SPECIAL COVERAGE
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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

Jet Airways cleared to fly to USA
New Delhi, November 16
Jet Airways is all set to become the first private airline of the country to fly to America with the US State Department giving the security clearance to the airline which has been under a cloud for the alleged links with terrorist masterminds like Dawood Ibrahim and outfits like Al-Qaida.

Sanmar Group buys chemical biz in Egypt for $200 m
New Delhi, November 16
The Sanmar Group Ltd has entered into an agreement to acquire the chemical business owned by Trust Chemical Industries in Port Said, Egypt, for $200 million.

Nod to investment pact with China
New Delhi, November 16
The Cabinet today approved signing of an investment protection agreement with Beijing days ahead of Chinese President Hu Jianto’s visit to the country.

Orient Craft to invest Rs 2,000 cr in SEZ
New Delhi, November 16
Orient Craft will pump in Rs 2,000 crore for setting up a special economic zone (SEZ) for textile in Gurgaon.

Mahindra Holidays to invest Rs 400 cr
Chennai, November 16
Mahindra Holidays and Resorts Ltd (MHRL), which runs resorts under the 'Club Mahindra' brand, has said it would invest up to Rs 400 crore in the next three years and set up 15 resorts in the country.

Community radio stations’ expansion okayed
New Delhi, November 16
Aiming to put in place a vibrant community radio system in the country, the government today approved expansion of such radio stations by non-profit organisations after ensuring security clearances from the Defence and Home Ministries.

BSNL contract: HC extends stay
New Delhi, November 16
The Delhi High Court today restrained BSNL from awarding contracts for its Rs 20,000-crore GSM network expansion project till November 30, after the telecom PSU sought time to respond to Motorola's affidavit on the bidding process.

Mobile phones may be extinct in 5 yrs
London, November 16
They are the most essential gadgets today, but a university professor is predicting that in the short span of just five years, mobile phones will be extinct. Prof Nigel Linge of the University of Salford predicts that taking their place will be mobile computers that he says is where technology is heading.

 


A model presents a Zhou Qingya collection from China's Yalu fashion house at the annual China Fashion Week in Beijing
A model presents a Zhou Qingya collection from China's Yalu fashion house at the annual China Fashion Week in Beijing on Thursday. Various international fashion houses and designers are in Beijing for the annual fashion extravaganza to show off their latest collections. — AFP 

 
Models show Japan's second largest mobile communication operator KDDI's new handset "W44S", produced by Sony Ericsson, which can be adjusted in vertical and horizontal positions with a 3-inch LCD display, in Tokyo
Models show Japan's second largest mobile communication operator KDDI's new handset "W44S", produced by Sony Ericsson, which can be adjusted in vertical and horizontal positions with a 3-inch LCD display, in Tokyo on Thursday. The handset, which can receive digital broadcast and digital radio, will be launched early next month. — AFP

Aircel plans operations in 23 circles
New Delhi, November 16
Cellular operator Aircel, in which Malaysian telecom company Maxis Communications Bhd holds 74 per cent, aims to be a pan-Indian player with operations in all the 23 circles in the country by early 2009.

Airtel launches BlackBerry in Himachal
Chandigarh, November 16
Bharti Airtel today announced the launch of BlackBerry wireless solution in Himachal Pradesh. With this business and corporate consumers in the state will have access to a secure and integrated wireless solution.

Hutch-Nokia tieup
Chandigarh, November 16
Hutch and Nokia have announced an alliance to offer INDISMS — local language SMS service for Hutch customers who use Nokia phones. This service will enable Hutch post and pre-paid customers to send and receive SMS in Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu, on their Nokia phones. —UNI

Sterlite net up 68 pc, to raise Rs 12,500 cr
Mumbai, November 16
Vedanta Group flagship company, Sterlite Industries India Ltd has posted a 68 per cent jump in net profit for the quarter ended September 30, and said it would raise up to Rs 12,500 crore for a foray into commercial energy business. The company’s net profit after tax stood at Rs 136.56 crore for the second quarter, whereas the same was at Rs 81.10 crore for the same quarter last year. 

Ms Kelly Tan, Vice-President, Enterprise/Specialty Printing, Imaging & Printing Group, Hewlett Packard (HP) Asia-Pacific, poses with a HP printer in New Delhi
Ms Kelly Tan, Vice-President, Enterprise/Specialty Printing, Imaging & Printing Group, Hewlett Packard (HP) Asia-Pacific, poses with a HP printer in New Delhi on Thursday. HP unveiled a new ink-based printing technology — HP Edgeline — specially designed to handle high volume workloads. The company also announced the largest-ever rollout of multi-function printers. — AFP

Real estate expo from Dec 15
Chandigarh, November 16
Real estate marketing network Jaaydaad.com today announced that it would organise the 1st Jaaydaad expo-cum-sale world tour from December 15 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

Spicejet under MRTPC lens 
New Delhi, November 16
The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) has initiated two cases of unfair trade practice against low-cost carrier Spicejet. While one case pertains to the carrier's refusal to refund amount of air tickets on cancellation, another is for not adopting a fair method for booking seats at a special price of Rs 99 on its first anniversary.

