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TRAI condemns telecom operators
Nearly 60 pc not meeting benchmark

New Delhi, September 8
Slamming the telecom operators, both mobile and fixed, telecom regulator TRAI said today 59.52 per cent of the service providers across the country did not meet the benchmark criteria set for providing basic quality of services to their customers.

Ethanol blending from Nov 1: Deora 
New Delhi, September 8
Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said today that blending under the ethanol- blended programme (EBP) will commence on November 1.

Ranbaxy’s Irish unit on the block 
New Delhi, September 8
Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, which has decided to put its manufacturing unit in Ireland on the block, may sell it for 25-35 million euros.

Indiabulls too eyes UWB
Mumbai, September 8
Indiabulls Financial Services Ltd said today it had received approval from its Board for submitting an expression of interest (EoI) to the RBI proposing merger of United Western Bank with the company.

GDP growth to be 8 pc: FM
New Delhi, September 8
Despite devastating impact of floods in several states and rising interest rates on the economy, the Indian growth story will continue this year. The growth in gross domestic product (GDP) of the economy is likely to remain around 8 per cent this year as well, said Finance Minister P. Chidambaram here today.

Rel Comm seeks GSM spectrum in 21 circles
New Delhi, September 8
Reliance Communications has applied for spectrum in 21 circles under the Unified Access Service Licence. The company sent in its application to the Department of Telecom's spectrum wing — Wireless Planning Coordination — last week.

India among most preferred Asian equity markets: S&P 
New Delhi, September 8
The growth story of the Indian stock market looks like it has come to stay going by a global survey of emerging market fund managers, which ranks the country as one of the favourite Asian destinations ahead of China, Russia, Thailand and Pakistan.


 

 

Bollywood actor and brand ambassador of Whirlpool Ajay Devgan and his wife Kajol at the launch of range of Whirlpool home appliances in New Delhi
Bollywood actor and brand ambassador of Whirlpool Ajay Devgan and his wife Kajol at the launch of range of Whirlpool home appliances in New Delhi on Friday. The company has earmarked Rs 60 crore to advertise and market its products during the coming festival season and was targeting 40 per cent growth. — Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

 
Airhostesses of Emirates Airline at the launch of its "eight-flights-a-week" service in Bangalore
Airhostesses of Emirates Airline at the launch of its "eight-flights-a-week" service in Bangalore on Friday.— PTI

Videocon is chosen bidder  for Daewoo Electronics
Seoul, September 8
Creditors of South Korea’s Daewoo Electronics said today they had chosen a consortium led by India’s Videocon Industries as the preferred bidder for their controlling stake in the company.

Alcatel, Lucent merger backed
Paris, September 8
Shareholders of French telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel and US group Lucent have approved a merger of the two companies to create a giant valued at 21.5 billion euros ($27 billion).

Rs 16.4-cr order for PunCom
Mohali, September 8
Punjab Communications Limited (PunCom) has bagged orders worth Rs 16.4 crore. Mr S.P. Singh, Managing Director, PunCom, said today the company had emerged as the lowest eligible bidder in the four railway tenders for setting up optical fibre-based communication networks and orders worth Rs 8.8 crore were expected by Indian Railways shortly.

Bihar plans to ‘hijack’ Tata car project from Bengal
Patna, September 8
The Bihar Government plans to go for aggressive marketing to project the state as an upcoming investment centre under the changed regime in its bid to “professionally” hijack the proposed car factory by the Tata group from West Bengal.

Ceat tyre plant in Sri Lanka
New Delhi, September 8
Tyre major Ceat Ltd said today its Sri Lankan joint venture had commissioned a new car radial tyre plant, which has been set up with an initial investment SLR 35 crore. The plant will have an initial installed capacity of 26,000 tyres per month and cater to the domestic and export market, Ceat India Managing Director Paras K.Chowdhary said in a statement.

AUTO SCENE
M&M to invest Rs 1,000 cr 

New Delhi, September 8
Mahindra & Mahindra said today it would invest Rs 1,000 crore on capacity expansion in the next 3 years and was planning to set up assembly units in Russia and Malaysia.

 

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TRAI condemns telecom operators
Nearly 60 pc not meeting benchmark

New Delhi, September 8
Slamming the telecom operators, both mobile and fixed, telecom regulator TRAI said today 59.52 per cent of the service providers across the country did not meet the benchmark criteria set for providing basic quality of services to their customers.

