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Reliance profits up 30 pc
Mumbai, July 27
Reliance Industries Ltd. has reported a 30.16 per cent rise in its net profit at Rs 1,437 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2004 as against Rs 1,104 crore in the corresponding Q1 of the previous financial year.

Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Anil Ambani of Reliance Industries speaks during a news conference in Mumbai on Tuesday. Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Anil Ambani of Reliance Industries speaks during a news conference in Mumbai on Tuesday. — Reuters photo

Chidambaram’s ‘in principle’ nod for more equity in IA, A-I
New Delhi, July 27
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Tuesday said Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has agreed “in principle” to infuse more equity in Indian Airlines and Air-India to enable them expand fleet and also look at providing infrastructure fund for the modernisation of the 20 major airports across the country.

In video: Patel says FM has agreed "in principle" to infuse more equity in IA, A-I. (28k, 56k)

P. Chidambaram FM to outsource indirect tax activities
New Delhi, July 27
Having achieved reasonable success in outsourcing some activities on the direct tax front, the Finance Ministry is considering to adopt a similar model for customs and excise.

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are seen in this undated company photo. Google co-founders Larry Page (L) and Sergey Brin (R) are seen in this undated company photo. Google Inc, the world’s number one Web search provider, said on Monday it will sell about 24.6 million shares for an estimated price of between $108 and $135 per shares in a planned IPO. — Reuters


WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi
WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi gestures during the opening session of the organisation's General Council at the WTO headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) states launched a last ditch effort for a deal to revive stalled global free-trade talks. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 

Oil cos to pay Rs 1,400 cr for losses
New Delhi, July 27
The government has directed public sector oil companies Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Gail (India) Ltd and Oil India Ltd (OIL) to pay Rs 1,400 crore to Indian Oil Corporation, IBP, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Ltd for the losses incurred on the sale of LPG and kerosene in the first quarter of this fiscal.

Why are units sick, asks RBI
Chandigarh, July 27
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed scheduled commercial banks to examine the reasons responsible for the sickness of industrial units in Haryana. In a directive sent to the banks, the RBI has asked them to ascertain why despite the special incentives and concessions offered to this sector from time to time, most of these units go sick or come on the verge of closure.

Infosys connects with students
Bangalore July 27
Aiming to reduce employee training costs by half and plug a perceived “quality gap” between the requirements of industry and fresh engineering graduates, IT major Infosys has launched an industry-academia initiative called ‘Campus Connect.’

Centurion schemes for GTB depositors
Chandigarh, July 27
Centurion Bank has announced two special schemes to the account holders of the Global Trust Bank (GTB). The account holders of GTB can now avail pre-approved personal loan scheme for up to five times their net monthly take-home salary.

Drabu set to be J&K Bank chief
Srinagar, July 27
Dr Haseeb A Drabu, a renowned economist of India and Economic Adviser to the Mufti-led State government, may hold the position of the Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, soon. He is likely to succeed Mr M.Y Khan, who retires from his services in December.

Corporate News

Hughes earns huge profit
New Delhi, July 27
Hughes Software Systems (HSS) today said its net profit rose 63 per cent to Rs 24.7 crore during the first quarter of this fiscal following business from new clients, improved collections and rupee appreciation.
  • Hexaware

  • Dr Reddy’s

  • Jisco

  • Sunil Synchem

  • PTC

  • Tata Infotech

  • Pidilite Industries

Videos
The Indian animation market waking up to a host of global opportunities.
(28k, 56k)
Bio-degradable plastic for Indian markets. 
(28k, 56k)

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Reliance profits up 30 pc
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 27
Reliance Industries Ltd. has reported a 30.16 per cent rise in its net profit at Rs 1,437 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2004 as against Rs 1,104 crore in the corresponding Q1 of the previous financial year.

The company informed that its exports, including deemed exports amounted to Rs 5,102 crore ($ 1,108 million) as against Rs 3,466 crore for the corresponding previous quarter, an increase of 47 per cent.

