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Govt finetunes norms to assess FBT 
New Delhi, October 3
Following complaints from tax-payers and auditors, the government is taking measures to finetune the norms for assessing the fringe benefit tax (FBT) introduced by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in 2005.

Tatas eye retail with multi-product outlets
Mumbai, October 3
The Tata Group today unveiled plans to enter the consumer and electronics durables retail market through multi-brand outlets for which it has provided an initial resource base of Rs 800 crore.

Wockhardt buys Ireland Co for Rs 686 crore
New Delhi, October 3
Wockhardt Ltd today announced the acquisition of Pinewood Laboratories Ltd, Ireland’s leading branded generic pharma company, in an all-cash-deal of $150 million (Rs 686 crore).

Nicholas buys out Boots in JV
Mumbai, October 3
Nicholas Piramal India Ltd (NPIL) has acquired the balance 51 per cent stake in Boots Piramal Healthcare Pvt Ltd (BPHPL), its joint venture with the European Alliance Boots, making BPHPL a 100 per cent NPIL subsidiary.

IOC-Petronas to invest Rs 400 cr 
New Delhi, October 3
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and its partner, Malaysia's Petronas, will invest about Rs 400 crore to build an LPG import terminal at Ennore in Tamil Nadu.

Indian Hotels to buy Ritz Carlton’s Boston unit for $170 m 
Mumbai, October 3
India’s largest hospitality chain Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), which runs the Taj group of hotels, may soon acquire Ritz Carlton Hotel Company’s Boston division.

i-flex buys Mantas for $122.6 m
New Delhi, October 3
i-flex Solutions Ltd, an IT solutions provider to the global financial services industry, today announced it has acquired the US-based Mantas Inc, a provider of regulatory compliance, loss prevention and revenue generation solutions, in a $122.6 million all-cash deal.


 

 

 


Actress Aishwarya Rai wears a necklace at the launch of a diamond jewellery collection in Mumbai
Actress Aishwarya Rai wears a necklace at the launch of a diamond jewellery collection in Mumbai on Tuesday. — Reuters

 
Humanoid robot Seisaku-kun pedals a bicycle up an incline at a demonstration
Humanoid robot Seisaku-kun pedals a bicycle up an incline at a demonstration of advanced technologies in Makuhari, northeast of Tokyo, on Tuesday. — Reuters

Premium Swiss watch launched 
Chandigarh, October 3
The premium watch brand, Maurice Lacroix, is all set to ride the wave of booming economy. The Swiss watch was introduced at a reputed watch store in Sector 8 here.

M&M to set up 4-wheeler plant in Uttaranchal
Dehra Dun, October 3
After establishing its three-wheeler industrial unit in Hardwar and a tractor unit in Rudrapur, Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) will set up its four-wheeler manufacturing unit at 250 acres of land in Uttaranchal with an investment of Rs 1,500 crore.

RCF-built coaches for Senegal
Kapurthala, October 3
As many as 20 coaches built at Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala, have been shipped to Senegal (Africa) while a team from RCF will leave for Senegal to demonstrate assembling of parts to engineers of PTB Senegal.

Tata Tea may exit Sri Lanka
Colombo, October 3
India’s Tata Tea is in talks with a Sri Lankan firm to sell off its plantation venture here, officials said. Tata has invested in Sri Lanka through a joint venture with Watawala Plantations, who sells Ceylon tea under the ‘Zesta’ and ‘Watawala’ brands.

Arcelor-Mittal may not get Laiwu stake
Buenos Aires, October 3
Arcelor-Mittal, the world's largest steel-maker, may fail in its bid to buy a stake in Laiwu Steel because it "lacks support" from some government departments, an executive at China's biggest steel-maker said.

UWB on track as IDBI takes over
Satara, October 3
Long queues and confidence marked the opening of United Western Bank (UWB) today after it was taken over by IDBI recently.

RITES turnover
New Delhi, October 3
RITES Limited, a public sector enterprise under the Ministry of Railways, has achieved the highest ever turnover of Rs 426 crore and pre-tax profit of Rs 133 crore.

 

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Govt finetunes norms to assess FBT 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 3
Following complaints from tax-payers and auditors, the government is taking measures to finetune the norms for assessing the fringe benefit tax (FBT) introduced by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in 2005.

