Tuesday, March 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






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Japan slips into recession as GDP dips
TOKYO, March 13 — 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.
Japan’s hand in crash?

Fiat, GM tie-up on anvil
NEW DELHI, March 13 — 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.

   BANGALORE : MEDIA TYCOON RUPERT MURDOCH CALLED ON KARNATAKA CHIEF MINISTER S.M.KRISHNA IN BANGALORE ON MONDAY. PTI PHOTO
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch called on the Karnataka Chief Minister S.M. Krishna in Bangalore on Monday. — PTI
Murdoch may set up shop in Bangalore
BANGALORE, March 13 — Media Monarch Rupert Murdoch is eyeing Bangalore for expanding Newscorp activities and launch software ventures.



EARLIER STORIES
 

Esteem to be used as radio taxi in Delhi
NEW DELHI, March 13 — 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.

Brand Dotcom launches portal
NEW DELHI, March 13 — Brand Dotcom Limited, India’s first corporatised Internet venture, today announced its first portal called www.brandquiver.com focussed on advertising and marketing fields.

PEDA signs MoU with Triveni
CHANDIGARH, March 13 — The Punjab Energy Development Agency and M/s Triveni Engineering and Industries Ltd., New Delhi today signed an MoU for setting up mini hydel plaints at three hydel sites on the Upper Barri Doab Canal having estimated capacity of 4.73 MW.




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Japan slips into recession as GDP dips
From Yoko Nishikawa

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 world’s 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, it’s 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.

‘‘We’ve 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 economy’s 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.Top


Japan’s hand in crash?

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 Nasdaq’s 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 Japan’s 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.Top



 

Fiat, GM tie-up on anvil

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 world’s 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 Fiat’s overall sales of $ 47 billion and is the world’s 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 GM’s Opel brand.

Fiat would also take a stake in GM’s online platform for business e-commerce and be offered a managerial position at GM.Top



 

Murdoch may set up shop in Bangalore

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.

“He (Murdoch) feels Bangalore is an ideal place”, Krishna said.Top




 

Esteem to be used as radio taxi in Delhi

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.

“The CNG segment in Delhi alone has expanded more than 400 per cent, since the launch of our CNG fitted Omni and 800 last year,” MUL Chief General Manager Rohtash Mal said.Top




 

Brand Dotcom launches portal

NEW DELHI, March 13 (UNI) — Brand Dotcom Limited, India’s 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 company’s 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 Dotcom said.Top



 

PEDA signs MoU with Triveni
Tribune News Service

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.Top


SAIL MoU

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.Top



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CORPORATE BRIEFS

HCL Insys bags project
NEW DELHI, March 13 — HCL Insys today announced that it had bagged the application, development and implementation project for a leading US-based hospitality group. HCL Insys will enable the group to create a restaurant portal (e-restaurant) for its member restaurants in North-America. The project involves HCL Insys equipping e-restaurant with e-commerce capabilities for customers to conduct online transactions with the member restaurants.

HFCL to invite jr Packer
NEW DELHI, March 13 (PTI) — Himachal Futuristic Communications will invite the son of Australian media Mogul Kerry Packer to join its board after it receives the Rs 1039 crore fund for the 10 per cent stake it sold to Packer’s company. “Although there is no such clause in the agreement, we would be happy to have junior Packer in the board,” Chairman of HFCL group Mahendra Nahata told PTI.

Paramount gets DoT order
NEW DELHI, March 13 (UNI) — Paramount Communications Ltd., a telecom cables manufacturer, has bagged an order worth Rs 20 crore from DoT for the supply of jelly filled telecom cable. As per the terms of the order, Paramount has to supply these cables by the end on April, 2000.

Glenmark to pay 80 pc
MUMBAI, March 13 (UNI) — Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd has announced an interim dividend of 80 per cent for the year 1999-2000. For the purpose of interim dividend, the record date has been fixed as April 17, 2000. For the nine month period ended December 31, 1999, the company registered sales of Rs 92.99 crore and net profit of Rs 11 crore resulting in the sales growth of 26.57 per cent and net profit growth of 68.45 per cent over the corresponding period in the previous year.

Hind Lever, Maruti top list
NEW DELHI, March 13 (PTI) — Hindustan Lever and Maruti Udyog are the biggest spenders in advertising and marketing respectively. HLL retained the numero uno position by hiking its advertisement spending by 38.8 per cent to Rs 668.95 crore in 1998-99, about Rs 468 crore more than ITC which has been ranked second, according to A&M’s annual survey of India’s top 200 advertising and marketing spenders.

Mahindras’ MoU with BT
NEW DELHI, March 13 (UNI) — Mahindra-British Telecom Limited (MBT) today announced its collaboration with British Telecommunications Plc (BT) to provide an unsurpassed Interconnect Solution Inca, to telecommunications operators in the Asia pacific region and North America. The MoU was signed today by Mr Neigel Milway, General Manager, Alliance Engineering, British Telecom and Mr Kiran Deshpande, MD and CEO, Mahindra-British Telecom at Mumbai.Top




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BIZ BRIEFS

Bullion
Gold Std Rs 4540
Gold 22-Ct Rs 4490
Silver Ready Rs 7730
Silver delivery Rs 7795

Forex
US $ Rs 43.57/58
Stg Rs 68.77/79
Euro Rs 42.23/25
Yen (100) Rs 41.35/38

Chola Tech
NEW DELHI, March 13 (TNS) — The Chola Freedom Technology has declared a dividend of 40 per cent with a record date of March 24. The company, earlier known as Chola Freedom Growth, plans to invest in IT services.

Jindal Photo
NEW DELHI, March 13 (TNS) — Jindal Photo Films Limited today said the customers who purchase a Fujicolour Crystal roll film or get developing/printing of colour film would receive a free “pichkoo”.

Zippers
GURGAON, March 13 (TNS) — The Zipper Association of India today urged the Union Finance Ministry to review its list of common items to include zippers for exemption from excise duty.

Space Matters
CHANDIGARH, March 13 (TNS) — Space Matters Communications Ltd., a Hyderabad company, has launched architectmatters.com, a business-to-business vertical portal for the construction industry in India.

Electroplating
LUDHIANA, March 13 (FOC) — The Ludhiana Electroplaters Association, decried the unprecedent price hike of nickel and the manufacturing activities of the electroplating units were sustained due to this hike.

ANZ Grindlays
NEW DELHI, March 13 (TNS) — ANZ Grindlays Asset Management Company was launched here today. The equity capital is held 75 per cent by Australia and New Zealand banking group limited and 25 per cent by the Atul Choksey group.Top





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