Saturday, March 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S
Wu Xiaojun, winner of Huian Beauty Contest, performs in the final show, in Xiamen, China. This is the first time a beauty contest was held for Huian women, in which some 100 women participated. Huian are famous for their costumes.
Wu Xiaojun, winner of Huian Beauty Contest, performs in the final show, in Xiamen, China. This is the first time a beauty contest was held for Huian women, in which some 100 women participated. Huian are famous for their costumes. — AP/PTI
     This Mattel Timeless Treasures celebrity doll features Elizabeth Taylor from the film "Father of the Bride." The doll will be released in July. Mattel just released another Taylor celebrity doll featuring the actress as "Cleopatra" from the 1963 film. It is in stores now. AP/PTI
This Mattel Timeless Treasures celebrity doll features Elizabeth Taylor from the film "Father of the Bride." The doll will be released in July. Mattel just released another Taylor celebrity doll featuring the actress as "Cleopatra" from the 1963 film. It is in stores now. — AP/PTI

Rhone-Poulenc joins hands with AgrEvo
NEW DELHI, March 10 — In a major shake-up in the India’s crop science industry, two of the country’s largest crop protection companies, AgrEvo India Limited and Rhone-Poulenc Agrochemicals India Limited, announced a strategic alliance today.


Economy heads for 8 per cent growth
NEW DELHI, March 10 — The economy is heading towards a growth rate of about 8 per cent of the GDP in the next fiscal with good prospects of creating job opportunities in the private sector, a senior Finance Ministry official said here today.


Government shelves IOC disinvestment
NEW DELHI, March 10 — The Government has decided to shelve the proposed disinvestment of 10 per cent of its equity in the blue chip owing to adverse market conditions.



EARLIER STORIES
 

Mantra Online, Intel tie up
NEW DELHI, March 10 — Mantra Online has teamed up with Intel to provide client initiated virtual private network solutions for corporates. Customers can securely transact with their business partners and suppliers using the VPN solutions.

Banks ‘flout’ norms
CHANDIGARH, March 10 — A deputation of the Northern India Federation of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, comprising C.J.Kapoor, Sudhir Mehra and Raja Narinder Singh met RBI Executive Director M.G. Srivastav and informed him that banks are not following RBI guidelines for the settlement of NPAs.

Housing loan rates cut rates
CHANDIGARH, March 10 — LIC Housing Finance Ltd today slashed the interest rate on its housing loans for the second time in the current financial year. The company has declared the reduction in the three slabs of interest rates from 13.5%, 14.5%, 15% to 13.25%.

National Insurance meet
CHANDIGARH, March 10 — Mr A.N. Poddar, CMD of National Insurance Co Ltd inaugurated a Divisional Managers’ conference of Chandigarh Regional Office-II, here today.Top



Rhone-Poulenc joins hands with AgrEvo
Tribune News Service and agencies

NEW DELHI, March 10 — In a major shake-up in the India’s crop science industry, two of the country’s largest crop protection companies, AgrEvo India Limited and Rhone-Poulenc Agrochemicals India Limited, announced a strategic alliance today.

The alliance which comes into effect from April 1, 2000 will see the two companies move to the top league of crop protection business in India with a combined market share of 14 per cent resulting from cost and growth synergies, combined distribution strength and a greater market penetration for their key brands.

The global leader in the crop protection business Aventis Crop Science Holding SA, holds a majority stake of 50.1 per cent in AgrEvo India Limited while Rhone Poulenc Agrochemicals (India) Limited is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Aventis Crop Science. The alliance is the first step towards consolidation of Aventis Crop Science operations leading to the formal launch of Aventis Crop Science in India.

Internationally Rhone-Poulenc Agro and AgrEvo have merged to form Aventis Crop Science. In India, however, there is no decision yet with regard to the merger between AgrEvo India and Rhone-Poulenc.

“Ten new innovative and eco-friendly formulations will be launched shortly,” V Sagar Kaushik, country head, Aventis Crop Science India, said here.

The combined net turnover of AgrEvo India and Rhone Poulenc India Agrochemicals was Rs 350 crore in 1999.

VSNL to pay 60 pc: VSNL on Friday declared its maiden interim dividend of 60 per cent (Rs 6 per share of Rs 10) for the year 1999-2000.

The dividend outgo on 95 million shares of the public sector international telecom gateway to India would amount to Rs 57 crore, VSNL said in a statement after its board meeting here today.

Himachal Futuristic: Flush with funds after divesting 10 per cent equity each to Financial Institutions and Aussie media baron Kerry Packer, Himachal Futuristic Communications is looking out for acquiring software firms.

