SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

GAIL offers LNG to fertiliser firms
Plans extension of pipeline to Bathinda
Proshanto Banerjee
New Delhi, July 15
The government can save at least Rs 2,000 crore annual subsidy bill in the fertiliser sector if public sector fertiliser units are encouraged to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) instead of costly naphtha, furnace oil and other fuels. The fuel can even bring down fertiliser prices in the country.

US crude looms menacingly at $41
Singapore, July 15
US oil prices rose to a six-week high above $ 41 on Thursday as concerns over security of supplies were heightened by a surprise fall in key fuel stockpiles in the United States. The US light crude climbed to $ 41.12 a barrel, the highest level since June 2, when prices struck a 21-year peak at $ 42.45.

...makes Re slip to 46.10

CAG finds oil trio’s records faulty
New Delhi, July 15
Comptroller and Auditor General of India in its latest report has slammed the IndianOil Corporation, HPCL and BPCL for causing over Rs 713 crore losses to the government by avoiding excise duty during April-December, 2002 by misusing the faulty laws.

Mr Dilip Chhabria, chairman of DC Design, poses with the car he designed for the movie, Tarzan ---- The Wonder Car, in New Delhi on Thursday
Mr Dilip Chhabria, chairman of DC Design, poses with the car he designed for the movie, Tarzan — The Wonder Car, in New Delhi on Thursday. The movie will release today. Chhabria said he plans to come out with an IPO in the next three years and the company’s Pune manufacturing unit would be operational by September. — PTI


A model displays diamond jewellery at the launch of Damas Solitaire signature collection in Mumbai on Wednesday evening
A model displays diamond jewellery at the launch of Damas Solitaire signature collection in Mumbai on Wednesday evening. Damas, one of the largest retailing brand-chain in the Middle-East, has joined hands with Gemplus Jewellery Limited to launch the collection in India. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 


S.P. Oswal Budget may create 7 lakh jobs in textiles: Oswal
Ludhiana, July 15
A level-playing field and low incidence of taxes offered in the Budget will lead to a paradigm shift for the Indian textile industry as the fragmented approach to the industry has been replaced with a unified vision of the industry.

Exporters to meet FM today
Chennai, July 15
The Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO) will meet the Union Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram, tomorrow and place its demands as they feel the Budget was not beneficial for Indian exporters.

IT round-up
Patni joins hands with InteQ

Mumbai, July 15
Patni Computer Systems Ltd is to invest $ 6 million in providing enhanced Infrastructure Management Services (IMS) from its facilities in US and India, even as it signed an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) deal with US-based InteQ.

  • TCS IPO

Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, is shown in this photograph taken on Tuesday A Japanese woman listens to music through the bouquet of gerberas during a demonstration of the ‘flower speaker’ developed by Let’s Corporation, a communication device company
Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, is shown in this photograph taken on Tuesday. Harrah's Entertainment Inc. has agreed to buy rival Caesars Entertainment Inc. for about $5.2 billion, creating the world's largest casino operator, sources close to the deal said on Wednesday. Harrah's and Caesars together would have $8.8 billion in annual revenue from over 50 casinos, a sizable presence in nearly every major legalized US gambling market. A Japanese woman listens to music through the bouquet of gerberas during a demonstration of the ‘flower speaker’ developed by Let’s Corporation, a communication device company, in Tokyo on Thursday. The flower speaker uses a coil at the base of a flower vase to send musical vibrations through the water, which finally get emanated from the flower petals.
— Reuters photos

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GAIL offers LNG to fertiliser firms
Plans extension of pipeline to Bathinda
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 15
The government can save at least Rs 2,000 crore annual subsidy bill in the fertiliser sector if public sector fertiliser units are encouraged to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) instead of costly naphtha, furnace oil and other fuels. The fuel can even bring down fertiliser prices in the country.

GAIL has offered to supply LNG fuel to all units to save costs which will help improve the productivity of the industry, said Mr Proshanto Banerjee, CMD of the company, here today.

