SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Betapharm won by Dr Reddy’s for $480 m
Hyderabad, February 16
Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and 3i, Europe’s leading private equity house, jointly announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement for the strategic investment by Dr Reddy’s to acquire 100 per cent of Betapharm Group, the fourth-largest generic pharmaceuticals company in Germany, for a total enterprise value of $480 million in cash.

Kalam vows to remove hurdles in growth
New Delhi, February 16
Reasserting the government’s commitment to economic reforms, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam pledged today that the UPA Government would remove hurdles constraining economic growth and push ahead with an ambitious plan to develop a world-class infrastructure in the country.

Reliance to invest $6 billion in refinery
New Delhi, February 16
Reliance Petroleum Limited (RPL) has announced to invest $6 billion in an export- oriented refinery project at Jamnagar (Gujarat) for which the company has raised $1.5 billion from the market.

PM, Chirac may discuss Mittal issue
Thwarting bid against WTO guidelines, says Nath
New Delhi, February 16
Guy Dolle, Chief Executive Officer of Arcelor, speaks at a press conference to announce his company’s results for 2005 on Thursday in Luxembourg. India pressurised European Union (EU) to take up the issue of Laxmi Niwas Mittal’s takeover bid of rival steel company of Luxembourg-based Arcelor after New Delhi warned that attempts to thwart the acquisition violated WTO rules.

Guy Dolle, Chief Executive Officer of Arcelor, speaks at a press conference to announce his company’s results for 2005 on Thursday in Luxembourg. The European steelmaker reported a 66 per cent rise in net profit in 2005 and said the hostile takeover bid launched by Mittal Steel for the company “seriously undervalues” its business. — AFP photo


A model showcases a creation by Pantaloon at a fashion show in Mumbai on Wednesaday night.
A model showcases a creation by Pantaloon at a fashion show in Mumbai on Wednesaday night. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 
SpiceJet Chairman Siddhant Sharma (left) and Ajay Singh, Director, SpiceJet, display a model of newly launched SpiceJet aircraft Boeing 737-800 Delhi-Goa via Mumbai at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday.
SpiceJet Chairman Siddhant Sharma (left) and Ajay Singh, Director, SpiceJet, display a model of newly launched SpiceJet aircraft Boeing 737-800 Delhi-Goa via Mumbai at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday.
— A Tribune photograph

Car, two-wheeler sales buoyant
New Delhi, February 16
Led by Maruti Udyog and Tata Motors, car sales started New Year on a healthy note rising 8.3 per cent at 84,235 units despite segment heavyweight Hyundai witnessing a sharp 20 per cent decline in numbers.

PHDCCI submits wish-list to HP
Shimla, February 16
The PHDCCI today requested the government to come up with a human resource industry blueprint so that ready technical workforce can be provided to the industry, thus providing employment to skilled youth.

Parker Hannifin eyes Rs 200-cr turnover
Chandigarh, February 16
A leading international manufacturer of fluid power components and systems, Parker Hannifin eyes expansion through acquisitions and organic growth. Holding a little over Rs 200 crore share in the Rs 3,500 crore market, the company aims to overtake market leader Wipro, within two years.

Nahar raises $45 m
Chandigarh, February 16
Textile major, Nahar Industrial Enterprises Limited (NIEL) has successfully raised $45 million from the international market through Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCB) issue. These FCCBs will be listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. A company press note said that are zero coupon bonds with a yield to maturity of 6.25 per cent.
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Betapharm won by Dr Reddy’s for $480 m

Hyderabad, February 16
Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and 3i, Europe’s leading private equity house, jointly announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement for the strategic investment by Dr Reddy’s to acquire 100 per cent of Betapharm Group, the fourth-largest generic pharmaceuticals company in Germany, for a total enterprise value of $480 million in cash.

The transaction will be funded using a combination of Dr. Reddy’s internal cash reserves and committed credit facilities, a company press note here today said.

Commenting on the acquisition, Dr Anji Reddy, Chairman, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, said: “We see our investment in Betapharm as a key strategic initiative become a mid-sized global pharmaceutical company with strong presence in all key pharmaceutical markets. Betapharm has created a strong growth platform and is well positioned for the future and we are looking forward to partner with them in building a strategic presence in Europe.”

