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Tuesday, September 22, 1998
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Onion exports pushed up prices
NEW DELHI, Sept 21 — The Government’s decision to import about 15,000 tonnes of onion is unlikely to have much effect on the prices as it would fall short of the consumers’ demand.
Small investors to get PSU shares at discount
NEW DELHI, Sept 21 — Small investors will be allowed to buy shares of blue chip Public Sector Units at a discount as and when the Government goes in for disinvestment in these units, the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, said here today.
Haryana owes Rs 300 cr
power dues to NHPC

NEW DELHI, Sep 21 — National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd, which is burdened with outstanding dues of nearly Rs 1,300 crore, more than its sales turnover of Rs 1,123 crore on March 31, 1998, has decided to come down heavily on the defaulters.

India’s share in trade ‘pitiable’
CHANDIGARH, Sept 21 — Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, Punjab’s Industry Secretary, said today that there was great potential for exports in software technology, hosiery, readymade garments, sports goods and leather products.
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GVR moots trust for sell-off
NEW DELHI, Sept 21 — Disinvestment Commission Chairman G.V. Ramakrishna today proposed handing over the task of disinvestment of leading public sector enterprises to a national shareholding trust for higher realisation and greater profitability of the scrips.

Asian fall claims 9 sensex points
MUMBAI, Sept 21 — In lacklustre trading, equities declined marginally, moving in a very tight range at the stock market here today due to lack of speculative support and mild profit-taking at higher levels.
UTI plan to raise10,000 cr
NEW DELHI, Sept 21 — Unit Trust of India is considering launch of a new scheme to mobilise Rs 10,000 crore in the current fiscal from domestic small investors.
New rules for bank probes soon
NEW DELHI, Sept 21 — Chief Vigilance Commissioner N. Vittal today said a separate manual for bank employees would be ready within next two months which would be followed by investigating officers probing bank frauds.
Mittals fail to raise 90 pc stake in Bharti Telecom
NEW DELHI, Sept 21 — The Mittals of the Bharti Group failed to garner the required minimum 90 per cent stake in Bharti Telecom to gain complete control after a public offer and agreements with a few shareholders.

Corporate briefsAuto ScenePakistan Diary

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Onion exports pushed up prices
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Sept 21 — The Government’s decision to import about 15,000 tonnes of onion is unlikely to have much effect on the prices as it would fall short of the consumers’ demand.

The onion prices touched a new high this week when it was sold at Rs 26 to 36 per kg in the wholesale market of Azadpur in the capital.

Delhi Government officials indicated that a decision to import onion was taken recently at a meeting convened by the Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Officials indicated that the Delhi Chief Secretary, Mr Omesh Saigal, had stated that the move to augment the current supply by import as “inadequate” to meet the demand of the consumers.

Moreover, the untimely rains in Maharashtra — the main supplier to Delhi — have had its effect on the crop reducing the prospects of any downward slide in the prices.

In other onion growing areas, the harvesting would take place almost a month from now and till then the prices were unlikely to come down, sources indicated.

Other factors attributed to the low supply of onion was because the crop was sown in less quantity last year, the administrator of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee, Delhi Government, Mr V.P. Rao.

Onion dealers have expressed the view that the rise in the prices of onion was due to the export of onion. Even if there is no actual export, the moment it is heard exports are taking place, prices go up.

At present, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India is procuring onion directly from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana and supplying them to various government agencies including Super Bazar, Kendriya Bhandar and National Consumer Cooperative Federation. They in turn sell them to consumers at Rs 10 per kg compared to Rs 40 per kg in the open market.
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Small investors to get PSU
shares at discount

Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Sept 21 — Small investors will be allowed to buy shares of blue chip Public Sector Units (PSUs) at a discount as and when the Government goes in for disinvestment in these units, the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, said here today.

Addressing a national symposium on “Towards a resurgent capital market”, organised by the (ASSOCHAM) here, Mr Sinha said there will be a provision for disinvestment of PSUs at home and retail investors will be allowed to buy them at a discount, a practice prevalent in a number of developed countries.

The Finance Minister said he was not in favour of total disinvestment in foreign market instruments like Global Depository Receipts (GDRs).

Mr Sinha said PSU disinvestment has been weak and faulty in the past. Disinvestment should not be undertaken as a mere facility to bring down the fiscal deficit but it should form part of the total public sector policy. The Minister said the presence of the PSUs would give depth to the market.

