Friday, October 19, 2001, Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

No pre-Budget hike in petroleum prices: Naik
New Delhi, October 18
Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Ram Naik today said he did not foresee any hike in petroleum product prices till the general Budget in February. Though the international oil market was volatile following the US attacks against terrorism, Mr Naik said the stock situation in the country was stable and there was no need to increase prices.

  • 6 pc growth expected

  • New auto policy in the offing

CORPORATE NEWS

Wipro net profit surges 40 pc
Bangalore, October 18
Wipro today reported that its net profit has grown by 40 per cent for the quarter ended September 30, 2001, to Rs 216.5 crore compared to the same period last year and revenue was up 15 per cent to Rs 877.6 crore.

  • Invests in Spectramind

  • EID Parry net down

  • Aksh Optifibre net up

Polaris nets Rs 31 cr
Chennai, October 18
Polaris Software Lab has posted a total revenue Rs 143.75 crore and earned a profit after tax of Rs 30.97 crore in the half year ended on September 30 last as against Rs 117.23 crore and Rs 25.07 crore, respectively, in the corresponding period last year.


 

EARLIER STORIES
 

Kribhco set to acquire NFL
Patiala, October 18
Kribhco is all set to take over the National Fertiliser Limited (NFL) at Nangal with a formal bid of Rs 1,500 crore expected to take place after a crucial meeting of the special group of Union Ministers formed to look into its disinvestment as well as that of other companies.

Slowdown may last longer: APEC study
Shanghai, October 18
The global economic downturn may intensify after last month’s terrorist attacks, making it harder for struggling Asia-Pacific countries to recover from weak investment and consumer confidence, an APEC study warned today.

Tourism Task Force to start campaigns
New Delhi, October 18
The special tourism Task Force, set up to deal with the impact of the terror strikes in the USA on tourism, has decided to undertake aggressive marketing campaigns in Japan, Australian, Korea, Taiwan and southeast Asian countries.

Now cars will show emotions
Tokyo, October 18
Think you don't have enough of an emotional attachment to your car? A new vehicle developed by Japan's Toyota Motor Corp and Sony Corp will smile, frown and cry, not to mention take your pulse and measure your sweat.

A new vehicle called "the pod" is seen in an undated handout photo. — Reuters/Toyota

The pod

ROUND-UP

Pharma exports touch 20.73 pc
New Delhi, October 18
Indian export of drugs, pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals has touched 20.73 per cent with 12 developed countries emerging as major importers.

  • KBC not going off air: Star

  • PNB Housing cuts lending rates

  • 6 firms shortlisted for MUL selloff

  • Morepen doubles cipro production




Top








 

No pre-Budget hike in petroleum prices: Naik
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 18
Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Ram Naik today said he did not foresee any hike in petroleum product prices till the general Budget in February.

Though the international oil market was volatile following the US attacks against terrorism, Mr Naik said the stock situation in the country was stable and there was no need to increase prices.

Addressing the Economic Editors Conference here, the minister said the administered price mechanism for petroleum products would be dismantled as per schedule by March 31, 2002.

The roadmap for the deregulation of pricing of motor spirit, high speed diesel, kerosene and cooking gas was being finalised. The government would provide a subsidy of 33.33 per cent for kerosene for public distribution and 15 per cent for LPG for domestic use after April 1, 2002, he said.

The minister said removing administered price mechanism would not necessarily mean higher prices for petroleum products. For instance, he pointed out that the import and pricing of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) were deregulated with effect from April 1, 2001. Consequent to decontrol, price of ATF is now market determined and fixed by the oil marketing companies. As a result of decontrol, the final consumer price of ATF at different fuelling stations was lower by Rs 2-3 per litre than before decontrol.

He, however, pointed out that in the case of kerosene and LPG, there prices had to be increased by Rs 1.20 per litre and Rs 95 per cylinder to bring down the subsidy to residual levels.

It would not be possible to effect such sharp increases in one go and efforts were on to find a solution to this, he added.

6 pc growth expected

The slowdown in the economy not withstanding, the Planning Commission today said it was hopeful about achieving six per cent economic growth during the current fiscal.

Though the slowdown has lowered the GDP growth to 4.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2001-02 from 6.1 per cent in the same period last year, the commission was basing its estimates on the basis of inputs of various agencies like the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman K.C. Pant told the conference that the growth rate would still be short of the target of seven per cent set for three years ending 2001-02. The commission had set an overall growth target of 6.5 per cent during the Ninth Plan period.

On the eight per cent growth target set by the panel for the tenth Plan (2002-2007), Mr Pant said he did not want to revise the target in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks in the USA. “We should not be guided by the short-term outlook,” he said.