Zinc, lead prices cut
New Delhi, November 16
Hindustan Zinc Ltd today said it has reduced its zinc prices by Rs 12,700 per tonne to Rs 220,700 per tonne, reflecting a decrease of about 5.4 per cent.

 

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Jet Airways cleared to fly to USA
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 16
Jet Airways is all set to become the first private airline of the country to fly to America with the US State Department giving the security clearance to the airline which has been under a cloud for the alleged links with terrorist masterminds like Dawood Ibrahim and outfits like Al-Qaida.

Jet Airways, however, refused to comment on the matter and maintained that the airline was yet to receive any official communication from the US authorities. 
The Indian government had granted the Naresh Goyal-promoted carrier to fly to the US, for three times a week to New York via Brussels. It, however, did not materialise after allegations that the Indian carrier had links with terrorist outfits.

The clearance was formally granted to the private carrier by the Department of Transportation after the State Department said the airline had passed security, reports said. The authority of exemption was granted by DoT in favour of Jet Airways.

Following allegations levelled by US-based Jet Airways Inc about the Indian carrier's underworld links, the DoT had investigated into the matter and also sought information from the Indian government. The Union Home Ministry, had, last year given clearance after a fresh inquiry.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had said on last Monday that "procedures" were being followed before the issue was resolved. 
"Procedures have to be followed. Issues are being resolved between the governments," Mr Patel had said adding: "If Jet is security cleared in India, why are we unnecessarily dragging our feet. Having given clearance to operate in India after due clearance from the Home Ministry, why are we delaying the issue."

Jet Airways is expecting the delivery of Boeing 777— 300s — the long rangers in April next year. The airline has signed an agreement with Boeing for acquiring 10 Boeings and with Airbus Industrie for an equal number of A 330-200s. The two deals are worth more than $2.5 billion.

Jet Airways has now sought Civil Aviation Ministry’s clearance to operate to New York and San Francisco from the summer of 2007. 
It has also sought permission to fly to Toronto, via Hong Kong and via Dusseldorf, from next year, besides China. Other destinations it plans to fly to in the near future are South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Rome, Zurich, Munich and Frankfurt.

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Sanmar Group buys chemical biz in Egypt 
for $200 m

New Delhi, November 16
The Sanmar Group Ltd has entered into an agreement to acquire the chemical business owned by Trust Chemical Industries in Port Said, Egypt, for $200 million.

The group is also in the process to acquire a majority stake in an engineering unit in Germany involved in SG Iron castings and design/machining of auto components and has signed a meomorandum of understanding in this direction, group company Chemplast Senmar said today.

As per the agreement, the group will acquire 80 per cent of the outstanding equity capital of the company valued at Euro 16 million.

The Trust Chemical owns a caustic soda plant with a capacity of two lakh tonnes per annum. The plant commenced operations a little over a year ago.

On completing the acquisition, the Sanmar Group would evaluate the possibility of manufacture of more products at Port Said, including ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloro monomer with significant capital investments.

Sanmar's existing chemical venture in India is involved in a capital expenditure programme towards conversion of the caustic soda facilities at Mettur into membrane process, installation of a coal-based power plant of 50 MW capacity at Mettur, and setting up a greenfield PVC manufacturing facility at Cuddalore with a capacity of 1.7 lakh tonnes per annum.— UNI

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Nod to investment pact with China
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 16
The Cabinet today approved signing of an investment protection agreement with Beijing days ahead of Chinese President Hu Jianto’s visit to the country.

“The Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement will increase the investment between China and India and would be in force for 10 years”, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.

Trade between the two countries has been growing rapidly and is expected to touch $20 billion this fiscal, as against $18.7 billion last year. The Chinese President will arrive in India on November 20.

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Orient Craft to invest Rs 2,000 cr in SEZ

New Delhi, November 16
Orient Craft will pump in Rs 2,000 crore for setting up a special economic zone (SEZ) for textile in Gurgaon.

“We will invest Rs 2,000 crore into the SEZ in the three phases,” company Chairman and Managing Director Sudhir Dhingra said, adding that Rs 500 crore would be invested initially through its own internal accruals. The first phase, to be completed by the end of 2007, will cover 284 acres of land.