Gross sales of the company in the first quarter of the current fiscal year increased 21 per cent to Rs 207.63 billion ($4.51 billion), according to a statement released here. “We are pleased with Reliance’s strong operational and financial performance in the first quarter of the year,” said Anil Ambani, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Ltd. “The improvement in our margins and profitability has been achieved, overcoming the challenge of record high crude oil prices, our major feedstock,” he said.

Domestic demand for petroleum products increased during the first quarter, showing a growth of 9.5 per cent against a drop of about 2.7 per cent during the corresponding period last year.

The company said increase in sales was also due to the rise in product selling prices of 18 per cent and sales volume growth of 3 per cent compared to the corresponding previous quarter.

According to Reliance, its production of oil and gas and petrochemicals increased to 3.19 million tonnes for the quarter, registering a growth of 16 per cent over the corresponding period’s 2.76 million tonnes.

Reliance is the largest exploration acreage holder among private sector companies in India, with 30 domestic exploration blocks covering an area of about 300,000 sq km.

This is in addition to its interest in one exploration block in Yemen. The company has also acquired the operating rights of five exploration blocks from Britain-based Tullow Oil plc, subject to government approval.

While approval for three blocks has already been received, that for two blocks is awaited, said the company statement.

Reliance said it had won a long-term contract for the supply of three million tonnes per annum of gas to the state-run power producer National Thermal Power Corporation.

Reliance already operates the world’s third largest refinery. The company earns half of its revenue from refining and most of the rest from petrochemicals.
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Chidambaram’s ‘in principle’ nod for more
equity in IA, A-I

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Tuesday said Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has agreed “in principle” to infuse more equity in Indian Airlines and Air-India to enable them expand fleet and also look at providing infrastructure fund for the modernisation of the 20 major airports across the country.

“The Finance Minister has agreed in principle for equity infusion,” he told reporters here after meeting Mr Chidambaram in the morning.

Later, the spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Ministry said here that the two ministers also spoke on some other important issues related to the ministry. These included the issue of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) price and the demand for reconsideration of withholding tax on leased aircraft.

Mr Patel said he wanted equity in Air-India to be enhanced from Rs 105 crore and in Indian Airlines from Rs 153 crore as part of efforts to expand the fleet of the two airlines since low equity base was coming in the way of acquiring more aircraft. However, the final arrangement of equity infusion is still to be worked out.

It would help both the public sector carriers to strengthen their equity base eventually, thereby helping the two in fleet acquisition when the final proposals are cleared by the Government.

On the issue of withholding tax on aircraft leasing at the rate of 48 per cent, introduced in the Union Budget this year, Mr Patel said he took up the issue for reconsideration and Mr Chidambaram promised to “look into” it.

Mr Patel said he also requested the Finance Minister for some share from the Rs 40,000-crore Infrastructure Fund, announced in the Budget, for development of small airports.

He exuded confidence that the issue of differential pricing of aviation turbine fuel would also be worked out in the near future. The Finance Minister informed him that the issue of different rates of sales tax in various states would be sorted out with the introduction of VAT next year.
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FM to outsource indirect tax activities
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
Having achieved reasonable success in outsourcing some activities on the direct tax front, the Finance Ministry is considering to adopt a similar model for customs and excise.

“We have to collect Rs 1,65,000 crore in excise and customs... we are looking at innovative ways and outsourcing some activities, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told newspersons here after a meeting with the Commissioners of Excise and Customs.

On the direct tax front, the government had outsourced some activities such as issuance of Permanent Account Number (PAN) cards.

He exuded confidence over achieving the targeted figures of direct and indirect taxes. “We need funds for some activities and funds for infrastructure", he said even as he underlined the needs for focussing on revenue. “Revenue is the heart of Finance Ministry. Unless we raise revenue, we can't fund development projects,” he said.

