Friday, October 5, 2001, Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Enron deal runs into controversy
New Delhi, October 4
Enron Oil Gas India Ltd’s sale of its 30 per cent stake in Tapti, Panna and Mukta oil fields to British Gas (BG) has run into a controversy with the majority partner in the project, ONGC, staking claim for the operatorship of the oil fields.

Cotton textile industry faces crisis
Ludhiana, October 4
The events of September 11 attack on the US have further precipitated the crisis in the cotton textile industry of India as the foreign buyers from USA, European countries and Middle East have started postponing or cancelling the purchase orders of ready-made garments placed with the Indian manufacturers.

Wipro starts working in Australia
Bangalore, October 4
Wipro today announced the launch of its operations in Australia. Wipro will address Australia and New Zealand from Sydney, as a base, through its Asia Pacific IT arm, Wipro Infotech.

Motorola, BSNL sign $ 178 m pact
New Delhi, October 4
Motorola and BSNL have signed a $178 million contract to install India’s single largest order for a global system for mobile communications infrastructure in each of the four states in South India. The contract will support a total of 1.4 million subscribers in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.




EARLIER STORIES

 

Apollo plans 30 clinics in North
New Delhi, October 4
The multi-crore primary health care sector is now attracting corporate sector and Apollo Health and Lifestyle Limited has drawn up an ambitious plan to set up 250 clinics in the country, including 30 in North India in the first phase.

Indica sales in top gear
Mumbai, October 4
Despite the slowdown in the automobile sector, Tata Engineering’s passenger car Indica has recorded a 51 per cent rise in sales at 5,405 units in September, 2001, as compared to same period of last year.

  • Ford India’s sales drops 36 pc

i way centre opens at Chandigarh
Chandigarh, October 4
Lt-Gen JFR Jacob today inaugurated the “i way” Internet browsing centre in Sector 8 here. A high-band dedicated link (128 kbps) in being provided by Satyam Infoway to the centre for the first time in the region. Almost 500 “i way” centres are already operational in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi.

ROUND-UP

2 Indian women on Fortune list
New Delhi, October 4
Ms Lalita Gupte, ICICI Chief Operating Officer (India), and Ms Naina Lal Kidwai, Vice Chairman of JP Morgan Stanley, have made it to the Fortune magazine’s list of 50 most powerful women in international business.

  • President’s assent to Conservation Bill

  • Japan airlines cut flights to USA

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Enron deal runs into controversy
T. V. Lakshminarayan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
Enron Oil Gas India Ltd’s sale of its 30 per cent stake in Tapti, Panna and Mukta oil fields to British Gas (BG) has run into a controversy with the majority partner in the project, ONGC, staking claim for the operatorship of the oil fields.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation has written to the Petroleum Ministry that with Enron vacating the position of operator, the role should be assigned to it.

British Gas on the other hand, while signing the $388 million deal with Enron had indicated that it was inheriting the role of operator following the transfer of stake by Enron.

Operatorship entails incremental revenues to the operator and the status was offered by the government in 1993 to lure foreign companies to enter the field of exploration.

While ONGC has 40 per cent stake in the three-way joint venture, Reliance Industries holds 30 per cent.

The Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Ram Naik, clarified here that the contract between the three partners clearly stated that in the case of Enron vacating the operatorship, the right for it would vest with the other two partners.

In other words, British Gas can become the operator of the oil and gas fields only if both ONGC and Reliance agree to it.

However, with ONGC laying claim to become operator of the project, it remains to be seen if British Gas would be interested in the deal with Enron.

Mr Naik said there was no ambiguity in the joint venture agreement and he did not foresee any problem.

On reports that the Government was considering a merger of Indian Oil Corporation, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Gas Authority of India Ltd to create an oil behemoth, the Petroleum Minister said that the matter was not under the consideration of the Ministry now.

It was reported that the government was hoping to increase the market value of the three companies by integrating them and then go in for the divestment. Divestment in the merged company would have yielded the government higher revenues.

Meanwhile, Mr Naik had a meeting with his counterpart in the Finance Ministry, Mr Yashwant Sinha, and discussed the roadmap to dismantle the administered price mechanism for petroleum products.

Mr Naik said it has been decided to form five sub-groups headed by Secretaries in the two Ministries and they would give a report on the various aspects of dismantling APM. This includes on how the Government should proceed, the financial aspects, the regulatory framework and the legislative aspects.

