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Murli Deora seeks Re 1 excise cut on diesel
Customs duty on 11 items slashed to tame inflation

New Delhi, January 23
Petroleum Minister Murli Deora today sought a Re1 cut in excise duty on diesel to rein in inflation standing at a two-year high of 6.12 per cent even as the government slashed customs duty on 11 items to check price rise.

Import duty cut to cost Rs 3,000 crore
New Delhi, January 23
While the Left parties criticised the customs duty cut as it would affect the domestic units, industry demanded similar sops like cuts in excise for domestically produced final products.

CITU against pension funds in stock market
New Delhi, January 23
The UPA government’s decision to notify an interim investment pattern for the contributions under the new pension scheme (NPS), including a five per cent investment in stocks, is a “retrograde move, with omnious portens for the social security of government employees,” said CITU, the CPM-backed trade union today.

Tata Steel, CSN oppose auction process
London, January 23
The UK Takeover Panel is close to initiating an auction process to decide who between Tata Steel and CSN gets steel maker Corus. Tata is understood to be contemplating an offer of up to 550 pence a share, The Times reported today, even as sources following the bidding war said the UK takeover regulator was a day or two away from deciding a process to pick the winner.

Tata Motors Q3 net up 12 pc
Small car to hit market by end of 2008

Mumbai, January 23
Tata Motors third quarter net profit has increased by 12 per cent to Rs 513 crore while revenue for the quarter ended December 31 on a stand-alone basis (net of excise) stood at Rs 6956.84 crore, an increase of 37 per cent compared to Rs 5074.74 crore in the corresponding quarter of the last year.

  • Bharti Airtel
  • Cipla Q3 net up
  • Ceat India


 

 

Model Nikole poses in a dress made of chocolates in front of the Cologne cathedral
Model Nikole poses in a dress made of chocolates in front of the Cologne cathedral on Tuesday to advertise a pro-sweets fair for the confectionery industry, which will start on January 29. — Reuters photo



 

 
Intel CEO and President Paul Otellini (right) and Sun Microsystems CEO and President Jonathan Schwartz shake hands at a news conference in San Francisco
Intel CEO and President Paul Otellini (right) and Sun Microsystems CEO and President Jonathan Schwartz shake hands at a news conference in San Francisco on Monday. Sun Microsystems has agreed to use chips from Intel in some of its servers while Intel will endorse Sun’s Solaris operating system. 
— AP/PTIphoto

SBI Q3 net dips 4 pc at Rs 1,065 cr
Mumbai, January 23
The country's largest public sector bank, the State Bank of India (SBI), today posted a decline of 4.49 per cent in net profit at Rs 1,065.06 crore for the quarter ended December 31, as compared to Rs 1,115.19 crore for the same quarter last year.

CEOs against quarterly results
New Delhi, January 23
An overwhelming number of CEOs and MDs have voiced against mandatory declarations of their quarterly performance as required by SEBI, claiming that it is a great drain of human resource and prevents corporate innovations and therefore, should be scrapped for good, according to the ASSOCHAM’s Eco Pulse survey.

Nod to 23 FDI proposals
New Delhi, January 23
The government has cleared 23 proposals that will bring a total of Rs 5,910.66 crore of foreign investment, a major chunk of which will come through Reliance Communications Ltd's plans to sell securities in overseas markets.

Suzuki launches four motor cycles
New Delhi, January 23
Suzuki Motorcycle India, a subsidiary of leading Japanese two-wheeler manufacturer Suzuki Motor Corporation, today introduced four upgraded models of its existing motorcycles, “Zeus” and “Heat”.
A view of the headquarters of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in Brussels
A view of the headquarters of US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in Brussels. Pfizer Inc. has said it plans to cut 7,800 more jobs, including over 20 per cent of its European sales force, in an effort to save up to an additional $1 billion by the end of 2008.— Reuters

Allahabad Bank ups deposit rates
Kolkata, January 23
Allahabad Bank today hiked the card rates of deposits in the time buckets of 91 days and above.