The indirect tax target for the current financial year is Rs 160,000 crore whereas the direct taxes were of the order of Rs 139,519 crore.
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Oil cos to pay Rs 1,400 cr for losses
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
The government has directed public sector oil companies Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Gail (India) Ltd and Oil India Ltd (OIL) to pay Rs 1,400 crore to Indian Oil Corporation, IBP, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Ltd for the losses incurred on the sale of LPG and kerosene in the first quarter of this fiscal.

Mr Subir Raha, Chairman, ONGC, has disclosed that as per the government directions, the company will have to pay Rs 800 crore to oil market companies towards sharing a third of the losses incurred by these companies on the sale of LPG and kerosene.

Mr Raha said they had received government instructions to pay the oil marketing companies for the first quarter only. Of the total amount of loss suffered by the oil marketing companies, one-third will be paid by the ONGC, Gail and OIL, one-third by the oil marketing companies and the government will pay the remaining amount by way of subsidies.

Among the upstream companies, ONGC will pay the maximum amount of Rs 800 crore, he said. The move to share the burden was a direct result of the government’s tacit intervention to restrain the oil marketing companies from raising prices of kerosene and LPG.
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Why are units sick, asks RBI
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed scheduled commercial banks to examine the reasons responsible for the sickness of industrial units in Haryana. In a directive sent to the banks, the RBI has asked them to ascertain why despite the special incentives and concessions offered to this sector from time to time, most of these units go sick or come on the verge of closure.

Taking note of the dismal scenario of the sick industrial units in the state, the Reserve Bank of India has asked the State Bank of Patiala, Punjab National Bank, Central Bank and Canara Bank to find out how effective are the benefits and concessions offered by the government to the industry and review their progress.

Due to its industrial policy, the state has a sizeable investment from multinational companies, large business houses, foreign investment from NRIs and small-scale entrepreneurs. It has nearly 1,230 medium and large industries, besides 80,000 small units.

According to figures available, of the 1230 units, 237 units have already applied to the Board for Industries and Finance Reconstruction to declare them sick. While 11 of these units following physical and non-physical release have been rehabilitated, 11 others are in the process of rehabilitation.

Data reveals that the condition of the small-scale industrial units is more pitiable. Some of the major causes attributed to their decline are poor and obsolete technology, inadequacy of working capital, problems related to availability of raw material, delays in sanction of term loan and working capital, poor management, divergence of resources and inadequate attention to R and D.

A Department of Industries official said the inability of these units to face growing competition due to liberalisation and globalisation and increasing expenses have a bearing on their performance.
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Infosys connects with students
Sridhar K. Chari
Tribune News Service

Bangalore July 27
Aiming to reduce employee training costs by half and plug a perceived “quality gap” between the requirements of industry and fresh engineering graduates, IT major Infosys has launched an industry-academia initiative called ‘Campus Connect.’

The company will work with faculty and students of participating colleges across the country to produce “industry-ready professionals.”

Infosys Board Chairman Narayan Murthy said that such a nationwide initiative, carrying an initial investment of Rs 10 crore from Infosys, was important as the IT industry was at a “crucial juncture” where countries like China, Brazil and Mexico, also with large populations, where set to emerge as big competitors. China could still be said to be about “three years behind,” but “the best way to handle competition is to stay ahead” and an important way to do that was to ensure a steady supply of human talent tailored to industry requirements, he said.

“Three companies, including Infosys, have entered the billion dollar bracket in India, and more will follow. The demand for a key input, human talent, will be greater and greater,” he added.

Infosys hired 7441 employees last year, and spent something like Rs 2 lakh per employee to train them, vice-president (Education and Research) M.P. Ravindra stated. “The gap between supply (of manpower) and demand is increasing in both quantity and quality,” and the gap had the potential “to hurt business growth” he said.

