Tuesday, December 4, 2001, Chandigarh, India






National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

UTI may convert Infosys holding into ADRs
Bangalore, December 3
The UTI is “contemplating” of converting its holding in the Infosys Technology into American depository receipts (ADRs) to offload these in the international markets for realising a higher value, a senior executive confirmed today.

  • Infosys to invest $ 80m

Enron Corp files for bankruptcy
Houston, December 3
Enron Corp. Filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday and hit rival and one-time suitor Dynegy Inc. With a $10 billion breach of contract lawsuit for pulling out of a last-ditch rescue merger.

Punjab to export sugar to Afghanistan
Patiala, December 3
The Punjab Government is in the process of exporting sugar to Afghanistan in lieu of dry fruits from that country besides planning to produce power through sugarcane in its sugar mills.

Boeing to develop electric airplane
New Delhi, December 3
Boeing Commercial Airplanes will develop and test an electrically powered demonstrator airplane as part of a study to evaluate environment friendly fuel cell technology for future Boeing products.



EARLIER STORIES
 

Himachal artisans bring warm stuff
Chandigarh, December 3
HP State Handicrafts and Handloom Corporation Ltd is back in the city with its exhibition-cum-sale of handicrafts after three years. With the advent of winter, it seems to be just the right time to pick some warm stuff from the hill state. The exhibition is on at Lajpat Rai Bhavan, Sector 15, till December 17.

Vardhman launches knitting packs
Amritsar, December 3
Vardhman Spinning and General Mills Limited launched the range of knit packs under the brand name - Aao Bune. The entire collection was launched by its brand ambassador - Ms. Renuka Shahane, a famous TV celebrity last year.

Secret of ‘IT’ scooter out
Washington, December 3
The ultra-secret "IT" invention that has kept the high-tech world abuzz for nearly a year is a self-balancing, motorized scooter that costs less that 5 cents a day to operate, Time Magazine reported on Monday.

Hotel opens at Katra
Chandigarh, December 3
American Hotel and Restaurants and Country Development and Management Services today announced the opening of their first hotel “Country Inns and Suites by Carlson” at Katra.

SEBI may mobilise 10,000 cr this year
New Delhi, December 3
More than Rs 10,000 crore are expected to be mobilised from primary markets through the equity route during the current fiscal year.

Plan to make Haryana cyber state
New Delhi, December 3
The Haryana Government will provide every possible assistance and facility for promoting information technology industry in the state in a big way.

UCO Bank net rockets 
Chandigarh, December 3
UCO Bank posted 288 per cent growth in its net profit at Rs 136 crore for the half year ended September 30, 2001, as against Rs 35 crore recorded in the corresponding period the previous year. Operating profit for the bank shot up to Rs 198 crore during the same period (Rs 85 crore).

‘Daulasidh project to start soon’
Hamirpur, December 3
The Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, has announced that the work on the 80 MW Daulasidh power project in the district will start soon. Kangra Central Co-operative Bank has offered a Rs 100-crore loan to the state government for the construction of the project, he told a massive gathering at Siswan village last evening.

ROUND-UP

Toshiba to set up subsidiary
New Delhi, December 3
Japanese major Toshiba Corporation has decided to invest Rs 5.2 crore in India for setting up its wholly-owned subsidiary to focus on information technology and infrastructure.

  • Spending on IT services to go up

  • IBM Japan most eco-friendly

  • General Motors sales rise

  • Coke claims 56 pc share in market

Top








 

UTI may convert Infosys holding into ADRs

Bangalore, December 3
The UTI is “contemplating” of converting its holding in the Infosys Technology into American depository receipts (ADRs) to offload these in the international markets for realising a higher value, a senior executive confirmed today.

“Nothing has happened till now. But the thinking process has started. No idea how long it will take”, UTI General Manager (Business Development and Marketing) K. Madhava Kumar told newspersons when his attention was drawn to media reports.