Customer perception related to operators service was assessed for seven defined parameters through 29 questions for cellular mobile service subscriber.

On an all India basis, 59.52 per cent of the operators did not meet the benchmark criteria for all parameters taken together.

In the mobile circuit, TRAI said the customer perception of overall customer satisfaction level was poor in all circles, only 10 licencees out of a total of 105 licencees surveyed met the benchmark of 95 per cent.

In C circles none of the operators has achieved the benchmark (achievement level ranges from 78 per cent to 92 per cent). For network performance the quality is poor; as only two out of 105 licencees surveyed meet the benchmark. Only TATA -Mumbai and Bharti-HP meet the benchmark.

In the lucrative A and B circles none of the operators is meeting benchmark.

For billing criteria, the survey was conducted separately on post-paid and pre-paid customers. In the post-paid segment, overall 79 per cent of the licensees achieved the satisfaction level of 90 per cent and in the pre-paid segment the number of licencees who achieved this level is 86 per cent.

None of the service providers met the benchmark for the parameters maintainability in metro circles (achievement level ranges from only 26 per cent to 82 per cent) and C circles (achievement level ranges from 3 per cent to 89 per cent)

In the case of basic service on an average 38 out of 53 (71.50 per cent) service providers do not meet the benchmark for the seven parameters on customer perception of service.

On an average, the circle-wise performance of the operators in respect to the benchmarks is very poor in metro circles (20 per cent) and C circles (12 per cent) as compared to the performance of the operators in A and B circles (36 per cent).

In respect of metro circles, A circles and C circles, none of the operators meets the benchmark of overall satisfaction level of 95 per cent. In B circle, only in Kerala BSNL and Reliance could meet the benchmark.

None of the operators meets the benchmark in metro, A and C circles. In A circles, Bharti - Karnataka scored 0 per cent satisfaction level. In C circles, in HP, NE and J&K BSNL scored 0 per cent satisfaction level. In B circles, only in Kerala, BSNL and Reliance could meet the benchmark.

Releasing the report on customer satisfaction survey of the Basic and Cellular Mobile Telephone Service - Quality of Service (QoS) for the quarter ending March 31,2006, the TRAI engaged TUV South Asia as an independent agency for conducting an objective assessment of the quality of service provided by basic and cellular mobile service providers. It had also focussed on customer satisfaction surveys for assessing the customer perceptions of the service.— UNI

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Ethanol blending from Nov 1: Deora 

New Delhi, September 8
Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said today that blending under the ethanol- blended programme (EBP) will commence on November 1.

Mr Deora has asked the oil marketing companies for early implementation of the EBP programme on a national scale.

“The process of procurement of ethanol by oil companies has commenced with the OMCs issuing public notices,” the minister said.

Oil marketing companies will have to procure almost 60 crore litres of ethanol for blending with petrol to promote green fuel in the country.

The programme will be implemented in all states except the North-East region, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora has scrapped the process of buying sugarcane extract at a negotiated price and instead asked the public sector oil marketing companies to call for open tenders. The open bidding process will remove fears of cartelisation.

Meanwhile, a major ethanol producer has made a unilateral offer to supply 10 crore litres of ethanol at Rs 21.50 a litre for five years. This is 35 per cent more than the price of any other fuel with the same calorific value.

The energy equivalent price of ethanol works out to Rs 15.60 a litre, taking one-year peak petrol cost of Rs 26 per litre. The Indian Sugar Manufacturers Association, however, want ethanol price to be linked to global crude.

Earlier, the 5 per cent ethanol blended programme was started in nine sugarcane-growing states. However, the project did not make substantial headway due to various reasons including drop in sugarcane production. The procurement of ethanol from the domestic market would help the sugarcane farmers with better returns and supplement the availability of petroleum products in the country.— PTI 

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Ranbaxy’s Irish unit on the block 

New Delhi, September 8
Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, which has decided to put its manufacturing unit in Ireland on the block, may sell it for 25-35 million euros.

The company had roped in Merrill Lynch International to find a suitor for its Ireland unit, which has been valued at 25-35 million euros.

Ranbaxy’s Ireland unit has two blocks where it produces general solid dose products and semi-synthetic penicillin for the Irish and UK markets, besides serving as a gateway to the European Union.

According to sources, Ranbaxy had generated revenues of 12 million euros from the Ireland unit last year. It currently employs about 80-90 persons and holds over 100 marketing licences issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for the sale of products in the UK and over 50 marketing licences issued by the Irish Medicine Board for sale in Ireland.