Addressing a press conference, he said some fertiliser units, including NFL, had approached GAIL to supply LNG. “Once the Dadri-Panipat is completed in the next 12-15 months, LNG may be supplied to NFL’s Panipat unit. We have plans to extend that gas pipeline to Bathinda and other towns in Punjab,” he observed.

He maintained that in the Eastern region, where a number of fertiliser units had been closed due to costly fuel, GAIL had offered to supply LNG through pipelines.

“We are waiting for the national policy on National Gas Grid and hope GAIL will be a major play to implement that mega project. We are even ready for a scenario if other private players are also allowed to enter this sector,” said Mr Banerjee.

The investment involve Rs 23,000 crore to build up 6,500 km pipeline. It will facilitate high pressure and high volume inter-state movement of gas from various locations.

GAIL also signed a technology agreement with Mitsui Chemicals of Japan for setting up a polyethylene (HDPE) plant with a capacity of 1 lakh TPA at Pata in Auriaya district in UP. The project with an estimated cost of Rs 647 crore is scheduled for completion by April, 2006.

Regarding the performance of the GAIl, he said, “its turnover has reached Rs 12,449 crore and netted Rs 1,878 crore during 2003-04. The company is expecting over 60 per cent profit during the first quarter this fiscal from its transmission business. At present, the company has a market share of 85 per cent in gas market.”

GAIL has also proposed an investment of Rs 10,723 crore for enhancing its petrochemical production capacity by adding three more projects. 

Eyes stake in Ennore LNG
State-run GAIL India today said it is in talks with A V Birla Group to pick 26 per cent stake in the Ennore LNG import terminal project in Tamil Nadu.

“We have opened dialogue with the Birla Group for taking a leading role in setting up the 5 million tonnes capacity LNG terminal-cum-power project at Ennore,” GAIL chairman and managing director Proshanto Banerjee told reporters here.

The Dakshin Bharat Energy Consortium, comprising Grasim Industries (an A V Birla Group company), CMS Energy, Unocal, Woodside Petroleum and Siemens Project Ventures, had been awarded the letter of intent (LoI) for the project after a global bidding. But the project has not yet taken off.

“GAIL is ready and keen to assume leading role,” Mr Banerjee said. — PTI
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US crude looms menacingly at $41

Singapore, July 15
US oil prices rose to a six-week high above $ 41 on Thursday as concerns over security of supplies were heightened by a surprise fall in key fuel stockpiles in the United States.

The US light crude climbed to $ 41.12 a barrel, the highest level since June 2, when prices struck a 21-year peak at $ 42.45. At 0549 GMT, US crude had retraced slightly to $ 40.75, 22 cents below Wednesday’s close, which saw prices rally $1.53.

The latest price surge was triggered by an unexpected fall in the US crude and gasoline inventories, which revived concerns over supply disruptions as oil demand grew at the fastest pace in 24 years and producers pumped almost flat out.

“The room for error is very small on the supply side while demand is so strong,” said John Brady at ABN AMRO in New York.

In its latest weekly report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said national crude stocks declined by 2.1 million barrels to 302.9 million barrels in the week to July 9, bucking expectations of a 1.4 million-barrel increase.

The fall came despite imports of above 10 million barrels per day (bpd) for a record eighth week in a row. The data also showed a decrease of 200,000 barrels in gasoline inventories, which had been forecast to rise by an average 500,000 barrels.

“The worry is that there only has to be an attack on Iraq’s southern pipelines or trouble somewhere like Venezuela or Nigeria, and the world’s spare capacity would be wiped out,” said David Thurtell at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Iraq’s exports were disrupted throughout June as saboteurs targeted major pipelines, while strikes and protests in Nigeria and Norway curbed production.

Exports from Iraq’s southern terminals have resumed normally, but this week two ships have refused to load at the Basra oil terminal because of security concerns.

Venezuela, a major supplier to the United States, may face unrest ahead of a referendum on the rule of President Hugo Chavez. An opposition-led strike in late 2002 brought national output to a virtual halt for two months.

OPEC producers, which control about a half of global crude exports, are pumping near flat out with only Saudi Arabia left with any significant room to lift production.

Kuwait said on Thursday that it had almost 100,000 bpd of spare capacity, which it could use to help cool soaring oil prices.

