Tuesday, April 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S
Raj Yersai (left) and Sumit Kapur, young Indian businessmen who founded a web auction site to sell American products back home, show off the home page of their site, left side of screen, and a piece of artwork up for auction, on the right in their New York office. Keeping one foot in the USA and the other in India is allowing a trickle of entrepreneurs to take advantage of the growing connections between the two countries’ technology industries. — AP
Raj Yersai (left) and Sumit Kapur, young Indian businessmen who founded a web auction site to sell American products back home, show off the home page of their site, left side of screen, and a piece of artwork up for auction, on the right in their New York office. Keeping one foot in the USA and the other in India is allowing a trickle of entrepreneurs to take advantage of the growing connections between the two countries’ technology industries. — AP

Good show: Global Tele, Max India & TV 18
G
LOBAL Tele-Systems Ltd has posted a 74 per cent increase in its net profit (before extraordinary income) at Rs 109.30 crore for 1999-2000, as against Rs 62.78 crore recorded in the previous fiscal.

MatizDaewoo rules out Matiz price hike
CHANDIGARH, April 24 — Daewoo Motors has no plan to effect any immediate hike in the prices of its Matiz car unless forced by an increased sales tax following the exercise to effect ST uniformity, Mr S.G. Awasthi, chairman has informed The Tribune.
Ford to sell used cars



EARLIER STORIES
 

‘Ensure Inspector-free Raj’
CHANDIGARH, April 24 — A delegation of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, led by its President, Mr K S Mehta, called on the UT Administrator, Lt Gen JFR Jacob, here today and sought upgradation of Chandigarh airport to the international level to boost IT industry and exports.

India to challenge US Basmati patent
NEW DELHI, April 24 — The Centre today assured the Supreme Court it would challenge the patent on Basmati rice granted to American Multinational Rice Tech Inc. in the United States and steps are being taken in this regard in consultation with experts.

Allahabad Bank loans on Internet
CHANDIGARH, April 24 — To commemorate the 135th anniversary of the Allahabad Bank, a customer meet was organised at the premises of regional office here today under the chairmanship of Mr J.S. Kakar, Assistant General Manager of the bank.

Sachs picks Zee at 1,000
MUMBAI, April 24 — Gold Sachs Investment Mauritius (I) Ltd has acquired eight million equity shares of Zee Telefilms at a price of Rs 1,000 per share consequent upon the former exercising the option of converting the eight million convertible equity warrants of Zee into equity shares.Top






 

Good show: Global Tele, Max India & TV 18

GLOBAL Tele-Systems Ltd (GTSL) has posted a 74 per cent increase in its net profit (before extraordinary income) at Rs 109.30 crore for 1999-2000, as against Rs 62.78 crore recorded in the previous fiscal.

GTSL’s sales of Rs 625.18 crore comprises contributions from the e-commerce and software group (Rs 319.83 crore), engineering services (Rs 271.39 crore) and the hived-off consumer telecom group (Rs 33.96 crore), the company said in a release here today.

During the year, International Global Tele-Systems Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary, had revenues of $ 18.18 million (previous year $ 29.80 m) and a net income of $ 1.33 million ($ 1.47 m), it said adding, these revenues have not been considered while arriving at total income and net profit.

Exports of GTSL vaulted by 442 per cent to Rs 123 crore as compared to Rs 22.67 crore in the previous year.

Max India: Max India has recorded a 475 per cent growth in net profit during the quarter ended March 31, 2000 to touch Rs 14.45 crore as against Rs 2.51 crore a year ago.

The net profit for the company’s 1999-2000 fiscal (Nine-months) stood at Rs 37.21 crore. The EPS was Rs 43.02 (annualised) for the 1999-2000 fiscal. Gross revenue for the period was Rs 141.71 crore while for the final quarter, the revenue stood at Rs 64.39 crore.

The company has already declared a dividend of Rs 28.75 per equity share of Rs 10 (383.33 per cent on an annualised basis) for the nine-month period ending March 31, 2000. The company’s reserves stand at Rs 515 crore.

Tata Elxsi: The Board of Directors of Tata Elxsi Limited has a recommended a maiden interim dividend of 15 per cent in the light of improved performance. During 1999-2000 the company recorded net sales of Rs 123.73 crore, an increase of 31 per cent over the previous year, said S Devarajan, MD.

Wipro: The Board of Directors of Wipro Ltd today declared an interim dividend of 15 per cent for the year ended March 2000. The board will meet on April 26 to approve the results for the financial year 1999-2000.

ICICI Bank : ICICI Bank today announced a 15 per cent dividend for the 1999-2000 fiscal with its net profit for the year surging 59 per cent to Rs 105.3 crore as against Rs 63.36 crore a year ago.

Its January-March net profit was Rs 32.94 crore, up 71 per cent from Rs 19.26 crore in the same quarter of the previous year. The company’s fourth quarter income was Rs 259.79 crore as against Rs 166.32 crore a year earlier.