Ranbaxy decided to sell its Irish unit following the acquisition of Terapia in Romania, where it plans to consolidate its European manufacturing operations. — PTI 

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Indiabulls too eyes UWB

Mumbai, September 8
Indiabulls Financial Services Ltd said today it had received approval from its Board for submitting an expression of interest (EoI) to the RBI proposing merger of United Western Bank with the company.

Under the proposed merger, Indiabulls said it would offer one share of the company (after demerger of its real estate business) for every six shares of UWB, thereby providing a large upside to UWB shareholders.

In a filing on the Bombay Stock Exchange today, Indiabulls said it would create a competitive universal bank with a diversified product and services, offering a large pan-India customer base and an extremely strong capital base.

The strong capital base of the combined organisation would provide necessary strength to UWB’s balance sheet and remove the risk that the bank’s current depositors face, Indiabulls added

Yesterday, the UWB submitted its rehabilitation proposal to the apex bank that involves infusing capital to the tune of around Rs 350 crore by Sicom Ltd, the Maharashtra Government and the Deepak Parekh-spearheaded HDFC group — a move that would help the ailing retain its independent identity.

Meanwhile, United Western Bank will not proceed with its rights issue, following the moratorium imposed on it by the RBI.

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GDP growth to be 8 pc: FM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 8
Despite devastating impact of floods in several states and rising interest rates on the economy, the Indian growth story will continue this year. The growth in gross domestic product (GDP) of the economy is likely to remain around 8 per cent this year as well, said Finance Minister P. Chidambaram here today.

“The Economic Advisory Council of the Prime Minister has forecasted 7.9 per cent GDP growth during 2006-07, based on a buoyant growth of 9.7 per cent in industry and 9.5 per cent in the service sector,” he told reporters.

However, he added that growth in the agriculture sector was likely to remain at 1.5 per cent this year due to adverse impact of natural calamities.

Playing down the impact of inflation on the common man, he said: “The Government and the RBI are taking fiscal and monetary measures to keep inflation under control between 4.5 per cent to 5 per cent this year and below 4 per cent later.”

The current inflationary pressures are mainly on account of oil prices and some supply side constraints in the availability of wheat and pulses, he said.

“Once we take care of the supply side of agricultural commodities, we may succeed in bringing down inflation below 4 per cent,” he observed.

Admitting that the rise in wheat and pulse prices, along with international crude oil prices, the common man was feeling the pinch, the Finance Minister said the increase in government expenditure in the social sector to provide better roads, communication and more employment opportunities have also benefited him.

On the demand of the Petroleum Ministry to reduce excise duty on petroleum products by Re 1 per litre, he said the decision would be taken by the Cabinet.

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Rel Comm seeks GSM spectrum in 21 circles

New Delhi, September 8
Reliance Communications has applied for spectrum in 21 circles under the Unified Access Service Licence.

The company sent in its application to the Department of Telecom's spectrum wing — Wireless Planning Coordination — last week.

Reliance Communications, which already offers GSM services in five circles under the previous Cellular Mobile Service Provider licence regime, had in June applied for GSM spectrum in six circles, including Delhi and Mumbai. Its present application seeks spectrum under the Unified Access Service Licence for 21 of the 23 circles in India. — PTI

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India among most preferred Asian equity
markets: S&P

New Delhi, September 8
The growth story of the Indian stock market looks like it has come to stay going by a global survey of emerging market fund managers, which ranks the country as one of the favourite Asian destinations ahead of China, Russia, Thailand and Pakistan.

According to a worldwide survey of emerging market fund managers conducted by global equity research firm Standard & Poor’s, India is the second most preferred market among the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries after Brazil.

Among the Asian equity markets, India has grabbed the third position after Korea and Taiwan, S&P said in a report.

The country has been placed at the ninth position among the 27 emerging markets in the survey while South Africa, Mexico, Israel, Brazil and Korea have grabbed the top five positions. Pakistan has been ranked 25th in the list.

Ms Alka Banerjee, Vice- President at S&P’s Index Analysis and Management Group, said in the report if the mid-1990s were the era of the “Asian Tigers,” these days the spotlight was on the BRIC economies — Brazil, Russia, India, and China

Once written off as highly risky assets, attracting only niche investors or those who were less averse to risk, equities in emerging markets were becoming more and more palatable to mainstream investors, Ms Banerjee said.

