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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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Infosys net grows 39 pc
Nandan Nilekani, Chief Executive Officer of Infosys, speaks to mediapersons at a Press conference to announce the company’s first quarter results in Bangalore Bangalore, July 13
Driven by volume growth and foreign exchange earnings, Infosys Technologies today reported a robust 39.23 per cent rise in the net profit at Rs 388.34 crore in the first quarter ending June and forecast a higher revenue for 2004-05.


Ups forecast

Nandan Nilekani, Chief Executive Officer of Infosys, speaks to mediapersons at a Press conference to announce the company’s first quarter (ended June) results in Bangalore on Tuesday. — AFP photo

TCS top software exporter: Nasscom
New Delhi, July 13
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) retained the number one position among Top 20 IT software and service exporters in India, clocking revenue of Rs 5,503 crore during the last fiscal, followed by Infosys and Wipro, Nasscom said today. Infosys revenue (excluding ITES-BPO) were Rs 4,709 crore while Wipro’s stood at Rs 3,920 crore, said the apex body of Indian IT software services and ITES-BPO industry.

BPCL, HPCL, Reliance among Fortune’s big guns
New York, July 13
Four Indian companies — Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum and Reliance Industries have made it to the list of 500 top companies worldwide compiled by prestigious Fortune magazine. All have improved their position since Fortune 2003 list but none is listed among top 50 Asian companies.

Decision on EPF rates deferred till July 20
New Delhi, July 13
The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) today decided to defer a final decision on the rate of interest on EPF till July 20 with major trade unions outrightly rejecting a government proposal to reduce the rate to 8 per cent from the existing 9.5 per cent.


A model presents a creation by an Indonesian designer at the Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2005 at the Exhibition and Convention Center in Hong Kong
A model presents a creation by an Indonesian designer at the Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2005 at the Exhibition and Convention Center in Hong Kong on Tuesday. —AFP

EARLIER STORIES

 

Asim Ghosh Hutch makes debut in Punjab
Chandigarh, July 13
Hutch Essar South Ltd launched its services in Punjab today. To begin with, it will offer services in 64 towns and cities, including Chandigarh and Panchkula, which are home to over 85 per cent of the current cellular subscriber base in Punjab.

Majority of brokers boycott trading
Mumbai, July 13
Despite fairly good quarterly results from Infosys, the Sensex took a battering as jobbers, day traders and arbitrageurs stayed away from the markets to protest the 0.15 per cent turnover tax mooted by Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram.

Special plan for senior citizen likely from Aug 1
New Delhi, July 13
A special savings scheme for senior citizens, offering a high 9 per cent return, is likely to be launched on August 1. Indicating this, top Finance Ministry sources said the ‘‘Senior Citizen Savings Scheme’’ would have an upper investment ceiling of Rs 15 lakh to ensure it does not become an instrument for misuse by the high income groups.

Auto scene
Skoda R&D units for India
New Delhi, July 13
Buoyed by the government’s decision of 150 per cent deduction on in-house research and development expenditure, Skoda Auto today said it is planning to set up R and D units in India and also considering to increase prices of its products.

  • MUL to ‘redesign’ workforce

  • GM launches new Corsa

  • Tata, Maruti, Hyundai sales up

Graphic: Subsidy Expenditure of Central Government

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Infosys net grows 39 pc

Bangalore, July 13
Driven by volume growth and foreign exchange earnings, Infosys Technologies today reported a robust 39.23 per cent rise in the net profit at Rs 388.34 crore in the first quarter ending June and forecast a higher revenue for 2004-05.

The IT bellwether posted a net profit of Rs 278.92 crore during the first quarter last year.

Announcing the results which went beyond market expectations, Infosys reported a revenue of Rs 1,517.38 crore in the first quarter, up by 38.61 per cent over Rs 1,094.70 crore during the same period last year, outdoing its earlier guidance of 25 per cent growth.

“We have seen strong revenue growth during the quarter,” Infosys President, Managing Director and CEO Nandan M. Nilekani told reporters, adding that “higher volumes and demand for offshore services” was aiding the firm to forecast 39 per cent to 40 per cent growth for the current fiscal, a jump from the 24 per cent guidance given early this year.

Business volumes from customers, he said, increased even as the cry against offshoring continued in the US “which has abated compared to last year.” “We continue to see a stable pricing environment,” Infosys COO S. Gopalakrishnan said.

Infosys added 29 new clients and 2,305 employees during the quarter, but said attrition had increased to 10.9 per cent.

Mr Nilekani said Infosys planned an incremental $21 million during the year, including $5 million in its banking business unit to strengthen their operations, which would be accrued from profits earned this fiscal.