Mr Naik said the Government’s condition that private companies have to invest a minimum of Rs 2000 crore on infrastructure development before being entitled to retail petroleum products would stay.
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Cotton textile industry faces crisis
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 4
The events of September 11 attack on the US have further precipitated the crisis in the cotton textile industry of India as the foreign buyers from USA, European countries and Middle East have started postponing or cancelling the purchase orders of ready-made garments placed with the Indian manufacturers. The Indian textile industry would face formidable problems in view of the recession in the world.

Enquiries reveal that Bangalore and Tripur are the major centres for the supply of cotton garments while Ludhiana is the main supplier of acrylic based garments. The total export of Indian cotton textile is worth $ 12.5 billion out of this $ 6.5 billion is readymade garments.

According to information available here at least 15 per cent of the orders placed by the foreign buyers have either been cancelled or postponed and this has brought demoralisation in the industry.

According to Mr S.P. Oswal, Chairman, Textile Committee of the CII, this year is going to be extremely bad year for the cotton industry from economy point of view. The industry was already suffering for lack of competitiveness and we were struggling against many handicaps which included rigid labour laws, higher power cost, higher transaction costs like clearing at ports, higher banking charges and lack of infrastructure. He says that recession is not limited to India alone, it is worldwide and it is adding to the difficulties in carrying out the desired reforms which are so vital for the rejuvenation of the industry.

Mr Oswal points out that the society has to come to terms with the reality that the labour laws need radical changes and if no changes are effected, the people in jobs will also become jobless.

The Indian cotton crop during the past two years has been falling short of its demand and prices of cotton during the year 2000-2001 could not decline to the international level. This led to increase in imports of cotton and it is estimated that about 15 to 20 lakh bales were imported. This has put the Indian textile industry at disadvantage because of ocean freight and other charges which the mills had to pay almost 15 per cent of the value of cotton. The ocean freight from the USA and Australia which are principal countries supplying cotton is about 3 to 5 cents per pound. Had the Indian cotton prices been equal to the international prices, the cost could have been saved by the mills using the Indian cotton. Another disadvantage has been that the Indian prices of cotton have not declined to the international level... because there was an import duty of 5 per cent on cotton imports. Besides, the mills did not have enough experience of using imported cotton.

Mr Oswal points out that fall in the cotton prices might put pressure on government to consider increase in customs duty on cotton imports. But this will have devastating effect on the cotton industry. This will result in decline in export considerably. This would also be against the policy of export of cotton under OGL.

He emphasised that the government must allow the duty free import of cotton which is basic raw material for this industry.

Mr D.L. Sharma, Executive Director of the Mahavir Spinning Mills told this reporter on his return from Sri Lanka on Wednesday that Sri Lanka was exporting garments worth $ 40 billion per annum. Sri Lankan manufacturers had many advantages over the Indian manufacturers as the industries were located around the ports and the costs of clearing at the ports, in land transportation were quite low compared with the Indian costs. Moreover, they had excellent shipping network. After Singapore, Ceylon port was the most efficient in this region, he added.

Enquiries also reveal that Ludhiana is exporting acrylic based garments to various countries worth Rs 400 crore and out of this goods worth Rs 250 crore were exported to Middle East countries.

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Wipro starts working in Australia

Bangalore, October 4
Wipro today announced the launch of its operations in Australia.

Wipro will address Australia and New Zealand from Sydney, as a base, through its Asia Pacific IT arm, Wipro Infotech.

According to a company release, the entry into Australia is a major step forward in the direction of achieving the vision of Wipro - “to be among the top 10 IT services companies globally”.

Wipro is currently among the top 20 IT services organisations and among the top 100 technology companies in the world as per the Business Week’s 4th Annual Listing.

Its entry into Australia, which is the largest IT services market in Asia Pacific, is part of a concerted strategy to gain leadership position in the Asia Pacific market, the release said.

Formally announcing the launch of the Australian operations, Suresh Vaswani, President, Wipro Infotech, today in Sydney said, “Wipro has set itself a vision of being among the top 10 information technology services companies globally.

We will bring to our customers in Australia, robust globally proven processes in software and technology integration services”.

“Wipro will address the Australian market through its Business Development Managers, based in Sydney and Melbourne and leverage its global alliances and will look forward to work through local business partners”, he added. PTI
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Motorola, BSNL sign $ 178 m pact

New Delhi, October 4
Motorola and BSNL have signed a $178 million contract to install India’s single largest order for a global system for mobile (GSM) communications infrastructure in each of the four states in South India.

