|Tuesday, March 14, 2000,
Fiat, GM tie-up on anvil
Esteem to be used as
radio taxi in Delhi
Brand Dotcom launches portal
PEDA signs MoU with Triveni
Japan slips into recession as GDP
TOKYO, March 13 (Reuters) Japan slipped back into a technical recession in the last quarter of 1999 but economists said underlying the contraction were unmistakable signs that spending by companies should ensure a recovery this year.
Gross domestic product the measure of all goods and services produced in the economy fell a larger than expected 1.4 per cent in October-December quarter, or down an annualised 5.5 per cent, the Economic Planning Agency (EPA) said today.
The drop confirmed the difficulties in the struggle by the worlds second-biggest economy to escape its worst downturn in half a century. Japan spent most of 1998 in recession.
Economists said the figures appeared to show that the worst may be over, while government officials were quick to emphasise bright signs emerging in the economy since January.
Overall, its fair to say the Japanese economy is recovering, said Jesper Koll, chief economist at Merrill Lynch, Japan.
Markets brushed aside the relapse into recession, driving the yen higher against the dollar and pulling down bond prices as traders latched onto optimistic growth forecasts for the first quarter of 2000.
Weve got some very good indications here that business investment is coming through, Koll said, citing a healthy 4.6 per cent rise in capital expenditure in quarter to December.
Growth targets intact: EPA chief Taichi Sakaiya described the figures as within his expectations and said the possibility was high that Japan would meet its official 0.6 per cent growth target for the fiscal year to March 31. It will need growth of about 2.0 per cent in January-March to ensure that.
I think the January-March figures will be good, Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa told reporters. The fact that capital spending was positive was very encouraging.
Top finance bureaucrat Nobuaki Usui said data for the first quarter of 2000 show signs of an improvement and he was not worried about the economys performance for the year to March.
In the previous quarter, GDP fell 1.0 per cent. Two straight quarters of decline meet the conventional definition of a recession, but government officials have been stressing in recent weeks that signs of a turnaround remain intact.
However, weak personal
consumption, hampered by a sharp drop in winter bonus
payments, job insecurity and concerns over Y2K-related
disruptions, was a key factor cutting into the economy in
the December quarter, the economists said.
MUMBAI, March 13 (PTI) Led by the IT sector, stocks virtually crashed hitting the sensex hard and giving up about 173 points after soaring to a high of 5430.87 at early stages on the Bombay Stock Exchange today in the wake of panic selling by speculators and heavy off-loading by FIIs.
The panic was in fact due to a meltdown on southeast Asian markets like Hongkong and Singapore.
Dealers attributed the unexpected collapse despite the Nasdaqs onward journey to cross 5000-mark for the first time last Friday to speculation of a scam in Japanese markets.
The main reason for the downtrend was a 1.6 per cent fall in consumers spending, which accounts for about 60 per cent of Japans economy.
NEW DELHI: Stock brokers
at DSE said market sentiment was mainly affected by the
imposition of special margins of 50 per cent in cash from
which forced operators to unload their long positions,
particularly in IT and telecom sector company stocks.
NEW DELHI, March 13 (UNI) Fiat India and General Motors India are unsure about the impact that the possible alliance between the two car majors would have on their respective operations.
Stating that the Indian operations of both companies have not been included in any discussions, senior officials of Fiat India Automobiles Limited (FIAL) and General Motors India Limited (GMIL) told UNI here that they have not been apprised of any tie-up on the Indian turf.
Fiat Auto SPA is close to clinching an alliance with the worlds top carmaker General Motors in a deal giving a new impetus to global auto consolidation. The deal would allow Fiat to retain control of its auto unit.
The Detroit giant is said to have emerged as the front-runner in alliance talks with Turin-based Fiat, as rival suitor Daimler-Chrysler dropped out of the running and the Italian authorities put pressure on fiat to break its silence on future strategy.
A European industry source said Daimler-Chrysler was no longer seen as a candidate to tie up with Fiat, which has been secretly scouting for a partner for months to boost its weak profit margins and had narrowed the choice to the two rivals.
