Wednesday, March 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

India’s debt to fall: Standard Poor’s
MUMBAI, March 21 — Standard Poor’s today affirmed its “BB’’ long term foreign currency ratings of Larsen Toubro, Reliance Industries and Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company.

Look, what three men own!
GENEVA, March 21 — The world’s three richest men own more than the world’s 48 poorest nations — the homes of 600 million people — earn in an entire year, according to the U.N. Development Programme.

PunCom takes up PowerGrid project
CHANDIGARH, March 21 — Punjab Communications Ltd today despatched six trucks with 16 teams to implement in a “commando style” a large turnkey project for the PowerGrid Corporation of India in 12 States.

IOC offers to buy equity in BRPL, MRL
NEW DELHI, March 21 — Indian Oil Corporation has offered to buy the entire government equity in stand alone Bongaigon Refineries and Madras Refineries saying these two could act as subsidiary companies of IOC.

L&T bags Khalsa project
NANGAL, March 21 — The Larsen and Toubro has been awarded the work to construct the Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex. The L & T has bagged the contract for building the complex at a cost of Rs 92.5 crore, after computing with two other companies.

Government urged to roll back tax on farm implements
CHANDIGARH, March 21 — The Small Industries Association of Himachal Pradesh has urged the Himachal Government to rollback 4 per cent sales tax on cattle and poultry feed and agricultural implements used by small farmers.




EARLIER STORIES
 




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India’s debt to fall: Standard Poor’s

MUMBAI, March 21 (UNI) —Standard Poor’s today affirmed its “BB’’ long term foreign currency ratings of Larsen Toubro, Reliance Industries and Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company.This was an upward revision of Standard Poor’s outlook on the three entities from stable to positive following upgradation of the foreign currency sovereign rating outlook on the Republic of India. However, the “BB+” long term local currency rating of Telco remained negative. The outlook revision on India reflected positive trends in external flexibility and better prospects for an accelerated pace of economic reforms in the near term.

The international rating agency in a statement said that India’s external resiliency,as shown by the strengthening of its liquidity position despite a near doubling of oil prices last year,is likely to improve in the coming years.

Growing export earnings,especially from services,should be complemented with higher non-debt foreign capital inflows.As a result,total external debt is likely to decline to around 150 per cent of exports this year compared to over 180 per cent in 1996, and to fall further in the coming year.

The upcoming removal of quantitative restrictions on imports,and likely continued strong growth in software and related exports, should further reduce India’s external debt and debt service burden. The enterprise, liberalised rules for foreign and private investment in the insurance sector,and ongoing steps to remove illegal and regulatory barriers to greater investment in infrastructure sectors,should boost the country’s long-term growth prospect.

The reforms should continue to improve the efficiency of the economy,enlarging the role of the private sector.

With the combined central and state governments’ deficits hovering at around 9 per cent of GDP this year,an upgrade in ratings will depend upon a reduction in India’s large fiscal deficits.In contrast to other areas,economic reforms have failed to correct the structural flaws in the country’s public finances.Top



 

Look, what three men own!

GENEVA, March 21 (DPA) — The world’s three richest men own more than the world’s 48 poorest nations — the homes of 600 million people — earn in an entire year, according to the U.N. Development Programme.

Publishing its “Poverty Statistics”, the city-based U.N. agency said one-tenth of the world’s population lived in the 48 poorest countries, but these only did 0.3 per cent of world trade, only half their proportion 20 years ago.

Their combined gross domestic product (GDP) was less than estimates of the networth of the world’s three greatest personal fortunes.

The U.S. magazine Forbes has named the three richest as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Paul Allen, all of the USA.Top



 

PunCom takes up PowerGrid project
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 21 — Punjab Communications Ltd today despatched six trucks with 16 teams to implement in a “commando style” a large turnkey project for the PowerGrid Corporation of India in 12 States.

