Friday, November 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India






National Capital Region--Delhi

 

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Sinha hopeful of satisfactory growth
New Delhi, November 1
The uncertainty due to internal and external developments notwithstanding, India was likely to end the current fiscal with a “satisfactory” economic growth rate, Mr Yashwant Sinha said here today.
Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha addresses the Confederation of Indian Industry at the sixth insurance summit today in New Delhi.
(28k, 56k)

Satyam centre in Australia
Sydney, November 1
Satyam Computer Services has opened its first software development centre in Australia. Joe Hockey, Australian Federal Minister for Financial Services and Regulation, inaugurated the centre in Sydney that would see Satyam's Australian investments go over the mark of Australian $7 million.

PTL market share goes up
Chandigarh, November 1
With its net profit slightly up, Punjab Tractors Ltd (PTL) has strengthened its operating margins in the first half (April-September) of 2001 to 19.4 per cent against 18.8 per cent for the same period last year.

Maruti’s exports fall, Hyundai’s up
New Delhi, November 1
Exports of “Made-in-India” cars went up during the first half of this fiscal even as the commercial vehicles, multi-utility-vehicles (MUVs), two and three-wheelers failed to attract foreign buyers.

Exports drop 1.95 per cent
New Delhi, November 1
The worldwide economic slowdown had an impact on Indian exports as it dipped by 1.95 per cent during the first six months of the current fiscal to $ 20.96 billion.


 


The annunal IT.Com Trade Show gets underway in Bangalore, India's software mecca.

(28k, 56k)


EARLIER STORIES

 

Grain export policy soon
New Delhi, November 1
A long-term export policy for foodgrains will be announced shortly Minister of Food and Consumer Affairs Shanta Kumar announced here today.

Soap named after Osama bin Laden
Santiago
A Chilean businessman has registered “Osama bin Laden’’ as an air deodorant and soap brand name, El Mostrador online daily reported. “The thing is that it’s a name that is known and I felt it was commercially attractive to register it,’’ said Mr Eduardo Arevalo Mateluna, quoted by El Mostrador yesterday.

Hero Honda sales jump 43.8 pc
New Delhi
Hero Honda Motors today reported a 43.8 per cent increase in sales at 1.3 lakh units during October, 2001, over 92,109 units in the same month last year.

Play tambola on mobile
Chandigarh
Spice Telecom has become the first telecom operator in India to introduce Mobile Tambola. It would enable all Spice subscribers to play tambola from their mobile handset and win prizes.

CORPORATE NEWS

Nestle net zooms 39 pc
Mumbai, November 1
Nestle India has reported a rise of 39.1 per cent in its net profit in the quarter ended September 30, 2001, compared with corresponding quarter a year ago.


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Sinha hopeful of satisfactory growth
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 1
The uncertainty due to internal and external developments notwithstanding, India was likely to end the current fiscal with a “satisfactory” economic growth rate, Mr Yashwant Sinha said here today.

“I am confident that given our own large market, sub-continental dimension, our own resources and resilience of the economy, it is possible to overcome the challenges and achieve a growth rate which will be satisfactory,” Mr Sinha said while addressing the sixth Insurance Summit organised by the CII.

Referring to the insurance sector as an engine of growth for the entire economy, Mr Sinha said new products and a increased spread of insurance, particularly to the rural areas would lead to a growth in savings and this in turn would fuel economic growth.

Citing latest savings figures, he expressed concern over the drop in public and private sector savings which dropped to 3.7 and 1.2 per cent of the GDP.

But household savings recorded 19.8 per cent of the GDP, which was a “promising sign” as it was the highest ever, he said.

He identified six areas of insurance reforms that would push the insurance sector ahead towards higher growth. This includes companies making available timely and reliable statistical data to increase transparency and strengthen the market.

The Minister stressed on the need for developing of code of good practices that is internationally acclaimed so as to ensure that the market functions effectively; called for stronger system as envisaged by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors and the need for a structure of self regulatory organisation; and asked the industry to develop mechanisms to prevent systemic effects and emphasised high solvency on the part of insurance companies.

Mr Sinha also urged for improving the structure of insurance market and said the bill for intermediaries was likely to be passed shortly.

There was also the need to improve corporate governance, financial accountability and resilience.

