Wednesday, November 21, 2001, Chandigarh, India






National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

FDI worth 203 cr cleared
New Delhi, November 20
The government today cleared foreign direct investment proposals of Mobil Petroleum of USA, Scotland-based Standard Life Investments, Asea Browri Boveri, Mitsubishi Corp of Japan and US Auto Manufacturer Ford Motor.


For the first time, the newly created states of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Uttaranchal are participating in the 21st India International Trade Fair.
(28k, 56k)

Data storage units may grow 100 pc
New Delhi, November 20
The attacks in the USA have proved to be a blessing in disguise to the data storage management industry as the sector is expected to record 100 per cent growth in the coming year.

Citibank, SBI agree to cease securities law violations
Washington, November 20
Federal regulators have alleged that US giant Citibank and the State Bank of India violated securities laws in 1998 by selling $ 532 million of Indian bonds in the United States without registering them.

A waitress walks past a sign at the opening ceremony of "The Euro is Here" exhibition on Tuesday in Beijing. A waitress walks past a sign at the opening ceremony of "The Euro is Here" exhibition on Tuesday in Beijing. Held in the China Numismatic Museum, the exhibition introduces to China the new European currency which will take effect on January 1, 2001 with the introduction of euro coins and banknotes. — AFP

Punjab to have agri-export zone
Chandigarh, November 20
The performance of banks in Punjab between October 1, 2000, and September 30, 2001, was reviewed at the 78th State Level Bankers’ Committee Meeting.

Maruti, Hyundai sales on the rise
New Delhi, November 20
Propelled by the robust sales growth of Maruti, Hyundai, General Motors and Tata Engineering (Telco), domestic car sales clocked a 4.3 per cent increase in October.

Private aviation firms to be monitored
New Delhi, November 20
The government has decided to carry out periodical inspections and also monitor activities of all private aviation companies hiring out small aircraft. The move comes as part of the stepped up security measures that are being adopted in the wake of September 11 attacks in the USA.




Nokia launched three new phones on Monday including the pictured 7650, a colour-screen model with an built-in camera, as the firm sought to regain momentum in a slowing market. The phones are seen helping to kick-start a sluggish mobile Internet services market in Europe. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 

London exchange initiatives for Indian firms
Chandigarh, November 20
In its drive to encourage Indian companies to choose London for their international listing, the London Stock Exchange today announced major initiatives in this regard.

Reliance to lay gas pipeline in Bengal
Kolkata, November 20
The West Bengal Government has decided to set up a task force for drawing up a comprehensive plan for promoting gas based industrial units in the state following the possible availability of natural gas off Digha coast.

PHDCCI summit from Nov 23
Shimla, November 20
To achieve a growth rate of 8 per cent per annum in the 10th Five Year Plan, the PHDCCI has called for a focussed approach in infrastructure, exports and human resource development to accelerate the economic growth and strengthen partnership between the state governments and the private sector in the northern region.

ROUND-UP

Satyam launches e-services model
Hyderabad, September 20
Satyam Computer Services Ltd has partnered with Carnegie Mellon University of the USA to develop ‘Escm’, described as e-services capability model that will help IT-enabled outsourcing service providers in their business.

  • Suzuki profit rises 2.3 pc

  • Increase rates on small savings
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FDI worth 203 cr cleared

New Delhi, November 20
The government today cleared foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals of Mobil Petroleum of USA, Scotland-based Standard Life Investments, Asea Browri Boveri, Mitsubishi Corp of Japan and US Auto Manufacturer Ford Motor.

These are among the 39 FDI proposals worth Rs 203 crore cleared by foreign investment promotion board (FIPB), an official statement said here.

The Rs 22 crore proposal of US-based Mobil Petroleum Co Inc, involved manufacture of lubricant and specialty products, for increase in foreign equity from 50 to 100 per cent was cleared by the FIPB.

It also cleared standard life investments Rs 40.03 crore proposal for starting NBFC activities. The proposal involves increase in foreign equity from 26 per cent to 39.90 per cent.

Ford Motor and Japanese Mitsubishi Corporation’s proposals for amending the existing foreign capital were also cleared. Both the proposals did not involve any fresh inflow of FDI.

