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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

ICICI Bank takes the lead, ups lending rate by 0.5 per cent 
Mumbai, June 9
A day after the Reserve Bank raised key short- term interest rates, ICICI Bank today kickstarted another round of a lending rate hike by announcing a 0.5 per cent increase on all retail and corporate loans.

ONGC seeks $4-5 discount on Rajasthan oil from Cairn 
New Delhi, June 9
ONGC has sought a discount of $4-5 per barrel on Cairn Energy's low- grade Rajasthan crude oil, saying without concessions it was uneconomical to transport the oil to its subsidiary MRPL.

Reliance Comm moves TDSAT
Seeks Rs 85 cr from BSNL
New Delhi, June 9
Seeking to recover Rs 85 crore from BSNL, telecom major Reliance Communications has filed an appeal before TDSAT in a dispute pertaining to payment of interconnect usage charges. Acting on the appeal, the Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Authority issued notices to BSNL and the Department of Telecommunication (DoT).

New IT form unlikely to capture black money in real estate
New Delhi, June 9
The much-controversial four-page IT form, which would be optional this year along with ‘Saral’ form for filing returns, is unlikely to capture the widespread black money deals in real estate and other businesses worth thousands of crores annually.

Canadian bureau nod for Mittal
London, June 9
The Canadian Competition Bureau has confirmed that it will not challenge the bid by Mittal Steel to acquire Arcelor, a Mittal Steel statement said here.

Lanco pips REL, Essar Power for UP project
Lucknow, June 9
In a major step towards privatisation of power sector in Uttar Pradesh, a high-power committee evaluating bids for setting up the mega Anpara ‘C’ super thermal power project today decided in favour of Hyderabad-based power giant Lanco Kundapalli, eliminating Reliance Energy and Essar Power from the contention.


A model wears an outfit from Redley's 2007 spring/ summer collection at the Fashion Rio Show in Rio de Janeiro
A model wears an outfit from Redley's 2007 spring/ summer collection at the Fashion Rio Show in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday. — Reuters




 


Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak congratulates CII Chairman Farhad Forbes at the launch of the Malaysia-India CEO Forum
Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak congratulates CII Chairman Farhad Forbes (right) at the launch of the Malaysia-India CEO Forum in Mumbai on Friday. India is Malaysia's 14th largest trading partner with bilateral trade valued at over $5 billion. — AFP

Cellebrum.com inks pact with UK firm
Chandigarh, June 9
Cellebrum.com Pvt. Ltd, Asia's leading integrated telecom value- added service (VAS) solutions provider, an MCorpGlobal group company, and UK's premier mobile interactive community service provider, ICE 365, have entered into an alliance to offer community VAS services to global markets.

Air Deccan listing put off
Mumbai, June 9
Deccan Aviation has postponed the listing of its much-discussed IPO which is now likely to get listed on June 12, company sources said here. The IPO fell into controversy from its first day of opening as it saw markets crashing by over 800 points on May 18.

CORPORATE RESULTS
Indian Hotels payout 130 pc Mumbai, June 9

Indian Hotels has posted an increase of 86.93 per cent in net profit after tax of Rs 78.85 crore for the quarter ended March 3 as compared to Rs 42.18 crore for the same period last year.Top










 

ICICI Bank takes the lead, ups lending rate
by 0.5 per cent 

Mumbai, June 9
A day after the Reserve Bank raised key short- term interest rates, ICICI Bank today kickstarted another round of a lending rate hike by announcing a 0.5 per cent increase on all retail and corporate loans.

However, other banks, both public sector and private sector, have adopted a wait –and- watch stance before revising their rates in the backdrop of rising cost of funds.

Some banks, including HDFC Bank, IDBI Bank and IndusInd Bank, will take a view on the interest rate hike in a week’s time while Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Syndicate Bank have no immediate plans to tinker with the rates.

The RBI raised both reverse repo, the rate at which it buys funds from banks, and repo, the rate for lending, by 0.25 per cent each to contain inflation following the recent increase in the fuel prices.

“Normally we see the rates slow down after January-March period. But this year this did not happen. Considering this scenario, we have taken this decision,” ICICI head (retail business) Chanda Kochar said here.

She also said that as of now the rates would continue to be higher and the bank would have to react according to the market conditions.

With this revision, the floating interest rate for home loans has increased to 9.5 per cent from earlier 9 per cent while the fixed interest loan rate has gone up to 10.75 per cent from 10.25 per cent.

The hike has also affected the corporate lending rates, which were not revised in June, when the bank hiked its rates. However, the bank has not changed the interest rates on deposits.