Meanwhile, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) may cancel its July 21 meeting in Vienna and simply implement a planned increase in the official supply quota, an OPEC statement said. — Reuters

...makes Re slip to 46.10

Mumbai, July 15
The rupee ended at a 11-month low against the US dollar at 46.10/12 today, extending its losses on fourth straight session, driven by persistent corporate dollar demand amid rising oil prices and fears of dwindling foreign fund inflows due to reform and monsoon worries, even as the suspected intervention lifted it up slightly from intra-day lows.

Opening on a shaky note at 46.02/045, the domestic currency was driven further southwards as importers, including large oil companies, continued dollar covering, a dealer at the development credit bank said.

The rupee which hit an intra-day low of 46.18/20, ended at 46.10/11, the weakest closing level since August 5, 2003, and shedding 10 paise from Wednesday’s close of 46.00/01. — UNI
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CAG finds oil trio’s records faulty
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 15
Comptroller and Auditor General of India in its latest report has slammed the IndianOil Corporation, HPCL and BPCL for causing over Rs 713 crore losses to the government by avoiding excise duty during April-December, 2002 by misusing the faulty laws.

In addition, the three companies had also caused a further loss of Rs 114 crore by adopting a lower mutually agreed price for payment of duties by 12 terminals of these majors, the CAG said in its report on Indirect Taxes tabled in Parliament.

On scrutiny of the financial records of the IOC, HPCL and BPCL, CAG found that the total subsidy claimed by the three oil majors on sale of kerosene and LPG amounted to Rs 4,457.23 crore during April-December, 2002.

“Duty was paid on the controlled price and subsidy received from the Petroleum Ministry was excluded from transaction value which resulted in duty amounting to Rs 713.17 crore being lost on clearances during this period,” it said.

Losses suffered by the oil companies on account of clearance of kerosene and LPG at lower prices fixed by the Oil Co-ordination Committee were compensated by the government through subsidies and prior to April 1, 2002, subsidies were being credited to the oil pool account and, thereafter, this subsidy is being paid in cash.

“Audit noticed that in the absence of specific codal provision to charge duty on the full value of consideration, including the part consideration received in the form of subsidy from the government, the additional consideration received from the government is excluded from levy of duty,” it said.
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Budget may create 7 lakh jobs in textiles: Oswal
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 15
A level-playing field and low incidence of taxes offered in the Budget will lead to a paradigm shift for the Indian textile industry as the fragmented approach to the industry has been replaced with a unified vision of the industry.

This observation was made by Mr S.P. Oswal, Chairman, the National Textile Committee of the CII.

In an interview with The Tribune here today, Mr Oswal estimated that the textile industry would get investment of Rs 75,000 to Rs 100,000 crore in the next five to seven years.

Mr Oswal said the level-playing field and attractive investment out look of the Indian textile industry would lead to increased production of high value-added products at the competitive prices for the domestic and global market. It was estimated that the textile export would increase from its present level of about 60,000 crore to about 1,12,500 crore by 2010.

During the period, the domestic market was expected to grow from Rs 90,000 crore to Rs 1,35,500 crore.

The total size of the industry might increase from present level of Rs 150,000 crore to Rs 2,48,000 crore during the same period.

According to Mr Oswal an investment of Rs 1,00,000 crore would create more than 7 lakh jobs per annum in the next five to six year in the industry.

Welcoming the implementation of VAT from April, 2005, Mr Oswal said this new arrangement would lead to transparency in transactions and the practice of evasion of taxes would be curbed which had been the bane of the industry in the past.

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Exporters to meet FM today
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, July 15
The Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO) will meet the Union Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram, tomorrow and place its demands as they feel the Budget was not beneficial for Indian exporters.

Addressing the media here today, Mr. Rafeeque Ahmed, president, FIEO, said: “We had asked for a number of measures in the interest of Indian exporters in the Union Budget but they were not incorporated. We will meet the Union Finance Minister tomorrow to reiterate out demands.”

He said: “The Exim policy will be announced on July 31 and we hope it will be beneficial for the exporters as the Budget was disappointing.”