He said the firm was aiming to adopt “modular global sourcing” which gave control of IT infrastructure to customers and they decided on slicing orders to vendors.

“We continue to benefit from the positive demand environment for offshore services. We have built systems and processes to scale up to the needs of the market place,” Infosys Head World Wide customer delivery S D Shibulal said.

Infosys incurred a capital expenditure of Rs 154.46 crore during the current quarter of the total Rs 600 crore to Rs 750 crore planned for the fiscal.

Infosys CFO T V Mohandas Pai said the firm had hedged $228 million for foreign exchange fluctuations. “The restructuring into integrated business units has created multiple engines of growth with strong leadership,” Gopalakrishnan said.

Ups forecast

Infosys forecast a 39 per cent to 40 per cent growth for the current fiscal between Rs 6,731 crore and Rs 6,772 crore, far above its earlier guidance of 24 per cent growth between Rs 5,994 crore and Rs 6,041 crore. EPS for the year is projected to be Rs 62.70.

Revenue for the second quarter ending September is expected to jump by 42 per cent to 43 per cent between Rs 1,631 crore and Rs 1,645 crore, while EPS is expected to be Rs 15.10. — PTI
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TCS top software exporter: Nasscom

New Delhi, July 13
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) retained the number one position among Top 20 IT software and service exporters in India, clocking revenue of Rs 5,503 crore during the last fiscal, followed by Infosys and Wipro, Nasscom said today.

Infosys revenue (excluding ITES-BPO) were Rs 4,709 crore while Wipro’s stood at Rs 3,920 crore, said the apex body of Indian IT software services and ITES-BPO industry.

The top three were followed by Satyam Computer Services, HCL Technologies, Patni Computer Systems, iFlex Solutions, Mahindra British Telecom, Polaris Software, Digital Globalsoft , NIIT Ltd, Perot Systems TSI (HCL Perot Systems), iGATE Global Solutions (Mascot Systems), Birlasoft Ltd, Mphasis BFL Ltd, Mastek, Hexaware Technologies, Larsen & Toubro Infotech, Tata Infotech and Hughes Software Systems in that order.

The ranking does not include companies listed abroad, which have significant offshore operations in India.

The combined revenue of the top 20 software and service exporters in the area of IT services, products and technology services was Rs 26,464 crore in 2003-04 and witnessed a year-on-year growth of 31.6 per cent (in dollar terms) compared to the total combined revenue of Rs 20,668 crores in 2002-03, said a survey by Nasscom.

The software and services exports industry (excluding the ITES-BPO sector), recorded revenues of $8.9 billion in 2003-04, registering a growth of 25 per cent over the revenue of $7.1 billion in 2002-03.

Nasscom Chairman Jerry Rao said, “The Indian IT software and services companies are truly turning global. A growth of around 30.5 per cent during 2003-04 by the software and services industry has placed this sector among the highest performers within the Indian market. The top 20 software and services exporters continue to account for nearly 65 per cent of the total IT software and services exports.”

Nasscom President Kiran Karnik said, “While the top 20 IT software and service exports continue to drive the overall growth of the Indian IT industry, small and medium enterprises have also performed well during 2003-04. Two Indian companies are now in the billion-dollar export league, and we expect a few more to join them in the near future.

“The robust performance by software and services exporters is evidence of the tremendous value that the industry is providing to its customers in terms of quality, productivity and reliability.” — UNI
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BPCL, HPCL, Reliance among Fortune’s big guns
Dharam Shourie

New York, July 13
Four Indian companies — Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum and Reliance Industries have made it to the list of 500 top companies worldwide compiled by prestigious Fortune magazine.

All have improved their position since Fortune 2003 list but none is listed among top 50 Asian companies.

Indian Oil with a revenue of more than $ 25,316 million occupies 189th position which is slight improvement over last year when it occupied 191st position.

Its revenue, the magazine said, has increased by 12.5 per cent since 2002 and profits at $ 1,631 million are up by 19.9 per cent. The company employs 37,158 people and its assets have been estimated by the magazine at $ 13,956.6 million.

Way behind is Bharat Petroleum whose revenue of $ 12,053.7 million gives it a ranking of 450 among top 500. It had not made the list last year. Its revenue is up by 16.1 per cent since 2002 and profits at $ 442.8 million have gone up by 38 per cent.

Just behind it, Hindustan Petroleum occupies 462nd position with a revenue of $ 11,750.5 million which gives it a profit of $ 430.2 million. Its revenue since 2002 has gone up by 12.9 per cent and profits by 41.8 percent.