The number of stock exchanges in the emerging markets had grown in the past 25 years to more than 80 from 25.

Today, the BRIC economics had a huge potential for large economic booms with high growth rates, which were likely to persist fuelled by a variety of causes, ranging from high commodity prices and large pools of inexpensive skilled labour to low-cost production and quicker access to the latest technological advances, Ms Banerjee said. — PTI

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Videocon is chosen bidder  for Daewoo Electronics

Seoul, September 8
Creditors of South Korea’s Daewoo Electronics said today they had chosen a consortium led by India’s Videocon Industries as the preferred bidder for their controlling stake in the company.

DaewooElectronics, the country’s third largest electronics manufacturer, is a former unit of the Daewoo Group, which collapsed in 1999 with debts totalling $80 billion.

The Yonhap news agency said a consortium consisting of consumer electronics manufacturer VideoCon and Ripplewood Holdings, a US private equity fund, reportedly offered $700 million for a 97.5 per cent stake held by creditors that included Woori Bank and Korea Asset Management Corp, a state-run restructuring agency.

The consortium is 50.1 per cent owned by Videocon, with the rest held by Ripplewood. Established in 1979, Videocon is India’s largest consumer electronics maker. — AFP

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Alcatel, Lucent merger backed

Paris, September 8
Shareholders of French telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel and US group Lucent have approved a merger of the two companies to create a giant valued at 21.5 billion euros ($27 billion).

The backing came during special general assemblies held by Lucent shareholders in Wilmington, Delaware, and by Alcatel shareholders in Paris.

Lucent Technologies chairperson and Chief Executive Patricia Russo, who is to be chief executive in the combined entity, said the merger would create a strong global player.

“As we have said from the start, the primary driver of this combination is to create a long-term value for shareowners, customers and employees.

The merger creates a giant valued at 21.5 billion euros ($27 billion) that will be second only to US-based Cisco Systems in the field of telecoms equipment.

Alcatel and Lucent expect to complete their marriage by the end of 2006. The companies have already cleared several key regulatory hurdles, including anti-trust clearance in the US and the European Union.

The companies have also submitted a formal notice to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, seeking US governmental approval of their merger.—AFP

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Rs 16.4-cr order for PunCom

Mohali, September 8
Punjab Communications Limited (PunCom) has bagged orders worth Rs 16.4 crore. Mr S.P. Singh, Managing Director, PunCom, said today the company had emerged as the lowest eligible bidder in the four railway tenders for setting up optical fibre-based communication networks and orders worth Rs 8.8 crore were expected by Indian Railways shortly.

He said PunCom would be executing these turnkey projects with its own primary multiplexers and power plants with the SDH equipment from its partner, Tejas Networks, Bangalore.

He further said PunCom had also received a purchase order from BSNL for supply of STM-4 equipment worth Rs 7.6 crore. — OC 

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Bihar plans to ‘hijack’ Tata car project from Bengal
Tribune News Service

Patna, September 8
The Bihar Government plans to go for aggressive marketing to project the state as an upcoming investment centre under the changed regime in its bid to “professionally” hijack the proposed car factory by the Tata group from West Bengal.

Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata is scheduled to visit Bihar on September 21 in his capacity as the Chairman of the Investment Commission. Leading businessmen are expected to accompany him.

The Tata group plans to produce 1 lakh small cars costing Rs 1 Lakh each for which it has already signed an MoU with the Left Front Government in Bengal.

Even though the Tatas originally decided to set up their factory at Singur in Hoooghly in Bengal, the project has reportedly run into rough weather owing to opposition from both constituents of the Left Front, barring the CPM, Trinamool Congress and the Congress.

In view of the opposition to the proposed acquisition of multi-cropping agricultural land for the car project, the Bengal Government was reportedly yet to hand over the earmarked land by the Tata group.

Against this backdrop, Bihar Chief Secretary G.S. Kang said the state government would bid for this dream car project of the Tatas and offer as much land as required for it. The government would also make a strong power-point presentation before Mr Tata to highlight the changing perception of Bihar during NDA rule.

A senior official said the government would also try to impress Mr Tata with the possible locational advantage of Bihar vis-a-vis West Bengal with regard to the car project.

Besides making a competitive bid to lure the car project away from Bengal, the Nitish Government would also invite the Tata group for investing in agro-based industries and tourism.