The reports, quoting sources, said the move was aimed at realising a much higher value as Infosys ADRs were quoted at about 70 per cent premium to the domestic price. The UTI holds about 50 lakh shares of Infosys, accounting for about 7.5 per cent of the company’s equity capital of Rs 33 crore (6.6 crore shares of Rs 5 each). The domestic market value of the block of shares was around Rs 1,900 crore. The move was likely to help the UTI in resolving the current crisis.

Meanwhile, an Infosys spokesman said here today that the UTI had not contacted them so far with the proposal to convert the equity capital.

Mr K. Kumar, who is here to hold the first contact open house on the restructuring of the biggest mutual fund as suggested by the Mahalingam Committee, said they would conduct such meetings across the country. Most of the centres would be covered in the next three to four months. High networth individuals, capable agents and leading corporate investors were invited for the meet for eliciting the views.

Infosys to invest $ 80m

NEW DELHI: Infosys Technologies Ltd plans to go ahead with its investment programme of $ 80 million this year despite a slowdown, its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) N.R. Narayana Murthy said today.

“We are continuing our technology investments and continue to focus on it because our customers need it,” Mr Murthy, told a news conference, at the India Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum.

The company will go ahead to invest $ 80 million this year to expand capacity at its development centres at Bangalore, completing the centres at Mangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad and Pune, and in new software and a server.

Mr Murthy said business was returning to normal after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The company was also looking at acquisitions to enhance the value of its services on offer, he said. UNI
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Enron Corp files for bankruptcy

Houston, December 3
Enron Corp. Filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday and hit rival and one-time suitor Dynegy Inc. With a $10 billion breach of contract lawsuit for pulling out of a last-ditch rescue merger.

The filing in federal bankruptcy court in the southern district of New York sought protection from creditors while Enron, burdened with at least $16.8 billion in debt and obligations, tries to reorganise its ruined finances. Under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy code, a company can continue to operate while it and creditors work out a reorganisation plan.

The lawsuit, filed in the same court, accuses fellow Houston energy trader Dynegy of wrongfully terminating a $9 billion merger deal last Wednesday. The suit also seeks to stop Dynegy from exercising its option to obtain Enron’s Northern Natural Gas Pipeline. The units that own Enron’s pipelines were not part of the bankruptcy filing.

“We are taking the steps announced today to help preserve capital, stabilise our businesses, restore the confidence of our trading counterparties, and enhance our ability to pay our creditors,’’ Enron Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Lay said in a statement.

To help it recapitalise its once-esteemed North American trading business, Enron said it was in negotiations with banks and financial institutions to get credit to back any trades. Enron said it would provide traders and back-office support staff, and would operate through its EnronOnline Internet trading platform.

Fourteen of Enron’s subsidiaries were included in the filing, which must be accepted by the bankruptcy court before it could proceed. Enron’s Portland General electric utility subsidiary, which is being sold to Northwest Natural Gas Co. for $1.8 billion and $1.1 billion in assumed debt, was not included in the filings.

The breach-of-contract suit against Dynegy, another expected legal salvo, has at its heart a valuable asset that is a steady cash flow generator and constitutes more than half of Enron’s 30,000 miles of pipelines. Reuters
Top


 

Punjab to export sugar to Afghanistan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 3
The Punjab Government is in the process of exporting sugar to Afghanistan in lieu of dry fruits from that country besides planning to produce power through sugarcane in its sugar mills.

This was disclosed by Sugarfed Managing Director Jagjit Puri while inaugurating the sugar crushing season at the Rakhra sugar mill near here.

Speaking at the inaugural function, Mr Puri said sugar worth more than Rs 14,000 crore was lying in store out of which Punjab’s share of accumulated stock was worth Rs 220 crore. By exporting sugar to Afghanistan, the state would be able to dispose of its stocks besides getting dry fruits, a commodity which could easily be sold in the country, in return. He said negotiations to clinch a deal in this regard were on with the Mineral and Metal Trading Corporation.