“With the professional assistance of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), we have devised an Annexure II inserted in Form 3CD to the tax audit report to assess FBT in an objective manner by the employers. It is applicable from August 10,” said Revenue Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar, Ministry of Finance, while releasing the “ Guidance Note on Audit of Fringe Benefits under the Income Tax Act, 1961’ here this evening.

The introduced annexure has placed the responsibility of determining FBT in a correct manner on chartered accountants.

Later speaking to reporters, Mr Chandrasekhar said:“ We have simplified the norms for assessing FBT in an objective manner, and hope that by next year employers will become fully familiar with it. The government is expecting substantial growth in FBT this year, estimated between Rs 4000 crore and Rs 5,000 crore, as against Rs 3000 crore collected the previous year.”

The Revenue Secretary said as against the target of Rs 2,10,000 crore revenue collections, the government had collected Rs 81,000 crore direct taxes as on September 15 this year, thus achieving 39 per cent of the total target.

Service tax collections had shown growth of over 40 per cent while excise duty collections were almost stagnant. After overhauling the income, corporate and customs Acts, he said, the government was considering to review the excise laws with assistance from the ICAI.

“Efforts would be made to identify industries indulging in tax evasion and to plug the loopholes in the system.”

Referring to the guidance note, the Revenue Secretary clarified that as per the ruling of the Supreme Court, the government will not have to pay FBT on behalf of its employees as the government was not expected to tax itself. However, the government corporations would be liable to pay FBT, he added. 

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Tatas eye retail with multi-product outlets

Mumbai, October 3
The Tata Group today unveiled plans to enter the consumer and electronics durables retail market through multi-brand outlets for which it has provided an initial resource base of Rs 800 crore.

The group, which already has presence in various retail verticals through brands such as Westside and Landmark, will launch the new outlets under the brand ‘Croma’ to be run by Infiniti Retail Ltd.

“We have earmarked Rs 400 crore as initial investment and another Rs 400 crore through borrowing, taking the total resource availability to Rs 800 crore,” Infiniti Retail Ltd CEO Ajit Joshi said.

The ‘Croma’ chain of stores would retail over 180 brands, both global and Indian, ranging from LG, Samsung, Lenovo, IBM, HP, Compaq, HCL. Besides, the new venture, which will be a 100 per cent subsidiary of Tata Sons, would offer more than 6,000 products across eight categories.

“The move is to enhance Tatas’ presence in growing retail industry in the country. We have a technical alliance with Australian retail major, Woolworths, to source products for the venture,” Tata Sons Director R.K. Krishnakumar said here today.

In the first 18 months, the company would open 30 stores. The Tatas would also look at investing in other retail formats, Mr Krishna Kumar said. It would also look at introducing private label brands at some point in the future, but not immediately, he added.

When asked if the initial investment was very modest compared to what was announced by Reliance and Bharti for their retail ventures, Mr Joshi said: “Our ambition is to be among the top two players.

The company plans to open 100 such stores by 2010. — PTI

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Wockhardt buys Ireland Co for Rs 686 crore

New Delhi, October 3
Wockhardt Ltd today announced the acquisition of Pinewood Laboratories Ltd, Ireland’s leading branded generic pharma company, in an all-cash-deal of $150 million (Rs 686 crore).

The acquisition will give the company an entry and leadership in the generic market of Ireland. As almost half of Pinewood’s sales are reported in the UK, the acquisition will reinforce Wockhardt’s position in the UK where it is already the largest generic company from India and the second largest player in hospital sales.

“This acquisition gives us a larger footprint in Europe spread over the UK, Ireland and Germany. The European business will now exceed $200 million, accounting for almost half of Wockhardt’s total sales,’’ Chairman Habil Khorakiwala said.

Pinewood reported sales of over $70 million for the year ended June, 2006.

The takeover will also offer enormous opportunities to unlock value to the company’s enlarged customer base in the UK and Ireland by offering them a wider range of products, Mr Khorakiwala said.

Pinewood is the company’s fourth European acquisition, after Wallis, CP Pharmaceuticals (both in UK) and Esparma in Germany. The UK and Germany are Europe’s leading generic markets.— UNI

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Nicholas buys out Boots in JV

Mumbai, October 3
Nicholas Piramal India Ltd (NPIL) has acquired the balance 51 per cent stake in Boots Piramal Healthcare Pvt Ltd (BPHPL), its joint venture with the European Alliance Boots, making BPHPL a 100 per cent NPIL subsidiary.

It acquired the 51 per cent stake from Alliance Boots' subsidiary The Boots Company Plc, NPIL informed the BSE.