ABB’s Rs 8.46 crore proposal for increase in foreign equity from 50.99 per cent to 52.11 per cent and issue of preference shares was also cleared today.

The major investment proposals pertain to chemicals and petrochemicals, software development, ISP and other IT related services, electrical industry, engineering equipment and accessories, telecommunications and NBFC activities.

Scientific Games International’s Rs 77.89 crore proposal for wholesale trading of uniquely coded pre-paid calling cards and View Asset Management-Hewitt Associates’ Rs 12.69 crore proposal for increase in foreign equity from 49 per cent to 65.20 per cent have also been cleared by FIPB.

Other proposals cleared today include:

— E Merck of Germany’s proposal to manufacture basic vitamins, drugs, laboratory and fine chemicals, reagents, pharmaceutical, specialties and diagnostics

— Finland-based Wartsila Technology’s Rs 6.9 crore proposal for manufacturing diesel engines and diesel generating systems

— Indocean Portal Holding Ltd of Mauritius proposal to set up internet website for trading targeted at chemical industry. It involves FDI inflow of Rs 9.63 crore.

— Japanese Fujitsu Ltd’s Rs 7 crore proposal to manufacture, assembly, repair and research electronic and telecommunication equipment PTI
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Data storage units may grow 100 pc
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 20
The attacks in the USA have proved to be a blessing in disguise to the data storage management industry as the sector is expected to record 100 per cent growth in the coming year.

“The disaster management solutions is likely to record 100 per cent growth in one year. The revenue from this sector in India is likely to touch $ 100 million from the present figures of about $ 40 million,” Mr Owais Khan of Compaq India told The Tribune.

The attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York have brought to focus the need to store data in a secure manner and the need to efficiently retrieve the data after disaster.

Though disaster management solutions were already there in the market, it was not the focus of customers. However, the attacks have forced them to re-position their strategies, he said.

“Till the third quarter, the disaster management solutions were the third or fourth priority product. But, in the fourth quarter, going by the demand it would be the number one product in demand,” he said.

Compaq is the leader in storage market in the country with 37 per cent market share, said the International Data Corporation (IDC), a leading technology consultancy firm.

The IDC report said India is the fastest growing storage market in the Asia Pacific region.

The sectors which are likely to go in for the disaster management solutions in a big way at the first instance would be finance, telecom and manufacturing units.

“Those sectors will immediately go in for the solutions where it is critical to keep the data and any loss of data would result in huge financial losses,” he said.

The WTC had several leading international financial institutions and they continued with their business as usual despite the collapse of the WTC. This was possible because the institutions had disaster management solutions and the critical data was not affected by the strikes.

The solutions ranges from individual users backup data to high-end solutions to corporates.

Mr Khan said the company had recently provided disaster management solution to a leading bank where the data is transferred from its headquarters Hyderabad to recovery site in Mumbai.
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Citibank, SBI agree to cease securities law violations

Washington, November 20
Federal regulators have alleged that US giant Citibank and the State Bank of India violated securities laws in 1998 by selling $ 532 million of Indian bonds in the United States without registering them.

The action yesterday by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) came less than a week after the Federal Reserve and other US banking regulators fined the state-run SBI $ 7.5 million for allegedly unsafe banking practices.

In a settlement, Citibank and SBI agreed to cease violating federal securities laws without either admitting to nor denying the SEC’s allegations. No fines were imposed.

New York-based Citibank, part of Citigroup Inc., said in statement that the settlement “resolves a technical matter” of whether the bonds should be considered bank deposits or securities under US law. The SEC found they were securities whose sale must be registered with the agency.

Citibank itself sold some $ 160 million of the five-year “Resurgent India Bonds” to at least 5,000 Indian citizens living in the United States and to companies owned by them, the SEC said. It said employees and agents of Citibank and the Indian bank, in a “widespread and aggressive” campaign, mailed marketing material to about 90,000 Indians and also made unsolicited telephone calls to sell the bonds.

The marketing material touted features of the bonds that are similar to those of government bonds, such as tax benefits and the use of proceeds for public works projects in India, according to the SEC. Interest rates were said to be as high as 8 per cent.