The company is in the advanced stages of negotiations with a few companies to acquire listed or unlisted Indian telecom software companies to leverage its core competence in telecom business, chairman of HFCL group Mahendra Nahata told PTI.

Nahata said Rs 200 crore of the over Rs 1700 crore generated by divesting equity to Financial Institutions and Kerry Packer-owned Consolidated Press Holdings had been earmarked for acquiring software companies in the telecom sector.

Dr Reddy’s Lab: Close on the heels of acquiring American Remedies, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories today said it was open to acquisition of more companies to strengthen its presence in the domestic and overseas markets.

“We are open to acquisition of more companies. If we get a company like American Remedies, we will certainly consider it,” K Anji Reddy, CMD of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.

The board of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories had on Monday approved the merger with American Laboratories at a swap ratio of 1:12.

Agro Dutch: US-based Kanan Foods Inc has got the go-ahead from the FIPB to pick up a 7.5 per cent stake in Chandigarh-based mushroom growing company Agro Dutch Foods on a preferential basis.

Allotment of shares to Kanan, which has already remitted Rs 15 crore towards the 10,00,000 equity shares, will be made at a meeting of Agro Dutch’s board to be convened next week, Malvinder Singh, Managing Director of Agro Dutch, told newspersons here.Top



 

Economy heads for 8 per cent growth
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, March 10 — The economy is heading towards a growth rate of about 8 per cent of the GDP in the next fiscal with good prospects of creating job opportunities in the private sector, a senior Finance Ministry official said here today.

“The economic fundamentals are sound and the Budget numbers are right as there was nothing sacrosanct about the fiscal deficit being below the 5 per cent mark,” said Mr P.G. Mankad, Finance Secretary, while addressing a meeting of the ASSOCHAM.

He said the deficit could easily have been pegged at below four per cent if the Finance Minister had provided for just half the increase of Rs 13,000 crore as defence expenditure in the budget.

Reacting to criticism over the soft disinvestment target for the next fiscal year, he said the Budget proposals have been framed with realistic number in mind.

“The Government can achieve and even surpass its ‘realistic’ disinvestment target of Rs 10,000 crore for the year 2000-01 fiscal through various options like strategic partner, dilution of stakes in the domestic and overseas market, instead of big bang privatisation,” he said.

He said the economy will grow by 8 per cent this fiscal and surpass it in the future as agriculture, construction, infrastructure and information technology sectors realise the benefits of the budget proposals.

Responding to the concerns expressed earlier by the chamber’s President Shekhar Bajaj over the cascading effect of the increase in the tax on dividends, the Finance Secretary said he would have the issue examined closely by the revenue department and take corrective action if required.

On downsizing of the Government, Mr Mankad said “it will not make any significant dent on the savings. All that it would perhaps do is to make the Government more focussed and efficient.”

The rationalisation of indirect taxes, he said would send a clear signal to income tax department to get off the back of industry and lay the ground rules to ensure predictability.

“Never before has simplification of indirect taxes been such an integral part of the Budget as this time. This would go a long way in reducing pre-Budget lobbying and submission of extensive memoranda,” he added.Top





 

Government shelves IOC disinvestment

NEW DELHI, March 10 (PTI) — The Government has decided to shelve the proposed disinvestment of 10 per cent of its equity in the blue chip (IOC) owing to adverse market conditions.

Highly placed Government sources in the Ministries of Petroleum and Department of Disinvestment said that IOC, which was scheduling to begin road shows from Saturday, will not hit the market during 1999-2000.

With this the government may not be able to attain even the revised estimates of Rs 2,600 crore through divestment against the target of 1999-2000 set for the current financial year. Top



 

Mantra Online, Intel tie up
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, March 10 — Mantra Online has teamed up with Intel to provide client initiated virtual private network (VPN) solutions for corporates. Customers can securely transact with their business partners and suppliers using the VPN solutions.

This service is aimed at those organisations that have offices and branches that are located in different geographic areas and are spread across the country. With this service, individuals can access their corporate XAN’s from all over the world at the cost of a local call, a company release said.Top



 

Banks ‘flout’ norms
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 10 — A deputation of the Northern India Federation of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, comprising C.J.Kapoor, Sudhir Mehra and Raja Narinder Singh met RBI Executive Director M.G. Srivastav and informed him that banks are not following RBI guidelines for the settlement of NPAs.

The delegation suggested that the borrower may be charged simple interest (which now has been decided at 10 per cent) on the principle from the day one when the account became sticky, irrespective of the collateral security mortgaged with the banks, but the bankers are not acceding to the guidelines.

