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Bulls tighten grip
Sensex zooms 731 points, Nifty up 180
Mumbai, May 4
Let out in the rings after a prolonged weekend, the bulls got charged today propelling the Sensex 731 points or 6.41 per cent to close at 12,134, the biggest single-day gain in 2009. Peaking after the March lows, the Sensex reported the highest intra-day gain since October 31 of last year. Similarly, the broader 50-share Nifty of the National Stock Exchange soared by 180.05 points or 5.18 per cent to close at 3,654.00 from its last close.

Petrochemical hub at Panipat
Haryana to go it alone, pump in Rs 3,700 crore
Chandigarh, May 4
Haryana will now go ahead and develop the petrochemical hub at Panipat on its own. After failing to get any response from the management of its joint-venture partner, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the state government has decided to set up the petrochemical hub with an investment of Rs 3,700 crore.

‘Drugmakers face takeover threat’
New Delhi, May 4
Warning of significant takeover threats for most Indian drugmakers by their large foreign peers, an inter-ministerial task force has suggested the government act proactively to strengthen the pharma industry.

‘Women manage finance better’
New Delhi, May 4
Chanda DeepakChanda Kochhar Kochhar, managing director and chief executive of ICICI Bank, India's largest bank in the private sector, firmly believes women make better bankers, even if a lot also depends on how they use the opportunities that come their way. 



Chanda Kochhar


A rare pink gold perpetual chronograph by Patek Philippe is displayed during an auction preview at Christie's in Geneva
A rare pink gold perpetual chronograph by Patek Philippe is displayed during an auction preview at Christie's in Geneva on Monday. The wristwatch, with moon phases, baton numeral was completed in 1960 and is only one of the seven copies known of this model. It will be on sale in Geneva on May 13 and is expected to reach between $ 880,000 and $ 1,320,000. — Reuters


EARLIER STORIES



20 pc duty on imported paper mooted
New Delhi, May 4
The government has proposed 20 per cent "safeguard" duty on import of coated paper and paperboard with a view to protecting the domestic paper industry but printers and publishers have decried the move.

SEBI against setting up Sovereign Wealth Fund
New Delhi, May 4
Warning that capital flows can reverse, a SEBI study said India should not set up a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) using the high foreign exchange reserves hovering around $250 billion.

SBI cuts deposit rates
Mumbai, May 4
The State Bank of India has announced reduction in deposit rates by 0.25 per cent. The lower deposit rates will come into effect from today and will be applicable to all tenures, a statement said.

Fiat steps up efforts to buy into Opel
London/New York, May 4
Italian car maker Fiat SpA, which is in the process of acquiring the US automaker Chrysler, has intensified its efforts to acquire a majority stake in General Motor's German unit Opel, a move which may lead to creation of the world's biggest auto maker, media reports says. According to the UK daily the Times, Fiat officials would meet German ministers on Monday to set out a plan to bring GM's Vauxhall, Saab and Opel into a company with Fiat's core car marques including Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari.

Over 2 lakh book Nano
New Delhi, May 4
Tata Motors today said it has received over 2.03 lakh bookings for its Rs 1 lakh car Nano, garnering nearly Rs 2,500 crore.

OVL to invest $1.45 billion in Iraq
New Delhi, May 4
ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), is likely to invest $1.45 billion in an oil block in Iraq that was awarded to it by the erstwhile Saddam Hussein regime.

Corporate Results
HDFC net dips 4.5% to Rs 733 cr
Mumbai, May 4
The country's largest housing finance company, Housing Development Finance Corp (HDFC), today said it has reported a 4.52 per cent decline in net profit at Rs 733.37 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009.





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Bulls tighten grip
Sensex zooms 731 points, Nifty up 180
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 4
Let out in the rings after a prolonged weekend, the bulls got charged today propelling the Sensex 731 points or 6.41 per cent to close at 12,134, the biggest single-day gain in 2009. Peaking after the March lows, the Sensex reported the highest intra-day gain since October 31 of last year.