The suggestion for making available shares of blue chip PSU companies at a discount for retail investors was mooted by the Chairman of the Disinvestment Commission, Mr G.V.Ramakrishna, who said such a measure would help boost the confidence of small investors, who had burnt their hands after the stock scam.

Mr Yashwant Sinha also announced that a Bill to introduce derivative trading, which would help big investors to hedge their risks, would be introduced in the next session of Parliament. The matter has been gone into by the Parliamentary Standing Committee and the Minister hoped that it would get Parliament’s approval.

The Finance Minister blamed reckless liberalisation and globalisation for the present state of affairs in the capital market. He said liberalisation without adequate regulation and globalisation without calibration was a big mistake.

The ASSOCHAM President, Mr L. Lakshman, said there was a need to broadbase the composition of SEBI. Regulatory boards in developed economies have representatives drawn from different professions such as law, accountancy, investment banking and stock broking. The SEBI board on the other hand consists of predominantly government nominees drawn mainly from the bureaucracy. There was a need to induct as full time members, professionals from different field to the board of SEBI to help it play a more proactive role in regulating the stock markets.


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Haryana owes Rs 300 cr power dues to NHPC
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Sep 21 — National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd, which is burdened with outstanding dues of nearly Rs 1,300 crore, more than its sales turnover of Rs 1,123 crore on March 31, 1998, has decided to come down heavily on the defaulters.

Haryana , Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi Vidyut Board are among the major defaulters who have not paid for the electricity received from the NHPC, the Chairman of the company, Mr Yogendra Prasad, said here today.

While Haryana has commenced payment of current arrears, which is around Rs 40 crore, it still owes the NHPC more than Rs 300 crore. Uttar Pradesh tops the list with Rs 575 crore while Jammu and Kashmir owes about Rs 185 crore.

NHPC still managed to post a net profit of Rs 299.42 crore during the previous financial year. Its operating power stations generated 8815.76 million units against the target of 7710 million units. During the year the 480 MW Uri project in J and K started commercial operation and exceeded the generation target in the very first year of its operation.

The rectification of the Chamera Stage 1 units in Himachal Pradesh was completed in a record period of four and a half months and the project was now operating at its rated capacity.
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India’s share in trade ‘pitiable’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 21 — Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, Punjab’s Industry Secretary, said today that there was great potential for exports in software technology, hosiery, readymade garments, sports goods and leather products.

“Success of a venture largely depends on its marketing capabilities in the competitive world market with focus on high quality, cost effectiveness and timely delivery schedule”, he said, inaugurating a workshop on “International marketing” here.

Dr Egon B. Heil, Professor of Marketing in the University of Rosenheim, said it was pitiable to know that India having 20 per cent of the world’s population had just 0.6 per cent share in the world trade.

He said his mission was in change the existing mindset of Indian exporters in marketing strategies.

The workshop was jointly organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO).

Mr Ashok Khanna, Vice-President of PHDCCI, stressed the need for a major thrust on exports and the development of information technology in this region.

Mrs Sarparveen Kaur, Chairperson of the FLO, said FICCI and PHDCCI would jointly organise more such programmes at the doorstep of small and medium industrial centres in various states.

Mr B.K. Puri, a representative of Hanns Seidel Foundation, an educational institute of Germany, said that the Foundation would like to extend its activities in India through chambers of commerce and industry.
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GVR moots trust for sell-off

NEW DELHI, Sept 21 (PTI) — Disinvestment Commission Chairman G.V. Ramakrishna today proposed handing over the task of disinvestment of leading public sector enterprises to a national shareholding trust for higher realisation and greater profitability of the scrips.

“I have mooted the idea of handing over the task of disinvestment of leading public sector enterprises to a trust for making faster money,’’ Ramakrishna told newspersons at the sidelines of the national symposium titled “towards resurgent capital market’’.He said the government, on an experimental basis should try out a new method wherein it transfers all existing shareholding to a national shareholding trust.

The trust members, he proposed, will include chairman of a leading public sector bank, a chief of an insurance company, the finance secretary, the chief of the disinvestment commission and some eminent management experts.

“This system will help in the PSU shares gaining greater value through proper management and mechanism,’’ he added.

The proposal has been submitted to the finance minister, Yashwant Sinha, he added.

