Friday, January 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S
Hockey's Wayne Gretzky, left, basketball's Michael Jordan and football's John Elway pose after announcing the launch of their new web site, MVP.com, on Wednesday in Atlanta. The site will offer sports, fitness and outdoor gear and apparel. — AP/PTI
Hockey's Wayne Gretzky, left, basketball's Michael Jordan and football's John Elway pose after announcing the launch of their new web site, MVP.com, on Wednesday in Atlanta. The site will offer sports, fitness and outdoor gear and apparel. — AP/PTI
The opening page of the CD-ROM entitled "The Digital Frog 2." The CD-ROM can be used as a "virtual scalpel" by high school students to slice into an image of a frog rather than operating on a real amphibian, as part of a biology class. — AP/PTI
The opening page of the CD-ROM entitled "The Digital Frog 2." The CD-ROM can be used as a "virtual scalpel" by high school students to slice into an image of a frog rather than operating on a real amphibian, as part of a biology class. — AP/PTI

SBI net profit shoots up 51.71 pc in 3rd quarter
MUMBAI, Jan 27 — SBI has reported a 51.71 per cent increase in net profit to Rs 400.50 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 1999, but the bottomline for the first nine months of 1999-2000 was lower at Rs 1,102.95 crore compared to Rs 1,143 crore in the corresponding period of 1998-99.

E-voting for firms ?
NEW DELHI, Jan 27 — The Government is considering allowing shareholders of companies to cast their votes through the electronic mode for specific purposes, Department of Company Affairs Secretary T.S. Krishnamurthy said here today.

Ranbaxy reports 7 pc jump in net
NEW DELHI, Jan 27 — Ranbaxy Laboratories today reported a 7 per cent rise in the net profit at Rs 32.1 crore during the last quarter ended December, 1999, compared to Rs 29.9 crore in the same quarter, 1998.



EARLIER STORIES
 

VSNL and HARTRON sign MoU
NEW DELHI, Jan 27 — VSNL and HARTRON today signed an MoU to set up a high speed data communication facility with associated marketing services for data links, Internet access and other value added services of VSNL at Gurgaon.

Divestment target may not be met: FM
NEW DELHI, Jan 27 — The government is unlikely to meet the disinvestment target of Rs 10,000 close during the current fiscal year despite recent initiatives to privatise national carrier Indian Airlines and Modern Foods Limited.

AL Verma heads Chandigarh DRT
CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — The Debt Recovery Tribunal is scheduled to start functioning from Chandigarh shortly. The Central Government has appointed Mr A.L. Verma Presiding Officer of the DRT. Mr Verma has joined at Chandigarh.

ICICI, Compaq pact on payment gateway
MUMBAI, Jan 27 — ICICI Ltd today said it has tied up with a Compaq-led consortium for setting up a payment gateway through its subsidiary, to facilitate e-commerce transactions.Top



SBI net profit shoots up 51.71 pc in 3rd quarter

MUMBAI, Jan 27 (PTI) — SBI has reported a 51.71 per cent increase in net profit to Rs 400.50 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 1999, but the bottomline for the first nine months of 1999-2000 was lower at Rs 1,102.95 crore compared to Rs 1,143 crore in the corresponding period of 1998-99.

SBI said the lower net profit for April-December, 1999, despite a 17.36 per cent higher operating profit at Rs 2,713.68 crore, is on account of larger provisions made on considerations of prudence.

The provisions at Rs 1,610.73 crore are higher than Rs 1,169.21 crore made in the first nine months of 1998-99, largely due to increased provisions for NPAs and provision for salary revision arrears.

The SBI’s net interest income increased by 12.15 per cent to Rs 4,670.94 crore during the nine months period.

SBI said the growth in operating profit has been achieved despite a charge of Rs 94.47 crore towards shortfall in the net asset value of Magnum Triple Scheme of its mutual fund subsidiary and a decline in the net interest margin caused mainly by the reduction in PLR by 1 per cent from March 1, 1999.Top




 

E-voting for firms ?

NEW DELHI, Jan 27 (PTI) — The Government is considering allowing shareholders of companies to cast their votes through the electronic mode for specific purposes, Department of Company Affairs Secretary T.S. Krishnamurthy said here today. The “Companies Bill (second amendment) 1999 had proposed a postal ballot system. Looking at the change in technology, we can consider voting through electronic mode (ie through Internet/e-mail),” Krishnamurthy said at a conference of corporate managers and tax executives organised by FICCI.Top



 

Ranbaxy reports 7 pc jump in net

NEW DELHI, Jan 27 (PTI) — Ranbaxy Laboratories today reported a 7 per cent rise in the net profit at Rs 32.1 crore during the last quarter ended December, 1999, compared to Rs 29.9 crore in the same quarter, 1998.

During 1999, the company reported a net profit of Rs 220 crore on total sales of Rs 1,558 crore, a statement from Ranbaxy said today.