New auto policy in the offing

Mr Manohar Joshi said today the long-awaited auto policy was getting ready and it would be a comprehensive policy encompassing all areas of the auto sector.

Addressing the Economic Editors Conference here, he said the new policy would be comprehensive and focus on the future development of the sector. It would also specify threshold investment norms for foreign auto companies.

The policy would address the concerns of globalisation and promote competitiveness of domestic auto industry. It would be fully compatible with the WTO norms.

The minister also said a white paper on the status of central public sector undertakings would be released soon. The paper was ready and would soon be sent to the Cabinet for its approval.

He said 19 PSUs were under various stages of restructuring including revival. The restructuring of seven PSUs would involve fresh infusion of funds worth Rs 531 crore and financial restructuring of Rs 1,443 crore. These PSUs are Hindustan Cables, Andrew Yule and Co Ltd, Nepa Ltd, Hindustan Paper Corporation, Praga Tools, HMT and Engineering Projects (India).

Top

 
CORPORATE NEWS

Wipro net profit surges 40 pc

Bangalore, October 18
Wipro today reported that its net profit has grown by 40 per cent for the quarter ended September 30, 2001, to Rs 216.5 crore compared to the same period last year and revenue was up 15 per cent to Rs 877.6 crore.

For six months ended September 30, 2001, India’s number three software exporter earned a net profit of Rs 430.5 crore, up 63 per cent year-on-year, on a revenue of Rs 1,676 crore, a growth of 21 per cent.

But contrary to analysts’ expectations, the company, which had, in July, reiterated that it expected its revenue to grow faster than the industry average this year, which has been estimated above 40 per cent, has not lowered the guidance.

Commenting on the results, Chairman Azim Premji said: “We believe we have grown ahead of the software services industry growth rate for the half-year and continue to believe that we will grow ahead of the industry growth for the full year”.

Meanwhile, the Board of Directors at their meeting here has set aside $ 15 million for investment in companies engaged in IT-enabled services.

Invests in Spectramind

Spectramind eServices today announced that Wipro has invested $ 10 million in the company, and picked up “over 20 per cent stake”.

Spectramind and Wipro also announced a strategic alliance to complement each other’s business and offer comprehensive IT and IT-enabled solutions to key customers globally.

Besides Wipro, Spectramind has also attracted an investment of $ 4 million from Chrysalis Capital, which is an existing venture fund investor in the company.

EID Parry net down

EID Parry India has posted a net profit of Rs 143.50 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2001, compared with Rs 184.10 million for the quater ended September 30, 2000.

Aksh Optifibre net up

Aksh Optifibre today said its second quarter net profit has increased by 53.9 per cent at Rs 4.37 crore.

Net sales also went up by 91.6 per cent at Rs 63.21 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2001, a company statement said here.

The company board declared a second interim dividend of Rs 0.75 per equity share of Rs 5 each for this fiscal.

Top

 

Polaris nets Rs 31 cr

Chennai, October 18
Polaris Software Lab has posted a total revenue Rs 143.75 crore and earned a profit after tax of Rs 30.97 crore in the half year ended on September 30 last as against Rs 117.23 crore and Rs 25.07 crore, respectively, in the corresponding period last year.

According to the figures released by the company after its Board meeting here today, during the quarter ended on September 30 last the company earned a revenue of Rs 72.41 crore and a profit after tax of Rs 15.42 crore as compared to Rs 64.43 crore and Rs 14.03 crore achieved in the same quarter last year.

HEG net rises

HEG Ltd today announced a net profit of Rs 19.84 crore in the first half of the current year, a jump of 12.6 per cent over the H1 profit of last year (Rs 17.62 crore).

The turnover of the company rose by 9 per cent to Rs 280.39 crore from Rs 256.36 crore.

HCL Info net falls

HCL Infosystems today posted a 35 per cent drop in its net profit for the first quarter ended September 30, to Rs 12.5 crore against Rs 19.22 crore during the same period previous year.

The company has also posted a 19 per cent fall in its net sales to Rs 235.48 crore for Q1 against the same period last year, according to the company’s unaudited financial results. Agencies

Top


 

Kribhco set to acquire NFL
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 18
Kribhco is all set to take over the National Fertiliser Limited (NFL) at Nangal with a formal bid of Rs 1,500 crore expected to take place after a crucial meeting of the special group of Union Ministers formed to look into its disinvestment as well as that of other companies.

This was disclosed by Fertiliser Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, talking to newsmen after presiding over a “Kisan Mela” organised by the Young Farmers Association, at Rakhra villager near here today.

