SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

The day after, industry follows Doc’s prescription
New Delhi, May 25
India Inc in one voice called for corporate social responsibility to uplift the country for companies to succeed and prosper. However, they warned against any legislation on CEO’s salary, as business profitability cannot be limited.

Coke buys Glaceau for $4.1 billion
Tatas to get $1.2 billion
Atlanta, May 25
Coca-Cola, the world’s largest aerated drinks maker, today announced an agreement to acquire US energy drink maker Glaceau, where India’s Tata group has 30 per cent stake, for $ 4.1 billion in cash.

Now, Maya targets REL’s Dadri project 
New Delhi, May 25
A day after asking the centre to review Anil Ambani group’s special economic zone (SEZ) in Noida, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati today said all major decisions of the previous Mulayam Singh Government, including Reliance Energy’s (REL)Dadri power project, would be reviewed.

Markfed to set up processing plant at Ludhiana
Chandigarh, May 25
Markfed will be setting up a state-of-the-art food processing plant at Dhandari Kalan in Ludhiana. With the setting up of this plant, Markfed plans to enhance the production capacity of its processed foods and widen its export base.







 
French auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat presents a 19th century sabre which belonged to French Emperor Napoleon 1st, in Paris
French auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat presents a 19th century sabre which belonged to French Emperor Napoleon 1st, in Paris, on Friday. The sabre estimated to realise $2 million will be auctioned on June 10, with other Napoleon memorabilia. — AP/PTI photograph

Suzlon acquires REpower 
Mumbai, May 25
Wind power major Suzlon Energy today announced the acquisition of German wind turbine manufacturer REpower after the French nuclear energy group decided to withdraw from the bidding contest.

Iraq asks OVL to re-bid its contract 
New Delhi, May 25
Iraq today asked the ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) to re-bid its contract for onshore oil block awarded by the erstwhile Saddam Hussein regime, in an international competitive bidding auction.

Govt may allow PSEs to invest in equity, MFs
New Delhi, May 25
Surplus funds of public sector enterprises (PSE) could soon be invested in equity and debt mutual funds of public or private, which would have major impact on fund instruments.

Broadband penetration to increase cyber threats: Survey
Bangalore, May 25
Increased broadband penetration is likely to increase the impact of threats against India and is already resulting in more data leakage and financial-driven crimes, according to a survey by a leading infrastructure software firm.

Volvo cars to enter Indian market
New Delhi, May 25
Looking to take on German auto majors like Mercedes, BMW and Audi in the Indian car mart, Swedish car maker Volvo today said it will roll out two of its top models by this year-end.

Indo-Moroccan trade ties to be fortified
Chandigarh, May 25
The union minister of state for industry Ashwani Kumar, who is presently in Morocco to participate in the symposium on south-south cooperation in the fields of energy and industry, met Moroccan minister of industry, trade and economy upgrading Salaheddine Mezouar today and discussed possibilities of reinforcing and strengthening Indo-Moroccan cooperation in the fields of industry and trade.

Noida SEZ meets norms, says ADAG
New Delhi, May 25
The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) today claimed that the proposed Noida SEZ project met the contiguity norms with regard to land and was similar to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries' 12,500-acre SEZ in Gujarat.

CBDT notifies new IT forms 
Mumbai, May 25
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has notified new forms for income-tax returns from the year 2007-08.

TRAI for transparency in discounted SMS schemes
New Delhi, May 25
Telecom regulator TRAI today asked service providers to follow certain principles to ensure transparency in the charging of SMS on festival/customary days.

 

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The day after, industry follows Doc’s prescription
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 25
India Inc in one voice called for corporate social responsibility to uplift the country for companies to succeed and prosper. However, they warned against any legislation on CEO’s salary, as business profitability cannot be limited.

“Shortage of skills in key areas at the top level is a serious and genuine problem, specifically in the services industry, which is facing pressure of high salaries,” CII’s new president Sunil Mittal said in his maiden press conference today.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had yesterday urged the industry to “resist excessive remuneration to promoters and senior executives and discourage conspicuous consumption..... Rising income and wealth inequalities, if not matched by a corresponding rise of incomes across the nation, can lead to social unrest.”

Mittal, however, said there should be a co-relation between the size of a company and the salaries to their employees. “But these things cannot be legislated,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister’s views were not misplaced but cases of high salaries are few.

“The Prime Minister’s message is to be taken in the right spirit. His concern was in view of the wealth inequality in the country... in-your-face-spending hurts people. He meant ostentatious display of wealth should be avoided,” he said.

He asked the industry to realise its responsibility towards society.

Ficci president Habil Khorakiwala said the chamber has noted the Prime Minister’s exhortation about the need to promote a culture of savings and investment and shun conspicuous consumption.