Following Reckitt Benckiser's global acquisition of Alliance Boots' OTC business, the latter decided to exit its venture in lndia and as part of the arrangement have paid NPIL a one-time sum of Rs 17.8 crore.

Boots Piramal Healthcare was a 49:51 joint venture company and marketed the OTC brands of both companies in India.

After the acquisition, the company's name would be changed by removing the word 'Boots' and henceforth the former Boots OTC brands will now be marketed by Reckitt Benckiser (India) Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of Reckitt Benckiser Plc, UK.

NPIL will continue to market and distribute its own OTC brands — Saridon, Polycrol and Lacto Calamine — and will also own the marketing team. NPIL would continue to invest heavily and grow its OTC brands, the release added.— PTI

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IOC-Petronas to invest Rs 400 cr 

New Delhi, October 3
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and its partner, Malaysia's Petronas, will invest about Rs 400 crore to build an LPG import terminal at Ennore in Tamil Nadu.

IndianOil Petronas, the joint venture company floated by IOC and Petronas, will build a 600,000 tonnes a year LPG import terminal at Ennore, company sources said.

The joint venture, which currently operates a similar terminal at Haldia in West Bengal, would build two cryogenic storage tanks of 10,000 and 15,000 tonnes to store LPG at - 42 degrees centigrade.

In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, state-run Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) has tied-up with Total of France and would be spending Rs 300 crore to set up an LPG import terminal and an underground storage facility at Visakhapatnam.

IOC to double refining capacity

Indian Oil Corp plans to almost double its crude oil refining capacity to 80 million tonnes by 2011-12, the year by when it is targeting to scale $60 billion in turnover.

IOC Chairman Sarthak Behuria while presenting a dividend cheque of Rs 1197.60 crore for 2005-06 to Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, informed that, "IOC aspired to grow from a $41 billion turnover company today to $60 billion by the year 2011-12 with well-coordinated strategic plans, including clear blueprints for investments to the tune of $12 billion or Rs 50,000 crore mainly in integration and diversification projects, refinery expansions, product quality upgradation and retail operations." 
— PTI

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Indian Hotels to buy Ritz Carlton’s Boston
unit for $170 m

Mumbai, October 3
India’s largest hospitality chain Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), which runs the Taj group of hotels, may soon acquire Ritz Carlton Hotel Company’s Boston division.

IHCL will acquire the 400-room Boston facility of the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company for around $170 million, a senior official said.

“We are in the process of conducting the due diligence to acquire the Boston unit of Ritz Carlton,” Tata Sons Director R.K. Krishna Kumar said here today.

IHCL, which acquired Australia’s W-Sydney Hotel for $36 million last year, is buying the Ritz Carlton division as part of its long-term strategy to establish international presence.

The largest hospitality chain in the country, IHCL has 59 hotels at 40 locations across India.

The company has 17 international hotels in the Maldives, Mauritius, Malaysia, UK, US, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Africa, West Asia and Australia.— PTI 

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i-flex buys Mantas for $122.6 m

New Delhi, October 3
i-flex Solutions Ltd, an IT solutions provider to the global financial services industry, today announced it has acquired the US-based Mantas Inc, a provider of regulatory compliance, loss prevention and revenue generation solutions, in a $122.6 million all-cash deal.

''The convergence of governance, risk and compliance, presents Mantas and Reveleus with a unique market opportunity to leverage our complimentary strengths,'' Mr S Ramakrishnan, CEO, Revelues, i-flex Business Analytics division, said.

Mr Ramakrishnan would take up an additional charge of the Chief Executive Officer of Mantas.

Mr Simon Moss, ex-CEO of Mantas, will take on the role of Strategic Adviser to i-flex, focusing on key projects and providing guidance and support for a smooth transition.

As a result of the acquisition, Reveleus and Mantas will bring together two industry leading solutions into a single unified platform for governance, risk and compliance. — UNI

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Premium Swiss watch launched 
Tribune News Service

Philippe C Merk
Philippe C Merk

Chandigarh, October 3
The premium watch brand, Maurice Lacroix, is all set to ride the wave of booming economy. The Swiss watch was introduced at a reputed watch store in Sector 8 here.

"The Indian market is small in Asia but it is one of the most dynamic markets and I mean in terms of value," said CEO of Maurice Lacroix, Mr Philippe C Merk.

Known for its mechanical watches, the brand is one of luxury names in the world that make their own movements which puts them in the august company of 'luminaries' like Patek Philippe and Rolex (though not in the same price range).