Commenting on the strategic partnership with Dr Reddy’s, Dr Wolfgang Niedermaier, CEO, Betapharm, said: “Dr Reddy‘s impressive pipeline of generic and innovative products and high-quality standards combined with competitive manufacturing infrastructure will help further develop our position in the German market and offer an entry platform for the European market”.

Its extensive and well-recognised corporate social responsibility activities perfectly fit with our successful corporate philosophy and business model, he said. — UNI

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Kalam vows to remove hurdles in growth
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 16
Reasserting the government’s commitment to economic reforms, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam pledged today that the UPA Government would remove hurdles constraining economic growth and push ahead with an ambitious plan to develop a world-class infrastructure in the country.

Allaying aside fears of investors on the impact of inadequate ports and airports and severe power shortages on the Indian economy, now growing at 8 per cent, the President said: “The government is committed to developing a world-class infrastructure to make our economy more competitive.”

He promised the government would push ahead with the modernisation of India’s airports and ports, and ease conditions to attract long-term private sector investment in the country’s infrastructure. “Plans are being made for the modernisation and development of Kolkata and Chennai airports,” adding that a comprehensive plan for the planned development of other regional airports was under finalisation.

India’s spectacular growth in the past few years has been concentrated around its sprawling urban centres and has left untouched the lives of tens of millions of people living in the country’s villages and remote hamlets. It has also sparked a debate on the need to ensure that the benefits of economic growth trickle down to the poorer sections of Indian society.

Dr Kalam said the government had set a deadline of 2009 to provide electricity, safe drinking water and telephone access to every village in the country and construct six million new homes in the rural areas.

In a significant move aimed at taking forward Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s path-breaking administrative reforms, the President announced the government would introduce new systems to ensure efficiency in the bureaucracy.

He said: “Steps have been initiated for setting up the sixth Pay Commission for government employees.”

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Reliance to invest $6 billion in refinery
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 16
Reliance Petroleum Limited (RPL) has announced to invest $6 billion in an export- oriented refinery project at Jamnagar (Gujarat) for which the company has raised $1.5 billion from the market.

The company has also decided to go ahead with a domestic IPO of approximately $ 1.1 to $1.3 billion to finance the project.

The funds, raised to part-finance the project, is a syndicated loan facility considered to be the single largest limited recourse financing mandated in the Asian markets in recent years, excluding China ,and the fourth largest single mandate in Asia in the past five years.

The facility will be used to finance the setting up of a new refinery having an installed capacity of approximately 27 million tonnes (580,000 bpd) and a 0.9 mtpa polypropylene complex. On a stand-alone basis, the new refinery is expected to be the sixth largest at any single location in the world and together with RIL’s existing 33 MTPA refinery at Jamnagar this will be the largest concentration of refinery assets at a single location globally.

The new refinery, with a Nelson Complexity Index of 14.5, would be one of the most complex refineries globally. High complexity enables the refinery to process a wide variety of crude with a flexible output. The total cost of the project is expected to be $6 billion, making it by far the single largest single petrochemical, refinery project investment ever in Asia.

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PM, Chirac may discuss Mittal issue
Thwarting bid against WTO guidelines, says Nath

New Delhi, February 16
India pressurised European Union (EU) to take up the issue of Laxmi Niwas Mittal’s takeover bid of rival steel company of Luxembourg-based Arcelor after New Delhi warned that attempts to thwart the acquisition violated WTO rules.

“EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson spoke to me yesterday after my letter to him on the issue and he (Mandelson) said he will take up the issue with the European Commission,” Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath told reporters.

Taking up the matter with Mr Mandelson, Mr Nath had written a letter saying this issue was really a question of providing cross-border investment a national treatment, a commitment EU has given in the WTO negotiations.

Meanwhile, Luxembourg authorities have indicated that merchant banker Morgan Stanley has been appointed to go into the $22.3 billion offer to buy Arcelor.

Mr Nath had taken up the issue particularly after the manner in which French authorities reacted on the issue.

French Government should not have intervened in the matter, which should have been dealt appropriately by shareholders and industry analysts, Mr Nath said on the sidelines of the inauguration of Handicraft and Gifts Fair, 2006.