He said the chamber has already initiated measures for implementation of affirmative action for empowerment of the underprivileged. It has offered to take over and run Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) for giving training and professional education to backward castes. Ficci has also identified 40 districts which have majority of ST and SC population for a special industrialisation drive.

Assocham president Venugopal N Dhoot said the industry lobby group is in complete agreement with Manmohan Singh’s statement.

He said the Prime Minister call for placement of jobs in the Indian industry to SC/STs and OBCs including minorities is totally justified and the chamber would do its maximum to convince its members to provide jobs to such sections of the society.

He said corporate social responsibility should be rendered by Indian industry by depositing all legitimate taxes to the government in time with total transparency in its books of accounts.

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Coke buys Glaceau for $4.1 billion
Tatas to get $1.2 billion

Atlanta, May 25
Coca-Cola, the world’s largest aerated drinks maker, today announced an agreement to acquire US energy drink maker Glaceau, where India’s Tata group has 30 per cent stake, for $ 4.1 billion in cash.

The city-based firm would buy 100 per cent of Energy Brands Inc. or Glaceau, a move that will expand its portfolio to vitaminwater, smartwater, fruitwater and energy brands and give it an edge over its closest rival PepsiCo Inc.

The deal comes as a windfall for Tatas, which acquired 30 per cent stake in August last year for $677 million. Coca-Cola’s offer values Tatas stake at $1.2 billion.

Separately, Tata Tea informed the Bombay Stock Exchange the group has agreed to sell its 30 per cent stake to Coca-Cola by the end of this year.

“The board of both companies have approved the transaction,” Coca-Cola said in a statement, adding the transaction is expected to close in the summer of this year.

“Glaceau and its brands provide us with highly attractive longer-term international opportunities,” Coca-Cola President and COO Muhtar Kent said in the statement. Coinciding with news of the deal, Tata Tea shares jumped 4 per cent or Rs 34. 95 on the Bombay Stock Exchange today to Rs 913.65 after hitting a life-time high of Rs 941.25 earlier in the day. — PTI

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Now, Maya targets REL’s Dadri project 

New Delhi, May 25
A day after asking the centre to review Anil Ambani group’s special economic zone (SEZ) in Noida, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati today said all major decisions of the previous Mulayam Singh Government, including Reliance Energy’s (REL)Dadri power project, would be reviewed.

“We will look at all the decisions of the previous government and action will be taken if they are found violating rules or against public interest,” she said at a press conference here.

She was replying to a query as to whether REL’s power project at Dadri, which also has SEZ status, will be reviewed.

She, however, said no review would be politically motivated.

Mayawati said yesterday’s state cabinet decision was “not influenced by any political consideration”.

“The (Noida) SEZ was reviewed by a committee which found that rules have been broken... we will be sending a report to the centre soon,” she said.

While Dadri power project has received in-principle from the board of approval in the commerce ministry, the Noida multi-product SEZ is at an application stage. — PTI

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Markfed to set up processing plant at Ludhiana
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
Markfed will be setting up a state-of-the-art food processing plant at Dhandari Kalan in Ludhiana. With the setting up of this plant, Markfed plans to enhance the production capacity of its processed foods and widen its export base.

Top officials in Markfed informed TNS that expression of interest (EoI) has already been called for the project. The consultant who is hired would first conduct a global market research on the prospects for sale of fruits and vegetables — fresh, frozen and dehydrated, ready to cook and ready to eat food products. Based on its report, Markfed will decide on the model for setting up the plant.

Officials said the project at Dhandari Kalan would be an integrated project, with a cold storage and packaging house also being set up in the same premises along with the food processing plant. Since 90 per cent of the processed food manufactured by various Markfed plants is presently exported, the new facility at Dhandari Kalan will also help scale up the production for the domestic market.

“We are already exporting these foods to the USA, Canada, UAE, UK, Italy, Greece, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. Markfed is now scouting for markets with a substantial population of Indian and Pakistani expatriates, so that the export base of our products can be expanded further,” said a top official in Markfed.

Presently, various plants of Markfed in the state produce 20,000 kilo litres of edible oils per annum (vanaspati oil, refined sunflower oil, cotton seed oil, groundnut oil and mustard oil). Besides, 26 lakh cans of processed foods and ready- to-eat foods, and 4000 tonnes of basmati and non-basmati rice are shelled by the cooperative each year.

“We propose to increase our production and sales by 20 per cent in this fiscal. Other than exports, we are also looking at the domestic market, especially in the metros to increase our sales. In the offing is also a tie-up with any of the top hypermarket chains, where Markfed processed foods will be sold,” said the official.Broadband penetration to increase cyber threats: Survey

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Suzlon acquires REpower 

Mumbai, May 25
Wind power major Suzlon Energy today announced the acquisition of German wind turbine manufacturer REpower after the French nuclear energy group decided to withdraw from the bidding contest.