Talking on the issue of producing power in its sugar mills, Mr Puri said the Faridkot sugar mill had already started producing power and had been able to sell power worth Rs 65 lakh during the last year. Sugarfed would try to broadbase this experiment adding it was a cost-effective method of producing electricity as installation of a power plant at a sugar mill involved a cost of Rs 80 lakh only.

Mr Puri assured Sugarfed would first buy sugarcane from the state only and the sugarcane from neighbouring states would be entertained only afterwards. The state is expected to produce six lakh tonnes of sugar this year. Efforts would be made to improve the quality of sugar to international standards so that it can be exported outside the country also.

Sugarfed had also decided to ask university experts to improve the strain of its sugarcane varieties and that a 27 acre of the Corporation at Banur would be used for the purpose. He was welcomed on the occasion by Rakhra Mill Managing Director M P Singh who said the loss being suffered by the mill could be covered by selling off 8,000 bags of sugar lying stocked in the mill.
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Boeing to develop electric airplane
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
Boeing Commercial Airplanes will develop and test an electrically powered demonstrator airplane as part of a study to evaluate environment friendly fuel cell technology for future Boeing products.

The airplane manufacturer is working with Boeing’s new Research and Technology Centre in Madrid, Spain, to modify a small, single-engine airplane by replacing its engine with fuel cells and an electric motor that will turn a conventional propeller.

Fuel cells and electric motors will not replace jet engines on commercial transports, but they could one day replace gas turbine auxiliary power units.

Auxiliary power units, which typically are located in the rear fuselage with exhaust ports through the tail, are coupled to generators and compressors to produce electricity and air for airplane systems while on the ground and for backup use in flight.
Top


 

Himachal artisans bring warm stuff
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
HP State Handicrafts and Handloom Corporation Ltd is back in the city with its exhibition-cum-sale of handicrafts after three years. With the advent of winter, it seems to be just the right time to pick some warm stuff from the hill state. The exhibition is on at Lajpat Rai Bhavan, Sector 15, till December 17.

The unique craftsmanship of the little pockets of the state is on display in all its glory and splendour. So, while one counter offers the hand-embroidered rumals from Chamba, another gives a variety of shawls from Kulu. The beautiful dolls colourfully decked up in traditional dresses represent Kinnaur and the green gold tea has come straight from the gardens of Kangra. Also available are coats and jackets embellished with the typical Himachali lace, caps, juttis and handloom fabric for salwar kameez and hemp bags.

For the decor of your house are wood panels, brassware, thanka and Kangra gem stone paintings as well as hand woven carpets.

Mr Gupta, General Manager, informs that to add value to the products with a view to increasing their marketability, the local craftsmen have been trained to amalgamate the arts and skills of other states. Thus, when motifs of Sikh gurus are added to the repertoire of Krishan Leela in Chamba rumals, their appeal is widened. The corporation has brought these as it was encouraged by the success of these rumals, in which the embroidery pattern is exactly alike on both sides of the cloth, at the Una gurdwara.

Or, the Kashmiri embroidery lends weight to the light Kulu shawls. The Kangra paintings have a touch of Rajasthan in them. The Himachal motifs have been ‘painted’ with gem stones, giving a rich feel and look. Thanka paintings of Tibet are also there for sale.

The live demonstrations of carpet weaving and wood carving give an insight into the intricacy of rural workmanship.

The Society for Advancement of Hill and Rural Areas (SAHARA) of Kulu district has brought Vermicompost, an organic manure. Rajmah and dried red chillis produced by use of this fertiliser are also for sale. The bottles of vitamin E-rich apricot oil promise to help lessen hair loss, joint pains and stretch marks. Manufactured by an organisation of poor women (women saving and credit groups), the sale proceeds of this counter will help in their empowerment and conservation of biological diversity of Kulu valley.