Earlier, speaking at the symposium, Ramakrishna said he had been wrongly accused for discontinuing badla or forward trading in the bourses when he was chairman of the SEBI.

“I gave the stock brokers six months to improve the cash delivery system and to initiate reforms,’’he said.

Mr Ramakrishna, however, said there was need for healthy speculation in the stock markets to bring about greater profitability.
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Auto Scene
Tata car is ‘Indica’

MUMBAI, Sept 21 (PTI) — The Tatas have formally named their small car as “Indica”, having its genesis in the phrase “India’s car”.

Indica, which was popularly referred to as “Mint” since it was unveiled at the “Auto Expo” in January this year, was the original name given to the car during the initial conceptualisation of the small car project.

Indica is scheduled to be launched by the end of 1998.

The Tata group said in a release here today that the overwhelming warmth with which the car was received “reinforced the decision in choosing the name which imbibes the spirit of a resurgent India poised to hold its own at the turn of the 21st century”.

TVS Spectra
NEW DELHI (TNS): TVS Suzuki today announced that a new generation four-stroke scooter will be launched in the capital on October 1. Priced at Rs 39,000, ‘TVS Spectra’ will be aimed at the higher-end market, the Chairman and Managing Director of the company, Mr Venu Srinivasan, said here.

The company has planned a dramatic launch at the sprawling Indira Gandhi Stadium. The world’s greatest illusionist, Mr Franz Harary, will unveil the TVS Spectra at a function dubbed the “TVS Millenniun Show”.

TVS Spectra is a 150 cc, four-geared premium scooter with high gloss fit and finish coupled with modern styling. Mr Srinivasan said the company hopes to make a dent on the motor cycle market as till now scooters could not match the fuel efficiency of the bikes. TVS Spectra, while presenting a modern look, will be cheaper on fuel with its high efficiency. The Spectra is manufactured at the company’s new manufacturing facility in Mysore with an investment of Rs 180 crore.

Santro
NEW DELHI, (PTI): South Korean automobile giant Hyundai will make a worldwide launch of its small car “Santro” on September 23 here through a unique “charity auction: to create a fund for technical education.

The first five top of the line Santro DX cars, rolled out of its assembly lines, will be auctioned at a function in the Capital and proceeds will be handed over to the Army, Navy and Air Force Wives Associations.

‘Car war’
NEW DELHI (PTI)): India’s Rs 45.000 crore automobile industry is going to witness a “car war” soon with Hyundai Motor India Ltd and Daewoo Motors launching Santro and Matiz respectively. Telco is still keeping everyone guessing.

“We will launch the car at the right time. It may be in November, December or even in January,” Telco Executive Director V.M. Raval had said recently.

“Pricing is going to be the a key element that will decide the fate of these cars. The Indian middle class mindset will take some time to get used to a price of over three lakh for a small car,” say industry sources.

It is not going to be easy for these companies to cut into the market share of Maruti, which is now in the process of zeroing in on a new model to replace its best seller Maruti 800.
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Banks to auction Sharif assets

THE move by a group of Pakistani banks to recover at least Rs 100 crore by auctioning assets and properties of Premier Nawaz Sharif’s business group is facing resistance as the formal handing over of the properties is being delayed.

The Lahore High Court was informed that the banks would not be able to recover the stuck-up loans from the three units of the Ittefaq group, owned by Sharif’s family “unless formalities of handing over the properties of all three companies are completed by the manager of the units,” media reports said.

With regard to the default by his own company, Sharif had announced that he would surrender the companies concerned to the eight creditor banks for the recovery of loans by auctioning machineries and other assets. — PTI

IMF loan

Pakistan and the IMF have agreed to the resumption of suspended loan facility to the cash-strapped Pakistan.

The IMF is waiting for a green signal from New York where during the course of talks with President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Nawaj Sharif will assure him about Pakistan’s decision to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Much will depend on the outcome of the talks. Mr Sharif is expected to announce the signing of the treaty in the General Assembly after getting a categorical assurance from Mr Clinton for the lifting of sanctions. — UNI

Bailout fund
MANAMA (Reuters): The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has started marketing a proposed $ 1.5 billion bailout fund for Pakistan to help Islamabad meet part of its debts, bankers have said.