The company has already acquired 460 acres and plans to purchase up to 750 acres in Gurgaon-Manesar road, said Mr Dhingra, who added that this SEZ would provide employment opportunity to 30,000 people.

The whole project will be finished by January 2010, he said, adding that the company was also planning to raise Rs 350 crore through IPO by the first half of next calendar year, by which it would divest 25 per cent stake. — UNI

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Mahindra Holidays to invest Rs 400 cr

Chennai, November 16
Mahindra Holidays and Resorts Ltd (MHRL), which runs resorts under the 'Club Mahindra' brand, has said it would invest up to Rs 400 crore in the next three years and set up 15 resorts in the country.

The company also launched a new holiday package 'ZEST' targeted at young professionals. Club Mahindra would start ZEST with Chennai and Bangalore and go pan-India over the next three years, Managing Director Ramesh Ramanathan said.

MHRL would spend Rs 350-400 crore for the package. It would be setting up 15 resorts and 1,600 rooms for ZEST, he said, adding the amount could also be used for other packages.

"The target group for ZEST is 26 to 39-year-old persons, who constitute almost 70 per cent of the population and who are looking for short vacations. ZEST has been designed to compliment the emerging urban lifestyle," he said.— PTI

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Community radio stations’ expansion okayed

New Delhi, November 16
Aiming to put in place a vibrant community radio system in the country, the government today approved expansion of such radio stations by non-profit organisations after ensuring security clearances from the Defence and Home Ministries.

”The community radio will not include newscasting and current affairs programme and will be dealt with comprehensively by an inter-ministerial group represented by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Defence, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and HRD,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.

He made it clear that individuals, political parties or their affiliates and trade unions would not be allowed to operate community radio stations (CRS).

Organisations with profit motive will also stay outside the purview of the CRS, he said.

Stating that 15 radio stations have so far come into operation since 2002 when the previous NDA government approved the concept, Mr Dasmunsi said the UPA government aimed to strengthen the service. — PTI

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BSNL contract: HC extends stay

New Delhi, November 16
The Delhi High Court today restrained BSNL from awarding contracts for its Rs 20,000-crore GSM network expansion project till November 30, after the telecom PSU sought time to respond to Motorola's affidavit on the bidding process.

A bench comprising acting Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kailash Gambhir gave BSNL a week's time to file an additional affidavit in the case initiated by US telecom equipment major Motorola after it was disqualified from the race for the 45.5-million line GSM network expansion project.

BSNL's counsel submitted that the affidavit filed by Motorola, which was disqualified on technical parameters, has some new facts and that they want more time to respond.

The court, which first heard the petition on November 2, adjourned hearing till November 30.

Last month, BSNL, had opened the financial bids for the GSM network project that seeks to add over 45 million lines over a period of three years at an estimated cost of about Rs 20,000 crore.— PTI

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Mobile phones may be extinct in 5 yrs

London, November 16
They are the most essential gadgets today, but a university professor is predicting that in the short span of just five years, mobile phones will be extinct.
Prof Nigel Linge of the University of Salford predicts that taking their place will be mobile computers that he says is where technology is heading.

As for how this would be possible, Prof Linge says the new technology would take shape when functions of cell phones will be dispersed into components which will be embedded in a person’s clothing.

“In five years instead of mobile phones we will all carry mobile computers on us. So, for example, the communicator on our collar might send signals to the keyboard on our sleeve,” The Sun quoted him as saying.

Prof Linge revealed that at the pace technology was advancing, the world would soon come to the point where carrying something like a mobile phone would become pointless,” and that it was inevitable that mobile computers would soon be on the market.

Meanwhile, physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have come up with a new way to power electronic gadgets without an electrical cable. Marin Soljacic and colleagues have devised a wireless technique that uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy from a power source to a device several metres away.

Today’s wireless transfer of energy, such as the transfer of light energy from the Sun for solar power or the transfer of microwaves from transmitters for communication, involve relatively low levels of energy.

But recharging devices like laptops requires a much higher level of energy, and if this much amount of energy was transferred through the air it could burn any living organisms that get in the way.

However, the team claims to have found a way of transmitting energy so that only the devices that it is recharging will pick it up. — ANI

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Aircel plans operations in 23 circles

New Delhi, November 16
Cellular operator Aircel, in which Malaysian telecom company Maxis Communications Bhd holds 74 per cent, aims to be a pan-Indian player with operations in all the 23 circles in the country by early 2009.

"We have applied for telecom licences in 14 circles and are already present in nine circles. The launch of Aircel service should begin in Himachal Pradesh and Bihar in the next 45 days. We should have rolled out in most of the 23 circles by 2008-end or first quarter of 2009," Mr Jagdish Kini, Aircel Group CEO, said here.

Mr Kini, however, said these plans were subject to availability of spectrum and getting licences on time.

