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Wednesday, December 29, 1999
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Entrepreneurs asked to invest in HP
SHIMLA, Dec 28 — Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal Chief Minister, has invited private entrepreneurs to invest in Himachal in hydel power generation, industrial and tourism sectors.

Wipro Net services soon
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 — Wipro Corporation has decided to enter the competitive home Internet services market early next year through a joint venture with Royal Dutch Telecom.
Monica Milliner (7) pulls Taylor McClanahan(6) on the battery-operated Harley Davidson bike near Marion, Ind., on Monday. McClanahan got the bike as a Christmas gift
Monica Milliner (7) pulls Taylor McClanahan(6) on the battery-operated Harley Davidson bike near Marion, Ind., on Monday. McClanahan got the bike as a Christmas gift. — AP/PTI
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Approval of amended Cos Bill a gift of ’99
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 — An end of the year gift in the form of the Cabinet approving the amended Companies Bill highlighted 1999 which saw the Government moving a step closer to aligning corporate legislations with a global economy.

Maruti's market share declines
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 — Erosion in the market share of car major Maruti Udyog continued and touched a low of 65.4 per cent in April-November of 1999-2000 from a high of 82.7 per cent in the same period last fiscal due to impressive sales performance by companies like Telco, Daewoo and Hyundai.

L&T to focus on road projects
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 — Larsen and Toubro Ltd will shift its focus from power to road infrastructure and has targeted projects worth over Rs 3,600 crore in the sector in the next financial year.

BoP to introduce Internet banking
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 — Bank of Punjab Ltd, which started operations in April 1995 and is among the first to be Y2K compliant, would be introducing online Internet banking.

Government seizes Savlon soap stocks
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 — Hindustan Lever’s Savlon soap stocks have been seized by Maharasthra Government for allegedly giving misleading information about the product and violating the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

 

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Entrepreneurs asked to invest in HP
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Dec 28 — Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal Chief Minister, has invited private entrepreneurs to invest in Himachal in hydel power generation, industrial and tourism sectors.

Addressing a group of entrepreneurs at Chennai today, he said that Himachal had identified 21500 MW of hydel potential out of which only 4000 MW of potential had been harnessed so far and work on projects with generation capacity of about 5000 MW was on.

With the decision of the Centre to bring hydel projects up to 25 MW under the ambit of mini power projects, more projects will come under this category and emphasis of the State Government will be to execute projects on priority with the private sector participation.

He said in order to give a fillip to the private sector participation in hydro power generation, the State Government had come out with a package of incentives. The component of free power to be given by the private entrepreneurs to the State Government had been reduced from 15 per cent to 12 per cent for the first 12 years and from 20 per cent to 18 per cent for the remaining 28 years. In case projects were completed before the scheduled commercial operation date, the free power to the State Government would be reduced by as much percentage points as the number of years saved in its completion. Earnest money deposit amount had also been substantially reduced.

Earlier, this amount was taken equivalent to 0.5 per cent of the project cost with a maximum ceiling of Rs 5 crore.

Mr Dhumal said the State Government had given concession in sales tax to new industrial units. Besides, new industrial units in the priority sector had been exempted from payment of electricity duty for a period of eight years in the industrially backward areas and for five years in other areas.

The State Government was also giving capital investment subsidy at the rate of 10 per cent of fixed capital investment to tiny units in the priority sector in industrially backward areas subject to a ceiling of Rs 2.5 lakh per unit. The products of tiny and small scale industries units manufactured in Himachal were being given a price preference up to 15 per cent in finalisation of rate contract by the State Government, boards and corporation.

Fruit, vegetable and maize-based units in industrially backward areas were being given special incentives like allotment of land on out of turn basis at a nominal price, general sales tax exemption or deferment for a period of 10 years and exemption in payment of electricity duty for a period of 10 years.Top



 

Approval of amended Cos Bill a gift of ’99

NEW DELHI, Dec 28 (PTI) An end of the year gift in the form of the Cabinet approving the amended Companies Bill highlighted 1999 which saw the Government moving a step closer to aligning corporate legislations with a global economy. Even as the year 1999 witnessed an increasing number of cases pending at the three quasi-judicial bodies — MRTPC, Company Law Board (CLB) and BIFR — a review of major legislations governing these three bodies was being taken up by the Government.

At the MRTPC, 490 cases were disposed of in the first six months of the year with 5,211 pending at the beginning of the year as against 1,023 cases disposed of in the entire 12 months of 1998.

The battle between Air India and Jet Airways moved from MRTPC to the Supreme Court as the latter challenged the grant of exclusive ground handling rights at Cochin International Airport to Air India as part of a contract dubbing it as a restrictive trade practice.

