Wednesday, April 12, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S
Congress president Sonia Gandhi launching the website of the education guarantee scheme schools of Madhya Pradesh in New Delhi on Tuesday. — PTI photo
Congress president Sonia Gandhi launching the website of the education guarantee scheme schools of Madhya Pradesh in New Delhi on Tuesday. — PTI photo
Himachal Indage to make fruit wine
SHIMLA, April 11 — The Himachal Government today signed an MoU with Champagne Indage Ltd. for setting up two fruit wine industries at Shimla and Kulu at a total cost of Rs 25 crore.

Infosys net profit zooms up
NEW DELHI, April 11 — Information technology leader Infosys Technologies today beat analysts expectations and announced an impressive a 115 per cent rise in net profit for the fiscal year ended March 31.

Polythene bags for wheat procurement likely
NEW DELHI, April 11 — With the current strike in jute industry threatening to disrupt rabi procurement of wheat, the Government is contemplating the use of 50 kg HDP (polythene) bags during the current rabi procurement.

SBP’s deposits exceed 10,000 crore
PATIALA, April 11 — Mr A.K. Batra, MD, State Bank of Patiala today inaugurated the bank’s 100th extension counter at SPG Complex, Dwarka, New Delhi.

PunCom bags DoT, railway orders
CHANDIGARH, April 11 — Punjab Communications Limited (PunCom) has emerged as the lowest bidder in the DoT tender for the supply of C-DoT SBM exchanges valued at Rs 250 crore.



EARLIER STORIES
 

UCO Bank cuts rates
CALCUTTA: UCO Bank has revised its interest rates on term deposits for various maturity periods with effect from April 10.The rate of interest for domestic term deposit for the period of one year to less than two years has been lowered to 9 per cent from 9.50 per cent per annum, A Uco Bank press release issued today said.

Satyam net profit climbs 69 per cent
HYDERABAD, April 11 — Satyam Computer Services has registered a turnover increase in e-business enterprise solutions by 64 per cent and net profit by 69 per cent during 1999-2000 compared to last year.

Monsanto plan to up stake cleared
NEW DELHI, April 11 — The Government today approved a Rs 343 crore business restructuring plan of Monsanto Chemicals India, including an increase in the stake of the parent Monsanto Co in the Indian venture from 40 per cent to 72 per cent.

51% business growth by Bank of Punjab
CHANDIGARH, April 11 — Bank of Punjab in the fiscal year 1999-2000 has registered a growth of 51 per cent in business which has jumped to Rs 3932 crore as compared to the previous year’s business of Rs 2608 crore.

Tata Honeywell offers security solutions
CHANDIGARH, April 11 — Tata Honeywell here today launched new products which include sensors, detectors and control panels that promise total security to homes and institutions from gas leak, fire, theft and intrusions.

Pugmarks buys into E-Receipts Inc
CHANDIGARH, April 11 — Pugmarks Inter Web Pvt Ltd has bought a 50 per cent stake in a US based company, E-Receipts Inc., which provides a solution to facilitate all transactions on the Internet.

Shetty to punch into IT world
NEW DELHI, April 11 — Actor Sunil Shetty is planning to float an entertainment and media dotcom venture and make an initial public offering for his chain of departmental stores.Top



Himachal Indage to make fruit wine
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, April 11 — The Himachal Government today signed an MoU with Champagne Indage Ltd. for setting up two fruit wine industries at Shimla and Kulu at a total cost of Rs 25 crore.

The MoU was signed by the Financial Commissioner (Horticulture), Mr S.S. Parmar, and the Managing Director of HPMC, Mr S.K. Baldi, on behalf of the government and the Chairman of Champagne Indage, Mr Shyam Chougule.

The project is expected to be completed by May next year.

Earlier, the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, had announced the MoU plan in the Vidhan Sabha in the morning.

The project will be in the joint sector in the name of Himachal Indage Ltd. Twenty per cent equity will be contributed by the government, 30 per cent shares will be owned by the Indage group and 30 per cent shares will be reserved for foreign collaborators, while 20 per cent shares will be earmarked for subscription by fruit growers.Top



 

Infosys net profit zooms up 115 per cent net

NEW DELHI, April 11 (UNI, PTI) — Information technology leader Infosys Technologies today beat analysts expectations and announced an impressive a 115 per cent rise in net profit for the fiscal year ended March 31, sending the share price up to higher filters.