Mr. Ahmed mentioned a number of problems faced by the exporters, including high transaction costs and non-availability of dollar loan, which was not giving India the level playing field with countries in South East Asia and China.

He said: “The transaction cost in India varies between six to 14 per cent of the total value of goods exported while in South East Asia and China, it is less than two per cent.”

He lamented that despite a foreign exchange reserve of $ 120 billion, the banks were refusing to provide dollar loans to the exporters.
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IT round-up
Patni joins hands with InteQ

Mumbai, July 15
Patni Computer Systems Ltd is to invest $ 6 million in providing enhanced Infrastructure Management Services (IMS) from its facilities in US and India, even as it signed an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) deal with US-based InteQ.

“The investment is to enhance our IMS technology and infrastructure, which would help in improving services and expanding our reach into US and European countries,” Patni senior vice-president Satish Joshi told reporters here today.

TCS IPO

IT major Tata Consultancy Services’ much-awaited Initial Public Offer (IPO) to mop up an estimated over Rs 5,000 crore is likely to hit the market on July 29 subject to all approvals from market regulator SEBI.

The company was presented with two plans for opening the issue — first beginning on July 23 and the second by the end of the month — from the merchant bankers appointed for the IPO, the biggest in the private corporate sector, sources associated with the process said.

When contacted, TCS Vice-President Corporate Communication, Atul Takle, told PTI from Mumbai “we have not yet received all SEBI approvals.” “Any date is speculative,” he said when asked if the company could launch its IPO on July 29.

Spokesperson of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, said: “no decision has been taken yet.”

Sources, however, said it would require about 10 days to launch the IPO after all the formalities, including filing with the Registrar of Companies (RoC), are completed.

Following the filing of draft red-herring prospectus by the company, market regulator SEBI had sought some clarifications from it in the first week of July.

Incidentally, July 29 coincides with the birthday of group founder JRD Tata and the centenary celebrations of the group. — Agencies
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BRIEFLY


A contest winner poses with Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan at an event organised by a soft drink company in Mumbai on Thursday
A contest winner poses with Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan at an event organised by a soft drink company in Mumbai on Thursday. — PTI

Hind Newsprint
New Delhi, July 15
The government will review an earlier decision to disinvest Hindustan Newsprint in line with the policy stipulation in the National Common Minimum Programme, the Lok Sabha was informed today. “An earlier decision (October, 2003) to disinvest in the Hindustan Newsprint in Kerala, is being proposed to be reviewed,” Minister of State (independent charge) for Heavy Industries Santosh Mohan Deb said in a written reply. — PTI

Mid-Day shares
Mumbai, July 15
The shares of Mid-Day Multimedia Ltd, the publishers of Mid-Day, a Mumbai afternoon newspaper, rose 20 per cent at the Bombay Stock Exchange today after an announcement that the company is scouting for international partners. The company said in a statement that a few international media companies have shown interest in picking up a minority stake in the newspaper and a deal might come through within the next few months. The company has announced that that its signage business, Mid-Day Outdoor, will merge with Clear Channel International.
— TNS

Birla Corp
Mumbai, July 15
A leading FII, registered as the Emerging Markets Management in India, has acquired about 5.65 per cent (43,47,839 shares) of the total paid-up capital of the Birla Corporation Limited. Making this announcement to the NSE, Birla Corporation said the company acquired the shares for an undisclosed sum in block deal from the market. — UNI

BSNL merger
New Delhi, July 15
The government today scotched speculations on the merger of BSNL and MTNL and said there was no such plan under consideration. “There is no proposal of the government to merge BSNL and MTNL, Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Shakeel Ahmad told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
— UNI

Tata insurance
Bhubaneswar, July 15
Tata AIG Life Insurance Company and Tata AIG General Insurance Company today announced a strategic bancassurance tie-up with the Orissa State Co-operative Bank. — PTI

PFC division
New Delhi, July 15
The Power Finance Corporation’s project division today received the ISO 9001:2000 certificate signifying best quality management system for appraisal of loan proposals and sanction of financial assistance for its projects. — PTI
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