However, other private sector banks seem to have adopted a wait-and-watch policy and are likely to respond to the RBI decision by early next week.

“We see no immediate need to hike our home loan rates. We will take a view on this within a week,” Keki Mistry, Managing Director of HDFC, the country’s largest housing finance player, said here. Other banks, while not commenting on the ICICI decision, agreed that the process of increasing home loan rates has been kick-started by its move.

According to Mr Rajan Ghotgalkar, IDBI Bank Corporate Head (Retail Banking), many banks would wait to see how the competition reacted before taking a decision.

Punjab National Bank Chairman S. C. Gupta ruled out any change in the lending rates for two or three months. — PTI

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ONGC seeks $4-5 discount on Rajasthan oil from Cairn 

New Delhi, June 9
ONGC has sought a discount of $4-5 per barrel on Cairn Energy's low- grade Rajasthan crude oil, saying without concessions it was uneconomical to transport the oil to its subsidiary MRPL.

Cairn's Rajasthan crude had high wax content and needed specialised pipelines with intermittent heating to transport it 400 km from Barmer district to Mundra port in Gujarat for further shipment to Mangalore Refinery for processing.

Sources said Cairn has sought an international price for the 1,50,000 barrels per day Rajasthan crude expected from end-2008, but ONGC says Rs 2,000 crore it plans to sink in the pipeline needs to be compensated through discounts without which its was uneconomical to process Rajasthan oil at MRPL.

Petroleum Ministry, sources said, has supported ONGC's demand and told Cairn Energy chief executive Bill Gammell at a meeting on May 25 unless the British firm gave discounts, the government will ask the company to make its own arrangements to transport the crude from Rajasthan to any port for export.

Cairn cannot sell the crude to any other refiner as the government had appointed ONGC/MRPL as offtakers in India.

Sources said ONGC has made it clear that its plans to set up a Rs 8,000-crore, 7.5 million tonnes-a-year refinery at Barmer district to process Cairn's Rajasthan crude depended on the discounts the British firm offered.

Without discounts, there would be no refinery, the company has said.

The pipeline, along with intermediate pumping and reheating stations and the export terminal tankage at Mundra, was expected to cost Rs 2,000 crore. The pumping and reheating energy cost was expected to be around $0.30 per barrel.

As per Cairn's projections, the production of crude will commence from the last quarter of 2008 with initial output of little over 100,000 barrels per day peaking to around 150,000 bpd from 2009 to 2012. The production declines from 2014, reaching a low of around 20,000 bpd by 2024.

Cairn had earlier stated that in-place reserves in the three main northern fields — Mangala, Bhagyam and Aishwariya — stood at around 800 million barrels of oil. All 18 discoveries together hold reserves in excess of 3.5 billion barrels of oil in place.

According to Cairn's earlier statements, its present focus was to bring Mangala on stream at the earliest opportunity followed by Bhagyam and Aishwariya.

The initial development investment for Mangala and Raageshwari gas by the joint venture to first production is estimated to be in the region of $800 million.— PTI 

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Reliance Comm moves TDSAT
Seeks Rs 85 cr from BSNL

New Delhi, June 9
Seeking to recover Rs 85 crore from BSNL, telecom major Reliance Communications has filed an appeal before TDSAT in a dispute pertaining to payment of interconnect usage charges.

Acting on the appeal, the Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Authority issued notices to BSNL and the Department of Telecommunication (DoT).

The dispute pertains to payment of interconnect usage charge (IUC) under an agreement in January 23, 2003, for interconnectivity in different circles reached between the telecom PSU and the private company, then called Reliance Infocomm.

In its appeal, Reliance prayed for a direction from the tribunal to BSNL to settle bills (worth Rs 85 crore) raised by it and waive Rs 6.82 crore fine imposed by BSNL on it.

The Rs 85 crore that Reliance seeks to recover from BSNL includes a Rs 13.82 crore "excess" payment made by the private company to the telecom PSU.

"Declare and direct the respondent (BSNL) to refrain to transfer inter- circle calls as wired routed calls and set aside the demands raised by them in this regard," the company said in its prayer.

Reliance Communications also prayed for a direction to BSNL for repaying Rs 19.38 crore paid by it towards non-roaming calls under the agreement.

Reliance has also prayed the TDSAT to direct BSNL to provide the full details of the billing records of calls terminating at BSNL's network for the verification purpose.