"Someone who will buy a Maurice Lacroix is not a first time buyer. It is a typically Swiss and an expensive timepiece which has a strong value proposition," explained Mr Merk.

Travelling a less-taken path, the brand is distinguished by its Masterpiece Le Chronographe, limited to 250 pieces and available in pink gold, which is recognised for its retrograde movement, moon phase displays and chronographs and is "considered to be one of the most complicated complications" which took over three years to develop. 

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M&M to set up 4-wheeler plant in Uttaranchal

Dehra Dun, October 3
After establishing its three-wheeler industrial unit in Hardwar and a tractor unit in Rudrapur, Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) will set up its four-wheeler manufacturing unit at 250 acres of land in Uttaranchal with an investment of Rs 1,500 crore.

While interacting with Uttaranchal Chief Minister N.D. Tiwari M&M Chairman and Managing Director Keshav Mahindra said setting up of the unit would open employment opportunity for about 2,000 persons.

He said the suitable spot for the unit was being selected at Hardwar, Roorkee and Pantnagar.

Expressing his content on Mr Mahindra's planning, Mr Tiwari said the iundustrial development rate in the state had grown from 1 per cent to 18. — UNI

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RCF-built coaches for Senegal
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 3
As many as 20 coaches built at Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala, have been shipped to Senegal (Africa) while a team from RCF will leave for Senegal to demonstrate assembling of parts to engineers of PTB Senegal.

Sources in the RCF said engineers from Senegal were being trained at the coach factory here to enable them maintain the rake. The rake on its way to Senegal will help RCF generate a revenue of Rs 34 crore.

Another order has been procured through RITES recently for 50 coaches for inter-linked train between Senegal and Mali.

Mr Pratap Srivastava, Additional Member, Production Units, Railway Board and RCF General Manager, said, "Our factory is open to receiving overseas orders for coaches."

Mr Srivastava said Corten steel had been used in preference to stainless steel as it was corrosion resistant and stronger. Besides, fire retardant material had been used in these coaches. The use of fire retardant material is a common feature in all RCF coaches in keeping with the safety plan of Indian Railways.

RCF, which began with a capacity to manufacture 1,000 coaches every year, is now manufacturing 1,250 coaches. For the next fiscal the target is 1,400 coaches.

Till date, RCF claims to have manufactured 15,000 coaches of 51 types. These include five Rajdhani rakes of LHB Asltom design coaches, now running between Mumbai and New Delhi.

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Tata Tea may exit Sri Lanka

Colombo, October 3
India’s Tata Tea is in talks with a Sri Lankan firm to sell off its plantation venture here, officials said. Tata has invested in Sri Lanka through a joint venture with Watawala Plantations, who sells Ceylon tea under the ‘Zesta’ and ‘Watawala’ brands.

Yesterday, Watawala’s controlling shareholders signed an agreement with a Sri Lankan buyer, to begin work on a due diligence study.

Watawala’s CEO/Director Vish Govindasamy said today that “there is no time frame as to when the due diligence study will be finished. But Tata has announced plans sometime back to gradually get out of plantation management,”.

Mr Govindasamy didn’t say, but tea industry players are speculating that the buyer could be either Richard Pieris and Company, or James Finlays. Conglomerate Richard Pieris has recently emerged as the biggest plantation owner.

Last year, Tata sold out of its Indian plantations by transferring tea estates to an employee-owned private company. — PTI

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Arcelor-Mittal may not get Laiwu stake

Buenos Aires, October 3
Arcelor-Mittal, the world's largest steel-maker, may fail in its bid to buy a stake in Laiwu Steel because it "lacks support" from some government departments, an executive at China's biggest steel-maker said.

Mittal Steel's takeover of Arcelor meant some Chinese officials were against allowing the merged company to buy a 38 per cent stake in the Shandong province-based company, Laiwu's Vice General Manager Zhang Shengsheng said.

China, the world's biggest steel user, is increasing scrutiny of overseas investment, announcing a plan in August to ban the sale of assets that "threaten China's economic safety.'' Non-Chinese companies are already blocked from controlling majority stakes in domestic steel-makers.

"The Chinese government has always been pretty protective about its industries,'' Geoffrey Cheng, an analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research, said in Hong Kong. Overseas companies "taking major stake seems to be out of question.'' — Bloomberg

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UWB on track as IDBI takes over

Satara, October 3
Long queues and confidence marked the opening of United Western Bank (UWB) today after it was taken over by IDBI recently.