Similarly, the broader 50-share Nifty of the National Stock Exchange soared by 180.05 points or 5.18 per cent to close at 3,654.00 from its last close.

Reasons for today’s rally provided by analysts include investor short-covering and the markets playing catch-up with its global peers apart from strong inflows from Foreign Institutional Investors. A few analysts are also seeing the end of the bear market a few quarters down the line and the precursor to economic recovery.

All 30 stocks in the Sensex ended in the green today. Sterlite Industries was the biggest gainer closing 16.5 per cent higher. Hindalco, HDFC and M&M closed 13 per cent up. Among sectoral indices, the major gainers included scrips in the IT, banking and capital good sectors. Among the major gainers today included stocks in the BSE metal index which shot up 8.8 per cent.

Sterlite, Hindalco and Tata Steel were among the major gainers closing more than 10 per cent higher today. The BSE IT index followed close behind surging 8.4 per cent followed by the BSE Bankex at 7.9 per cent.

Globally, the Sensex rally was mirrored by other Asian markets with Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore closing more than 5 per cent higher. Meanwhile, dealers are warning of more upside after a spell of profit-booking by short-term investors.

PTI adds: Ashika Stock Brokers Research Head Paras Bothra said: "The market was trying to catch up with the gains of the global markets as it opened after four days. The Asian markets were strong and brought in some short covering and momentum gain in the Indian markets. Tomorrow the momentum would remain strong provided the US market remains strong." SMC Global vice-president Rajesh Jain said, "What we witnessed today is more of a technical rally. The markets are now indicating that probably the worst is over. Now it should see some consolidation. Smart players will try to take profit they have earned since in the past eight-week rally, before the election results are out."

Brokers said bulls tightened their grip on the market on the first day of the new derivatives series, extending the rally to a second straight day on the back of strong expectations of growth in the economy returning. Asian indices such as the Strait Times spurted by 5.65 per cent, Taiwan Weighted by 5.64 per cent, Hang Seng by 5.54 per cent, Shanghai Composite by 3.22 per cent and Kospi by 2.09 per cent at close today while European markets also resumed firm.

BSE gets threat email

Security was tightened in the offices of the Bombay Stock Exchange on Monday after an email was sent warning of a terrorist attack, the police said. The email warned that a group of terrorists would attack the building in the afternoon. The cybercrime cell of the Mumbai police and anti-terror squad are investigating the matter further, the police said. — TNS

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Petrochemical hub at Panipat
Haryana to go it alone, pump in Rs 3,700 crore
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Haryana will now go ahead and develop the petrochemical hub at Panipat on its own. After failing to get any response from the management of its joint-venture partner, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the state government has decided to set up the petrochemical hub with an investment of Rs 3,700 crore.

In September last year, IOC had expressed its inability to continue as an equal partner with Haryana State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Corporation (HSIIDC) in the petrochemical project. Citing a huge financial burden because of underwriting on account of subsidies on petroleum products, IOC had asked that they be considered as a minority partner in the project.

Sources in HSIIDC informed TNS that though they have been writing continuously to IOC, they have failed to get any response on whether it was willing to continue as a minority partner in the project. “We have now written to them, requesting that even if IOC was unwilling to continue as a partner in the petrochemical project, they should assure regular supply of petrochemicals from their refinery for this hub being developed by HSIIDC,” said a senior official.

Sources further said the basic funding of Rs 3,730 crore will be done by HSIIDC. “We are already in the process of acquiring 2,000 acres of land for the first phase of the project, and 900 acres has already been acquired. This world-class petrochemical hub will be set up on 4,000 acres near the IOC’s Panipat refinery. The mega petrochemical complex based on naphtha as feedstock and comprising naphtha cracker/associated units and downstream polymer/chemical units is being commissioned at an estimated investment of Rs 11,000 crore.