The issue is also likely to figure when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets French President Jacques Chirac. The French President is likely to visit India on February 19.

The bid has sparked objections from the Governments of France, Luxembourg and Spain and from labour unions, which are worried about job losses, even though Mr Mittal has assured that no worker will lose job and cited all his operations in various countries had not resulted in retrenchment.

A report from Paris said French foreign minister stepped in to a row over Mittal Steel’s $23 billion bid for Arcelor on Thursday, saying France wanted to save jobs and asking why Europe could not have its own steel champion.

Mittal says it will uphold Arcelor’s job commitments. — Agencies

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Car, two-wheeler sales buoyant

New Delhi, February 16
Led by Maruti Udyog and Tata Motors, car sales started New Year on a healthy note rising 8.3 per cent at 84,235 units despite segment heavyweight Hyundai witnessing a sharp 20 per cent decline in numbers.

According to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), Maruti, Tata Motors, Ford and Honda pushed the sales up, despite six of the 11 carmakers witnessing slackening demand. In fact, Hyundai’s monthly sales fell from 14,540 units in January 2005 to 11,631 units last month.

Car sales in the 10 months of this fiscal have been relatively subdued at 7,07,901 units, a single-digit growth of 5.9 per cent over 6,68,382 units in the corresponding period last fiscal, SIAM said.

On the two-wheeler side, motorcycles continued their strong run in 2006 as sales jumped 14.6 per cent in January at 4,99,333 units against 4,35,665 units in the same month last year.

The charge was led by segment heavyweights Hero Honda and Bajaj Auto, the latter witnessing a whopping 31 per cent growth in numbers.

Motor cycle sales in the April, 2005, January 2006, period have grown by 16.5 per cent at 47,81,917 units against 41,02,939 units in the 10 months of past fiscal, SIAM said.

On the other hand, scooter/scooterettee sales, which rose 11.9 per cent in January at 78,933 units (70,490), are down by 3.4 per cent in the 10 months, ending January 31, 2006, at 7,53,770 units.

Overall two-wheeler sales, comprising bikes, scooters and mopeds, were up by 12.8 per cent in the domestic market in the 10 months of this fiscal at 58,08,258 units against 51,49,313 units in the corresponding period last fiscal.

Commercial vehicle sales, which dipped by 6 per cent in December, rebounded strongly in January, rising by 14.8 per cent at 34,037 units against 29,634 units in the corresponding month last year. — PTI

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PHDCCI submits wish-list to HP
Tribune News Service

Shimla, February 16
The PHDCCI today requested the government to come up with a human resource industry blueprint so that ready technical workforce can be provided to the industry, thus providing employment to skilled youth.

In its pre-Budget memorandum to the government, the PHDCCI suggested that the opening of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and Agriculture Technical Institutes would be the first step in this direction.

The PHDCCI suggested that the government should give priority to improving quality of link roads joining onto the highways as roads play a crucial role in development. “Good roads reduce the transportation cost and boost access for farming and rural enterprise leading to an increased rural income and economic growth,” it pointed out.

The government should have a focused strategy for guiding industrialisation so as to make industry sustainable even beyond the package. “The government needs to look beyond agriculture, horticulture towards agribusiness by investing in cold storage, pack houses, logistics, processing facilities and marketing of the produce,” they suggested.

It also suggested that improving air connectivity by having helicopter service would go a long sway in tourism promotion. “Since Himachal is a land- locked state there is need to have helicopter service to the remote and tribal areas which are becoming popular with visitors,” they suggested.

It also suggested that the government must make efforts to eliminate revenue deficit so that borrowings are not used to finance revenue expenditure but are utilised for generating capital assets. The financial position of the state continues to be grim with over Rs 2,600 crore per annum being spent by the government on debt servicing alone.

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Parker Hannifin eyes Rs 200-cr turnover
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
A leading international manufacturer of fluid power components and systems, Parker Hannifin eyes expansion through acquisitions and organic growth. Holding a little over Rs 200 crore share in the Rs 3,500 crore market, the company aims to overtake market leader Wipro, within two years.

This was stated by the Parker Hannifin MD Viren A Joshi, who was in the city to inaugurate a retail Parker Store today The company focussed equally on organic growth (expansion of dealer network) and on acquisition. Last year, they acquired the Hyderabad-based Morkwell.