The contract will support a total of 1.4 million subscribers in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

BSNL currently has over 34 million subscribers. BSNL was recently awarded a licence to operate as the third cellular service provider and has ambitious plans to provide GSM cellular services in South India.

“We are delighted that BSNL has chosen Motorola to install this expansive network, which will be India’s single largest GSM implementation ever,’’ said Pramod Saxena, Country Manager for Motorola India. “The southern zone is among the most important zones for any cellular service provider as it has 30 per cent of the country’s cellular subscriber base and the highest average revenue per unit in the country. The Motorola network is designed to be scalable and robust to address the growing number of subscribers in the south zone,” said Saxena.

Motorola will provide seamless cellular access across 280 cities and highways in the four states. The agreement for a total turnkey 900 MHz GSM network platform, and turnkey services and project management and also includes terminal devices and subscriber identity module (SIM) cards.

Motorola will work with the local contractors in each state for installation and optimisation of the networks. UNI

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Apollo plans 30 clinics in North
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
The multi-crore primary health care sector is now attracting corporate sector and Apollo Health and Lifestyle Limited has drawn up an ambitious plan to set up 250 clinics in the country, including 30 in North India in the first phase.

“We plan to set up five primary healthcare clinics in Chandigarh, 10 in Delhi, three in Haryana, one each in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Jaipur and six clinics in Uttar Pradesh during the next three years,” Ratan Jalan, CEO of Apollo Health and Lifestyle Limited (AHLL) told The Tribune here today.

The wholly owned subsidiary of the Apollo Group, he said will set the benchmark for a new level of professionally managed primary healthcare setup in the country by bringing in the international healthcare standards where they matter the most, the neighbourhood.

He said the AHLL has set an ambitious task of achieving a business of Rs 1000 crore in the next three years through a number of business initiative.

Ratan Jalan said the clinics would promote the concept of preventive healthcare, a concept that helps the society to prevent disease by taking care of its basic health.

Ratan Jalan said the clinics targetted on the middle class would provide consultation services in more commonly required areas like general medicine, gynaecology, paediatrics and cardiology through a team of full time physicians.

He said the clinics would have a panel of visiting consultants will also be available in other areas like general surgery, gastroenterology, urology, dermatology, orthopedics. The clinics will also provide counselling services in areas like diet and nutrition.

Apollo clinics, he said will also be equipped with telemedicine facilities, enabling consultants to seek opinions from select experts from anywhere in the world.

The CEO said each clinics will have full time consultants, comprehensive diagnostic facilities and a 24-hour pharmacy. Be in Chandigarh or Ludhiana, if you travel to Delhi or other parts of the country not only will the clinics would resemble and provide the same ambiance, you could even get medical consultation as the doctor would be access your records on a click of the mouse, Ratan Jalan said.
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Indica sales in top gear

Mumbai, October 4
Despite the slowdown in the automobile sector, Tata Engineering’s passenger car Indica has recorded a 51 per cent rise in sales at 5,405 units in September, 2001, as compared to same period of last year.

Spurred by the launch of V2 petrol Indica, the company for the first time has acquired the number one slot in an eight-model segment consisting of five manufacturers, Tata Engineering claimed in a release here today.

The total sales for the first six months in this fiscal were 10.3 per cent higher at 27,535 units over the same period in 2000-01.

Ford India’s sales drops 36 pc

In tune with the downtrend in the auto industry due to a sluggish demand, Ford India today reported a 36 per cent drop in car sales at 1,150 units in September over 1,817 units sold in the same month last year.

The company’s cumulative (April-September 2001-02) sales also dipped by 26.6 per cent at 7,213 units as against 9,828 units during the year-ago period, a company statement said.

Ford follows Maruti and Hyundai in reporting a sharp drop in sales during September, a trend visible right from the beginning of the current financial year. PTI

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i way centre opens at Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Lt-Gen JFR Jacob today inaugurated the “i way” Internet browsing centre in Sector 8 here.

A high-band dedicated link (128 kbps) in being provided by Satyam Infoway to the centre for the first time in the region.

Almost 500 “i way” centres are already operational in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi.

Under the scheme a customer gets a prepaid card for a minimum of two hours (Rs 50) using which he starts his account with the “i way” centre.