Last to make the grade is Reliance Industries which occupies 482nd position among the 500. Its revenue $11,327.7 million shows an increase of 19.4 per cent since 2002 and its profits at $ 1,125.5 million are up by 32.7 per cent.

Both Hindustan Petroleum and Reliance Industries had not made the list last year.

Discount retail giant Walmart stores tops the list with a $ 26,3009 million in revenue which give it a profit of $ 9,054 million.

It is followed by BP, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, General Motors, Ford Motors DaimlerChrysler, Toyota Motors, General Electric and Total.

In Asia, Japan dominates the top five positions with Toyota Motors, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, Hitachi, Honda Motors and Sony making the grade.

In Europe, the top five giants are BP, Royal Dutch/Shell, Daimler Chrysler, Total and Allianz. — PTI
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Decision on EPF rates deferred till July 20
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 13
The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) today decided to defer a final decision on the rate of interest on EPF till July 20 with major trade unions outrightly rejecting a government proposal to reduce the rate to 8 per cent from the existing 9.5 per cent.

CITU leader Varada Rajan said the Board would meet again on July 20 to discuss the issue. All the major trade unions, except the Congress affiliated INTUC, have been demanding a rise in interest rate to 12 per cent.

Sources said that at today’s meeting the Government had proposed a reduction of the rate to 8 per cent. “We have rejected the Centre’s proposal outright and conveyed it to Labour Minister and Chairman of the CBT Sis Ram Ola in writing,” another CITU leader Tapan Sen said.

“We record our stand that any proposal on the interest rate on EPF for 2004-05, not in line with the above demand, is totally unacceptable to us,” they said.

This is the second time that a decision on EPF interest rates have been deferred. The last CBT meeting which took place on June 30 had also deferred the decision till the next meeting of the Board.
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Hutch makes debut in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Hutch Essar South Ltd launched its services in Punjab today.

To begin with, it will offer services in 64 towns and cities, including Chandigarh and Panchkula, which are home to over 85 per cent of the current cellular subscriber base in Punjab.

Announcing the launch of Hutch, Group Managing Director Asim Ghosh said that the company has committed to investments worth Rs 460 crore for the Punjab Circle to build the most advanced GSM network in the country and offer not just the basic mobile service but the widest range of multimedia mobile services here.

“Our focus will be on making the people of the state experience services that subscribers here have only heard of,” Mr Ghosh said.

He, however, refused to acknowledge that the company may be at a disadvantage due to the fact that it will offer services on 1800 platform.

“We are the fourth operators in Chennai, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh also. But, we are not far behind the leader in these places,” he asserted.

He also remarked that while the company will offer competitive tariffs, what will tilt the scales in its favour are the advanced network and quality of service.

Executive Director Rajiv Sawhney said the company will provide the latest range of multimedia content to the users, whether for keeping in touch with others or for information and entertainment.

The slew of unique services include GPRS-based services like push2talk, mobile gaming, Click and Print MMS, and state-wide customer service support, he added.

“We have led the development and adoption of GPRS-based multimedia services in India. With over 2 lakh GPRS users, we have over 50 per cent of the GPRS subscriber base in the country,’’ he added.

Mr Arun K. Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer, Hutch Punjab, said that the company has installed over 500 towers in the region and plans are on to increase the strength.

“People in Punjab travel extensively within the state. Keeping this in mind, we have focussed on seamless connectivity across state and national highways, railway routes and commercial centres,” he added.

For pre-paid customers, the customers will have the option of buying SIM cards of denominations including Rs 54, Rs 108, Rs 216, Rs 324, Rs 350, Rs 540, Rs 1080, Rs 2160, Rs 3240 and Rs 5400.

A SIM card of Rs 54 will be valid for four days and have calling value for Rs 20. Similarly, the calling value of other cards will be 50, 115, 175, 199, 375, 875, 1875, 2875 and Rs 4875, respectively.

For these pre-paid cards, the outgoing calls will cost Rs 2.49 per minute (mobile-to-mobile), while it will be Rs 2.99 per minute (Mobile to landline). STD rats applicable for pre-paid cards will vary between Rs 2.49 per minute to Rs 4.99 per minute.

For post-paid subscribers, the company will offer monthly tariff plans ranging from Rs 150 to Rs 499. Each post-paid connection will be available for a processing fee of Rs 1080.
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Majority of brokers boycott trading
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 13
Despite fairly good quarterly results from Infosys, the Sensex took a battering as jobbers, day traders and arbitrageurs stayed away from the markets to protest the 0.15 per cent turnover tax mooted by Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram.

The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-scrip sensitive index was down 46 points at the end of Tuesday’s trading at 4899 points.