Mr Dhindsa said Kribhco had funds to bid for NFL and was planning to revive it in a phased manner. The Ministers Committee which consisted of himself, the Finance Minister, the Home Minister and the Petroleum Minister, was expected to take a decision in this regard next month. The committee, which had been formed to decide the fate of loss making public sector undertakings, was likely to take a decision on the sick IPCL which was expected to be taken over by an Indian oil company. The committee had already held one meeting in this regard.

The Minister said Kribhco, Iffco and IPL had also finalised a scheme under which every farmer buying fertiliser from its cooperative societies would be given Rs 4,000 insurance coverage per bag of fertiliser. The insurance coverage would be provided to a maximum of Rs 1 lakh.

Top

 

Slowdown may last longer: APEC study

Shanghai, October 18
The global economic downturn may intensify after last month’s terrorist attacks, making it harder for struggling Asia-Pacific countries to recover from weak investment and consumer confidence, an APEC study warned today.

Nearly all 21 economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum expect slower economic growth in 2001 and have trimmed their GDP forecasts significantly, the report by the grouping’s economic committee said.

With global economic growth in 2002 expected to rebound to 3.5 per cent from 2.6 per cent this year, the APEC economies can recover gradually but there are downside risks, especially after the September 11 terror attacks on the USA.

“This could result in a much deeper and protracted global downturn, especially if it is also associated with lingering structural weaknesses in Japan and some economies in the euro area,” warned the APEC Economic Outlook released at the forum’s annual talks in Shanghai. AFP

Top


 

Tourism Task Force to start campaigns
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 18
The special tourism Task Force, set up to deal with the impact of the terror strikes in the USA on tourism, has decided to undertake aggressive marketing campaigns in Japan, Australian, Korea, Taiwan and southeast Asian countries.

A package was being worked out by the tourism industry with the help of airlines and the hospitality industry to be sold during road shows to be conducted in these markets in the coming weeks, a Tourism Ministry spokesman said yesterday.

At the first meeting of the Task Force here, it was decided to carry out publicity campaigns and bring in travel writers groups from these countries to dispel the impression that India was near the action scene in Afghanistan and project it as a safe destination, he said.

The travel representatives present informed the meeting, chaired by Director General (Tourism) V K Duggal, that there was not much cancellation in foreign arrivals from various traditional markets, except the USA and Britain.

Top


 

Now cars will show emotions

Tokyo, October 18
Think you don't have enough of an emotional attachment to your car?

A new vehicle developed by Japan's Toyota Motor Corp and Sony Corp will smile, frown and cry, not to mention take your pulse and measure your sweat.

Called the "pod", the car, which has been designed to show emotion and learn from driver experience, will be on display for the first time at the Tokyo Motor Show that begins next week.

"This concept car explores the potential for communication between people and their vehicle," Toyota said in preview information released on Thursday.

The face of the four seater, 1.5 litre engine pod has U-shaped grooves that light up to express emotion, the headlights positioned mid-way to look like eyes and side-mirrors positioned to look like ears.

When its owner approaches, it lights up a happy orange-yellow. Puncture a tyre or run out of fuel, it lights up blue, complete with a display of tear-drops. Swerve sharply or brake too hard and the colour is an angry red.

The back of the car, similar in design to the front, has a tail-like wagging antenna.

It's not quite KITT, the high-tech talking sports car in the 1980s Knight Rider TV series. The emphasis is more on "cute".

The car is driven with a joystick-type controller and does not have footpedals, but it does have sensors to detect a driver's emotional state and give advice in driving.

It takes pre-recorded data of an expert driver, compares it with the current driver's style, and displays words of praise or warning on a centre monitor.

Don't sweat it

The pod can also tell when the driver is in a hurry, measuring the degree of acceleration, the distance from the car in front and the pulse and perspiration of the driver.

Not only will it display a warning, but it will try to calm the driver down with relaxing music and by blowing cool air.

Toyota, which has been keen to woo younger drivers, and Sony which has been developing interactive technologies seen in its robot-dog Aibo, have been working on the car since last year. Reuters

Top

 

Eliminator launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Kawasaki Bajaj today launched “Eliminator” motor cycle here. Eliminator is equipped with electric and kick-start ignition, sporting a state-of-the-art four-stroke engine. The bike is capable of generating a top speed of 116 km per hour, said Mr R.M. Prajapati, Regional Manager, Bajaj Auto.

Mr Prajapati said the bike gives 45 km per litre and its ex-showroom price at Chandigarh is Rs 85,725. Bajaj plans to launch a new model ‘‘Pulser’’ 150 cc shortly.