Mr Rahul Bajaj, Chairman of the Insurance Committee of the CII cautioned that all government policies would have an impact on this sector and highlighted that although the economy had slowed down the opening of the insurance sector indicated that this key sector was growing steadily.

CII President Sanjiv Goenka did not share the down-feel factor that had set in due to the prevailing international situation and stressed the India could raise its growth in GDP to 6 per cent through the implementation of internal reforms.

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Satyam centre in Australia

Sydney, November 1
Satyam Computer Services has opened its first software development centre in Australia.

Joe Hockey, Australian Federal Minister for Financial Services and Regulation, inaugurated the centre in Sydney that would see Satyam's Australian investments go over the mark of Australian $7 million.

He expressed hope that more Indian IT companies would follow suit and open such facilities in Australia.

"Satyam's decision to invest in Sydney shows a faith in the continued growth and maturity of the technology market in this country. Moreover, it exemplifies that Australia is an attractive investment opportunity and an ideal meeting place for leading Indian IT companies," Hockey said.

Ramalinga Raju, Satyam's founding Chairman also present on the occasion said:"The decision to enlarge our presence in Australia recognizes the strategic importance of this country and the considerable business opportunity we believe exists here. To be closer to our local customers and execute the critical components of their IT projects has always been our emphasis for growth."

The new software development centre is likely to benefit both Satyam and its Australian customers. It is projected to create more employment opportunities for the Australians and would also mean substantial cost reduction for the local companies who are outsourcing their projects.

Satyam, which is fourth largest Indian IT company, will also derive positive yield from Sydney offsite software development centre as clients located in neighbouring countries would find it more convenient and cost effective to engage this centre. Satyam will be able to secure more clientele from this region based on its range of offsite IT skills and consulting services.

Satyam's Sydney development centre is not the first foray of this company. Satyam launched its Australian operations in July last year. IANS

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PTL market share goes up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
With its net profit slightly up, Punjab Tractors Ltd (PTL) has strengthened its operating margins in the first half (April-September) of 2001 to 19.4 per cent against 18.8 per cent for the same period last year.

In an intensely competitive market, PTL’s performance outshines that of other lead players with Mahindra & Mahindra, Escort and Eicher reporting respective operating margins of 4.4 per cent, 0.7 per cent and 2.9 per cent in the first half.

PTL’s opeating profit for the first half also improved to Rs 89.2 crore on a revenue of Rs 459 crore against last year’s operating profit of Rs 86.5 crore for the same period.

After accounting for interest and depreciation, PTL has reported a mainline profit before tax of Rs 76.6 crore.

In sharp contrast, market leader M & M has posted a loss of Rs 51 crore for the half year while Escort and Eicher have also reported losses of Rs 47.7 crore and Rs 16.4 crore, respectively.

Against PTL’s interest burden of Rs 3.8 crore for the period under review, Mahindra has incurred an interest of Rs 43.9 crore, Escort Rs 30.5 crore and Eicher Rs 12.7 crore.

Despite a contraction in demand for tractors — the industry sale of 100,000 tractors against 120,000 last year — PTL has increased its market share to 21.4 per cent on a sale of 21,470 tractors against last year’s 18.5 per cent.

In the July-September quarter itself, PTL’s market share improved sharply to 22.7 per cent against last year’s corresponding share of 19 per cent.

With its market performance spread over all States except Gujarat, PTL’s gain also stands out in comparison to Mahindra and Escorts, whose market share for the first half has come down to 26 per cent (last year 33.4%) and 14.2 per cent (last year 17.2%), respectively.

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Maruti’s exports fall, Hyundai’s up

New Delhi, November 1
Exports of “Made-in-India” cars went up during the first half of this fiscal even as the commercial vehicles, multi-utility-vehicles (MUVs), two and three-wheelers failed to attract foreign buyers.

Car exports increased by a massive 140 per cent at 22,717 units over 9,462 units sold during April-September 2001-02, data compiled by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) showed.

However, Maruti Udyog posted a negative 28.3 per cent growth at 5,022 units as against 7,008 units shipped during the year-ago period.

Hyundai Motor registered a 154.6 per cent rise in exports at 2,610 units over 1,025 units.