Although he declined to give any investment for the expansion, industry estimates show operations of a pan-Indian presence could cost about $1 billion. — PTI

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Airtel launches BlackBerry in Himachal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Bharti Airtel today announced the launch of BlackBerry wireless solution in Himachal Pradesh. With this business and corporate consumers in the state will have access to a secure and integrated wireless solution.

Mr Sharlin Thayil, COO (Mobile Services), Bharti Airtel Ltd, HP Circle, said Blackberry customers will also be able to access a range of applications on their mobile, including instant email mobile, phone, corporate data, Internet, SMS and a bouquet of personal information management (PIM) features. To begin with, the service will be available to all Airtel customers in Shimla and Baddi. 

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Sterlite net up 68 pc, to raise Rs 12,500 cr

Mumbai, November 16
Vedanta Group flagship company, Sterlite Industries India Ltd has posted a 68 per cent jump in net profit for the quarter ended September 30, and said it would raise up to Rs 12,500 crore for a foray into commercial energy business.

The company’s net profit after tax stood at Rs 136.56 crore for the second quarter, whereas the same was at Rs 81.10 crore for the same quarter last year. The total income (net of excise) was Rs 3,330.56 crore for the second quarter ended September 30, while the same was at Rs 1,739.39 crore for the year ago period, the company informed the BSE.

The company would set up a 2,400 MW greenfield power plant in Jharsuguda, Orissa, with an investment of nearly Rs 8,550 crore. The power business would be operated through Sterlite Energy Ltd (SEL), its wholly-owned subsidiary.

The leading producer of copper would raise the proposed amount through issue of securities such as foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs), global depositary receipts (GDRs), American depositary shares (ADS) or equity shares to investors, including qualified institutional buyers.

The Board of Directors at its meeting yesterday approved to raise the amount through various securities by way of private placement under SEBI guidelines. 
— PTI 

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Real estate expo from Dec 15
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Real estate marketing network Jaaydaad.com today announced that it would organise the 1st Jaaydaad expo-cum-sale world tour from December 15 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

Mr S.K. Jain, MD, Jaaydaad.com, said the three-day real estate extravaganza was positioned to be India’s largest congregation of real estate stakeholders with over 150 participants expected from across the country. The exposition would be organised at 17 other cities, including Chandigarh and Ludhiana, he added. 

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Spicejet under MRTPC lens 

New Delhi, November 16
The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) has initiated two cases of unfair trade practice against low-cost carrier Spicejet.

While one case pertains to the carrier's refusal to refund amount of air tickets on cancellation, another is for not adopting a fair method for booking seats at a special price of Rs 99 on its first anniversary.

The notices of enquiry has been issued on the basis of preliminary investigation reports submitted by MRTPC's investigative arm Director-General of Investigation and Registration.

In the second case, DGIR said Spicejet did not adopt fair method for booking tickets while providing its anniversary offer. — PTI

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Zinc, lead prices cut

New Delhi, November 16
Hindustan Zinc Ltd today said it has reduced its zinc prices by Rs 12,700 per tonne to Rs 220,700 per tonne, reflecting a decrease of about 5.4 per cent.

The company also reduced the prices of lead by Rs 3,000 per tonne to Rs 85,400, a decrease of 3.4 per cent, HZL said in a release.

The new rates would be applicable from today, the release added. — PTI 

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BRIEFLY

Gujarat Ambuja stake
Mumbai, November 16
Swedish cement-maker Holcim has
increased its stake in Gujarat Ambuja by 3.7 per cent to 18.5 per cent at a consideration of Rs 690 crore. A company source said Holcim was expected to increase its stake in the company further up to 27 per cent. — PTI

Uttam Galva
Mumbai, November 16
Uttam Galva Steels Limited today announced increase in the prices of all its galvanised steel products in the domestic market by Rs 1,000 per tonne. The hike, that will come into effect immediately, has been attributed to increase in zinc prices, a release by the company said. — PTI

Advinus pact
Mumbai, November 16
Tata Group promoted drug discovery and development company, Advinus Therapeutics Pvt Ltd, has
entered into a collaboration with US-based research-driven pharmaceutical company, Merck and Co, for the discovery and development of metabolic drugs. Tata Sons Executive Director R Gopalakrishnan said today Advinus would only be engaged in drug discovery and development of the drugs, but has no intention to market or manufacture these medicines, which would be done by Merck only.— PTI

Tax-saver fund
Kolkata, November 16
HSBC Investments, the global investment solutions business of HSBC Group, is launching an open- ended Equity-Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS) called the "HSBC Tax-Saver Equity Fund"(HTSF) at 165 citites and towns simultaneously on Novemver 20. The offer will close on December 15. — UNI

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