Since Polyester Staple Fibre (PSF), Polyester Filament Yarn (PFY), Partially Oriented Yarn (POY) are generally used as ingredients for manufacturing textiles, mostly on polyester oriented garments, carpets and other domestic usable products, the availability of these would help in the growth of downstream petrochemical industry in the petrochemical hub.

The potential investment in the downstream industries is expected to be around Rs 15,000 crore. This investment in downstream petrochemical and end-product industries are likely to experience an annual turnover of around Rs 12,500 crore. 

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‘Drugmakers face takeover threat’

New Delhi, May 4
Warning of significant takeover threats for most Indian drugmakers by their large foreign peers, an inter-ministerial task force has suggested the government act proactively to strengthen the pharma industry.

(The) Indian pharmaceutical industry being fragmented with small balance sheet sizes, takeover by global pharmaceutical companies would adversely affect the health interests of the nation," the task force has said in its recommendations to the Commerce Ministry.

"India is exposed to the threat of takeovers from global big pharmaceutical companies under the new IPR regime," it noted.

The task force was set up under the aegis of the Commerce Ministry for suggesting "Strategy for Increasing Exports of Pharmaceutical Products".

According to industry experts, there are more than 10,000 drug manufacturers in the country and most of them are small-sector units operating in the generic segment.

With a large number of drugs going off-patent in developed markets like the US and Europe, Indian companies are expected to garner a lion's share in the segment.

According to the report, drugs worth $40 billion in the US and $25 billion in Europe are expected to go off-patent soon and this opens a vast opportunity for the domestic industry. — PTI

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‘Women manage finance better’

New Delhi, May 4
Chanda Deepak Kochhar, managing director and chief executive of ICICI Bank, India's largest bank in the private sector, firmly believes women make better bankers, even if a lot also depends on how they use the opportunities that come their way.

"So far as the financial sector is concerned, I feel women are always better with managing finance," says the 47-year-old banker.

"Sometimes women also make it an excuse for not doing certain tasks. But if you want equal opportunity you have to perform equally," Kochhar said in an interview with IANS here.

According to her, ICICI Bank is an excellent example of equal opportunities as it employs over 10,000 women. "So it will be wrong to say they don't get the opportunity. But then it also depends on how efficiently one uses this opportunity."

Tracing her own 25-year journey in the institution, she says it has been full of challenges and also exciting — one in which there was a long and continuous process of both personal and professional growth.

"With my new role these challenges and excitement will be only bigger," says the soft-spoken banker who had joined the institution as a trainee executive in 1984 when it was called the Industrial Credit and Investment Corp of India.

The priorities ahead are clear for this Jodhpur-born management student and a cost accountant who figures in Fortune magazine's list of most powerful women in business.

"There is a strong legacy of ICICI Bank. But we have to mould the structure of our strategy to be in sync with the current market situation," she says, and adds: "The main focus will be on retail investors."

Kochhar says her aim is to increase retail deposits that will be at the core of business growth for the bank, since no revival was possible without this segment. She also says there will be a fresh approach to lending.

"As I said, our steps will be more measured. You will see many positive changes in the future," she says. "There will be restructuring of our deposit base. I cannot divulge everything at this moment. You'll have to wait for that. But as I said, there will be positive changes." — IANS

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20 pc duty on imported paper mooted

New Delhi, May 4
The government has proposed 20 per cent "safeguard" duty on import of coated paper and paperboard with a view to protecting the domestic paper industry but printers and publishers have decried the move.

"The entire education system will get affected as books become expensive (because of) 20 per cent ad valorem duty on imports of coated paper, as recommended by the Directorate General of Safeguards," All India Federation of Master Printers President Subhash Chander said. In a notification, the Safeguards Office has said imports of coated paper and paper board from China and Indonesia have caused "injury" to the domestic industry.

However, these preliminary findings are being contested by printers and publishers, including the books and printing panel of export body Chemicals and Allied Products Export Promotion Council (CAPEXIL).

Chander said there was no case for protecting domestic paper manufacturers, who had increased the prices of the key raw material for books by 25 per cent last year.