Besides, the pashmina and yak shawls, a new thing this time is the ornamental multi-shaded, check shawls made of a thin yarn with more ornamental value than warmth. And the tea comes in new attractive wooden boxes.
Top


 

Vardhman launches knitting packs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 3
Vardhman Spinning and General Mills Limited launched the range of knit packs under the brand name - Aao Bune. The entire collection was launched by its brand ambassador - Ms. Renuka Shahane, a famous TV celebrity last year.

In a statement Chief Executive, of the company, Mr V.K. Goyal said “The concept of hand knitting contest was introduced with an objective to promote the age old tradition of the country.”

The zonal rounds of the contest will happen across all the 18 zones during October 2001 - February 2002. The final evaluation process will happen somewhere in March 2002 and then the final winners will be announced. The first prize winner in each category will get a cash prize of Rs. 5100 followed by Rs. 3100 and Rs. 2100 for the second and third prize winners.
Top


 

Secret of ‘IT’ scooter out

Washington, December 3
The ultra-secret "IT" invention that has kept the high-tech world abuzz for nearly a year is a self-balancing, motorized scooter that costs less that 5 cents a day to operate, Time Magazine reported on Monday.

Inventor Dean Kamen believes the machine, code-named "IT" but officially known as Segway, will eventually replace cars in crowded downtown areas by enabling users to zip around at virtually no cost and no harm to the environment.

The two-wheeled device uses a complex array of gyroscopes and computers to mimic the human body's sense of balance, Time said. Users lean forward to move forward, lean back to reverse course and turn by twisting a handle.

Falling over is impossible, the article said, and the Segway can handle ice, snow and stairs with ease. "The big idea is to put a human being into a system where the machine acts as an extension of your body," Kamen told Time.

Over the course of his career, the 50-year-old inventor has developed several medical devices, including the first portable insulin pump, a briefcase-sized dialysis machine and a wheelchair that can climb stairs.

With a range of roughly 17 miles and a top speed of 17 miles per hour, Kamen and other officials at the privately held Segway Co. do not see the scooter as a practical replacement for the automobile on long-distance trips.

Rather, they see the machine as a handy way to get around congested downtown areas where driving is inconvenient or impossible, or as a practical people mover in developing nations like China.

Year of speculation
Company officials have met with city planners and federal safety regulators to ensure that Segways will be allowed to share sidewalks with pedestrians, Time said. Reuters
Top


 

Hotel opens at Katra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
American Hotel and Restaurants and Country Development and Management Services today announced the opening of their first hotel “Country Inns and Suites by Carlson” at Katra.

Country Inns and Suites, which has 350 hotels across the globe, will open nine more hotels in India. “Indian market holds a good potential for this industry and our primary aim is to provide facilities of an international hotel to the domestic tourists at affordable prices”, said Mr Sushen Gupta, Executive Director, American Hotels and Restaurants, in a press conference here today .

The hotel at Kata, where about Rs 17 crore have been invested has 77 rooms and suites and offers facilities, including 24 hour dining, banquet and meeting facilities, activity centre, day care for children , an ampitheatre with havankund, courtesy pick up and drop service between hotel and Banganga and several others. 
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SEBI may mobilise 10,000 cr this year
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
More than Rs 10,000 crore are expected to be mobilised from primary markets through the equity route during the current fiscal year.

“As on October, 2001, Rs 2,948 crore have been mobilised from the primary market”, the Chairman of SEBI said while speaking at a special session on regulators during the ongoing India Economic Summit organised by the World Economic Forum and the CII here.

Mr Mehta said the another Rs 5,356 crore was expected to be mobilised from issues that are in the pipeline while an amount of issues seeking “revival” was expecting to mobilise Rs 718 crore during the year.

“This means that during the year the amount mobilised will be close to Rs 10,000 crore. Considering the fact that the fiscal year will end only three months hence, it will be realistic to assume that the funds mobilised from primary markets will actually exceeed Rs 10,000 crore”, the Chairman said.