Ford Motor Co., which did not export even a single car in the first half last fiscal, shipped 14,852 units this year, while Hindustan Motors exported 60 units during the review period. Car exports of Telco was eight units more compared to 100 units sold abroad last year but that of General Motors India was one unit less as against 36 cars exported during April-September 2001-02. PTI

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Exports drop 1.95 per cent
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 1
The worldwide economic slowdown had an impact on Indian exports as it dipped by 1.95 per cent during the first six months of the current fiscal to $ 20.96 billion.

Trade deficit during April-September this year is estimated at 4.96 billion which is higher than the deficit of 4.83 billion registered during the same period last year, according to official data released here today.

Exports during September, 2001, also saw a decline by 8.61 per cent to $ 3.52 billion as against $ 3.85 billion during the same period last year.

Exports during April-September, 2000, stood at $ 21.39 billion.

Imports during April-September, 2001 are valued at $ 25.93 billion representing a growth of 1.81 per cent over the level of imports valued at $ 25.75 billion during the same period of previous year.

Oil imports during the first six months are valued at $ 7.63 billion which is 8.1 per cent lower than oil imports valued at $ 8.3 billion in the corresponding period last year.

Non-oil imports during April-September, 2001-2002, are estimated at $ 18.3 billion which is 6.6 per cent higher than the level of such imports valued at 17.17 billion during the corresponding period of last year, official figures reveal.

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Grain export policy soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 1
A long-term export policy for foodgrains will be announced shortly Minister of Food and Consumer Affairs Shanta Kumar announced here today.

Addressing a meeting organised by Assocham, the minister said the proposed export policy was being drawn for two years and the government was giving final touches to it.

He said the government had decided to extend the validity of the prevailing export prices of wheat and rice till March next year.

He said the government was inviting an Iraqi delegation, headed by the Director-General of Grain Board, accompanied by important officials to India, to help them verify the quality parameters and other aspects with regard to export of wheat.

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Soap named after Osama bin Laden

Santiago
A Chilean businessman has registered “Osama bin Laden’’ as an air deodorant and soap brand name, El Mostrador online daily reported.

“The thing is that it’s a name that is known and I felt it was commercially attractive to register it,’’ said Mr Eduardo Arevalo Mateluna, quoted by El Mostrador yesterday.

“I don’t hate or love Osama bin Laden. It’s just that it is a brand that people have engraved (in their minds) and it can be useful to do business,’’ he added.

The businessman, who has previously registered other controversial names linked to ex-dictator General Augusto Pinochet as brand names — such as “Capitan General’’ and “Don Augusto’’ wines — said he was discussing with business associates creating a cleaning- product line called “Osama bin Laden’’. DPA

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Hero Honda sales jump 43.8 pc

New Delhi
Hero Honda Motors today reported a 43.8 per cent increase in sales at 1.3 lakh units during October, 2001, over 92,109 units in the same month last year.

The October sales were up by 12 per cent compared to 1.1 lakh units sold in September this year, a company statement said.

Cumulative sales (April-October 2001-02) increased by 34.5 per cent at 7.6 lakh motor cycles as against 5.7 lakh units sold during the year-ago period. PTI
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Play tambola on mobile

Chandigarh
Spice Telecom has become the first telecom operator in India to introduce Mobile Tambola. It would enable all Spice subscribers to play tambola from their mobile handset and win prizes.

Mr Vinod Sawhny, MD, Telecom, said: “Tambola will lift the mobile from being a utility to an entertainment medium.” To play mobile tambola, a Spice subscriber has to just write “Tambola” and send it as an SMS to 555 any time of the day. This will register him as a participant for the next round of tambola and he will receive a tam bola ticket as soon as the game starts. TNS

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CORPORATE NEWS

Nestle net zooms 39 pc

Mumbai, November 1
Nestle India has reported a rise of 39.1 per cent in its net profit in the quarter ended September 30, 2001, compared with corresponding quarter a year ago.

The company, a subsidiary of Swiss foods group Nestle SA, posted a net profit of Rs 52.70 crore in the July-September quarter against Rs 37.9 crore in the same period a year earlier. Sales rose 13.5 per cent to Rs 533 crore from Rs 469 crore, according to a company press note.

Cadbury net jumps

Cadbury India has posted a net profit of Rs 18.25 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2001, compared with Rs 17.79 crore for the corresponding period last fiscal.

Total income has increased from Rs 188.93 crore for the second quarter 2000, to Rs 198.90 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2001.