TV18: The board of TV18 has agreed in principle to offer 20 per cent of its stake in CNBC India to Sony Entertainment Television.

The company posted a net profit of Rs 14.79 crore for the second quarter (Q2 — January to March 2000) with revenue of Rs 10.01 crore.

Net profit and revenue figures stood at Rs 16.14 crore and Rs 14.66 crore respectively in the first half (October 1999 to March 2000) of operations.

TVS Suzuki: The Board of Directors of TVS Suzuki today approved an 80 per cent interim dividend for the 1999-2000 fiscal having registered a 7 per cent growth in net profit for the year.

Divestment is to be value determined and mutually agreed at the time of the transfer with an option to acquire stake to be exercised not later than March 31, 2000.

Its net profit for the fiscal stood at Rs 87.51 crore as against Rs 82.09 crore a year ago. Its net profit for the January-March quarter was Rs 21.98 crore, up 23 per cent from Rs 17.94 crore in the same quarter of the previous year. — agenciesTop




 

Daewoo rules out Matiz price hike
By Nirmal Sandhu
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 24 — Daewoo Motors has no plan to effect any immediate hike in the prices of its Matiz car unless forced by an increased sales tax following the exercise to effect ST uniformity, Mr S.G. Awasthi, chairman has informed The Tribune.

The Matiz, whose 800 cc engine delivering power output of 52 bhp at 6000 rpm, has landed the car in the Guinness Book, is priced below its rivals Santro and Zen, claims Mr B.S. Min, Deputy Managing Director of the company. “The Euro II car is available at Euro I prices”, he said.

Car makers like Maruti Udyog, Telco and Hyundai recently raised prices to meet Euro II emission norms as directed by the Supreme Court. The Matiz in metallic colour comes at the same price unlike other cars whose metallic versions are costlier by Rs 4,000 or so, he added.

According to Mr Awasthi, the demand for cars in North India has tapered off, indicating perhaps a slowdown in the agriculture-based regional economy. Car sales in eastern and western India, on the other hand, are picking up.

Asked to comment on the recent advertisement by Hyundai dealers — “Car aapke ghar, company sadak par” — pointing to the fragile financial position of the parent company, Mr Awasthi said the ad was unethical and Daewoo has taken up the issue with the MRTPC. Comparative ads are useful if based on relevant and correct information. But ads that misrepresent facts damage the market as consumers get confused. The parent Daewoo company is being restructured and it will emerge stronger with focus on automobiles. All investments in Indian operations are in place.

Daewoo Motors India Ltd (DMIL) has invested Rs 4,000 cr in its plant at Surajpur (NOIDA) which is equipped with R & D facility having a capacity to assemble 80,000 cars and produce three lakh engines and gear boxes a year.

Mr Awasthi said DMIL has made operating profit on a turnover of about Rs 1,300 crore during the last fiscal but heavy interest burden and depreciation have led to a net loss. The company hopes to break even in the current financial year.

On exports, Mr Min said DMIL has made exports worth $ 109 million till March 31, 2000. The company exports Matiz and critical components. This month 700 Matiz cars are being exported to Italy.

Mr Min denied the charge levelled by certain rivals that the Matiz produced for exports is different. “There is no difference except that the exported car’s steering wheel is on the left side to meet the requirements of certain countries,” he said.

Mr Min said the Matiz engine has been upgraded to ensure better pick up and has improved fuel economy by 10 per cent.

Mr Awasthi said there is no immediate plan to roll out a new model. Daewoo entered India in 1994, launched Cielo in 1995, Matiz in October 1998 and Nexia in April ‘99.

The company has now launched Cielo-CNG priced at Rs 5.30 lakh. It comes with a factory-fitted CNG kit and its running cost is only 30 per cent of the petrol model. Initially, Cielo-CNG will be available only at Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat and Ankleshwar where gas stations are located

Will the import of second-hand foreign cars affect the domestic producers?

The DMIL Chairman said he appreciated the opening up of the economy. Even imports are welcome. Consumers should not be denied the benefits of cheaper imports. But India should not become a junkyard. There is no threat from the import of used cars because after sales service may not be available for such cars.Top


Ford to sell used cars
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, April 24 — Ford India today lunched Ford Assured, a new initiative in the used car market. This initiative is a “first of its kind” venture, in which Ford India along with its dealerships will buy, recondition and sell used cars of different makes.

Ford Assured was launched simultaneously by Ford dealers in Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Ludhiana and Pune, with plans for rapid nation wide roll-out.

Every Ford Assured car will be sold with a 12-month warranty and three free services, according to Mr Vinay Piparsania, General Manager, Sales Ford India Ltd who launched the scheme at Bhagat Ford at Ludhiana.Top


 

‘Ensure Inspector-free Raj’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 24 — A delegation of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) led by its President, Mr K S Mehta, called on the UT Administrator, Lt Gen JFR Jacob, here today and sought upgradation of Chandigarh airport to the international level to boost IT industry and exports.