With several lakh small-margin players staying away, volumes on Tuesday remained small at around Rs 600 crore just a third of normal volumes, according to BSE sources. Only FII and a few big brokers traded on Tuesday, according to BSE sources.

Meanwhile, SEBI has conveyed to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram the demands and suggestions of brokers and investors over the proposed 0.15 per cent Transaction Tax.
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Special plan for senior citizen likely from Aug 1

New Delhi, July 13
A special savings scheme for senior citizens, offering a high 9 per cent return, is likely to be launched on August 1.

Indicating this, top Finance Ministry sources said the ‘‘Senior Citizen Savings Scheme’’ would have an upper investment ceiling of Rs 15 lakh to ensure it does not become an instrument for misuse by the high income groups.

The scheme will be available for persons above 60 years, the sources told PTI.

Although the scheme, providing an attractive return, is taxable, the sources said not many would come under the tax bracket if they did not have other income as the income tax exemption has been raised to Rs 1 lakh in the Budget.

The savings scheme was announced in the Budget by Mr P Chidambaram to provide a cushion to the elderly who have been hit by the falling interest rate regime in the country. — PTI
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Auto scene
Skoda R&D units for India

New Delhi, July 13
Buoyed by the government’s decision of 150 per cent deduction on in-house research and development expenditure, Skoda Auto today said it is planning to set up R and D units in India and also considering to increase prices of its products.

“We have plans to set up research and development units in the country in the near future and increase our research budget,’’ Skoda Auto India Managing Director Imran Hassen said here today.

Pointing out that the deduction will benefit companies which have plans to increase the R and D budget and increase activities in India, he said with this, more foreign players would be interested in entering the domestic market.

Following the 2 per cent education cess levied in the budget 2004-05, Mr Hassen said, Skoda is analysing the cost impact of the budget and still considering over the price hike.

MUL to ‘redesign’ workforce

Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) has identified the need to ‘redesign’ its manpower to transform itself into a “lean and competitive organisation” but said there was no plan to downsize its workforce.

In the light of this priority, the company had offered a VRS last year, which was accepted by 1,251 employees, MUL’s annual report released on Monday said.

Company officials, however, clarified “there is no mention of any plan to trim staff or downsize workforce in the company’s Annual Report for 2003-04”.

MUL, which saw a hugely successful Initial Public Offer last year, had 3,334 employees as on March 31, 2004. An earlier VRS offer during 2001-02 was availed by 1,050 employees.

GM launches new Corsa

Spurred by the growing popularity of its Chevrolet and Opel brands, General Motors India today launched a special limited edition of Opel Corsa 1.4 Elite.

Available at an additional cost of Rs 35,000 over the 1.4 GSi (ex-showroom Delhi), the Corsa Elite has a host of incremental exquisite features, including a unique Multi Information Display System which is first of its kind in this segment.

“The new variant will not only enthuse the prospective buyers but also enhance our market share in the Corsa segment,’’ GM India President and Managing Director Aditya Vij said in a statement here.

Tata, Maruti, Hyundai sales up

After a slowdown in May, domestic passenger car sales rose by 24.9 per cent in June to 65,046 units from 52,060 units sold in the same month a year ago, with auto majors Maruti, Tata Motors and Hyundai stimulating growth.

The sales in the April-June quarter grew by 21.51 per cent to 181,936 units from 149,724 a year earlier, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said here today. — Agencies
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Subsidy Expenditure of Central Government

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BRIEFLY

Ford operation
Chennai, July 13
Ford, will expand its operations in India and have a customer loyalty programme for Ford vehicle owners. Ford Vice-President (Marketing) Vinay Piparsania said here today the company would shortly have 105 retails outlets and have new showrooms in 16 more cities in India. — TNS

Hydro power
Shimla, July 13
The Himachal government will soon come out with a hydropower policy to ensure expeditious exploitation of the state’s vast hydroelectric potential by encouraging independent power producers. Mrs Vidya Stokes, the Minister for Power, announced this while presiding over a conference on “hydropower development” orgainsed by the PHDCCI, here today. — TNS

UTI dividend
Mumbai, July 13
UTI Master Plus Unit Scheme has declared dividend at 30 per cent, which works out to be Rs 3 per unit on a face value of Rs10. The investors who join the scheme on or before August 2, 2004 will also be eligible for the dividend. — UNI

Aptech order
Kolkata, July 13
Aptech Limited has bagged an order from Bajaj Auto Limited for its training programme. Aptech will partner with Bajaj Auto for its Dealer Management System (DMS) programme to be implemented at their dealer locations across the country.
— UNI
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