The Tribunal, which is on vacation, will hear the matter in the first week of July. 
— PTI 

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New IT form unlikely to capture black money in real estate  
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 9
The much-controversial four-page IT form, which would be optional this year along with ‘Saral’ form for filing returns, is unlikely to capture the widespread black money deals in real estate and other businesses worth thousands of crores annually.

“It is true that a large number of citizens are evading tax by not declaring their income from other sources, especially from household rent, part-time business and black money earned from real estate business,” said Mr Revenue Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar today.

But the new form will not be able to capture such tax evasion, and we will have to depend on local intelligence and cooperation of state governments, he added.

A parliamentary panel attached with the Finance Ministry had recently raised serious concerns about huge tax evasion in real estate business and asked the government to take measures in this regard.

Instead of taking measures to check black money, experts said, “the new form seems to be an exercise of harassment of honest taxpayers.

“The filing of cash-flow statements and details of all bank accounts is still optional in the new form. But people can get notices from the tax authorities in case of major discrepancies in their income and expenditure at the time of scrutiny as we have access to information on transactions through information gathered from annual information returns (AIR) of banks, credit card companies and others,” said Mr Chandrasekhar.

On whether the government has any proposal to make it mandatory for the landowners to give receipts of rent, he said, “We have no such proposal at the moment.

In the NCR alone, where the real estate and rent prices have gone up manifold over the past year, market observers said people were evading tax amounting to hundreds of crores annually earned through household rent, part-time work etc.

“To capture black money in real estate business, we will depend on local intelligence apart from the land rates notified by the state governments. Since the states are also losing stamp duty on property deals, we are emphasising on better coordination between the Centre and states,” he said. “Even if we are able to capture half a per cent of real estate black money this year, it would prove a deterrent for others,” he said.

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Canadian bureau nod for Mittal

London, June 9
The Canadian Competition Bureau has confirmed that it will not challenge the bid by Mittal Steel to acquire Arcelor, a Mittal Steel statement said here.

Along with the granting of EU anti-trust clearance on June 2 and the expiry of the waiting period under the US Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 on May 11, this clearance is being seen as an important turn in the ongoing bidding process.

Describing the clearance as unconditional, the company said, no offer to exchange or purchase any Arcelor shares or convertible bonds had been or wouldl be made in the Netherlands or in any jurisdiction other than Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Spain and the United States.

ALMATY: Mittal Steel said on Friday it had started discussions with Arcelor on its proposed takeover of the rival company. ‘’We have started discussions with Arcelor. Yesterday was the first day,’’ Mr Malay Mukherjee, Mittal’s Chief Operating Officer, told reporters during a trip to Almaty.

“Right from the very beginning we said we were willing to talk.’’ Mittal’s hopes of carrying out its 21.5 billion euro ($27.6 billion) bid hinge largely in enough Arcelor shareholders rejecting an alternative in the form of a deal with Russian steel company Severstal “The offer is very attractive even if you look at it in terms of the present stock prices,’’ said Mr Mukherjee. — Agencies

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Lanco pips REL, Essar Power for UP project

Lucknow, June 9
In a major step towards privatisation of power sector in Uttar Pradesh, a high-power committee evaluating bids for setting up the mega Anpara ‘C’ super thermal power project today decided in favour of Hyderabad-based power giant Lanco Kundapalli, eliminating Reliance Energy and Essar Power from the contention.

The five-member Request -For-Proposal (RFP) evaluation committee headed by Principal Secretary (Energy) Ashok Kumar Khurana found Lanco’s bid the lowest — hence recommended its name for the coveted project.

Anpara ‘C’ project, which has already generated heat among UP power employees, who opposed the privatisation move right from the start, is now set to fall in Lanco’s lap for setting up 1,000MW unit and selling power at the rate given in its bid.

Lanco had quoted a rate of Rs 1.91 per unit compared to higher quotation of Rs 2.17 per unit and Rs 2.79 per unit by Reliance Energy and Essar Power respectively, highly placed sources said.— UNI

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Cellebrum.com inks pact with UK firm
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
Cellebrum.com Pvt. Ltd, Asia's leading integrated telecom value- added service (VAS) solutions provider, an MCorpGlobal group company, and UK's premier mobile interactive community service provider, ICE 365, have entered into an alliance to offer community VAS services to global markets.

This partnership will see the emergence of India's single largest mobile interactive VAS provider that promises to offer community VAS services on multiple platforms viz. GPRS, USSD and IVRS.

Mr Paul Shoker, Group Chief Executive Officer, ICE 365 Ltd, said, "The alliance with Cellebrum will help us tap the booming Indian telecom market, and together we will provide a one-stop solution to VAS needs of the country. He said this association was consistent with ICE 365's strategy of developing the company's global footprint in growth markets. It may be mentioned that ICE 365 is setting up its facility in Mohali, with an initial investment of $1 million.