Announcing this at a press conference, Mr Mehta said the delegation impressed upon the Punjab Governor to ensure “Inspector-free Raj.” In Rajasthan, he said, no Inspector can enter a factory without the DC’s permission.

The delegation called for the establishment of a 100 MW gas-based power project in the private sector and thrust on IT education in UT schools. The Administrator promised to look into the demands and asked the PHDCCI to submit to him a list of archaic laws which it desires to be amended or done away with.

Earlier at its meeting with Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, the PHDCCI suggested the creation of an investment promotion board comprising senior officials, economists and industry representatives. Specific companies should be targeted and wooed for investment, it said.

The delegation stressed the need to build an IT network and computerise the administration at the lower level to promote transparency and check corruption.

Mr Mehta cited the example of Tamil Nadu where, he said, land transfer is carried out on computer in just 15 minutes.

As part of social work, PHDCCI members will take up various ITIs to provide training in areas like food processing, telecommunication, textiles and engineering.

The PHDCCI delegation, which also met the Punjab Chief Minister and senior officials, suggested a carrot and stick policy to raise revenue, establishment of special zones for horticulture and vegetables, crop diversification and better PAU extension services to raise productivity and rural incomes.

The chamber called for metered power supply to farmers. Because of unmetered power supply, line losses in Punjab are a whopping 25 per cent against the national average of 18 per cent. Power supply to farmers owning 10 acres or less may be subsidised.

User charges should be levied for various services, Mr Mehta added. To ensure compliance, user charges should be reasonable. High taxes lead to evasion. Welcoming the levy of mandi cess in Punjab, he said revenue raised should be utilised properly and wastage avoided.Top



 

India to challenge US Basmati patent

NEW DELHI, April 24 (PTI) — The Centre today assured the Supreme Court it would challenge the patent on Basmati rice granted to American Multinational Rice Tech Inc. in the United States and steps are being taken in this regard in consultation with experts.

Solicitor General Harish Salve said this before a Bench comprising Chief Justice A.S. Anand, Justice Santosh N. Hegde and Justice S.N. Variava in reply to allegations in a petition filed by Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology that the Government was doing nothing to challenge the patent. When Salve said expert opinion was being taken and the Government would challenge the patent in two months, Justice Anand remarked ‘‘sooner the better’’.

Arguing for the petitioner, senior advocate Indira Jaising said the Government had assured the Court in November 1998 that it was taking steps to challenge the patent on Basmati granted to Rice Tech in September 1997. ‘‘The process of taking steps by the Government is so prolonged that it harms national interest,’’ Jaising said.

Salve said the Government was drafting a biodiversity legislation and once it comes into force, several such grievances would be taken care of.Top


 

Allahabad Bank loans on Internet
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 24 — To commemorate the 135th anniversary of the Allahabad Bank, a customer meet was organised at the premises of regional office here today under the chairmanship of Mr J.S. Kakar, Assistant General Manager of the bank.

Mr Kakar elaborated the various schemes launched by the bank for the benefit of the customers. He said that the bank had launched Green Card Scheme for farmers and is providing car finance, housing finance, consumer finance and education loan for higher studies.

The bank has launched a website for sanctioning of education loan and car finance on the Internet. In the housing sector, the bank has given a special emphasis by opening 38 housing loan cells all over the country. One such cell was inaugurated by Mr kakar at Panchkula branch today.Top



 

Sachs picks Zee at 1,000

MUMBAI, April 24 (PTI) — Gold Sachs Investment Mauritius (I) Ltd has acquired eight million equity shares of Zee Telefilms at a price of Rs 1,000 per share consequent upon the former exercising the option of converting the eight million convertible equity warrants of Zee into equity shares.

Zee had allotted the warrants, each of which was convertible into one equity share of Re 1 each at a premium of Rs 999, to GSIM in January, 2000. The share capital of Zee has increased by Rs 80 lakh to Rs 41.25 crore and the share premium account stands increased to Rs 799.2 crore.

NSE has revised its benchmark index SP CNX Nifty by bringing in Zee Telefilm and HCL Infosystem by replacing IDBI and EIH Ltd.Top



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Jain Studios
CHANDIGARH, April 24 (TNS) —Jain Studios Ltd and Transaction Systems Architects. Inc. today announced plans to launch a secure Internet Payment Gateway for enabling corporate and individual users to carry out credit card transactions on the Internet. The gateway interfaces between financial institutions, e-merchants and Online shoppers to provide Online payment authorisation.

Corpn Bank
MANGALORE, April 24 (PTI) — Corporation Bank’s total business for the current year is planned at Rs 26,000 crore, projecting a growth rate of 20 per cent over the previous year level.

Inaugurating the bank’s business plan conference, R.S. Hugar, Corporation Bank, CMD, said the bank had achieved encouraging all-round performance during the just concluded financial year.

The bank has set a deposit target of Rs 17,000 crore for the current financial year.Top


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