Top

 
ROUND-UP

Pharma exports touch 20.73 pc

New Delhi, October 18
Indian export of drugs, pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals has touched 20.73 per cent with 12 developed countries emerging as major importers.

The USA, Canada, Mexico, Germany, the UK, Italy, Netherlands, France, Japan, Australia, Brazil and Argentina account for 32 per cent of these exports. This is viewed as an important achievement by the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals in the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

The department set up a task force on the chemical industry in July, 2001, under the Chairmanship of Dr A.S. Ganguly, Chairman, ICI to identify areas of competitive advantages, to formulate policy initiatives required to strengthen these areas. PTI

KBC not going off air: Star

Mumbai
The Star network has dismissed as rumours talk that its popular game show "Kaun Banega Crorepati" is coming to an end in December.

KBC is certainly not ending, not this year at least, said STAR's head of programming and marketing Samir Nair. "What we've done is decrease its frequency of telecast. We reduced it by one episode per week in April. "

"On Mondays we've a new soap "Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand" instead of KBC”. IANS

PNB Housing cuts lending rates

New Delhi
After HDFC and ICICI Home’s rate cuts, PNB Housing Finance today announced 0.25-0.50 per cent reduction in interest rates on housing loans.

After the rate cut, the housing finance rates offered by the company have come down to 11.75-14 per cent for various maturities and loan amounts.

HDFC and ICICI Home yesterday reduced rates by 0.25 per cent in a bid to spur demand in the housing sector. PTI

6 firms shortlisted for MUL selloff

New Delhi
The government said today it had shortlisted six accountancy firms for appointment as valuers and would also engage a global advisor to facilitate the disinvestment of MUL.

“We have identified three Indian chartered accountancy firms from which to select one, besides two foreign CA firms out of three shortlisted,” Heavy Industries Minister Manohar Joshi told the Economic Editors Conference here. PTI

Morepen doubles cipro production

New Delhi
In the wake of anthrax scare in the USA, Morepen Laboratories has doubled the production of ciprofloxacin, the anti-anthrax drug.

“We are geared up for large supplies of cipro to the USA or any other country. In case, the US Government directs the innovator (Bayer AG) to grant compulsory licences to approved generic companies, Morepen will be ready with inventories for immediate shipments at a price much lower than the ruling price in regulated markets,” Sushil Suri, Chairman and Managing Director, Morepen said. PTI

Top

  bb
BIZ BRIEFS

TRAI meeting
New Delhi, October 18
TRAI today began the telecom tariff review meeting with experts from within the country and outside. The two-day meeting will discuss various issues such as the basis for deciding the services whose tariffs should be regulated, the methodology of tariff regulation. The meet will also identify the types of tariff policy that will help better achieve the objectives of increasing teledensity and more competitive environment in various telecom services. TNS

Nabard loan
Shimla, October 18
Nabard has sanctioned Rs 27 crore to the Himachal Pradesh Government for the Swan River Flood Protection Works project under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF), in Una. The cumulative sanction under the RIDF reached Rs 5,184 lakh during 2001-2002. The cumulative sanction to the state has reached the level of Rs. 50,560 lakh from the inception of the fund in 1995-1996 till date, said Mr N.C. Saha, General Manager of the bank. TNS

TVS Victor
Amritsar, October 18
TVS Suzuki launched its four stroke 110 cc Victor motorcycle here today. Area Manager Punnet Dev claimed that Victor had been rated the most fuel efficient motorcycle in its category, giving a mileage of 85 km per litre on an average. OC

PNB’s ATM
Ferozepore, October 18
The district will be soon linked with the offices of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister through video conferencing system. This was stated by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Ladhar, while inaugurating a Punjab National Bank’s ATM (automatic teller machine) centre here today. Mr Ladhar said with the installation of the ATM, the residents, those from Army Cantonment area, would be able to withdraw cash even in the odd hours. OC

ITW Signode
Mumbai, October 18
ITW Signode India has posted a 27.68 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 5.12 crore for second quarter ended September 30, 2001, compared to Rs 4.01 crore in the same period of previous fiscal. Net sales in Q2 also increased to Rs 45.32 crore as against Rs 43.76 crore in the corresponding quarter of last year. PTI

Centurion Bank
New Delhi, October 18
Credit rating agency ICRA has downgraded the rating assigned to the Rs 300 crore Certificate of Deposit programme of Centurion Bank from ‘A1’ to ‘A2’, indicating high safety in the short term. The rating downgrade takes into account the high provisioning requirements, low capital adequacy and likely losses of the bank, ICRA said in a statement. PTI

Top

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
|
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
|
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |