Saturday, December 1, 2001, Chandigarh, India






National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Enron may file for bankruptcy soon
New York, November 30
Enron Corporation shares tumbled further yesterday amid speculation the once high-flying energy firm is likely headed for the biggest bankruptcy in the US history.

  • Share falls to 36 cents
  • Panel called for probe

Withdraw incentive, BSNL told
Chandigarh, November 30
Alleging harassment to telephone subscribers, consumer advocacy groups have demanded immediate withdrawal of the scheme launched by BSNL to give incentives to it’s employees who recover pending dues from the subscribers.

IDBI net profit dips 85 pc
Mumbai, November 30
IDBI has posted a net profit of Rs 252 million during the quarter ended September 30, 2001, registering a sharp decline of Rs 1,395 million (85 per cent) as compared to Rs 1,647 million reported in the corresponding period last year.

Markfed needs to grow up
Chandigarh
Punjab Markfed, it seems, lacks focus. It procures wheat and paddy, and hawks products ranging from Basmati and butter to tinned ready-to-eat rajmah, dal makhni, matar paneer and saag within and outside the country. 



EARLIER STORIES
 
ROUND-UP

Business leader award for Kamath gets
Mumbai, November 30
Mr K.V. Kamath, MD and CEO of ICICI Limited, was honoured with the Asian business leader of the year 2001 award in Singapore yesterday. Mr Kamath is the first recipient of the award, which is jointly instituted by business solutions company TNT and business television network CNBC Asia Pacific.

  • Rediff ties up with ICICdirect

  • Singapore plans gas-fuelled buses

  • ST revenue grows 21 pc

  • Fujitsu to close Oregon plant

Top








 

Enron may file for bankruptcy soon

New York, November 30
Enron Corporation shares tumbled further yesterday amid speculation the once high-flying energy firm is likely headed for the biggest bankruptcy in the US history.

The company said it may not make a previously-announced dividend payment as part of an action announced on Wednesday to “preserve value in its core energy businesses.”

Share falls to 36 cents

Enron shares, which plunged 85 per cent on Wednesday, fell another 40 per cent in New York to 36 cents at yesterday’s close.

Meanwhile, Enron Europe, the London-based subsidiary of the energy giant, has gone into administration — receiving protection from creditors under British law comparable to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the USA.

“PriceWaterhouseCoopers has been appointed administrator to Enron Europe,” a company official told AFP.

Analysts expect the company to file soon for bankruptcy protection in US courts, since the loss of investment grade status has made some $ 3.9 billion of debt come due immediately.

Wednesday’s unravelling of a life-saving merger with rival Dynegy “really points to bankruptcy as being imminent,” said Edward Jones analyst Brian Youngberg. “I would expect it in the next day or two.”

If Enron, which once boasted $ 61 billion in total assets on its balance sheet, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, it would be the biggest US bankruptcy in history.

Texaco, with $ 35.9 billion in assets until it filed for bankruptcy in 1987, has held the record since then.

Panel called for probe

The Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation into possible accounting abuses by Enron Corp.

Rep. Billy Tauzin, the Louisiana Republican who heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called for the probe.

“The Chairman has instructed staff counsel to begin investigating Enron’s collapse with the expectation of holding a congressional hearing in the near future,” Ken Johnson, Tauzin’s spokesman, told Reuters yesterday.

Those hearings could take place in early 2002, he said, depending on how quickly the committee moves through anti-terror measures on its agenda.

Tauzin’s action was coordinated with Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, who earlier this month called for an investigation of Enron’s accounting firm. Dingell is the ranking Democrat on the House energy panel.

“Certainly questions have been raised about how Enron handled its financial books,” Johnson said.

The energy panel has jurisdiction over Enron’s accounting practices and is “very interested in how the company handled its books,” Johnson said.

Dingell also berated regulatory agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Accounting Standards Board for not acting to allay Enron’s troubles.

Dingell said current accounting standards are “seriously broken” and called for improved accounting reporting standards to prevent a future Enron repeat. “There are likely other ticking time bombs out there with smoke-and-mirror earnings,” he said. Reuters

Top


 

Withdraw incentive, BSNL told
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Alleging harassment to telephone subscribers, consumer advocacy groups have demanded immediate withdrawal of the scheme launched by BSNL to give incentives to it’s employees who recover pending dues from the subscribers.

BSNL has almost Rs 2,500 crore of pending arrears , said Mr D P S Seth, CMD, BSNL, The motive to start the scheme was to recover the pending dues. However, he denied the department having received any complaints of harassment to the subscribers.

Mr S N Aggarwal, convener of the Federation of Telecom Consumers Advocacy Groups (FOTCAG) said the consumer groups would move a court in case the scheme is not withdrawn. The 12 subscribers associations registered with TRAI have complained to FOTCAG about the consumer associations.

The subscribers are complaining of repeated demand of arrears from BSNL which they have already paid and the 12 associations and several other consumer associations have reported the same, said Mr Aggarwal.

Under the scheme the employees are given incentive as high as 30 per cent of the collection for recovering dues from the subscribers. While 5 per cent of the collection is being given to the employees for recovering dues pending for six to 12 months,10 per cent and 20 per cent of the collection is given in case of dues pending for one to two years and two to five years respectively. In some old cases the incentive is 30 per cent of collection.

Mr Daya Singh of NOIDA , for instance, found the arrears of period 1992,1995 and 1997 in his bill of July 2001. He was instructed to either provide details of payment or pay the arrears as shown in the bill. Despite showing the receipts, the arrears appeared again in the bill for September 2001, he complained.

Similarly, a case where Mr Ghai, another subscriber of Delhi, was asked to pay arrears of 1993. He did show the receipt but the it appeared time and again , in the bills.”There are thousands of subscribers who have similar complaints”, said Mr Aggarwal. 

Top


 

IDBI net profit dips 85 pc

Mumbai, November 30
IDBI has posted a net profit of Rs 252 million during the quarter ended September 30, 2001, registering a sharp decline of Rs 1,395 million (85 per cent) as compared to Rs 1,647 million reported in the corresponding period last year.

According to the audited financial results announced by IDBI here today, IDBI’s income from operation also recorded a drop of Rs 1,495 million at Rs 18987 million during the quarter ended September 30, 2001 compared to Rs 20,482 million.

The bank has posted a net profit of Rs 2,070 million during the half year ended September 30, 2001 registering a significant decline of Rs 1,814 million compared to Rs 3,884 million posted in the corresponding period of the last year.

IDBI’s income from operations during the half-year ended September 30, 2001 stood at Rs 40,561 million, lower by Rs 586 million as against Rs 41,147 million in the corresponding period last year.

During the current half year ended September 30, 2001, ceased to be a subsidiary of the bank.

Earning per share of the bank declined to Rs 0.39 during the quarter ended September 30, 2001 compared to Rs 2.33 in the corresponding period last year. PTI

Top


 

Markfed needs to grow up
Nirmal Sandhu

Chandigarh
Punjab Markfed, it seems, lacks focus. It procures wheat and paddy, and hawks products ranging from Basmati and butter to tinned ready-to-eat rajmah, dal makhni, matar paneer and saag within and outside the country. Incidentally, it also builds bus stands, when required.

Markfed is a cooperative of 3,000 member societies that make it Asia’s biggest with Rs 6,000 crore turnover. But it is run by a board with an IAS officer as its MD and a Cooperation Minister at the top. No matter how efficient, an IAS officer cannot be expected to sell whole-heartedly things like fruits, vegetables, jams and honey and also keep track of its finances as well. By the time he learns the nitty-gritty of the varied businesses of the monolith, he is transferred. That is why Punjab has produced no Kurien. The minister has his political compulsions and loyalists to reward with a job or a contract.

Moreover, the current ruling wisdom all over is : the government has no business to be in business. Demands of the time and increasing competition will, sooner or later, force Markfed to have a board of committed professionals. It cannot afford to let down its large number of member societies — one in every four of Punjab’ villages.

Now consider how Markfed works. Currently, the minister, his aide, the Markfed Chairman, the MD, and its Chief Manager for international trade are on a nine-day tour of Australia “to study the design concept of silos for scientific bulk storage of foodgrains”. Two days before they left for Australia, a team of Canadians visited the Markfed office in Chandigarh with an offer of installing silos.

Having silos is a nice idea, but is the Markfed team technically competent enough to select and shop the right technology at the right price? The usual practice with companies buying expensive technology is to seek expert advice and invite global tenders. Here Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and his team are expected to play the role of experts. They naturally invite allegations of having fun at Markfed’s expense.

Forced by mounting piles of foodgrains, the FCI has finally decided to go in for silos. It has identified nine locations in the country which are grouped in two circuits. Of these four will have base depots of three lakh tonnes capacity each and the remaining five will have field bases. The first circuit includes two base depots at Barnala and Moga and the second circuit includes the base depots at Sirsa and Kaithal. To bid for these a consortium has been formed by Markfed along with Rabo India Finance Ltd and Bulkwest, Australia’s biggest foodgrain handler. Special rail wagons with “top filling” and “bottom discharge” are to be arranged. On the one hand, Markfed is entering into such massive and much needed projects, on the other it is veturing into retail selling also.

Before going abroad, the Markfed MD held a press conference in Delhi to announce, apart from the consortium’s plans to bid for the FCI silos, the cooperative’s initiative to set up a food chain in Punjab— that is, some 250 retail shops which will be later upgraded to supermarkets — by investing Rs 150 crore over the next two-three years in cities like Chandigarh, Mohali, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala. What kind of business sense it makes? Should it not grow up and take up projects that its size and strengths demand? It needs to develop a killer instinct to exploit emerging opportunities.

One huge opportunity exists in Afghanistan. The war-ravaged people of Afghanistan, those who have escaped the American bombs, face starvation deaths. Relief agencies badly need foodgrains which India can supply even at reduced rates as a humanitarian gesture and in return may secure large construction contracts for its companies. Markfed can dispose of part of its rotting wheat and paddy stocks if an aggressive initiative is undertaken. Half of the touring team could have headed for Afghanistan since India has already set up shop there.

Top


 
ROUND-UP

Business leader award for Kamath gets

Mumbai, November 30
Mr K.V. Kamath, MD and CEO of ICICI Limited, was honoured with the Asian business leader of the year 2001 award in Singapore yesterday.

Mr Kamath is the first recipient of the award, which is jointly instituted by business solutions company TNT and business television network CNBC Asia Pacific.

He was chosen from over 1,000 business leaders across the Asia Pacific region nominated for the award. Those shortlisted included business heavy weights from India such as Mr Azim Premji, Mr B.Ramalinga Raju and Mr Narayana Murthy. UNI

Rediff ties up with ICICdirect

New Delhi: Rediff.Com India today announced a strategic alliance with ICICdirect.Com to offer a platform for online trading.

“This alliance will introduce Rediff.Com users to ICICVdirect.Com to buy, sell and monitor stocks and MFs of Prudential ICICI, Franklin Templeton, Zurich India and Alliance Capital,” a Rediff release said here. PTI

Singapore plans gas-fuelled buses

Singapore: SembCorp Gas said on Friday it would build Singapore's first vehicle filling station for compressed natural gas (CNG) in a pilot project for public transport to start in March, 2002.

The S$2.6 million ($1.42 million) CNG station will be built on Jurong Island, the city-state's refining and petrochemical hub and is a joint project with the Ministry of the Environment and SBS Transit Ltd.

The Singapore government will provide 50 per cent of the investment from a S$20 million fund set up in October to finance new environmentally friendly technology.

SBS Transit will buy 30 CNG buses, which will start operating in March. Reuters

ST revenue grows 21 pc

Chandigarh: The sales tax revenue in Haryana has recorded a growth of more than 21 per cent during the first seven months of the current financial year as compared to the corresponding period last year. This is among the highest growth rate in the country and remarkable given the present economic scenario. This was revealed at a meeting presided over by the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, to review the functioning of the department. He was apprised that this growth in revenue was due to liberal policies of the state government. TNS

Fujitsu to close Oregon plant

Tokyo: Japanese computer and chip conglomerate Fujitsu Ltd said on Friday it will shut a chipmaking plant in Gresham, Oregon and lay off 670 workers as part of its drive to confront the chip market’s deepest downturn ever.

The 13-year-old facility fell victim to the company’s recent promise to cut 20,900 jobs, or 11.6 per cent of its global work force, and rein in an ambitious expansion in flash memory chips, used heavily by the once high-flying cell phone industry but now reeling from steep price declines. Reuters

Top

  bb
BIZ BRIEFS

ONGC project
New Delhi, November 30
National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) has bagged a Rs 30 crore project from ONGC for the construction of an office complex in Mumbai. The nine-storeyed complex with two basements would come up in Mumbai’s Dharavi locality, a NBCC release said. The construction work for the 33,000 square meter area is to be accomplished in 30 months, it added. PTI

Tektronix
New Delhi, November 30
Tektronix, a test measurement and monitoring company providing measurement solutions to the telecom, computer and semiconductor industries, today said it had won ‘SatisFecit Technology Innovation Award’ for the third time. The recently introduced Tektronix AD 920 MPEG Handheld Tester received this year’s SatisFecit for test and measurement innovation, a company statement said. PTI

Celstream Tech
New Delhi, November 30
Celstream Technologies yesterday announced that it had achieved ISO 9001:2000 certification for adhering high level quality standards. The certification guarantees customers a systematic adherence to process of software development with minimum adherence to process of software development with minimum risk of defects, Mr Anirudh Mathuria, president (Indian operations) said. PTI

Ayur awarded
New Delhi, November 30
Ayur, has bagged the silver medal for excellence in presentation of special display on good living at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) 2001. This was for the fourth time Ayur had won awards in the IITF.TNS

Coral Telecom
Chandigarh, November 30
Coral Telecom, a leading provider of telecommunications equipment, has announced the launch of its IRIS (Integrated Voice & Data Servicer) series of high-end EPABX systems.TNS

Cinevista Com
Mumbai, November 30
Cinevista Communications has posted a net loss of Rs 3.45 crore for the half-year ended September 30, 2001 as compared to a net profit of Rs 3.08 crore for the corresponding period last fiscal. Total income for the half-year ended September 30, 2001 is at Rs 11.02 crore as against Rs 25.30 crore for the corresponding period last year. PTI

Grasim’s NCD
Mumbai, November 30
CARE reaffirmed its ‘AAA’ rating to Grasim Industries Rs 1,745 crore non-convertible debentures and ‘PR1+’ rating for commercial paper saying GIL’s investment in Larsen and Toubro will not impact its finances. GIL’s investment in Larsen and Toubro (L&t) will have negligible impact on capital structure and its debt servicing ability, care said in a release here today. PTI

Timex losses
New Delhi, November 30
Timex Watches, which incurred a loss of Rs 14.84 crore during the first half of this fiscal, said today it would return to profitability from 2002-3 and make India an export hub. “We are going to make a turnaround from 2002-3 onwards and make the Indian manufacturing unit an export hub. This year, we have invested Rs 12 crore for brand building and technology,” TWL Managing Director Kapil Kapoor said here. 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 |