The Ranbaxy board, which met here, announced an interim dividend of Rs 2.50 per share.

The total sales grew by 19 per cent to Rs 416.8 crore during the three months ended December 31, from Rs 350.6 crore in the same period the previous year.

The domestic sales grew by a modest 7 per cent to Rs 208.1 crore from the previous year’s Rs 195.2 crore while the exports recorded an impressive 34 per cent rise to Rs 208.7 crore from Rs 155.4 crore during the same quarter, 1998.

The profit before tax during the last quarter grew to Rs 220.1 crore, it said.

The company attributed the lower than expected figures to the slowdown of the domestic pharmaceutical sector. “The Indian pharmaceutical market has slowed down to record single digit growth. The antibiotic/anti-bacterial segment, where the company has a major presence, was particularly sluggish,” Mr D.S. Brar, CEO and Managing Director of Ranbaxy Labs, said.

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VSNL and HARTRON sign MoU
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Jan 27 — VSNL and HARTRON today signed an MoU to set up a high speed data communication facility with associated marketing services for data links, Internet access and other value added services of VSNL at Gurgaon.

The MoU was signed by Mr Vinoo Goyal, Director (Development), VSNL and Mr S.K. Saxena, Managing Director, HARTRON.

As per the MoU, HARTRON will provide the land and assistance in building up the infrastructure for the communication hub including assistance in its operation. VSNL will install and operate the communications hub by best technology of optical fibre and micro-wave links to provide the international connectivity to the customers.Top


 

Divestment target may not be met: FM
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Jan 27 — The government is unlikely to meet the disinvestment target of Rs 10,000 close during the current fiscal year despite recent initiatives to privatise national carrier Indian Airlines and Modern Foods Limited.

“I will not hazard a guess. We are trying to do our best,” the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, told reporters, while refusing to disclose the level of mobilisation through disinvestment.

When asked whether with this week’s decision to disinvest Indian Airlines and Modern Food Industries, the Government was heading towards meeting the target, Mr Sinha said, “it will take time. I do not think it will happen in this financial year”.

Earlier, inaugurating the 27th All India Conference of Corporate Managers and Tax Executives organised by FICCI, Mr Sinha expressed concern over the decline in the tax-GDP ratio and said this had contributed to the fiscal deficit.

“The declining tax-GDP ratio is a matter of concern”, he said adding if the ratio had been kept at the levels of the 1980s, problems of the Government would have been reduced.

Mr Sinha said as a result of tax reforms and other measures, tax collections had improved.Top


 

AL Verma heads Chandigarh DRT
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) is scheduled to start functioning from Chandigarh shortly.

The Central Government has appointed Mr A.L. Verma Presiding Officer of the DRT. Mr Verma has joined at Chandigarh.

A notification giving the date of commencement of operations of DRT at Chandigarh is expected to be issued by the Central Government shortly. The jurisdiction and scope of the DRT will also be covered by the notification.

At present the DRT at Jaipur decides all cases of banks/FIs from Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chandigarh.

The DRT, Chandigarh, is expected to ease the pressure on the DRT, Jaipur and help in the expeditious disposal of cases.

Recently, the Central Government issued and Ordinance enhancing the powers of the DRTs.

The DRT now has powers to order attachment before judgement, appoint a receiver and appoint Commissioner for preparation of inventory for sales.

The Tribunal has been empowered to order distribution of sales under Section 529 (A) of the Companies Act.

The DRT, Chandigarh, has opened its premises temporarily at PNB House, Bank Square, Sector 17-B, Chandigarh.Top


 

ICICI, Compaq pact on payment gateway

MUMBAI, Jan 27 (PTI) — ICICI Ltd today said it has tied up with a Compaq-led consortium for setting up a payment gateway through its subsidiary, to facilitate e-commerce transactions.

The payment gateway — for secured online Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce — will be owned by a subsidiary of ICICI and implemented by Compaq India, QSI Payment Technologies of Australia and Financial Software & Systems Pvt Ltd (FSS), ICICI said in a statement here. The B2C payment gateway will interface between Internet shopper, the web merchant and banking systems in a secured environment to facilitate online payments.Top


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RESULTS

HFCL net profit almost doubles

HIMACHAL Futuristic Communication has reported a net profit of Rs 27.07 crore and during the quarter ended December, 1999, against Rs 13.10 crore in the same quarter of 1998-99.

In the nine months period of the current fiscal, net profit increased to Rs 54.89 crore from Rs 25.58 crore last year whereas net sales increased to Rs 375.83 crore from Rs 235.26 crore.

Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals today announced a 38 per cent jump in sales in the third quarter of 1999-2000 at Rs 84.96 crore and reported a post-tax profit of Rs 7.99 crore.

Grasim Industries has reported a 104 per cent increase in the net profit to Rs 51 crore in the third quarter ended December 31, 1999, on a 13 per cent increase in the turnover to Rs 1,059 crore.