Infosys, the most sought after scrip in the market, earned a net profit of Rs 295 crore compared to Rs 135 crore in the previous year. The company’s total income moved up 80 per cent to touch Rs 921 crore against Rs 513 crore. A 74 per cent surge in export income was mainly responsible for the higher income.

“Ever since we went public in 1993, we have been able to show growth in both top line and bottom line,” Infosys Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Narayana Murthy said after releasing the results.

Infosys’ fourth quarter e-commerce revenues rose to 18.8 per cent of total revenues from just 5 per cent in the year-ago period. The company is also entering new technology areas like m-commerce — e-commerce enabled by wireless devices like mobile telephones.

It is also tying up with Japan’s Toshiba Corporation to provide the software for managing Toshiba’s supply-chain operations.

Gujarat Ambuja Gujarat Ambuja Cements and its associates have posted an 8.2 per cent growth in production during 1999-2000 to 8.4 million tonnes.

It produced 5.86 m tonnes of cement during April ’99 to March 2000 against 5.58 m tonnes in the previous period, an increase of 5 per cent.

Lupin Labs: Lupin Laboratories has announced a 25 per cent interim dividend for the 1999-2000 fiscal (July-June), having recorded a 283.75 per cent surge in net profit in the third quarter of the year.

Its net profit surged to Rs 12.05 crore from Rs 3.14 crore a year ago. Lupin Laboratories’ sales for the quarter stood at Rs 158 crore, up 7 per cent from Rs 148 crore for the same quarter last year.

Siemens: Siemens today launched a total solutions package for the hospitality industry, covering information and communication, electrical power and building automation. The company expects to bag at least 15 hotel projects in the current fiscal through this package.

Zee Telefilms: Shareholders of Zee Telefilms Ltd have unanimously approved the proposed international offering of up to 40 million equity shares to raise $ 1.5 billion for the expansion of the company and its subsidiaries.

The company has not set any time-frame for tapping the international capital markets and will decide when the market conditions are appropriate. At an extraordinary general meeting of the company held late yesterday, Chairman Subhash Chandra informed the shareholders that proceeds from the international offering would not be utilised in satellite businesses such as ICO.

BPL Telecom: The BPL Telecom Business group announced the launch of bplnet.com, the Internet company, here today. BPLNet will offer Internet services in 31 cities across the country soon.Top




 

Polythene bags for wheat procurement likely
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, April 11 — With the current strike in jute industry threatening to disrupt rabi procurement of wheat, the Government is contemplating the use of 50 kg HDP (polythene) bags during the current rabi procurement.

Though the State agencies have placed firm orders for jute bags with the Jute Commissioner, the Ministry of Textiles, keeping the strike in mind, has permitted the use of non- jute bags upto 10 per cent.

The Centre is thinking of allowing the State agencies to use 50 kg HDP bags during the current rabi procurement. If this step does not still satisfy the demands of the bags or the HDP bag industry fails to meet the requirement of the rabi procurement, the Government has advised the State agencies to use the left over 95 kg jute bags of the earlier years.

A statement issued by the Food Ministry today said the State agencies are fully geared up to meet the rabi procurement operations and the shortage of bags on account of the current strike in the jute industry would not be allowed to stand in the way of satisfactory procurement operation.

The Government expects 162 lakh tonnes of wheat to be procured during the current rabi season. According to current estimates, the wheat crop which was reportedly not doing well in the beginning has improved its prospects. According to the latest estimates, most of the procurement would take place in Punjab (60 lakh tonnes), Haryana (40 lakh tonnes), UP (20 lakh tonnes), Rajasthan (6 lakh tonnes) and Madhya Pradesh (6 lakh tonnes).

The significant feature of this year’s procurement would have been the use of 50 kg bags as per accession of India to ILO convention which requires that keeping the interest of the labourer’s health in mind, they should not be asked to lift weights of more than 50 kg. The Cabinet decision to comply with this requirement had been taken in the year 1995 to introduce the use of 50 kg bags in a phased manner.

During 1999-2000, a complete switch over was expected. However, the States were not ready for this switch-over during the last kharif season as they did not procure the jute bags of requisite size on time. Keeping the ground realities in view, the Government accepted the request of the States and relaxed the use of 50 kg bags in different States for different durations.