Negotiations are on for the acquisition of another fluid energy major in the domestic market,” he revealed. The company hike its turnover from Rs 120 crore last year to over Rs 200 crore by the end of this fiscal. The company plans to add eight more by next year, including one in Ludhiana. An extension counter of the Chandigarh store will be opened at Baddi soon.

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Nahar raises $45 m

Chandigarh, February 16
Textile major, Nahar Industrial Enterprises Limited (NIEL) has successfully raised $45 million from the international market through Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCB) issue. These FCCBs will be listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. A company press note said that are zero coupon bonds with a yield to maturity of 6.25 per cent.

These five-year FCCBs will be convertible at a conversion price of Rs 200 per share. On conversion, the underlying equity shares will be listed on BSE and NSE. The FCCBs will mature on February 16, 2011. The company is also set to embarked upon the second phase of expansion plan in textile with a total capital outlay of Rs. 400 crore. — TNS

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BRIEFLY

BoB signs pact
Mumbai, February 16
The Bank of Baroda and Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) today inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance the provision of financing and other banking products and services to entities involved in infrastructure development. BoB has approved Rs 11,500 crore only for infrastructure projects out of which Rs 6,000 crore had been disbursed for 53 projects till September 30 last year, Chairman and Managing Director Anil Khandelwal said. — UNI

Orchid Chem
Mumbai, February 16
Pharmaceutical major Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd today said it has signed a long-term Master Research & Development agreement with Pfizer International, LLC. Orchid Chem informed the stock exchanges that it would provide research and development services to Pfizer’s animal health business as per the agreement, which is for a period of seven years and renewable thereafter. — PTI

Fenner projects
Chennai, February 16
Fenner India, celebrating its 50th anniversary, proposes to set up two greenfield projects at Chennai and Hyderabad at an investment of Rs 40 crore. Announcing this at a press conference here today, Fenner India Chairman Raghupati Singhania said the “most modern” oil seal plant would come up at Sriperumbudur, 40 km from here. A 10-acre piece of land had been acquired for the purpose. — UNI

Nitco’s plans
Chennai, February 16
Mumbai-based Nitco Tiles Limited has drawn out plans to expand its existing manufacturing facilities for ceramic floor tiles, enter into wall tiles segment and set up wind mills involving a total investment of about Rs 100 crore. Addressing a press conference here in connection with company’s entry into the capital market to raise about Rs 140 to Rs 168 crore, Mr Vivek Talwar, Managing Director, said the company would utilise the proceeds to expand its floor tiles manufacturing capacity by 60 per cent, involving an investment of Rs 21 crore. — UNI

Capital Bank’s net profit soars
Chandigarh, February 16
Capital Local Area Bank, which operates in the rural areas of Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur districts, has registered a 203 per cent growth in its operating profit in the nine-month period ending December 31, 2005, over the same period of the previous year. the net profit rose by 75 per cent during this period. Mr Sarvjit Singh Samra, Managing Director of the bank, said today the bank would open its branches at Begowal in Kapurthala district, Bhogpur and Lohian in Jalandhar district by March 31. The bank planned to interconnect all its branches and extend its area of operation to three more districts — Ludhiana, Nawanshahr and Ropar. The rural bank plans to install 10 more ATMs and hopes kisan credit cards too will be operated through them. Reporting zero NPAs. The bank has achieved a 40 per cent growth in its business, which has risen to Rs 330 crore. Outlining expansion plans, Mr Samra said the bank proposes to open 25 more branches in the next financial year. — TNS

Reliance Info’s roaming rates
Chandigarh, February 16
Reliance Infocomm today introduced 30 paise a minute national incoming roaming calls in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh in their postpaid value roaming pack. This can be used with any postpaid plan including Lifetime Plan and cost Rs 99 per month only. — TNS

JK Cements moots public issue
Mumbai, February 16
JK Cements today announced a follow-on public issue of 2 crore equity shares of Rs 10 each to raise money for developing its captive power plant production capacity expansion. Rajasthan-based J K Cements is already listed in the stock markets and is looking forward to raise at least Rs 200 crore from the public issue. — UNI

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