The year also saw several health clinics and slimming centres hauled up by MRTPC as unsatisfied customers dragged them to the courts even as the Government agencies and public utilities faced the ire of the commission in a large number of the cases filed before it.

A Bill to replace the existing MRTPC Act as per Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha’s announcement in this year’s Budget took firm shape as a committee under the Department of Company Affairs (DCA) was formed in October to submit its report on a new competition policy by the end of the current financial year as against the initial deadline of three months.

The committee headed by former civil servant S.V.S. Raghavan has been asked to frame a policy which was more pro-competitive and in line with the changed global economic scenario.

It is also expected to suggest a framework for supervising mergers and acquisitions besides examining the overlapping of the MRTPC and Consumer Redressal Forums.

However, Law Minister Ram Jethmalani under whose Ministry the DCA falls, held the view that MRTPC’s powers should be diluted except for its duty to protect investors from fraud by companies.

The non-induction of any sitting member of the MRTPC to the committee on competition law also drew the ire of the commission and it wrote to the government saying that the secretary of the commission should have been made the member secretary of the panel.

The amended Companies Bill approved by the Cabinet has plugged the hole to a certain extent by making it mandatory for all companies to inform CLB about failure to repay deposits as also supervision of listed companies by SEBI.

To promote good governance, directors have been asked to furnish responsibility statement to set up audit companies.

A move was also made to give more powers to the CLB to penalise companies defaulting in repayment of money to depositors besides suggesting that RBI take action against defaulting NBFCs.

The BIFR, this year saw 2700 companies registered with it till July, 1999 of which only 221 could be turned around, a dismal performance of below 10 per cent.

It had a pendency of nearly 33 per cent and a revival rate of 8.1 per cent raising questions on its own survival into the next millennium.

Even as the debate for winding up the board itself gained momentum, Ambitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd (ABCL), an entertainment company floated by megastar Amitabh Bachchan came into BIFR ambit generating much controversy.

Delhi High Court upheld a plea by Real Value Appliances demanding protection from creditors under Section 22 of the Sick Industrial Companies Act, thus making it a virtual refuge for promoters running away from their creditors, which became quite evident in the ABCL case.

The Board also called back its directors above 65 years from the board of sick companies.Top


 

Wipro Net services soon

NEW DELHI, Dec 28 (PTI) — Wipro Corporation has decided to enter the competitive home internet services market early next year through a joint venture with Royal Dutch Telecom (KPN).

Wipro Net, the joint venture company of Rs 2,200 crore Wipro Corporation and the $ 8 billion Dutch telecom operator Royal Dutch Telecom, currently provides a host of internet-based services to its corporate clients and will be entering the fiercely competitive home segment early next year, a senior company official said here today.

“We have already test-marketed consumer internet services in select cities and will formally launch our services early next year,” Chief Executive Officer of Wipro Net Limited Anand Talwai told PTI.

He, however, declined to comment upon the total investment needed to offer these services in India.

The company was aiming to be among the top three Internet Service Providers (ISP) by banking upon its connectivity to KPN’s international Internet Protocol (IP) network, he said. The major ISPs in the country at present are Satyam Infoway and Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSML).

“Wipro Net has connectivity to KPN’s international IP network which will enable the joint venture to offer a superior quality of services to both corporate and home customers,” Talwai added.

Wipro Infotech obtained the national ISP licence in December 1998, and Wipro Net was spun off as the internet services arm of the parent company in April this year.

On the company’s expansion and growth plans, Anand Talwai said Wipro Net was planning to go public within the next three years.

“In three years time, Wipro Net plans to float an Initial Public Offering (IPO),” he said.

Talwai, however, declined to divulge details of the proposed public issue saying it was too early to comment.

At present, Wipro Net has 500 corporate customers, and manages a nationwide fault tolerant network through communication hubs in eight major Indian cities.

“Wipro Net is the first ISP in India to have successfully integrated its nationwide IP network with Department of Telecommunications” I-Net network, and this integration extends the reach of our network,” Talwai claimed.Top


 

Maruti's market share declines

NEW DELHI, Dec 28 (PTI) — Erosion in the market share of car major Maruti Udyog continued and touched a low of 65.4 per cent in April-November of 1999-2000 from a high of 82.7 per cent in the same period last fiscal due to impressive sales performance by companies like Telco, Daewoo and Hyundai.

New car models like Indica, Matiz and Santro continued their drive towards eating into the market share of Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL), forcing the market leader to re-orient its strategies and launch new cars.