Such cases are fairly rare. In 1992, the SEC took similar action against the State Bank of Pakistan, which had sold Pakistani government bonds in the United States. Questions also were raised by lawmakers about whether those bonds were a vehicle for laundering money.

The SEC said SBI, which has offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Jose, California, announced in July 1998 that it hoped to raise more than $ 2 billion in foreign currency worldwide by selling the bonds. The bank signed agreements with Citibank and other companies to act as brokers to sell the bonds to Indians living in the United States and other countries, the SEC said. AP
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Punjab to have agri-export zone
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 20
The performance of banks in Punjab between October 1, 2000, and September 30, 2001, was reviewed at the 78th State Level Bankers’ Committee Meeting.

Presiding over the meeting, Mr S.S. Kohli, Chairman & Managing Director, Punjab National Bank, said that globalisation and liberalisation of the economy under the WTO regime will open many avenues to progressive farmers of Punjab, but these avenues are challenging and require quality assurance and cost effectiveness of agriculture produce.

The post WTO-scenario will call for withdrawal of subsidies, which will raise the cost of cultivation whereas free imports will bring in cheaper agriculture goods, thereby making farmers feel the heat of competition. Mr Kohli said that the changed scenario would require reorientation of the foodgrains policy and change in the cropping pattern in the state. The cultivable area under wheat and rice must be shifted to other crops such as oilseeds, pulses, vegetables and horticulture crops.

Mr Kohli said that the aggregate deposits of the banks in Punjab had increased from Rs 41,479 crore as on September 2000, to Rs 46,049 crore as on Sept 2001, thus posting a growth of 11%. The gross credit in the State expanded by Rs 1981 crore, exhibiting a growth of 11.8%.

Welcoming the participants, Mr P.N. Khurana, GM, PNB, and convener, SLBC (Pb), said that implementation of government-sponsored programmes and schemes in Punjab is on top priority of the banks.

Mr N.K. Arora, Chief Secretary, Punjab, said that to meet the WTO challenge in the agriculture sector, the government of Punjab has decided to set up an agri-export zone for vegetables at a cost of Rs 26.78 crore in the districts of Ludhiana, Patiala, Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ropar. An MoU has been signed to this effect by Punjab Agro Export Corporation with Agriculture and Processed Export Development Authority, Ministry of Commerce.

Mr Madan Lal, General Manager, RBI, advised the banks to update village profiles well before the start of the annual credit plan.
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Maruti, Hyundai sales on the rise

New Delhi, November 20
Propelled by the robust sales growth of Maruti, Hyundai, General Motors and Tata Engineering (Telco), domestic car sales clocked a 4.3 per cent increase in October.

Total sales stood at 37,856 cars over 36,284 cars in the same month last year, data compiled by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) showed today.

Maruti Udyog posted a 10.81 per cent rise in sales at 19,596 units against 17,670 units in October, 2000. Hyundai Motor’s sales went up by 3.2 per cent at 7,059 units (6,839 units in October 2000).

However, sales of Ford India and Hindustan Motors declined while battered Daewoo Motors again did not disclose its sales figures for the month under review.

Cumulative sales (April-October 2001-02) dipped by 4.9 per cent to 3.15 lakh cars against 3.31 lakh cars sold during the year-ago period.

Commercial vehicle sales, one of the yardsticks to measure economic growth, went up by 6.92 per cent at 10,717 units over 10,023 units in the year-ago month. The increase is attributed to a 15.4 per cent rise in sales of medium and heavy (M&H) vehicles even as the light commercial vehicle segment (LCV) recorded a drop of 22.6 per cent.

Multi-utility-vehicle (MUV) sales increased marginally by 0.5 per cent at 10,442 units (10,389 units).

Riding on the back of a booming motor cycle market, which posted a spectacular 58.6 per cent growth in sales, overall two-wheeler sales shot up to 22.5 per cent even as scooter sales dipped by 11.6 per cent.

Sales of mopeds went down by 26 per cent at 41,623 units in October as against 58,512 units in the same month last year even as three-wheelers grew by 24.1 per cent at 18,243 units (14,700 units in October 2000).