"We are delighted with the development. Given our arrangement with Areva, we now, directly and through voting pool agreements, already control over 60 per cent of REpowers capital," Suzlon chairman and managing director Tulsi Tanti said.

"In the next one week we will also know how many shareholders have finally tendered into our offer," he added.

"Suzlon Energy and Areva have signed a binding agreement governing a framework regarding both the firms shareholding in REpower. With this the bidding contest between Suzlon and Areva comes to an end," a statement quoting him said.

The bidding process for REpower started when Suzlon announced a competing public offer on February 9.

"With this acquisition Suzlon has emerged as a global player with strong footprint across all key wind markets, a geographically diversified manufacturing base, turbine and component level R&D centres in Europe," Tanti said. — PTI 

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Iraq asks OVL to re-bid its contract 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 25
Iraq today asked the ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) to re-bid its contract for onshore oil block awarded by the erstwhile Saddam Hussein regime, in an international competitive bidding auction.

All contracts signed by the previous regime or Kurdish regional government will have to be revisited and amended to make them complaint with our new law, Iraq’s oil minister Hussein al-Shahristani told reporters here.

The contract for Block 8 Tuba oilfield, in southern Iraq bordering Kuwait, given to the consortium led by ONGC, will have to be amended in accordance with the new Oil and Gas Law that Bagdad is to pass in the next two months.

The consortium, which includes Reliance Industries and Sonatrach of Algeria, had been shortlisted in 2000 but had not signed the contract, so it will be put up in the international competitive bidding round, and the Indian companies will have to bid for it.

“Any company that wishes to participate in Iraq would now have to bid for the assets,” al-Shahristani said.

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Govt may allow PSEs to invest in equity, MFs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 25
Surplus funds of public sector enterprises (PSE) could soon be invested in equity and debt mutual funds of public or private, which would have major impact on fund instruments.

The top 20 public enterprises are having surplus estimated to be Rs 2,50,000 crore. Pumping even a part of it into mutual fund instruments, which have assets of around Rs 3.5 lakh crore, certainly will have major impact.

“The government is seriously thinking of allowing PSEs to invest in equity and debt mutual funds whether public or private,” said S M Dewan, director general of standing conference of public enterprises (Scope).

PSEs are now investing in banks and government securities.

He said PSEs need to adopt a cautious and careful approach lest it causes a dis-equilibrium in the market.

Financial analysis is most important part of any business and in this context, real options analysis in capital investment becomes critical. 

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Broadband penetration to increase cyber threats: Survey
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, May 25
Increased broadband penetration is likely to increase the impact of threats against India and is already resulting in more data leakage and financial-driven crimes, according to a survey by a leading infrastructure software firm.

More personal computers remaining connected for longer periods of time increase threat perceptions, said Symantec Systems Security Response Laboratory director Prabhat Kumar Singh. These may increase with the government expecting to have nine million subscribers in 2007 and 20 million subscribers by 2010.

A special report released by the company said it was clear attackers were using corporate networks as a transit route to other networks. Prabhat Singh said the generic http connect TCP tunnel attack against corporates in India constituted 17 per cent of the top attacks against the country.

In another revelation, it was found that 60 per cent of the top 50 malicious codes reported in India contained threats to confidential information. “These are increasingly used for criminal activities,” he said. It also found that the level of attacks was getting modular, sophisticated and for financial gains. There were clear signs of online underground economy for fraud and India was a participant in the fraud food chain, the report added.

The report, which covered a six-month period, from July 2006 to December 2006, noted that the generic TCP segment overwrite attack led the Symantec list of top attacks against India with 63 per cent.

According to Vishal Dhupar, managing director of Symantec India and SAARC region, “Old threats persist, as newer threats continue to emerge.” The latest report found “no change” in threats from the previous reporting period, the six-months before July 2006. Mumbai had the highest number of bot-infected computers in India, accounting for 38 per cent of the total, followed by Delhi (25 per cent), Bangalore (15 per cent) and Chennai (10 per cent).

Eighty-four per cent of the attacks against India originated from the United States, while Australia came second with 6 per cent of attacks targeting India. Of the total attacks that originated from India, 68 per cent was aimed at the US and 11 per cent attacked Australia, it added.

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Volvo cars to enter Indian market

New Delhi, May 25
Looking to take on German auto majors like Mercedes, BMW and Audi in the Indian car mart, Swedish car maker Volvo today said it will roll out two of its top models by this year-end.

“The Indian premium segment is very positive and it continues to grow fast. By the end of the year we intend to launch our sedan S80 and SUV XC90,” Volvo Car India managing director Paul de Voijs said, adding that the company would import vehicles directly from Sweden in three engine variants each - 2.5 lt turbo diesel, 3.2 lt and 4.4 lt petrol.