Around 230 UWB branches began functioning under the IDBI and its banner, taking the bank to the number sixth position with 430 branches countrywide.

The RBI had recently issued a moratorium restraining the bank from doing business due to mounting NPA’s and losses, paving the way for the takeover.

IDBI Chairman V.P. Shetty told reporters that the bank would focus on priority sectors like corporate finance, self-employment and agriculture. The Chairman added all shares of the UWB would not be merged with the IDBI. “The employees who desire retirement will be relieved within a month. This does not come under the voluntary retirement scheme. We are opening branches in Bahrain and Singapore shortly,’’ he said.— UNI

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RITES turnover

New Delhi, October 3
RITES Limited, a public sector enterprise under the Ministry of Railways, has achieved the highest ever turnover of Rs 426 crore and pre-tax profit of Rs 133 crore.

Addressing the 32nd AGM, Mr P.K. Rao, RITES Chairman and Member (Mechanical), Railway Board, said the company had secured challenging and prestigious contracts worth Rs 559 crore. — TNS

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BRIEFLY

Rupee gains 18 paise
Mumbai, October 3
Rupee today gained 18 paise to close at Rs 45.75 per US dollar comapred to the previous close of Rs 45.93 per dollar, on account of weak US data, which showed US growth rate to be at 2.5 per cent and is expected to weaken further, in addition to steep decline in the crude oil price, a money market trader said. Earlier, rupee opened at Rs 45.86/88 per US dollar and in the mid morning traded at Rs 45.83/84 per dollar. The RBI today fixed the reference rate at Rs 45.84 per US dollar compared to the previous rate of Rs 45.96 per US dollar.— UNI

Amritsar-Dubai flight begins
Amritsar, October 3
After viably connecting Amritsar to Europe and Canada, Air-India today launched its first Amritsar-Dubai flight thrice a week. The inaugural flight of Air-India Express, the low cost subsidiary of Air-India, was today flagged off here by Rajya Sabha member M. S. Gill and Punjab Civil Aviation Minister Lal Singh. The flight is being operated routing Delhi-Amritsar-Dubai on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays with 185-seater all economy-class configuration Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The flight from Amritsar will leave at 11.25 a.m. to reach Dubai at 1.10 p.m. on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, while the return Dubai-Amritsar flight will arrive here at 4.30 a.m. on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, an Air-India spokesman said here. — UNI

Infosys bags Saudi contract
Dubai, October 3
Infosys has won its first contract from a Saudi Bank for its Islamic banking solution. Mr Merwin Fernandes, Vice-President and business head for the solution, Finacle, said talks with at least three Gulf banks for its core banking solutions were at an advanced stage. “Saudi Arabia’s Arab National Bank is our first customer for the Islamic banking solution that is currently under development. We are seeing a favourable response from several banks in the Gulf and West Asia and expect more customers,” Mr Fernandes told Gulf News. Infosys has an ongoing contract with Egypt’s Bank of Alexandria that has some 200 branches. It also has a support centre in Egypt and another in Saudi Arabia. — PTI

Uttam Galva Steel prices up
Mumbai, October 3
Uttam Galva Steels Ltd today raised its prices across all product categories citing market forces. The categories comprised galvanised steel, cold-rolled steel and also the metal’s by-products. The price hike will be Rs 1,000 across categories for quarterly contracts and Rs 2,000 in the domestic spot market. — PTI

Pantaloon JV
Mumbai, October 3
Retail major, Pantaloon Retail India Ltd said today it would form a 50-50 joint venture company with UK-based Alpha Airports Group plc, to develop travel retail and food catering business in airports across the country. Alpha Airports Group operates over 150 shops in 15 countries with an annual turnover of over $880 million and has been operating duty-free shops at Cochin International Airport since 2002. — PTI

Rs 180-cr order for Jyoti Structures
Mumbai, October 3
City-based Jyoti Structures Ltd said today it has bagged an order worth Rs 180.27 crore from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority for supply of transmission lines. The order entails supply, installation, testing and commissioning of 400 KV D/C overhead transmission lines on a turnkey basis. The company informed the BSE that the order was to be executed within 18 months by the company and its consortium partner Dubai's Gulf Jyoti International LLC. Jyoti Structures provides turnkey solutions in the field of high voltage power transmission lines and substations. — PTI

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