Sales of Telco increased by 126 per cent at 5,327 units (2,357 cars) but Hindustan Motors posted a 8.6 per cent decline at 1,566 cars (1,714 cars).

Ford India also witnessed a 27.2 per cent drop at mere 803 cars (1,104 cars) while the Indian subsidiary of General Motors registered a 11.3 per cent increase at 600 cars (539 cars).

Sales of Honda Siel Cars and Fiat India increased 19.9 per cent and 147.8 per cent at 740 and 2,060 cars, respectively in October this year.

Mercedes Benz witnessed a rise of 114.2 per cent at 105 units in the review month.

In the commercial vehicles segment, sales of medium and heavy (M&H) vehicles increased 15.4 per cent at 6,800 units while light commercial vehicles (LCV) fell 22.6 per cent at 3,917 units.

Telco recorded a 24.5 per cent rise in M&H vehicle sales at 4,863 units but posted a 10.6 per cent decline in LCV sales at 2,158 units.

MUV sales went up marginally by 0.5 per cent though Mahindra and Mahindra, Telco and Bajaj sold 4,938, 1,648 and 377 units respectively, posting a five, 23 and 33 per cent decline in sales.

In the scooter segment, Bajaj Auto managed to arrest the decline by posting a 3.1 per cent growth at 30,776 scooters during October this year (29,844 units in the year-ago month).

TVS-Suzuki, which recently parted ways with its erstwhile partner Suzuki Motors of Japan, recorded an 8.7 per cent increase at 14,106 (12,968 units).

Scooter sales of LML Ltd and Kinetic Motor Co slipped by 43 and 9.9 per cent at 10,088 and 9,885 scooters, respectively, while Honda Motor Cycle and Scooter India sold 5,324 scooters during the review month. PTI
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Private aviation firms to be monitored
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 20
The government has decided to carry out periodical inspections and also monitor activities of all private aviation companies hiring out small aircraft.

The move comes as part of the stepped up security measures that are being adopted in the wake of September 11 attacks in the USA.

Minister for Civil Aviation Shahnawaz Hussain told the Rajya Sabha today that a high-powered committee which had been constituted by the government to undertake a comprehensive review of the systems, procedures for acquisition, maintenance and operation of small aircraft had submitted its report.

To a spate of questions on aviation security, Hussain, in a written reply said, as part of stepped up airport security, quick reaction teams were being deployed, security of all airports was being gradually taken over by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and sky marshals deployed on all domestic flights at random basis.

He said other measures included giving strict access to airport controls and making ladder point security checks at all airports mandatory. Ungraded technology was being inducted for perimeter security.
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London exchange initiatives for Indian firms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 20
In its drive to encourage Indian companies to choose London for their international listing, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) today announced major initiatives in this regard.

While announcing the initiatives being taken by the LSE at a seminar in Mumbai, Chief Executive Clara Furse said for the first time the Indian companies will be able to issue and list Retail Depository Receipts (RDRs). “Also for the first time, innovative Indian technology companies will be able to list their RDRs on Techmark (London’s highly successful technology market) and on the newly developed Techmark medicine (world’s first market for healthcare companies)”, he said.

India and Japan are the first overseas countries where Techmark and Techmark medicine have been launched. Until now, Indian GDRs were traded only by professional investors and funds. Henceforth, RDRs listed on London’s markets can be traded by ordinary retail investors and institutions as well.
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Reliance to lay gas pipeline in Bengal

Kolkata, November 20
The West Bengal Government has decided to set up a task force for drawing up a comprehensive plan for promoting gas based industrial units in the state following the possible availability of natural gas off Digha coast.

The Reliance group would take up the job of laying the methane gas pipeline from Raniganj to other parts of south Bengal, including Kolkata, Haldia and Kulpi.

The Reliance group is expected to invest between Rs 600 and Rs 800 crore in West Bengal in one year in the areas of IT infrastructure and gas pipeline. UNI
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PHDCCI summit from Nov 23
Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 20
To achieve a growth rate of 8 per cent per annum in the 10th Five Year Plan, the PHDCCI has called for a focussed approach in infrastructure, exports and human resource development to accelerate the economic growth and strengthen partnership between the state governments and the private sector in the northern region.