GM would most likely be offered a 20 per cent stake in the Fiat auto car unit, which generates half of Fiats overall sales of $ 47 billion and is the worlds seventh largest. The deal would involve Fiat taking a single-figure stake in GM.
Fiat, which has maintained a news blackout during weeks of intense speculation on the Milan Bourse, had declined any comment.
Italian daily Il Sole reported that a deal with GM would focus mainly on components and motors. It said the firms had drawn up an industrial plan promoting joint investments in Europe and synergies between Fiat brands and GMs Opel brand.
BANGALORE, March 13 (PTI) Media Monarch Rupert Murdoch is eyeing Bangalore for expanding Newscorp activities and launch software ventures.
The Newscorp Chairman hinted at his future investment plans in Karnataka after his breakfast meeting with the Chief Minister S.M. Krishna here today.
Murdoch later told reporters that he was keen on expanding his Star TV production network in the country for which Bangalore would be one of the centres after Mumbai.
Murdoch said he was also exploring possibilities of investments in the software sector.
I discussed everything with the Chief Minister during my private conversation on what we can do for Bangalore in future.
Replying to a query, Murdoch described as a courtesy calls his meetings with Wipro Chairman Azim Premji and Infosys Chairman, Narayanamurthy.
Krishna said this is a very useful visit of Murdoch, as he finds Bangalore an attractive place both for his e-commerce and entertainment extension ventures.
Krishna said Murdoch was here to explore possibilities of expanding Newscorp activities in India and the tone and tenor of the media emperor gave the impression that he had investment plans in the city.
NEW DELHI, March 13 (PTI) Maruti Udyog has bagged its single largest order of 500 Esteem cars from a Delhi-based company for use as radio taxis in the Capital.
MUL will supply 500 compressed natural gas (CNG) version of Esteem to Dial-A-Cab India, a company which is launching round-the-clock taxi service in Delhi from this week, a company statement said here.
The service will provide commuters air-conditioned cars with mobile phone and first aid facility.
NEW DELHI, March 13 (UNI) Brand Dotcom Limited, Indias first corporatised Internet venture, today announced its first portal called www.brandquiver.com focussed on advertising and marketing fields.
The portal, besides listing all advertising and marketing agencies, will provide market research, growth summaries, creative analysis, news, opinions and consultancy to the two focussed fields.
Announcing this at a press conference here, former Chairman of Hindustan Lever Limited and Chairman of Brand Dotcom S.M. Datta said the companys first of a series of portals launched today will emphasise revenues streams right from the beginning. It will make money from advertising for existing brands and new launches, fees for conducting net research surveys, consultancy, sponsored online forums and database.
Mr Datta said, our company will make profits from second or third year onwards.
The Board of Directors of Brand Dotcoms includes besides Mr Dutta other heavyweights like former Chief Executive Officer of Procter and Gamble Gurcharan Das and CEO of Quadra Advisory Shunu Sen.
Brand Dotcom has so far
invested about $ 1 million (Rs 4.5 crore) with no help
from venture capitalists and has no plan to approach any
VCS in the near future, Mr Suhel Seth, CEO of Brand
MoU with Triveni
CHANDIGARH, March 13 The Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) and M/s Triveni Engineering and Industries Ltd. (TEIL), New Delhi today signed an MoU for setting up mini hydel plaints at three hydel sites on the Upper Barri Doab Canal (UBDC) having estimated capacity of 4.73 MW.
The MoU was signed by
TEIL Chief of Operations B.K. Aggarwal and PEDA Chief
Executive P.S.Aujla. Mr Aujla said the PEDA was confident
to exploit the total available potential of 130 MW from
130 sites identified by it in the next five years.
NEW DELHI, March 13
(PTI) SAIL today signed an MoU with the Government
stipulating performance targets in lieu of the
restructuring package approved by the Cabinet last month.
The MoU was signed by Steel Secretary A Basu and SAIL CMD
Arvind Pande in the presence of Steel Minister Dilip Ray.
Insys bags project
HFCL to invite
Glenmark to pay
Maruti top list
MoU with BT
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