Exide buyback at Rs 70

The Board of Exide Industries has approved a buyback of up to 10 per cent of the total paid-up capital and free reserves at a price not exceeding Rs 70 per share.

The shares will be bought through the open market route, the company said today.

Nilkamal Plastics net drop

Nilkamal Plastics has reported a net profit of Rs 2.04 crore for the second quarter ended September 30, 2001, registering a marginal drop of Rs 14 lakh from Rs 2.18 crore recorded in the corresponding period last year.

The company’s sales also declined by Rs 79 lakh to Rs 61.14 crore for the second quarter ended September, 2001, as compared to Rs 61.93 crore recorded in the corresponding period last year.

Orchid Chem net down

Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals has recorded a 39.80 per cent decline in the net profit at Rs 2.65 crore in the second quarter ended September 2001, compared to Rs 4.41 crore in the same period of previous fiscal.

The turnover in Q2 was marginally higher at Rs 93.75 crore as against Rs 92.51 crore in the corresponding quarter of last year.

The company’s Board has approved a plan to establish an overseas joint-venture for research with an Italian firm.

Saregama net falls

Saregama India posted a 89.03 per cent drop in its profit after tax for the second quarter ended September 30 this year to Rs 34 lakh, compared with Rs 3.10 crore achieved during the corresponding period last year.

CESC net dips

CESC Limited reported a net loss of 22 crore for the second quarter ended September 30 this year, compared to Rs 18 crore in the corresponding period last year.

The total income for the period registered a growth of 5.56 per cent to Rs 550 crore against Rs 521 crore in the same period last year.

Tata Tea to divest stake

Tata Tea will divest 40 per cent stake in Tata NYK, a joint venture company, in favour of NYK Japan.

The capital gains worth Rs 7.69 crore from the disinvestment was expected to be accrued in the third quarter of this fiscal, Tata Tea, which holds 50 per cent stake in JV, said today. Agencies

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BIZ BRIEFS

Shoppers Stop
New Delhi, November 1
Royal Sporting House, Asia’s biggest name for top sporting brands, yesterday announced its alliance with India’s largest retail chain, Shoppers Stop. With the alliance the sports and active lifestyle products at all Shoppers Stop locations will be under the banner of Royal Sporting House. TNS

Wipro Infotech
New Delhi, November 1
Wipro Infotech today announced the introduction of Windows XP powered PCs on the Intel Pentium 4 based processor platform. Mr Rajiv Bharathan, General Manager, Wipro Infotech, said their Super Genius and Voyager range of PCs would provide a rich experience. UNI

Samsung plant
New Delhi, November 1
Samsung India said today it will set up a new production line for washing machines at its Noida plant, expected to be commissioned by December this year, with initial plant capacity of 1.5 lakh units. It has entered into a brand endorsement agreement with Procter & Gamble for the latter’s washing powder brand “Ariel”. PTI

Phoenix Global
New Delhi, November 1
Phoenix Global Solutions and IBM India announced a strategic partnership to pioneer the convergence of Insurance and technology for the Indian insurance market. TNS

CII meet
Chandigarh, November 1
Over 75 industrial representatives from Karnal, Kurukshetra and Panipat attended CII’s first ever industry meet in Karnal today. The meet was organised to familiarise local industry with CII’s agenda and initiatives both at the national level and more specifically in Haryana. TNS

Kisan cards
Shimla, November 1
Kisan credit cards worth Rs 7 lakh were distributed by Punjab National Bank at Sunni in the district recently. The cards were distributed at a function presided over by Mr S.C. Kapoor, officiating Regional Manager of the bank. OC

SBP camp
Chandigarh, November 1
State Bank of Patiala made arrangements for receiving tax from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on October 30 and 31 at leading centres. Arrangements were also made to collect challans along with tax from the big tax payers alongwith delivery of the receipts at their doorstep. A blood donation camp sponsored by the Guru Nanak Girls College, Yamunanagar branch of the bank, was organised by NSS unit of the college, Sant Pura, on October 31. TNS

E-newspaper
Chandigarh, November 1
An e-newspaper, www.punjabnewsline.com, launched here today on Punjab day. Mr Satinder Bains, state correspondent of Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) at Chandigarh, will be the Editor of the paper. TNS

Sebi norms
Mumbai, November 1
The SEBI at its Board meeting today has approved certain modifications in the existing buy-back regulations to ensure transparency and disclosure to investors. UNI

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