During the last the fiscal year, the amount mobilised from the primary market was recorded at Rs 6,107 crore.

The SEBI Chairman was also in favour of a lead regulatory regime which will minimise the flaws that exist in a multiple regulatory system.

“In India it is practically not possible to have an integrated and consolidated super-regulatory regime. However, in that case, a lead regulatory mechanism is the second best alternative”, he said.

Calling for more powers to punish wrong-doers, Mr Mehta said that unless regulators are adequately empowered and instances of “overlapping and underlapping” domain are appropriately addressed systemic flaws will continue to remain.
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Plan to make Haryana cyber state
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
The Haryana Government will provide every possible assistance and facility for promoting information technology industry in the state in a big way.

This was stated by the Principal Secretary to Haryana Chief Minister, Mr S.Y. Quraishi, while presiding over the second meeting of the Facilitation Committee to coordinate and facilitate private investment in IT sector here last evening.

Dr Quraishi said the state government was determined to make Haryana the cyber state of the north and Gurgaon as its cyber capital.

Dr Quraishi said under the state’s Education Policy, teaching of English language had already been started from class one and computer education from class six in the state for developing human resource for IT industry.

To make IT education accessible to the poorest, a nominal fee of Rs 80 was being charged from the general category students and Rs 40 from the students belonging to the Scheduled Castes.

While welcoming the chief guest, the Secretary, Information Technology, Haryana, Mr Dharamvir, said a number of incentives were being given for setting up IT industry in the state.

He said after Gurgaon, the state government was also developing Panchkula for promotion of IT industry. He disclosed that 80 acre had already been acquired for this purpose and an IT polytechnic would be started at Panchkula from next year.

Mr Dharamvir said Regional Engineering College, Kurukshetra, and Guru Jambheshwar University, Hisar, had already been approached for making changes in the curriculum to fulfil requirements of IT industry and providing ample employment opportunities to the youth. 
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UCO Bank net rockets 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
UCO Bank posted 288 per cent growth in its net profit at Rs 136 crore for the half year ended September 30, 2001, as against Rs 35 crore recorded in the corresponding period the previous year. Operating profit for the bank shot up to Rs 198 crore during the same period (Rs 85 crore).

The bank arrived at this profit after making provisions and payment for VRS as well as partial arrear wages.

UCO’s total volume of business surpassed Rs 35,000 crore, recording a growth of around 25 per cent. Deposits have increased to Rs 23,706 crore from Rs 19,452 crore registering a growth of 21.87 per cent. Advances grew to about Rs 11,679 crore from Rs 8,961 crore.
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‘Daulasidh project to start soon’
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, December 3
The Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, has announced that the work on the 80 MW Daulasidh power project in the district will start soon. Kangra Central Co-operative Bank has offered a Rs 100-crore loan to the state government for the construction of the project, he told a massive gathering at Siswan village last evening. The state Power Board authorities are already on the job in this respect, the Chief Minister said. Mr Dhumal urged the youth to adopt self-employment avenues rather than hankering after white collar jobs for which the state government had a limited scope. He announced a grant of Rs 80,000 for additional accommodation in the local school and Rs 1 lakh for a panchayat bhavan at Siswan. The Himachal Pradesh Parliamentary Secretary, Urmila Thakur, was also present on the occasion.
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ROUND-UP

Toshiba to set up subsidiary

New Delhi, December 3
Japanese major Toshiba Corporation has decided to invest Rs 5.2 crore in India for setting up its wholly-owned subsidiary to focus on information technology and infrastructure.

The new entity, Toshiba India, will replace the liaison office, and has obtained the government approval for its plans to expand operations in the country, a company release said here today.

Toshiba India would not only promote operations in IT and infrastructure segments, but also provide marketing and sales support to all Toshiba group products in the neighbouring countries, including Nepal and Sri Lanka, it said. PTI

Spending on IT services to go up

New Delhi: Indian expenditure on IT services is projected to reach $ 1.6 billion in 2001, a 25.2 per cent increase over 2000 revenues of $ 1.3 billion, according to industry analyst firm Gartner Dataquest.