Hyundai improved its position and became the second largest passenger car manufacturer in the country by cornering a marketshare of about 12 per cent in April-November of the current fiscal against a marginal 1.74 per cent in the same period last year, according to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

Telco, with its indigeneously developed small car Indica, captured 7.90 per cent share in the passenger car market against a negligible share of 0.64 per cent a year ago.

Daewoo was also not much behind as the company has now a market share of 5.29 per cent compared to 2.1 per cent in April-November of 1998-99.

The period also witnessed a decline in the market share of the world’s leading auto-players operating in India such as Ford India, Honda Siel and General MotorsTop


 

L&T to focus on road projects

NEW DELHI, Dec 28 (PTI) — Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) will shift its focus from power to road infrastructure and has targeted projects worth over Rs 3,600 crore in the sector in the next financial year.

“The road sector will be the company’s thrust area in the next financial year,” A Ramakrishna, member of the L&T Board and President (operations) told PTI.

The company which had focussed on the power sector in the current fiscal, has shown greater inclination towards roads and urban infrastructure due to the increasing number of projects coming up in the private sector.

“The company has been working on the road sector for quite sometime and in the current financial year, the total cost of projects will be around Rs 3,000 crore in the country,” he said. This will go up by 20 to 25 per cent next year to over Rs 3,600 crore.

L&T’s shift in outlook has been reflected in its plans to increase its cement capacity through acquisition of cement plants in South and western India, to bring synergies in its operations.

Ramakrishna had earlier said the company will shortly bid for Mumbai-Thane highway with South African Company Group Five. The company has recently completed its Coimbatore project and has also bid for the Bangalore Airport in association with Zurich Airport Authorities and Siemens AG of Germany. Top


 

BoP to introduce Internet banking
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Dec 28 — Bank of Punjab Ltd, which started operations in April 1995 and is among the first to be Y2K compliant, would be introducing online Internet banking.

The bank with a deposit base of over Rs 1900 crore is currently engaged in creating the required infrastructure for offering Internet enable banking services for business-to-business and customer-to-customer e-commerce. With this the bank would also be setting up a portal and providing an on-line shopping mail, thereby extending linkages to its existing merchant and customer base.

Subject to passing of cyber laws, Bank of Punjab would be introducing digital signature and small car ds in collaboration with a renowned UK company using PKI technology, according to Mr Taj Bir Singh, Executive Director.

The bank has entered into a tie-up with Master Card international for co-branded Cirus ATM cards enabling the customers to access its extensive network in India and abroad. The bank has already tied up with Master International and would be introducing maestro Debit card early next year.

The bank has an overall business of Rs 2,900 crore with 52 banking offices spread across 25 cities and seven states.Top


 

Government seizes Savlon soap stocks

NEW DELHI, Dec 28 (PTI) — Hindustan Lever’s Savlon soap stocks have been seized by Maharasthra Government for allegedly giving misleading information about the product and violating the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

Acting on a complaint by a consumer group, "Consumer Guidance Society of India", Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Maharashtra seized the stocks, as the soap did not meet the minimum fat content of 76 per cent prescribed for anti-bacterial soaps.

Savlon is manufactured by Johnson and Johnson and marketed by HLL.

When contacted by PTI, FDA Commissioner B.K. Agarwal confirmed that authorities had seized stocks of the soap recently.

The department had earlier asked HLL to withdraw its advertisement which claimed Savlon as an anti-bacterial soap. It was also found that the soap contained only 61 per cent fat (TFM) in its soap against the mandated requirement of 76 per cent.Top



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Siemens
MUMBAI, Dec 28 (PTI) — Siemens Ltd today announced that all its installed equipment, both at its own end as well as at its customers and suppliers end, were fully Y2K compliant.

HMT
BANGALORE, Dec 28 (PTI) — HMT (International) Ltd has signed an agreement with Kanrad Technologies Inc, a US based company, valued at Rs 25 crore under which both companies will provide US clients Internet0based solutions and tools for e-commerce for business-to-business and business to client applications.

Reliance
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 (UNI) — The Reliance group today clained that it continues to be a part of the bidding process for IPCL. In a statment here, the group denied reports in a section of the press that it has decided to withdraw from the IPCL bidding process.

CavinKare
CHANDIGARH, Dec 28 (TNS) — CavinKare Limited, a personal care products company, today launched a new range of herbal shampoo, Nyle Wonder.

BHEL
NEW DELHI, Dec 28 (PTI) — BHEL has bagged a contract for a Rs 1,328 crore boiler package for the Talcher Super Thermal Power Project in Orissa. With this contract, BHEL has been awarded orders cumulatively valued at about Rs 2,200 crore for Talcher project.Top



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