The trucks, specially designed to carry the equipment and each costing Rs 6 lakh, were flagged off by PunCom Managing Director A.S. Gill.

Earlier, addressing a gathering, Mr Gill said PunCom has won the Rs 20 crore PowerGrid project despite competitive bidding by multinational companies.

Congratulating the “commandos”, Mr Gill said the teams will install and commission the PLCC (power line carrier communication) and PABX systems in a record time of three months in 12 States of North and South India. The equipment, indigenously designed by PunCom, meets stringent international specifications.

Replying to a question, Mr Gill said PunCom has registered a 48 per cent growth during their current financial year with the turnover expected at Rs 130 crore against last year’s Rs 92 crore.

PunCom has emerged as a major telecom manufacturers and total solution provider, including networks. In addition to the power sector, the company has made inroads into the defence business. Top




 

IOC offers to buy equity in BRPL, MRL

NEW DELHI, March 21 (PTI) — Indian Oil Corporation has offered to buy the entire government equity in stand alone Bongaigon Refineries (BRPL) and Madras Refineries (MRL) saying these two could act as subsidiary companies of IOC.

The Government has agreed to IOC’s request of amalgamating BRPL and MRL refineries and the company board had recently passed a resolution that both stand alone refineries should act as subsidiary companies of IOC, corporation sources said.

The decision to merger the two refineries could be taken at a later stage if justified, the sources said, adding that IOC had also suggested to the Government that the process of making BRPL and MRL as subsidiaries should be taken before IOC disinvestment.

IOC had mooted the proposal to the Petroleum Ministry of taking over BRPL and MRL saying that the government would be able to get the best price during disinvestment as the merger would add to IOC’s strength, the sources said.

During the research analysts’ meet held in January various bankers and international financial institutions had raised queries saying that if IOC goes for disinvestment, investors would look into various strengths of the marketing major.

IOC does not have its presence in the South and in case the margins in the refineries were low how would the Fortune 500 company be able to maintain its profitability, the investors asked.

While the government holding in MRL is up to 60 per cent. the equity in BRPL is to the extent of 80 per cent.

The corporation had proposed to buy the entire government equity in these two refineries based on the present market value, the sources said, adding that IOC was also working on the management pattern of these subsidiary companies.

IOC’s taking over MRL would prove a strength to the corporation as it does not have any refinery in southern India.

With regard to queries about the corporation maintaining its profitability, the sources said IOC was diversifying into areas like exploration and production, power and petrochemicals, and therefore in case in one sector the margins are low it could be balanced with other sectors.

The corporation’s strategic alliance with ONGC should add strength to IOC when it goes for disinvestment.

IOC’s disinvestment, scheduled to take place during the current fiscal, had been shelved owing to the adverse market conditions.Top



 

L&T bags Khalsa project
From Our Correspondent

NANGAL, March 21 — The Larsen and Tourbo (L&T) has been awarded the work to construct the Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex. The L & T has bagged the contract for building the complex at a cost of Rs 92.5 crore, after computing with two other companies. This information was given by Mr A. Shivasubhu, Regional Manager of the company while talking to this correspondent.

The company will start the work at the construction site from April 30, after completing the surveys. About 50 L & T engineers will be deputed here to complete the work within a stipulated time of 30 months.Top



 

Government urged to roll back tax on farm implements
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 21 — The Small Industries Association of Himachal Pradesh has urged the Himachal Government to rollback 4 per cent sales tax on cattle and poultry feed and agricultural implements used by small farmers.

The Punjab Government has already reversed the decision of imposing 4 per cent sales tax on these items. The Haryana Government has not imposed any tax in the Budget. Even the 4 per cent tax imposed on cakes for cattle feed purposes has been withdrawn.Top



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CORPORATE NEWS

Satyam to split 1 share into 5

HYDERABAD, March 21 (UNI) — The Board of Directors of Satyam Computer Services Ltd at a meeting held today recommended the splitting of each of the existing fully paid-up equity share of par value Rs 10 into five equity shares of par value Rs 2. The recommended stock split will be placed before the shareholders for approval at the ensuing annual general meeting. Meanwhile, Satyam Infoway, has acquired equity in www.prizedjobs.com, a portal promoted by Headhunter’s, one of India’s top executive search companies. Prizedjob.com is now the exclusive jobs and career channel on satyamonline.com.