“The IDB has started to approach financial institutions and banks in Saudi Arabia over the proposed $ 1.5 billion fund for Pakistan,” a senior banker told Reuters on Sunday. — Reuters
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Asian fall claims 9 sensex points

MUMBAI, Sept 21 (PTI) — In lacklustre trading, equities declined marginally, moving in a very tight range at the stock market here today due to lack of speculative support and mild profit-taking at higher levels.

Brokers said the market got off to a better start with the sensex moving up by 41.87 points on apprehension that the first day of the current account would witness good support from foreign institutional investors (FIIs).

However, the weak South East Asian stock markets and higher carryforward charges of 21 to 24 per cent at the turn of the settlement put pressure on foreign funds. They were net sellers of ITC, Zee Tele and SBI on disinvestment selling.

Bull operators were cautious and purchased shares with good fundamentals which kept the sensex balanced. The mutual funds and financial institutions made purchases of Nestle, MTNL, GSFC and EI Hotels and a few other shares in the specified list.

Brokers opined that the long-pending decision on buy-back of shares had resulted in poor trading activity at all bourses in the country.The mood of the market was reflected by the BSE sensitive index, which opened at 3111.02, moved up to a high of 3132.59 but gradually declined to close at 3080.91, showing a minor loss of 9.81 points from the previous close of 3090.72.

The broad-based BSE-100 index closed lower at 1369.49, with a minor fall of 2.73 points from the previous close of 1372.22.

However, the BSE-200 and the Dollex closed marginally higher at 317.49 and 124.31 from the last close of 317.37 and 124.24 respectively.

The total turnover on the BOLT system was Rs 1218.77 crore. ITC Ltd topped the list of five most prominent traded scrips with a turnover of Rs 349.08 crore, followed by Satyam Computers Rs 133.11 crore, Zee Telefilm Rs 127.73 crore, Reliance Rs 117.38 crore and Pentafour Software Rs 77.40 crore.

ITC Ltd closed lower by Rs 2 at 651.50, Satyam Computers by 9.25 at 508, Zee Tele by 10.25 at 687.75 and Pentafour Soft by 6.75 at 608.25. Reliance Ind firmed up moderately by 2.40 to 122.
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Corporate briefs
ICL to pay FIs after rights issue

MUMBAI, Sept 21 (PTI) — India Cements Ltd (ICL) has communicated to financial institutions (FIs) that the payment towards Raasi Cement Ltd (RCL) shares acquired under an open offer would be made soon after the completion of ICL’s delayed rights issue. ICL in a statement here today said the rights issue had been delayed because of “near collapse” of the secondary market and sluggishness in the primary market. Despite having obtained clearance on July 13, 1998, for the issue, ICL on the advice of managers to the issue revised the structure of the proposed issue and filed a fresh offer document on August 27 with SEBI.

VSNL profit up 92 per cent
MUMBAI, Sept 21 (PTI) — Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) has posted a record turnover of Rs 6,436 crore during 1997-98, up 22 per cent from last year, with a 92 per cent growth in profit. Addressing the annual general meeting of the company at Mumbai, Chairman and Managing Direcor, Amitab Kumar said the profits have reached Rs 968 crore with a robust 92 per cent growth. Despite the Asian crisis and substantial slowdown in the economy affecting industrial growth, the company exhibited a volume growth of 21.63 per cent over the previous year handling 1685 million minutes of telephone traffic, he said.

HCL forms three companies
NEW DELHI, Sept 21 (PTI) — HCL Corporation, one of the largest Indian computer companies has restructured its operations by dividing them into three newly formed entities ‘HCL Infosystems’, ‘HCL Technologies’ and ‘NIIT’. As part of the restructuring exercise by the Rs 2,284 crore group, companies like HCL Peripherals, HCL Infosolutions and HCL OA would be merged to form ‘HCL Infosystems’ to focus on volume business especially in the domestic market, Arun Dang, Vice President of HCL Corp told PTI today. Newly formed HCL Technologies will be the holding company of all overseas companies which were being controlled by HCL consulting and will look after acquisition and development of new technologies and products. NIIT with all its subsidiaries would remain as a separate group company under the umbrella of HCL Corp with focus on software development and training, Dang said.
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UTI plan to raise10,000 cr

NEW DELHI, Sept 21 (PTI) — Unit Trust of India (UTI) is considering launch of a new scheme to mobilise Rs 10,000 crore in the current fiscal from domestic small investors.