The chamber is organised 5th summit of Chief Secretaries on November 23 at Lucknow wherein Chief Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi discussion on the recommendations of task forces of PHDCCI on the above subjects.
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ROUND-UP

Satyam launches e-services model

Hyderabad, September 20
Satyam Computer Services Ltd has partnered with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) of the USA to develop ‘Escm’, described as e-services capability model that will help IT-enabled outsourcing service providers in their business.

A Satyam release said here that the launch of ‘Escm’ was jointly announced at CMU in Pittsburg today by Raj Reddy, Simon University Professor, CMU, and B Ramalinga Raju, Chairman, Satyam Computers.

“Escm will guide IT-enabled outsourcing providers to appraise and improve their capability to provide high-quality services in the networked economy,” the release said. PTI

Suzuki profit rises 2.3 pc

Tokyo
Suzuki Motor Corp reported on Tuesday a healthy rise in first-half profits helped by aggressive cost-cuts and a weaker yen.

Suzuki, 20 per cent owned by General Motors Corp and fourth-ranked among Japanese automakers in terms of market capitalisation, said group operating profit for April-September climbed 18.5 per cent to 31.24 billion yen ($253.7 million).

The net profit rose 2.3 per cent to 11.13 billion yen, with earnings per share at 20.58 yen compared with 22.25 yen for the same period a year earlier. Reuters

Increase rates on small savings

New Delhi
Some members in the Rajya Sabha today urged the Finance Minister to immediately direct the RBI to increase the interest rates on small savings and fixed deposits in the interest of the commonman.

Raising the issue through a special mention, Mr Eduardo Faleiro (Cong) noted the bank interest rates had fallen from 13 per cent to 9 per cent in the past four years. “Poor people who make small deposits in banks are suffering while those indulging in scams are being allowed to go scotfree”, he added. UNI

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BIZ BRIEFS

Markfed
Chandigarh, November 20
In order to facilitate potato exports from Punjab, Markfed will set up an Agri Export Zone in the state under the Agri Export Zone scheme. The proposed zone would have central facility at Singhpura (Patiala) with satellite centres in major potato producing areas including Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Muktsar and Rampuraphul. The project will be implemented in two phases where estimated cost will be Rs 10.41 crore and Rs 102 crore respectively, stated a press release today. TNS

Webcom
New Delhi, November 20
Webcom Technologies has introduced Webcom Flexi, where students are free to design their own IT course package. The institute offers courses from basic level to highend technologies. TNS

Liberty Shoes
Chandigarh, November 20
ICRA has retained the A1+ rating of the Rs 50 million commercial paper programme of Liberty Shoes Limited (LSL). This rating indicates highest safety in the short term. The rating also factors in the financial flexibility available to LSL by way of unutilised bank limits. TNS

Hind Syringes
Chandigarh, November 20
Hindustan Syringes and Medical Devices will participate in the Medica Fair in Germany to be held next week. “We are now focussing on the vast potential that the international market offers and this is an initiative in this regard”, said Mr Rajiv Nath, Joint Managing Director in a press release today. The company is exporting 20 per cent of its products under its own brand.
TNS

Luxor gift pack
Chandigarh, November 20
Luxor Writing Instruments has introduced ‘Special Moments’, a limited edition gift pack of two Parker pens priced at Rs 300.
TNS

PNB branch
Chandigarh, November 20
Punjab National Bank’s branch in Sector 16, here has been recommended for approval under the revised ISO 9001 standards by the Bureau of Indian Standards for quality service being provided to customers. This is the first branch of the bank in the country which has been recommended for the approval under the revised ISO 9001 standards.
TNS

SAIL package
New Delhi, November 20
The public sector Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has submitted a Rs 1081 crore revival package for the ailing West Bengal based Indian Iron and Steel Company Limited (IISCO) at Burnpur. According to official sources, this includes funds for (VRS) and investment at Burnpur works and its mines and collieries. It also includes provisions for meeting its cash losses. However, no decision has yet been taken in the matter. The Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) has issued a showcause notice to wind up IISCO. UNI

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