Chief Financial Officer and Board Sponsor of the programme Mohandas Pai said that Infosys may be able to cut out a three month foundation programme out of an overall training period that may last up to a year, and save “40 to 50 percent” of the Rs 2 lakh training cost. “There is, however, no compulsion or pressure on a student to join Infosys,” he stressed.

The initiative will seek to “align the college curriculum with industry requirements” and bridge the gap between the classroom and actual practice at work. It will comprise various components, including access to Infosys foundation course training materials, faculty training, and ‘project banks’.

Ravindra said 29 engineering institutions across the country, including the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology in Patiala and the Institute of Technology at Benaras Hindu University, had already signed up, and 39 faculty members from 19 institutions participated in a faculty enablement programme in July.
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Centurion schemes for GTB depositors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Centurion Bank has announced two special schemes to the account holders of the Global Trust Bank (GTB). The account holders of GTB can now avail pre-approved personal loan scheme for up to five times their net monthly take-home salary. The demat account holders of GTB will get 50 per cent off on the annual maintenance charges for the first year, on opening a demat account for Centurion Bank.

Mr Anil Jaggia, Chief Operating Officer, said the bank has allowed a three-month moratorium for the loan repayment. This loan would be similar to an overdraft for the first three months since no equated monthly instalments (EMIs) are to be paid.

At the end of three months, the customer can either choose to repay the entire amount or convert it to a personal loan. The interest rate applicable for the first three months would be 12 per cent, thereafter the interest would be charged at 16 per cent, which is the prevailing rate for unsecured personal loans. 
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Drabu set to be J&K Bank chief
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 27
Dr Haseeb A Drabu, a renowned economist of India and Economic Adviser to the Mufti-led State government, may hold the position of the Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, soon. He is likely to succeed Mr M.Y Khan, who retires from his services in December.

Reliable sources here disclosed that the Jammu and Kashmir Government has made a recommendation to this effect to the Reserve Bank of India. Dr Drabu, is one of the members of the Board of Directors of the J&K Bank.
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Corporate News

Hughes earns huge profit

New Delhi, July 27
Hughes Software Systems (HSS) today said its net profit rose 63 per cent to Rs 24.7 crore during the first quarter of this fiscal following business from new clients, improved collections and rupee appreciation.

The company’s sales grew 42 per cent to Rs 108.3 crore while the total income increased 42 per cent to Rs 111.5 crore in the April-June period of this fiscal.

During the quarter, HSS added 18 new customers for production services.

Earning per share (EPS) during Q1 was Rs 7.28, registering a 61 per cent growth over the corresponding quarter last year, HSS Chairman Ash Bharadwaj said.

Hexaware

IT company Hexaware Technologies Ltd has posted a 185.71 per cent rise in its consolidated net profit at Rs 14.2 crore for the second quarter ended June 30, 2004 as against Rs 4.97 crore in the Q2 of 2003.

The consolidated total income for the reporting quarter rose to Rs 132.74 crore as against Rs 78.70 crore in April-June 2003, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange today.

The board has recommended a hike in ceiling on investment by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) to 74 per cent from the current limit of 40 per cent of paid-up capital, subject to shareholders approval, it added.

Dr Reddy’s

High research and development costs, growing competition and a lack of big drug launches pulled down Dr Reddy’s Laboratories’ net profit by 300 per cent to Rs 30.9 crore in the fiscal first quarter from Rs 123.5 crore a year ago.

Total income has decreased 8.9 per cent to Rs 415.8 crore in the quarter ended June 30, 2004, from Rs 453 crore the corresponding period last year, the Hyderabad-based drugmaker said here today.

Dr Reddy’s said the group has posted a net profit of Rs 16.4 crore in Q1 against Rs 87.7 crore during the last fiscal first quarter while total income declined from Rs 488 crore to Rs 484.1 crore.