“Besides the millennium funds for the overseas investors we are also contemplating a new scheme to target domestic investors with assured face value returns”, UTI Chairman and Managing Director, P.S. Subramaniyam, told newspersons on the sidelines of a seminar on “towards resurgent capital market”, organised by ASSOCHAM.

Under the assured face value returns, investors will get back their initial investment even if the net asset value of the fund drops below the face value, he said.

UTI chief said it would be a balanced fund (combination of equity and fund) with 60 to 70 per cent being invested in equities and rest in debt.
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New rules for bank probes soon

NEW DELHI, Sept 21 (UNI) — Chief Vigilance Commissioner N. Vittal today said a separate manual for bank employees would be ready within next two months which would be followed by investigating officers probing bank frauds.

Mr Vittal said the banking involved commercial risk and the vigilance exercise should follow a different set of rules for banks than those in the government departments.

The newly appointed CVC said he had recently met Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha and discussed the issue of bank frauds. He would meet RBI Governor Bimal Jalan on September 23 and seek his views on vigilance in banking.

Mr Vittal was addressing bank officers at the National Institute of Banking Studies and Corporate Management here. Top

 

Mittals fail to raise 90 pc stake
in Bharti Telecom

NEW DELHI, Sept 21 (PTI) — The Mittals of the Bharti Group failed to garner the required minimum 90 per cent stake in Bharti Telecom to gain complete control after a public offer and agreements with a few shareholders.

The Mittlas could only mobilise 13 per cent through the open offer concluded recently and ended up with a stake of around 80 per cent in the company.

“We could get only 13 per cent from the retail shareholders and have fallen short of the 90 per cent target,” promoter of Bharti Group, Sunil Mittal told PTI.

Sterling Horticulture and Research, controlled by Shiv Sankaran, who holds 9 per cent stake in Bharti Telecom, did not sell his shares to Mittals though an agreement to this effect was signed between the two parties.

Since there was a litigation pending before the SEBI on sale of Sterling’s stake in Bharti, the deal could not go through, Mittal said.

To gain complete control and get delisted from the stock exchange, a promoter should have at least 90 per cent of the total stake in the company.
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  ‘Oneworld’
LONDON, Sep 21 (AFP) — British Airways, American Airlines and three other leading carriers today announced a loose alliance to be called “Oneworld” to integrate some of their customer services for the global marketplace. The other three airlines are Canadian Airlines, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific and Qantas of Australia.

Honoured
Tribune News Service
CHANDIGARH, Sept 21 — The H.P. Bankers’ Welfare Association, Chandigarh honoured Mr D.S. Thakur, Deputy General Secretary, Himachal Pradesh module of the SBI Staff Association on being elected as the chairman of the H.P. State Co-operative Development Federation.

Amartex Ind
From Our Correspondent
PANCHKULA, Sept 21 — Amartex Industries Ltd, a textile manufacturing unit based here opened a sales outlet of the unit in Industrial Area, Phase-I here today.

Forex rates
MUMBAI, Sept 21 (PTI) — The following were interbank forex an RBI rates (in rupees per unit).U.S. $ Rs 42.49/50 Stg Rs 71.48/50 D. Mark Rs 25.28/30 Jap Yen (100) Rs 31.87/89 The RBI reference rate was Rs 42-52.

Commodities
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH: Wheat 588 to 590, dara 592 to 595, superior 600, maize 470 to 490, sarson 1700 to 1750, taramira 1550 to 1600, paddy pr-106 500 to 510, pr-103 460 to 485, Ricebasmati 2750 to 5000, parmal 850 to 1125, sella 825 to 1125, maida (per bag 90 kg) 710 to 725, suji 715 to 730, atta 610 to 615, urd 1500 to 1850, urddal 1600 to 1800, moong 1800 to 2150, moongdal 2200 to 2500, moongdhuli 2400 to 2800, masoor 1900 to 2260, masoordal 2000 to 2250, kablichanna 2500 to 3000, kalachanna 1500 to 1750, dalchanna 1500 to 2000, malkamasoor 2200 to 3500, arhar 2600 to 3200, rajmashchitra 2800 to 3500. Sugar: m-grade 1475 to 1520, s-grade 1460 to 1480, khandsari 1500 to 1600, gurkhurpa 1200 to 1250.

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