The industry is forecast to continue growing strongly through 2005, when IT services revenue will reach $ 5.8 billion, Gartner said in a statement here.

Gartner Dataquest said overall demand would continue to experience double-digit growth from 2003 through 2005. PTI

 

IBM Japan most eco-friendly

Tokyo: IBM Japan ranked first in terms of corporate environmental efforts among Japanese manufacturers, according to an annual survey released today by the Japanese financial daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

IBM Japan actively implements measures to protect the environment, both on its production floors and through its service operations, the report said. It displaced Ricoh Co., a major Japanese manufacturer of copiers and fax machines which ranked first for the past three years. DPA

General Motors sales rise

New Delhi: General Motors India (GMI) said today its car sales have increased by 14.3 per cent to 510 units in November as compared to 446 units in the same month last year.

The November sales were, however, down by 15 per cent, as against 600 cars sold in October this year, a company spokesperson told PTI here. PTI

Coke claims 56 pc share in market

New Delhi: Coca-Cola today claimed leadership in soft drinks with 56 per cent share of the Indian market and second position in bottled water with 25 per cent share, while asserting that it wants to lead the “beverage revolution” in this country.

“We are the leaders in aerated drinks with 56 per cent overall share. The nearest competitor is a distant 42 per cent. I see Coca-Cola leading the beverage revolution in India in the near future,” President and COO of Coke’s Indian operations, Alex von Behr, said. PTI
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BIZ BRIEFS

Aaj Tak awarded
Chandigarh, December 3
Aaj Tak has bagged the best news channel award at the first Indian Television Academy Awards held in Mumbai last week. As per the TRP ratings, the channel held a share of 53 per cent amongst the various news channels and a connectivity of more than 24 million households, stated a press release. TNS

Hero Honda sales
Chandigarh, December 3
Hero Honda Motors sold 1,34,257 motor cycles during November 2001, thereby attaining a growth of more than 38 per cent over the corresponding period last year. The company’s quantitative sales for the period between April and November 2001, increased by more than 35 per cent, stated a press release. TNS

SBI branch
Chandigarh, December 3
The State Bank of India, Chandigarh circle, has computerised its ADB Sandhaur branch. The branch was inaugurated by Mr G.K. Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, today. TNS

Acer, Intel pact
Bangalore, December 3
Acer Inc. has signed an agreement with Intel Corporation to promote Intel’s LAN solutions in Acer’s broad range of branded PCs, notebooks and servers. With this agreement, Acer’s customer would enjoy benefits of Intel’s SingleDriver technology in Acer’s Management Adapters, according to a press release here today. UNI

Cisco Systems
Bangalore, December 3
Cisco Systems Inc today announced the launch of Cisco Catalyst Series Intelligent Ethernet Switches for mid-sized enterprise and branch office wiring closets. It also introduced new configuration and verification services that would further ease the deployment of network-wide intelligent services, according to a release here. UNI

ICICI Mastercard
Kolkata, December 3
ICICI Bank launched its global Mastercard ATM network here today to bring about an additional 633 ATMs in over 61 Indian cities and towns under one global network. With Mastercard having the largest number of ATM connectivity in India, the new venture would help ICICI bring more than 1800 ATMs under the same network. UNI

BPL Cyberline
Kolkata, December 3
BPL Ltd launched a range of audio and video products through its Multimedia Business Centre under the BPL “Cyberline” range comprising colour monitors and multimedia speakers. Company sources said video products essentially consist of studio performance PC colour monitors. UNI

Birla Sun
Mumbai, December 3
Birla Sun Life AMC announced a weekly dividend of 8.86 per cent (Rs 0.017 per unit) under the Dividend Reinvestment Option in Birla cash plus. UNI
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