Mr Saket Agarwal, Chief Operating Officer, Cellebrum.com said, "With the support of ICE 365 we are confident of executing the strategy chalked out by us for our global expansion in the areas of information, communication and entertainment". 

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Air Deccan listing put off

Mumbai, June 9
Deccan Aviation has postponed the listing of its much-discussed IPO which is now likely to get listed on June 12, company sources said here. The IPO fell into controversy from its first day of opening as it saw markets crashing by over 800 points on May 18.

The issue consisting of 2.45 crore equity shares was to be closed on May 23, but due to a poor market response it was extended till May 26. Also, the price band was lowered from Rs 150-175 per share to Rs 146-175. — PTI

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CORPORATE RESULTS
Indian Hotels payout 130 pc Mumbai, June 9

Indian Hotels has posted an increase of 86.93 per cent in net profit after tax of Rs 78.85 crore for the quarter ended March 3 as compared to Rs 42.18 crore for the same period last year.

The total income increased 35.88 per cent to Rs 368.73 crore for the fourth quarter in 2005-06 from Rs 271.35 crore in the corresponding quarter in 2004-05, the company said.

The Board of Directors recommended a dividend of Rs 13 on shares of Rs 10 each (130 per cent).

For the year ended March 31, the company registered a net profit after tax of Rs 183.78 crore as compared to Rs 105.86 crore a year ago and the total income increased to Rs 1127.57 crore for financial year 2005-06 from Rs 873.24 crore in 2004-05.

The group recorded a net profit after tax (after minority interest in subsidiaries) of Rs 248.71 crore for the year ended March 31, as compared to Rs 128.50 crore a year ago and the total income increased to Rs 1914.18 crore for 2005-06 from Rs 1365.70 crore in 2004-05.

Khaitan Chemicals

Khaitan Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd has registered a 94 per cent increase in its net profit for the year ended March 31, 2006, at Rs 8.85 crore as compared to Rs 4.56 crore last year, recommending a dividend of 18 per cent.

The total turnover of the company stood at Rs 245.6 crore, up by 33 per cent as compared to Rs 184.86 crore the previous year.

Earlier this year the company took over and amalgamated Mahadeo Fertilizers Ltd having a capacity of 115,500 tonnes per annum (tpa) of single super phosphate (SSP) capacity and 49,500 tpa of sulphuric acid.

With this merger, the capacity of Khaitan Chemicals has increased to 847,000 tpa of SSP and 221,100 tpa of sulphuric acid.

Cummins India

Cummins India Ltd has posted a 16.57 per cent increase in net profit after tax at Rs 54.09 crore for the quarter ended March 31 as compared to Rs 46.40 crore for the corresponding quarter in 2004-05.

Total income for the fourth quarter in 2005-06 grew 20.96 per cent to Rs 407.38 crore as compared to Rs 336.77 crore in the year-ago period, the company said

The Board has recommended a final dividend of Rs 2 per share of Rs 2 each (100 per cent) for the year ended March 31. This is in addition to the interim dividend of 100 per cent declared on January 31.

For 2005-06 the net profit after tax was Rs 175.69 crore as against Rs 137.22 crore for 2004-05. The total income for 2005-06 stood at Rs 1539.97 crore as compared to Rs 1271.47 crore for 2004-05. The group posted a consolidated net profit after tax of Rs 183.64 crore for the year ended March 31 as compared to Rs 1 33.42 crore for the year 2004-05. Consolidated total income of the group for the year 2005-06 stood at Rs 1839.59 crore as against Rs 1538.28 crore in the year 2004-05. — Agencies

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BRIEFLY

Inflation down
New Delhi, June 9
Wholesale price-based inflation has declined marginally to 4.68 per cent for the week ended May 27, but the threat of higher inflation has arrived following the increase in domestic fuel prices. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for all commodities was up by 0.1 per cent to 201.3 points owing to costlier food, non-food and industrial fuel prices. It was 192.3 points in the year- ago period. — PTI

Corpn Bank
Dubai, June 9
Corporation Bank plans to open a representative office here as part of its first overseas foray in 100 years. The bank, with 835 branches in India, has obtained RBI permission for its overseas expansion, Chairman and Managing Director B. Sambamurthy said, who was in the UAE to hold talks with Central Bank officials to plan out a strategy to open the bank’s representative office in Dubai. — UNI 

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