Although large percentage of rice has been procured in 50 kg bags, the complete switch-over for rice procurement would be effected with effect from June 1, 2000 in the country.Top



 

SBP’s deposits exceed 10,000 crore
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, April 11 — Mr A.K. Batra, MD, State Bank of Patiala today inaugurated the bank’s 100th extension counter at SPG Complex, Dwarka, New Delhi. He said the bank has surpassed the business level of Rs 16,000 crore with deposits exceeding Rs 10,000 crore and advances Rs 6000 crore.

The bank has also maintained CD ratio of 60 per cent and achieved benchmark of 40 per cent in priority sector advances and 18 per cent in agricultural advances. The bank is fulfilling its responsibility as lead bank in six districts of Punjab with surpassing target under annual action plan.

The bank’s operating profits are likely to improve by more than 40 per cent during 1999-2000 over the previous year. It has also been able to contain NPAs. Loan disbursement for agricultural activities are Rs 650 crore during the year. Over 45,000 Patiala Bank Kisan Cards have been issued.

The bank plans to achieve business level of Rs 20,000 crore during the current year and also targets computerisation of 125 more branches, covering 70 per cent of its business. All the branches at Ludhiana and Chandigarh are proposed to be inter connected during current year.

The State Bank of Patiala has revised its interest rates on domestic term deposits from April 10 on deposits less than Rs 15 lakh.

The new rates for a period of 15 days and up to 45 days stands revised to 4.50 per cent per annum, for 46 days and up to 90 days 5.50 per cent per annum, for 91 days and up to 179 days to 6 per cent per annum, for a period of 180 days up to less than one year 6.50 per cent per annum, for one year to less than two years 8.50 per cent per annum,for two years and up to three years 9 per cent per annum and for a period of three years and above, the interest rate has been revised to 9.75 per cent per annum and are applicable on all fresh and renewal deposits of less than Rs 15 lakh.Top



 

PunCom bags DoT, railway orders
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 11 — Punjab Communications Limited (PunCom) has emerged as the lowest bidder in the DoT tender for the supply of C-DoT SBM exchanges valued at Rs 250 crore. There were 11 parties, including ITI, BEL, BHEL, UTL, CGL, ECIL, HTL, Keltron and GNFC, who bid in this tender. PunCom will get an order for more than two lakh lines valued at about Rs 50 crore.

PunCom has also bagged a major Eastern Railway tender for a complete turnkey project of Optic Fibre Communication Network in the Sealdah North section worth Rs 7.7 crore with competition from Siemens, the Tatas, C&G, L&T, Supreme (Nokia), Webfil, Kalnidee, Perfector Electrical etc.

According to company spokesperson, PunCom has been able to achieve a sales turnover of Rs 125 crore for the year 1999-2000, which is 40 per cent more than the previous year and has targeted to achieve a turnover of Rs 170 crore for the year 2000-2001. At present the company has firm orders worth Rs 70 crore and orders worth Rs 180 crore are expected to be obtained in the current year.Top



 

UCO Bank cuts rates

CALCUTTA, (PTI): UCO Bank has revised its interest rates on term deposits for various maturity periods with effect from April 10.The rate of interest for domestic term deposit for the period of one year to less than two years has been lowered to 9 per cent from 9.50 per cent per annum, A Uco Bank press release issued today said.

The new interest rate for the period of 180 days to less than a year will be 7.50 per cent instead of 8 per cent while the interest rate for the period 46 to 90 days has been brought down to 6 per cent from 7 per cent.Top



 

Satyam net profit climbs 69 per cent

HYDERABAD, April 11 (UNI) — Satyam Computer Services has registered a turnover increase in e-business enterprise solutions by 64 per cent and net profit by 69 per cent during 1999-2000 compared to last year.According to a company here today, the total dividend of 30 per cent was declared on the expanded capital base and an increase in investment limit for foreign institutional investors to 40 per cent.