When asked about pricing, he said it was too early to comment. “When we import, the vehicles will attract a duty of 112.5 per cent. We will bring only one luxury line and our cars will be in direct competition with Mercedes, BMW and Audi,” he said.

Voijs said the company has already appointed three dealers, one each in Delhi, Chandigarh and Mumbai for its kick-off in India. — PTI

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Indo-Moroccan trade ties to be fortified
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
The union minister of state for industry Ashwani Kumar, who is presently in Morocco to participate in the symposium on south-south cooperation in the fields of energy and industry, met Moroccan minister of industry, trade and economy upgrading Salaheddine Mezouar today and discussed possibilities of reinforcing and strengthening Indo-Moroccan cooperation in the fields of industry and trade.

Kumar emphasised that aeronautics, information technology, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, textiles, tourism and infrastructure are the most prospective areas of joint cooperation and partnership between India and Morocco.

He also stressed that both countries should intensify their exchanges and work together for mutual benefit of both nations.

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Noida SEZ meets norms, says ADAG

New Delhi, May 25
The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) today claimed that the proposed Noida SEZ project met the contiguity norms with regard to land and was similar to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries' 12,500-acre SEZ in Gujarat.

"We look forward to discussions with UP government and ministry of commerce to resolve this issue," a Reliance ADAG spokesperson said.

Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh had said yesterday that the 1,200 acre land proposed to be given to the group was not contiguous, which was a basic requirement for allotment.

The ADAG spokesperson, however, said the union commerce ministry had, on March 16 this year, amended rules to allow SEZs with non-contiguous areas. — PTI 

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CBDT notifies new IT forms 

Mumbai, May 25
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has notified new forms for income-tax returns from the year 2007-08.

Accordingly, the IT returns by all assessees from 2007-08 onward need to be furnished in the new format as returns in old forms would not be accepted, the IT department said in a release issued here today.

Individuals having income from salary and interest would have to file their return in form ITR 1, while individuals and HUFs (Hindu undivided family) not having income from business or profession will have to file them in ITR 2.

Similarly, there are new forms for other categories, including return for fringe benefits. The forms can be downloaded from the department’s web-sites, www.incometaxindia.gov.in or incometaxindiaefiling.gov. in, the release said. — PTI 

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TRAI for transparency in discounted SMS schemes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 25
Telecom regulator TRAI today asked service providers to follow certain principles to ensure transparency in the charging of SMS on festival/customary days.

It said several telecom operators are offering free/ discounted SMS schemes. Such offers are made either as part of regular tariff plans, with or without an additional monthly payment, or are offered as packs valid for specified period or as promotional schemes.

Under TRAI’s guidelines, any operator implementing separate tariffs on blackout days has to ensure that these days shall be clearly indicated in the package itself.

The SMS charges applicable on these special days shall be explicitly conveyed to the subscribers.

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BRIEFLY

Oil above $71
London, May 25
Oil hit a nine-month high above $71 on Thursday, propelled by a strike threat to Nigeria’s hobbled output and a report by UN nuclear monitors that opened the way to tougher sanctions against Iran. London brent crude, now a more accurate indicator than the US oil, was up by 74 cents at $71.34 a barrel, after hitting $71.42, highest since August 28, 2006. US crude traded down by 10 cents at $65.67. — Reuters

Inflation dips
New Delhi, May 25
Despite spurt in the prices of some of the essential commodities, the inflation rate dipped to 5.27 per cent for the week ended May 12 as against 5.44 per cent in previous week. The annual rate of inflation stood at 4.63 per cent during corresponding week of the previous year, according to official data released here today. — TNS

BPCL dividend
Mumbai, May 25
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) today posted a 60.21 per cent decline in net profit at Rs 670 crore for the quarter ended March 31, as compared to Rs 1,683.9 crore for the same quarter last year. The board at its meeting today declared a final dividend of Rs 10 on shares of Rs 10 each (100 per cent) for the year 2006-07. — PTI

Hindustan Lever
New Delhi, May 25
Country’s largest FMCG company Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) has rechristened itself and will now be known as Hindustan Unilever Ltd( HUL). The members at Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company have passed the resolution to this effect by requisite majority, a statement said. — UNI

GAIL pact
Mumbai, May 25
GAIL has said it will soon enter into a joint venture with China gas holdings (CGH) for setting up compressed natural gas (CNG) processing plants in China. CGH, which currently supplies natural gas to 55 cities in China, is eager to use GAIL’s expertise in enhancing use of the fuel in automobile sector, an official statement said. — UNI

Sterlite Optical
Mumbai, May 25
Sterlite Optical Technologies said it has received a contract worth Rs 169 crore from Mahanagar Telephone Nigam for deploying broadband and metro ethernet network in Delhi and Mumbai. — PTI

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