No plan to sell ACC shares: GACL

MUMBAI, March 21 (UNI) —There is no proposal to sell ACC shares directly or indirectly to any of the promoters of Gujarat Ambuja Cements Limited (GACL) or their associates, according to a GACL release. Reacting to a news report in a section of the Press here today, Mr Anil Singhvi, the company director, said that the report on selling 7.2 per cent share holding of ACC to Mr Narotam Sekhsaria’s private holding company is false and misleading.

Synergy Log-in plans ESOP

CHENNAI, March 21 (PTI) — Chennai-based Synergy Log-in Systems Ltd is exploring possibilities of offering to its staff the employees stock option plan (ESOP). Company President Sanjay Kumar told PTI here today that the proposal would be subject to clearance by the company’s board at its meeting on March 24 here.

Hinduja Fin to grab IN Network

MUMBAI, March 21 (PTI) — Hinduja Finance Corporation Ltd (HFC) will acquire 51 per cent stake in IndusInd Media and Communications Ltd (IMCL), operating under the brand IN Network, with the board today approving the in-principle merger of Richman Investrade Private Ltd.

Richman Investrade had 51 per cent stake in IMCL and thus after the merger HFC would hold the majority stake in the network.

Archies announces 26 pc dividend

NEW DELHI, March 21 (PTI) — Archies Greetings and Gifts Ltd today announced its second interim dividend of 26 per cent payable pro-rata. The company which recorded a turnover of Rs 56 crore for the first nine months ending December 1999, had declared its first interim dividend of 25 per cent earlier. The net profit also increased to Rs 12 crore in the first nine months of the current fiscal from Rs 6 crore earned in the same period last year, it said.

NSE suspends Vatsa Music trading

MUMBAI, March 21 (PTI) — The NSE has decided to suspend trading in the equity shares of Nova Steel (A) Ltd, Anik Ship Breaking Inds Ltd and Vatsa Music Ltd on the capital market segment of the exchange from April 5, 2000 until further notice for non-compliance of the provisions of listing agreement executed with NSE.Top



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BIZ BRIEFS

Bullion
Gold Std Rs 4500
Gold 22-Ct Rs 4350
Silver Ready Rs 7760
Silver delivery Rs 7815

Forex
US $ Rs 43.56/57
Stg Rs 68.36/38
Euro Rs 42.33/36
Yen (100) Rs 40.88/91

Indbazaar.com
NEW DELHI, March 21 (TNS) — A family portal, Indbazaar.com, today announced its tie-up with ShoppersStop.com, the e-commerce portal, which would enable the consumers to buy large array of products from some of the topmost brands, a release said.

Uco Bank
CHANDIGARH, March 21 (TNS) — Mr Ram Niwas, Deputy Commissioner, Ambala today inaugurated Uco Bank branch at Rai Market. Mr S.S. Bedi, Zonal Manager said that the branch will be computerised soon. The branch remains open on Sundays.

Daewoo camps
NEW DELHI, March 21 (TNS) — Daewoo Motors India Ltd will organise free A.C. check-up camps at Amritsar, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur from March 23 to 25. The camps are being held at Narain Auto Agency in Amritsar, Impact Motors in Jalandhar and Bawa Motors in Hoshiarpur.

LG Electronics
NEW DELHI, March 21 (TNS) — LG Electronics, today said it plans to invest $ 185 million by 2005 in Indian subsidiaries as part of the company’s global plan to set up a local venture of LG information and communication in India.
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