"On top of the price increase, paper manufacturers gobbled up 12 per cent excise duty reduction announced last year," he said.

Chander said while paper is available at Rs 35 a kg in the international market, the domestic industry is selling it for Rs 54-55 per kg.

The purpose of anti-dumping duty is to eliminate injury caused to the domestic industry by the unfair trade practices of dumping so as to re-establish open and fair competition in the Indian market. India has already slapped anti-dumping duty on several items such as yarn, fabrics, some of the stainless steel products and chemicals imported from China. — PTI 

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SEBI against setting up Sovereign Wealth Fund

New Delhi, May 4
Warning that capital flows can reverse, a SEBI study said India should not set up a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) using the high foreign exchange reserves hovering around $250 billion.

"India's foreign exchange reserves are built on capital account inflows and hence it is subject to capital flight ...funding an SWF from capital account surplus is risky since the capital flows can reverse their direction any time," said a report prepared by officials of SEBI.

Arguing against setting up of a SWF by India, the report, appearing in SEBI's April bulletin, said in the absence of a proper management in place, "the SWFs could be misled to promote domestic political or foreign policy objectives which contradict with the guidelines of Santiago principles." The Santiago principles lay down the code of conduct for transparent and non-political functioning of the SWFs.

The study also raised concerns about "corruption or even underperformance" due to mismanagement of the SWF.

Meanwhile, while giving a clean chit to the SWFs, the report said the US should welcome such investments from foreign governments to defend the home economy, particularly amid the grim global outlook.

"When the protagonist of capitalism (the United States) is in danger and the US government is funding the corporate sector through bail-out packages, the SWFs should not be treated as untouchable," it said.

In many west European countries and the US, it is widely believed that the governments through the SWFs are not only looking for economic benefits but may be attempting to achieve political influence as well.

However, the report said, "... there are no evidences so far to suggest political or other motive behind investments by SWFs in other countries." Increased protectionism in the form of different restrictions on the activities of SWFs is not going to benefit the recipient as well as the investor countries, the report added.

The SWFs are government-controlled pools of assets designed as a vehicle of foreign portfolio investment. These funds invest in a large array of assets for a relatively longer time horizon. — PTI 

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SBI cuts deposit rates
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 4
The State Bank of India has announced reduction in deposit rates by 0.25 per cent. The lower deposit rates will come into effect from today and will be applicable to all tenures, a statement said.

Deposits for one year but less than two years will earn interest of 7.5 per cent as against 7.75 per cent earlier, SBI said. Deposits for tenures of more than two years but less than 1,000 days will earn interest of 7.75 per cent from 8 per cent at present while deposits for more than 1,000 days will have a rate of 8 per cent from 8.25 per cent at present.

The bank has also cut rates for 1,001 days to less than three years and 3-5 years deposits to 7.75 per cent (8 per cent earlier). Also, 5-8 years and 8-10 years deposits will carry rates of 8 per cent (8.25 per cent) and 8.25 per cent (8.5 per cent) respectively, the bank said.

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Fiat steps up efforts to buy into Opel

London/New York, May 4
Italian car maker Fiat SpA, which is in the process of acquiring the US automaker Chrysler, has intensified its efforts to acquire a majority stake in General Motor's German unit Opel, a move which may lead to creation of the world's biggest auto maker, media reports says.

According to the UK daily the Times, Fiat officials would meet German ministers on Monday to set out a plan to bring GM's Vauxhall, Saab and Opel into a company with Fiat's core car marques including Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari.

"Fiat last night set out its blueprint to reshape the global car industry, outlining plans to spin off a new company that will include General Motor's European business and Chrysler," the Times said in a report published online.

The US daily Wall Street Journal has also stated that Fiat SpA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has stepped up his plan to acquire a majority stake in Opel, which is the next phase of his ambitious campaign to forge one of the world's biggest auto makers by crafting a three-way alliance among Fiat, Chrysler and Opel.