The global launch of vision compass and ADR issue process initiated with the appointment of Price Waterhouse as statutory auditors were among the other highlights of the company during the year.Top



 

Monsanto plan to up stake cleared

NEW DELHI, April 11 (PTI) — The Government today approved a Rs 343 crore business restructuring plan of Monsanto Chemicals India, including an increase in the stake of the parent Monsanto Co in the Indian venture from 40 per cent to 72 per cent. The clearance to the US multinational was part of the approval to 56 FDI proposals worth Rs 508.45 crore given by Industry Minister Murasoli Maran, an official release said here.

The Monsanto proposal involves acquisition of businesses from sister companies Monsanto Enterprises and Monsanto India and a complete buy-out of Monsanto technologies from Bretco Holdings Mauritius, a subsidiary of Monsanto U.S.A.

Other proposals cleared by the Minister, on the basis of recommendations by FIPB, include those of HCL Perot Systems Mauritius, Computer Associates International and Agfa Gevaert NV Belgium.

Monsanto will fund its acquisitions through preferential allotment of Monsanto Chemicals shares to all the three companies at a price of Rs 1480 per share.

After the preferential issue, the shareholding of Monsanto Co in Monsanto Chemicals would go upto 72.17 per cent from the present 39.97 per cent.Top



 

51% business growth by Bank of Punjab
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 11 — Bank of Punjab in the fiscal year 1999-2000 has registered a growth of 51 per cent in business which has jumped to Rs 3932 crore as compared to the previous year’s business of Rs 2608 crore.

The deposits have grown by 48 per cent from Rs 1,766 crore to Rs 2,613 crore. Advances have increased by 57 per cent an increase from Rs 842 crore to Rs 1319 crore.

The bank, which offers loans for cars, two-wheeler, loans against demat shares and home loans, is in the process of introducing Internet banking, consumer loans along with debit/credit cards, according to a bank release issued here today.

The bank plans to set up three inter-connected “Call Centres” at Chandigarh, Delhi and Mumbai, thus offering round the clock telebanking, faxbanking and electronic fund transfer.

As part of the expansion programme the bank plans to open more branches at Chennai, Calcutta, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi in the current fiscal year.Top

 

Tata Honeywell offers security solutions
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 11 — Tata Honeywell here today launched new products which include sensors, detectors and control panels that promise total security to homes and institutions from gas leak, fire, theft and intrusions. There is a call alert mechanism for distress situations. The target market includes home owners, high networth individuals housing societies and institutions like banks, factories, hotels, shops stocking high value items etc. The company has appointed an NRI concern, Interface Communication Group, and Hawk Eye Security Systems here to offer electronic security solutions.Top



 

Pugmarks buys into E-Receipts Inc

CHANDIGARH, April 11 (TNS) — Pugmarks Inter Web Pvt Ltd has bought a 50 per cent stake in a US based company, E-Receipts Inc., which provides a solution to facilitate all transactions on the Internet. Currently, all expenses borne by individuals on the Net generate physical receipts that have to be tracked, collected and submitted for claims and tax purposes. E-Receipts Inc. attempts to simplify the process by allowing receipts to be generated electronically and then mailing them automatically to a user’s unique E-Receipt account.Top



Shetty to punch into IT world

NEW DELHI, April 11 (UNI) — Actor Sunil Shetty is planning to float an entertainment and media dotcom venture and make an initial public offering for his chain of departmental stores — Mischief Sunil has already initiated talks with around 20-25 companies from Britain and Silicon Valley for finalising modalities of the IT venture. He, however, refused to divulge the names of the parties he was in talks with.Top


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‘Spice Winners’
CHANDIGARH, April 11 (TNS) — Spice Telecom has launched a loyalty programme to rewarding subscribers through usage points and value-added service subscription points which can be converted into gifts. Subscribers also get rewarded for timely payment of bills. Besides, they get discounts at major stores through a “Spice winners privilege card” which would be issued to them.

IDBI Bank
CHANDIGARH, April 11 (TNS) — IDBI Bank has installed off-site ATM in Mohali at the premises of Ranbaxy Laboratories. Mr K.L. Khurana, Senior Vice-President of Ranbaxy, inaugurated the ATM.

Emission norms
NEW DELHI, April 11 (PTI) — Automobile industry today announced a roadmap to implement stringent Euro-III and Euro-IV emission norms for all kind of vehicles in the country by 2007-08. Apex body of the vehicle producers ‘Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has submitted to the Government, a calendar for implementing these stricter emission norms.Top


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