for the quarter ended September 30 as compared to a net profit of Rs 68.59 crore for the same quarter last year.

The total income increased by 37.53 per cent to Rs 1,821.23 crore for the second quarter ended September 30 from Rs 1,324.24 crore a year ago, Jet Airways informed the BSE.

Ballarpur Industries

Ballarpur Industries Ltd has posted a 32 per cent rise in net profit after tax at Rs 58.26 crore for the quarter ended September 30 as compared to Rs 44.20 crore for the corresponding quarter last year.

Total income (net of excise) increased by 21 per cent to Rs 529.91 crore for the first quarter in 2006-07 from Rs 437.92 crore during the July-September period in 2005-06, the company informed the BSE.

Polaris net up

IT company Polaris Software Lab Ltd has reported a more than two-fold increase in its net profit for the quarter ended September 30 at Rs 18.49 crore as compared to Rs 8.09 crore for the same quarter last year.

The company's total income rose to Rs 235.42 crore during the second quarter in 2006-07, up 33 per cent from Rs 176.74 crore in the year ago period, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The group posted a consolidated net profit of Rs 27.10 crore in the second quarter this fiscal against Rs 13.25 crore during the July-September quarter in 2005. Consolidated total income of the group stood at Rs 253.9 crore as compared to Rs 215.61 crore in Q2 2005-06.

Indo Rama Synthetics

Indo Rama Synthetics India Ltd has reported a 74 per cent dip in profit after tax of Rs 8.73 crore for the quarter ended September 30 as compared to Rs 33.67 crore for the corresponding quarter last year.

Total income (net of excise) decreased to Rs 399.31 crore for the second quarter in 2006-07, down 16 per cent from Rs 478.21 crore during the year ago period, the company informed the BSE.

Crompton Greaves

Leading Electrical equipment manufacturer Crompton Greaves Ltd has posted an increase of 25.14 per cent in net profit after tax at Rs 40.66 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2006, as compared to Rs 32.49 crore for the same quarter in 2005.

The total income (net of excise) of the company increased by 48.52 per cent to Rs 833.40 crore for the quarter ended September 30 from Rs 561.13 crore for the corresponding quarter a year ago, the company informed the BSE.

The Board of Directors, at its meeting today, recommended a bonus issue in the ratio of 2:5, that is two bonus shares for every five equity shares, of Rs 2 each subject to shareholders' and other necessary approvals, it added.

The company also declared an interim dividend of 40 paise on equity shares of Rs 2 each (20 per cent) for the financial year 2006-07.

Finolex Industries

Finolex Industries Ltd has posted a two-fold increase in net profit at Rs 19.98 crore for the quarter ended September 30, as compared to Rs 9.57 crore for the same quarter last year.

Total income (net of excise) increased by 11.84 per cent to Rs 205.13 crore for the quarter ended September 30 from Rs 183.40 crore in the corresponding period a year ago, the company informed the BSE.

Birla Sun Life

Birla Sun Life Insurance (BSLI) has shown an increase in its market share to 6.1 per cent during the first quarter of the year.

A press note issued by the company in Amritsar stated that in terms of individual life, BSLI's market share has increased by 5.7 per cent and in terms of group business its share has increased to 10.1 per cent amongst private players.

It said the company witnessed a total business premium of Rs 100 crore with a healthy growth of 61 per cent.— Agencies, TNS

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BRIEFLY

Dabhol power for Maharashtra
Mumbai, October 17
The Dabhol power plant, first started by Enron and now owned by Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd will restart operations from mid-November. The decision to restart the plant comes after the Maharashtra Government agreed to buy power from the plant at the rate of Rs 5.01 per unit. Maharashtra will buy up to 700 MW of power from the Dabhol plant. — TNS

Rupee gains 16 paise
Mumbai, October 17
The rupee today touched a high of Rs 45.27 per US dollar as compared from Rs 45.43 as the momentum of FII inflow continued, a money market trader said. Earlier, the domestic currency opened at Rs 45.37/38 and in the mid-morning traded low at Rs 45.35/36. The RBI today fixed the reference rate at Rs 45.36 as compared to the previous rate of Rs 45.46. — UNI

Wanbury buyout
Mumbai, October 17
Pharma company Wanbury Ltd said yesterday it would acquire the branded generic business of Spain-based Industrial Farmaceutica Cantabria through Cantabria Pharma SL for 42 millon euros (approx Rs 250 crore). The Board of Directors approved the acquisition, the company informed the BSE. The company will also seek shareholders approval through postal ballot for making investments of up to Rs 400 crore for acquisitions or loans. The Board also approved borrowing 34 million euros to make an investment in Wanbury Holdings and Cantabria Pharma. — PTI

SBoP bonanza
Chandigarh, October 17
State Bank of Patiala has announced a festival bonanza on housing, car and personal loans, extended during October. The bank has announced a special concession in the interest rates on house loans at 8. 5 per cent (up to five years); 8. 75 per cent ( for a period of 5- 15 years), and 9. 25 per cent ( 15- 20 years duration). Interest on car loans has been fixed at 9 per cent (for three years) and on a personal loan at 12. 25 per cent. The Bank has also given 50 per cent concession on processing fee for the above schemes. — TNS

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