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Ceat tyre plant in Sri Lanka

New Delhi, September 8
Tyre major Ceat Ltd said today its Sri Lankan joint venture had commissioned a new car radial tyre plant, which has been set up with an initial investment SLR 35 crore. The plant will have an initial installed capacity of 26,000 tyres per month and cater to the domestic and export market, Ceat India Managing Director Paras K.Chowdhary said in a statement.

The plant, located at Kelaniya, near Colombo, would initially focus on two ranges of radials—for cars and vans. — PTI

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AUTO SCENE
M&M to invest Rs 1,000 cr 

New Delhi, September 8
Mahindra & Mahindra said today it would invest Rs 1,000 crore on capacity expansion in the next 3 years and was planning to set up assembly units in Russia and Malaysia.

"We are looking at Rs 1,000 crore investment in capex which includes development of 'Ingenio', engine development and capacity expansion at the Uttaranchal plant," M&M President (Automotive Sector) Pawan Goenka said.

He said the company expected its assembly unit in Egypt to start production by the end of this fiscal.

"We are also planning assembly units for Scorpio in Russia and Scorpio Pick-Up in Malaysia. A final decision on both is expected by December this year.

Bajaj Auto

Bajaj Auto Ltd will invest Rs 1,000 crore in the second phase of its plant expansion programme at Hardwar and would roll out ungeared scooters across all segments in the first quarter of next fiscal. The new plant will start operations in two years.

The company is likely to launch its high-end vehicle DTS-Fi during the festive season this year.

General Motors

General Motors India said today it would launch its hatchback model 'Aveo-UVA' by November/ December with scaled-down engine capacity to get the benefit of excise duty cut announced in this year's Budget.

"We expect to launch a 1.2 litre petrol engine driven Aveo-UVS by November-December this year," GM (India) Vice-President (Corporate Affairs) P Balendran told reporters here.He said the company was looking at launching two variants of the model. He also said that the company's small car 'Chevy Spark' was expected to be launched by April next year.

Mr Balendran said the company's new plant at Talegaon in Maharashtra was expected to start production by October 2008 and will produce the small car with an initial capacity of 1,40,000 units. — Agencies 

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BRIEFLY

Inflation up
New Delhi, September 8
Inflation crossed the 5 per cent mark for the week ended August 26, mainly due to an increase in the prices of food articles, including vegetables and wheat. The wholesale price-based inflation soared to 5.01 per cent during the week under review from 4.91 per cent in the previous week.— PTI

BPLR hiked
Pune, September 8
The Bank of Maharashtra has increased from September 1 its benchmark prime lending rate (BPLR) by a marginal 25 basis points. The new BPLR is 11.5 per cent on monthly compounding basis. This change will affect the accounts linked to BPLR. 
— PTI

Nod to merger
Mumbai, September 8
The Board of Directors of Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL) today approved the proposal to merge Modern Food Industries Ltd and its subsidiary, Modern Food and Nutrition Industries Ltd, with the company with effect from October 1, 2006. The HLL board also decided to demerge the non-functional factory land at Shamnagar and Jamnagar and the vacant leasehold land at Daverashola into three resulting companies with effect from October 1, 2006. — PTI

LML Ltd
New Delhi, September 8
LML Ltd said today it had become a 'sick industrial company' and will refer this to the BIFR. On the context of continued lock-out of operations since February 2006 and uncertainty of generation of profits in the near future, the Board of Directors noted that net worth of the company as on August 31, 2006, has been completly eroded and it has become a sick. — UNI

Gold crashes
New Delhi, September 8
Gold prices today crashed by Rs 290 per 10 gm at the local bullion market on discouraging overseas advices. Prices of yellow metal declined from Rs 9,650 yesterday to Rs 9,360 per 10 gm as overseas advices also plummeted from $636 to $611 per troy ounce. — UNI

Flight to Kulu
Bangalore, September 8
Air Deccan will add Kulu to its growing number of destinations from October 17. The daily Delhi-Kulu flight leave Delhi at 0615 hrs and reach Kulu at 0725 hrs. The return flight would leave Kulu at 0740 hrs and reach Delhi at 0850 hrs. Bookings for this sector for travel between October 17 and January 31, 2007, would open tomorrow.— UNI

Forex reserves
Mumbai, September 8
According to the RBI, the total foreign reserves as on September 1 went up by $132 million to $166.458 billion compared to $166.326 billion last week.— UNI

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