The card can be used at any of the “i way” centres. Mr Pravesh Vasudeva, Principal Associate, who is running the B’wise centre also, said, “We will hire five franchisees”.
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ROUND-UP

2 Indian women on Fortune list

New Delhi, October 4
Ms Lalita Gupte, ICICI Chief Operating Officer (India), and Ms Naina Lal Kidwai, Vice Chairman of JP Morgan Stanley, have made it to the Fortune magazine’s list of 50 most powerful women in international business.

While Ms Gupte (53) is ranked 31, Ms Kidwai (44) finds herself in the 47th position of the first ever international list of such kind.

The list is topped by Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino (54) of Britain, while Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon (41) of France and Legend Senior VP and CFO Mary Ma (48) have been ranked second and third, a press note by the magazine said today.

This is the fourth year fortune has published the list of the 50 Most Powerful Business Women in the United States and for the first time it has created a list of the top 50 players outside the US, following separate smaller rankings in Asia and Europe last year. UNI

President’s assent to Conservation Bill

New Delhi
President K R Narayanan has given his assent to the Energy Conservation Bill, 2001, passed during the Monsoon Session of Parliament ending August 31, 2001.

With this, the Bill has been notified in the Gazette of India as Act No. 52 of 2001, an official release said here today.

The Act has come into force with immediate effect except the penalty part of it which has been kept in abeyance till the time people concerned are acclimatised about economics and efficacy of conservation of power or for a period of five years.

The Energy Conservation Act, 2001 seeks to set up a Bureau of Energy Efficiency whose Governing Council will be headed by the Union Minister of Power.

It will work out stringent norms for conservation of energy in all forms wherein there will be no room, whatsoever, for substandard equipment.

The Bureau will exercise the powers of the Central Government for enforcement of efficient use of energy and its conservation. The states will emulate the Centre at its level, the release said. TNS

Japan airlines cut flights to USA

Tokyo
Japan’s two major airlines today said they would slash flights to the USA while hotels in Tokyo complained of fewer guests as a hijack-wary public cancelled holidays and business trips to stay at home.

Leading people carrier Japan Airlines Co. (JAL) is cutting flights to the USA by 24 per cent over the next two months, while rival All Nippon Airways Co. (ANA) trimmed flights on its Guam route by 22 per cent with further reductions forecast.

“We are operating those routes at below break-even load factor,” said JAL spokesman Geoffrey Tudor, adding that many flights to the USA had been running half-empty.

ANA was experiencing similar difficulties.

“We are tending toward reducing and downsizing,” said spokesman for Japan’s number two airline Fred Tanaka. AFP

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BIZ BRIEFS

BSI India
Chandigarh, October 4
BSI India, a subsidiary of British Standards Institution, is celebrating the completion of 100 years of its parent company according to a press release today. Dr V. K. Jain, MD, BSI India, said "The company which started its operations two years ago here has a clientele base of 400, including Siemens, Sony Music, JCT, IIFCO, PNB, etc. The BSI services, including registration of quality management systems (ISO-9000), environmental management systems (ISO-14000), occupational health and safety (OHSAS-18001) food safety (HACCP) etc, are offered here also, said he. TNS

Vista Valls
Chandigarh, October 4
Alps Industries today launched "Vista Valls" eco-friendly wooden ceiling and wall panels here." Vista Valls is a product from Europe which is UV resistant non-fading, moisture resistant, pre-finished, reusable", said Mr Anup Shukla, Senior Marketing Manager.Vista Valls are cost and time saving and there is no recurring maintenance or plastering required. TNS

IOC dividend
New Delhi, October 4
With the highest ever profit after tax of Rs 2,720 crore for the year 2000-01, Indian Oil Corporation has paid 95 per cent dividend amounting to Rs 740 crore compared to Rs 584 crore during the previous year. The total equity share capital of the corporation is Rs 778.67 crore. TNS

HPCL
New Delhi, October 4
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited Chairman H.L. Zutshi today presented a cheque for Rs 173.07 crore, the equity dividend from the HPCL for the year 2000-01. The company has declared a dividend of 100 per cent the fiscal, which amounted to payment of Rs 374 crore including dividend tax, on a issue capital of Rs 339.33 crore. TNS

SKF Bearings
New Delhi, October 4
SKF Bearings India today announced a rights issue and non-convertible debentures totalling Rs 88 crore as part of its capital restructuring plan. The company also plans to split the present face value of its Rs 100 share into 10 shares of Rs 10 each. PTI

Planet Glen
Chandigarh, October 4
Glen India Ltd a home and kitchen appliances company opened its exclusive lifestyle appliances showroom “Planet Glen” in Sector 17 E, here today.
TNS

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