Grasim’s net profit for the first nine months of 1999-2000 amounted to Rs 184.24 crore.

TVS-Suzuki today reported a 15 per cent jump in sales revenue at Rs 388.3 crore for October-December, 1999, but post-tax profits were marginally lower at Rs 19.6 crore compared to Rs 19.9 crore a year ago.

J K Industries has reported a 55 per cent growth in the net profit for the nine-month period ended December, 1999. The company declared an interim dividend of 12.5 per cent on its equity shares.

MRF Limited has declared a dividend of 200 per cent for the year ended September 30 last. It had a profit after tax of 98.67 crore for the year ended September 30.

Mirc Electronics has registered a 118 per cent rise in its net profit for the third quarter ending December 31, 1999, on a 34 per cent rise in net sales.

The Board of Directors today recommended a third interim dividend of 50 per cent for the current fiscal.

Sterlite Industries has appointed consultancy firm Arthur Andersen to suggest a business restructuring strategy as it reported a 66 per cent jump in net profit to Rs 117.91 crore for the half year ended December 31, 1999.

Arthur Andersen will review the company’s telecom, copper and aluminium operations and recommend by mid-February a restructuring path to leverage on the existing strengths.

SSI Limited today reported a 128 per cent jump in sales revenue for the October-December quarter and announced a post-tax profit of Rs 8.74 crore for the period.

Apollo Tyres today announced a 264 per cent increase in its net profit for the third quarter of the current fiscal at Rs 19.23 crore compared to Rs 5.28 crore during the same period last year.

Tata Donnelley Ltd today reported a marginal rise in its net profit at Rs 3.06 crore for the third quarter ending December 31, 1999, as against Rs 2.81 crore in the corresponding period last year.

HPCL net profit for the third quarter ended December 31, 1999 remained marginally up at Rs 220.95 crore, compared to Rs 219.58 crore in the same quarter last year.

Paramount Communications reported a net profit of Rs 1.35 crore in the third quarter ending December, 1999, as against Rs 70.45 lakh in the same period last year, an increase of 92.80 per cent.

— AgenciesTop


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NSE FORECAST

by Ashok Kumar

Funds to sponsor infotech party

THERE is an alarming school of thought emerging at the bourses that the net FII inflow/outflow figures, which have a very significant impact as far as sentiment at the bourses is concerned are being ramped by the so-called New Bull and his cronies who, the grapevine has it, have managed to register FIIs abroad thus ensuring that the net FII outflow figures never ever reach alarming proportions which could trigger of retail selling on the market-front.This would in turn lead to a false sense of complacency at the bourses among retail investors which is what is really driving the market at the moment. Of course, the fact that sector specific infotech funds are telegraphing well in advance where the huge funds they collect will flow, ensures that operators can make hay while the sun shines. Hence, it logically flows that since most of these funds are infotech funds, that is where the action will continue to be for the time being at least.

Traders with a bullish temperament could thus consider exposure at the counters of Hughes Software at Rs 2629 (cover up at Rs 2717) and Polaris Software at Rs 1744 (cover up at Rs 1812). Bear operators could consider short positions at the counters of BPL at Rs 317 (cover up at Rs 291) and Telco at Rs 209 (cover up at Rs 184).

The dark horse bet of the week at the current price level is Prism Cement while E. Merck continues to offer long term investors a good portfolio choice.Top



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BIZ BRIEFS

Bullion
Gold Std. Rs 4525
Gold 22-Ct Rs 4375
Silver Ready Rs 7830
Silver delivery Rs 7860

Forex
US $ Rs 43.57/58
Stg Rs 72.31/33
Euro Rs 43.62/64
Yen (100) Rs 41.23/25

Asia’s rich
SYDNEY, Jan 27 (DPA) — India’s Azim Premji was placed sixth while Japanese Internet entrepreneurs Masayoshi Son and Yasumitsu Shigeta bagged the top spots in a list of Asia’s 100 richest families published today in an Australian newspaper.

Coca Cola
NEW YORK, Jan 27 (PTI) — Coca Cola will cut 6,000 jobs or about one-fifth of its staff worldwide in an effort to take the company out of the two-year slump. The company employees 29,000 people worldwide.

IOC listing
NEW DELHI, Jan 27 (PTI) — Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is likely to seek listing at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) by August next and has appointed US consultancy firm Arthur Anderson for upgrading its accounts to global standards.

Daewoo Motor
NEW DELHI, Jan 27 (PTI) — Mr S.G. Awashti today took over as Chairman of Daewoo Motor India Ltd from K.H. Nam, who has been called back to Korea.

Overseas Cables
CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 — Overseas Cables Ltd, which makes PVC power cables and ACSR conductors at Rajpura, has been awarded the ISO 9002 by the Korea Management Association Quality Assurance. Top



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