Jisco

Jindal Iron & Steel Company Ltd (Jisco) has posted a net profit of Rs 46.07-crore for the quarter-ended June 30, 2004 as compared to Rs 20.31-crore for the quarter-ended June 30, 2003, a quantum jump of 127 per cent. Announcing the results, the company said its total income (net of excise) has increased from Rs 451.66-crore in the JQ-03 to Rs596.23-crore in the quarter-ended June 30, 2004.

Sunil Synchem

Sunil Synchem Ltd has reported net profit of Rs 1.05 crore in the first quarter of the current financial year, registering an increase of 169 per cent, from Rs 39.22 lakh, the net profit registered in the corresponding period last fiscal. A leading manufacturer of hard gelatine capsule shells, the company has reported net sales of Rs 4.99 crore in QI as in 2004-05 as against Rs 3.51 crore during the corresponding period in 2003-04.

PTC

Power Trading Corporation, a provider of the power-trading services in the country, has posted 4 per cent increase in its net profit to Rs 6.96 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2004, as compared to Rs 6.70 crore reported in the corresponding quarter ending June 30, 2003. The total income went up by 2.16 per cent to Rs 495.78 crore in the present quarter in comparison to Rs 485.28 crore reported in the corresponding quarter.

Tata Infotech

Tata Infotech Ltd has posted a net profit of Rs 13.19-crore for the quarter-ended June 30, 2004, as against Rs 12.02-crore in the quarter-ended June 30, 2003, showing a rise of 10 per cent.

Announcing the results, the company said its total income has increased from Rs 138.19 crore in the JQ-03 to Rs 174.99 crore in the quarter-ended June 30, 2004.

Pidilite Industries

Pidilite Industries Ltd has posted a net profit of Rs 23.89 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2004, as compared to Rs 21.02 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2003, an increase of 14 per cent. — TNS, Agencies
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BRIEFLY

SBI net up
Mumbai, July 27
State Bank of India has posted net profit at Rs 1,058.40 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2004, a growth of 17.55 per cent over Rs 900.36 crore recorded in the same period of previous fiscal. Total income during the April-June quarter decreased to Rs 9,205.2 crore from Rs 9523.2 crore in the corresponding period of 2003-04, India’s largest bank said in a statement after its board meeting in Delhi. — TNS

Hutch-Citibank
Chandigarh, July 27
Hutch, a mobile service provider, and Citibank, a part of the Citigroup financial service, today launched the Hutch Citibank Credit and Debit cards in association with MasterCard International. The cards will come with a bouquet of benefits such as TalkPoints, an m-commerce infrastructure, insurance cover for the card member and his/her handset and an interest free EMI scheme on the purchase of a new handset. — TNS

Airtel card
Chandigarh, July 27
Airtel, a mobile service provider, ICICI Bank Ltd and HPCL have joined hands to launch Airtel Rewards ICICI Bank Credit Card, India’s first multi-branded credit card. The only card with three commercial partners, it will enable high-end Airtel post-paid customers to be a part of the rewards program and earn multiple reward points based on their Airtel usage, fuels spends at HPCL outlets and other credit card spends. The credit card is an International ICICI Bank Silver Card. — TNS

Ind-Swift
Chandigarh, July 27
Ind-Swift Ltd. has launched Resurgence, a new marketing division, for anaesthesiology, oncology and surgery segments. Launching the first phase of the division, Dr G.Munjal, chairman of the company, said Resurgence will be launched in three phases — phase one for anaesthesiological products, phase two for oncology products and innovative surgical drugs in the third phase. — TNS

BPL-Sanyo pact
New Delhi, July 27
The debt-ridden consumer durables major BPL Ltd today announced its decision to float a 50:50 joint venture with Japan’s Sanyo Electric company for a consideration of $ 80 million and transfer of its colour TV business to it. The company’s Board of Directors decided to invest an amount not exceeding $10 million. — UNI

Vijaya Bank
Bangalore, July 27
Vijaya Bank today reported a net profit of Rs 97.55 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2004, a 20.58 per cent jump over Rs 80.90 crore posted during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. — PTI
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