Fiat said yesterday that the board had authorised Marchionne to seek a potential merger between Fiat and GM's European operations, including Opel and its UK unit Vauxhall. — PTI 

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Over 2 lakh book Nano

New Delhi, May 4
Tata Motors today said it has received over 2.03 lakh bookings for its Rs 1 lakh car Nano, garnering nearly Rs 2,500 crore.

The bookings were double of allotted number of cars for delivery. Fully-paid bookings were nearly Rs 2,500 crore, the company said.

Out of the total bookings, 70 per cent were financed and the rest on application through cash payment.

About 4,000 cash bookings were made online through www. tatanano.com, it said.

Out of the three variants of Nano, the base model Nano Standard accounted for 20 per cent, mid-range Nano Cx 30 per cent and the top end Nano Lx getting 50 per cent of the booking.— PTI

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OVL to invest $1.45 billion in Iraq

New Delhi, May 4
ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), is likely to invest $1.45 billion in an oil block in Iraq that was awarded to it by the erstwhile Saddam Hussein regime.

"The service exploration and production contract for Block-8 have been concluded and the agreement is likely to be signed in the next couple of months," an official said.

Block-8, located in the western desert in southern Iraq bordering Saudi Arabia, was awarded to OVL in November 2000 by the then Saddam Hussein government. However, the government formed after the US invasion of the oil-rich country, sought re-negotiation of the contract which has now been concluded. — PTI 

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Corporate Results
HDFC net dips 4.5% to Rs 733 cr

Mumbai, May 4
The country's largest housing finance company, Housing Development Finance Corp (HDFC), today said it has reported a 4.52 per cent decline in net profit at Rs 733.37 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009.

The total income rose 36 per cent to Rs 3,152.44 crore during the March quarter, from Rs 2,317.67 crore in the corresponding period a year ago.

The board has declared a dividend of Rs 30 a share for the financial year ended March 2009 on shares of face value of Rs 10 each.

Allahabad Bank profit up 56 pc

State-run Allahabad Bank today said its net profit jumped by 55.78 per cent to Rs 264.05 crore in the March quarter of 2008-09.

Total income stood at Rs 2,373.37 crore for the quarter under review, against Rs 1,980.16 crore during the same period of FY'08.

The board has proposed a dividend of Rs 2.50 a piece to the shareholders of the company.

IOB dividend

Indian Overseas Bank today reported a 5.37 per cent growth in net profit at Rs 322.37 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009. The total income rose 27 per cent to Rs 3,134.20 crore during the March quarter, from Rs 2,467.95 crore in the corresponding period a year-ago.

The board has declared a dividend of 45 per cent at the rate of Rs 4.50 a share, on shares of face value of Rs 10, for the financial year ended March 2009.— PTI

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BRIEFLY

McDonald's plans 40 more restaurants
New Delhi
: Fast-food chain McDonald's India is planning to continue with its expansion and will open 40 more restaurants across the country during 2009-10. "We are continuing with our growth strategy and plans to open 40 more restaurants this fiscal," McDonald's India managing director and joint venture partner (North and East) Vikram Bakshi said — PTI

Kampani's bail plea dismissed
New Delhi:
A Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir on Monday dismissed the bail plea of investment banker Nimesh Kampani. Earlier, the Supreme Court had refused to give immediate relief to Kampani, who has sought anticipatory bail in the Nagarjuna Finance scam case.— PTI

ISPRL order for Thapar JV
New Delhi:
SKE&C-KCT joint venture has won the civil works contract for building underground caverns for storage of crude oil. The strategic storages of the capacity of 1.5 million mt will be built for Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB). The company is a consortium of Thapar group-owned KCT Brothers and SK Engineering, a Korea-based conglomerate. — TNS

CPI-IW for March
Chandigarh:
The Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) for the month of March, 2009, has not been released by the Labour Bureau, Shimla, so far. Apparently, the bureau will release the figures after they get approval for the same from the Election Commission of India as the model code of conduct is in force due to Lok Sabha elections. — TNS

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