In certain cases where bankers lodged the claim with the ECGC/ DICGC and received the claim, there is no logic why the interest again be charged from the borrower on the amount which is already with the banks. Of course, the borrowers are ready to pay the principle. The waiver of interest on the claim amount needs immediate directions from the RBI, the federation said in a statement here. Demanding the scheme should be extended for another year, it urged the RBI to accelerate the process of settlement. Top



 

Housing loan rates cut rates
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 10 — LIC Housing Finance Ltd today slashed the interest rate on its housing loans for the second time in the current financial year. The company has declared the reduction in the three slabs of interest rates from 13.5%, 14.5%, 15% to 13.25%. From Rs 25001 to Rs. 50 lakh there will be one interest rate of 13.25 per cent now for a term up to 15 years.

Loans are available for construction, purchase, extension, renovation of houses and flats, purchase of plots and for consumer durables.

A special scheme for medical professionals for construction renovation of clinics and diagnostic centres and nursing homes has been introduced. Area Manager Manjeet Kaur Sawhney said that the Chandigarh Area Office has surpassed the budgeted target for the year 1999-2000. Top



 

National Insurance meet
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 10 — Mr A.N. Poddar, CMD of National Insurance Co Ltd inaugurated a Divisional Managers’ conference of Chandigarh Regional Office-II, here today. He advised them to adopt latest information technology for rendering best available services in a customer friendly environment. Mr U.S. Chaturvedi, G.M. of the company, asked the officials to the potential available for the development of insurance market.

Mr O.P. Sukhija Regional Manager, presented a report of the region which registered a comfortable growth percentage and improvement in customer-oriented services. Mr N.Tobdan and Mr S.K. Joshi, Managers, also spoke.Top



  nsef
NSE FORECAST

Hinduja Finance is dark horse bet

WITH the after effects of the typical knee-jerk reaction of the markets to what they initially perceived as a market unfriendly Budget still to wear off entirely, the enthusiasm at the bourses though in the process of being revived, is still a far cry from the unbridled version witnessed prior to the announcement of the Budget. One of the main reasons therefore is the relatively low profile maintained by FIIs in the post-Budget period inspite of their seemingly positive response to the Budget proposals. Perhaps, they are waiting and watching whether the Finance Minister is forced to ‘roll-back’ some of his proposals yet again.

There is fair scope for traders and investors alike to rake in the moolah at this point of time. Punters with a bullish temperament can consider taking up long positions at the counters of BFL Software at Rs 1672 (square up at Rs 1828) and Moser-Baer at Rs 556 (square up at 599). Bear operators could consider pressing sales at the counter of ICICI at Rs 174 (cover up at Rs 147) and Reliance at Rs 259 (cover up at 233).

The dark horse bet of this week is Hinduja Finance while discerning long term investors would do well to keep an eye out for the rapidly falling yet highly promising Novartis for pouching into their portfolios at successive price declines. This week, keep an eye on media stocks too as there could be some bargain picks there too.Top



  bb
BIZ BRIEFS

Bullion
Gold Std. Rs 4575
Gold 22-Ct Rs 4425
Silver Ready Rs 7800
Silver delivery Rs 7845

Forex
US $ 43.57/58
Stg 68.99/69.01
Euro 42.10/12
Jap yen (100) 40.94/96

Seminar
LUDHIANA, March 10 (TNS) — Over 100 persons from various industries of Punjab attended a one-day seminar organised by Det Norske Veritas (DNV), one of the top certification bodies in the world, on the imminent changes to the ISQ 9000 series which are at the draft international standard stage. Mr V.Venkataram and Mr Parveen Pasricha of DNV said the draft standard was expected to be in its final format soon.

Electrotech
NEW DELHI, March 10 (TNS) — Chandigarh-based Electrotech Corporation plans to go in for equity partnership with Widex of Denmark, a global leader in digital technology for hearing impaired people. The President of Electrotech Corporations, Mr Trilochan Singh Anand, told The Tribune here today. The hearing aids based on digital technology, “Senso plus”, was launched by Electrotech here. Mr B.M. Jain who has taken over as General Manager, State Bank of Patiala, at Patiala.

Ebony
CHANDIGARH, March 10 (TNS) — To celebrate Holi, Ebony plans to hold daily raffles from March 14 to19 offering prizes. Ebony has put up a “wheel of fortune” by spinning which customers can win discounts on shopping. With purchases above Rs 500, they can get their faces painted by a face-painting expert. Girls in traditional attire will welcome customers with Holi ‘teekas’.

Power poles
CHANDIGARH, March 10 (TNS) — The Lalru Industrial Association has urged the PSEB to shift the electric poles from the Ambala-Chandigarh road to Chandheri is being widened. As the road at Kauli Majra is being raised by the Punjab Mandi Board, trucks carrying high dome containers can come into contact with overhead power cables.
Top




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