Russia to offer 5-yr biz visa
New Delhi, January 23
Russia is considering introducing five-year business visas for Indian entrepreneurs and raise bilateral trade from $2.75 billion to $10 billion by 2010. Russia is also creating four economic zones in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities and planning to open technology parks, and plans to invite Indian investors to participate in the proposed free economic zones.

Caparo to invest Rs 1,000 crore in India
Jamshedpur, January 23
Caparo Engineering India Private Limited, the flagship company of Lord Swaraj Paul, has planned a total investment of Rs 1,000 crore in India by 2009.

Corporate Results
Grasim net profit up 154 pc 

New Delhi, January 23
Grasim Industries Ltd has posted a 154 per cent increase in its net profit for the third quarter ended December 31, 2006, at Rs 411.58 crore as compared to Rs 161.87 crore for the same quarter an year ago.

 

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Murli Deora seeks Re 1 excise cut on diesel
Customs duty on 11 items slashed to tame inflation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
Petroleum Minister Murli Deora today sought a Re1 cut in excise duty on diesel to rein in inflation standing at a two-year high of 6.12 per cent even as the government slashed customs duty on 11 items to check price rise.

With the assembly poll in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Munipur next month and UP later this year, the government has decided to adopt a fire-fighting strategy against spiralling prices. As part of this plan, the government has unleashed cuts in customs duty on a slew of key manufactured items.

While presenting his Budget next month, Mr Chidambaram is expected to reduce import duty on a number of items in line with the commitment given to ASEAN under the proposed free trade agreement (FTA).

The RBI reviews the monetary policy on January 31 and analysts expect the central bank to raise rates to tame inflation.

“Yes, we are for reduction in excise duty on diesel. Despite the fall in international crude prices, oil companies continue to make a loss of Rs 0.50 a litre on diesel. Besides, such a duty reduction would help contain inflation,” Mr Deora told reporters after an hour-long meeting with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. He, however, refused to elaborate on his demands in his pre-Budget consultation.

Oil ministry officials said the Petroleum Minister has sought a Re 1 per litre cut in excise on diesel in the Budget for 2007-08. The current excise duty on diesel is 8.16 per cent plus Rs 3.32 a litre - the two together translating into a total levy of Rs 4.98 per litre. Last year, excise duty on diesel was Rs 3.41 per litre.

ThePetroleum Ministry was seeking a shift to specific duties on fuel from the current mix of ad-valorem and specific duties. The current excise duty on petrol is 8.16 per cent of ex-factory price plus Rs 13.26 a litre.

The Finance Ministry late last night reduced the customs duty on 11 items to reduce the cost of manufacturing and infrastructure development. Customs duty on items, including cement, capital goods, steel, copper, aluminium and inorganic chemicals. The duty on project imports has been brought down to 7.5per cent.

And the government is hoping that the domestic wheat prices are likely to rule soft in the coming months following the arrival of 45.41 lakh tonnes of imported wheat against the contract of 55 lakh tonnes for PDS and social welfare schemes. Even the area under cultivation in the ongoing rabi season has increased to 281.13 lakh hectares, giving hopes of a higher output this year.

The government recently reduced the prices of petro products to check inflationary pressure. With the current round of duty cuts, the government expects to tame inflation at below 5 per cent. The government and the central bank have earlier taken a slew of measures to cool inflation.

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Import duty cut to cost Rs 3,000 crore
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
While the Left parties criticised the customs duty cut as it would affect the domestic units, industry demanded similar sops like cuts in excise for domestically produced final products.

The Finance Ministry has reduced the customs duty on 11 items to reduce the cost of manufacturing and infrastructure development to contain inflation, which is at a two-year high of 6.12 per cent.

The customs duty cut on 11 products would hit the government revenues by about Rs 3,000 crore.

“Such drastic cuts in import duty on manufactured items would have adverse impact on domestic producers leading to deflation and unemployment,” the CPM politbureau said.

Welcoming the duty cuts, FICCI said the government should cut the excise for domestically produced final products so that they could be competitive in the market.

The chamber said the concern, however, was in the case of commodities produced domestically as final products. A sharp and sudden reduction in customs duty in such commodities could adversely impact the competitiveness of the domestic companies engaged in the production of such items.

While duty on portland cement has been scrapped, compared to 12.5 per cent earlier, project imports would now attract a 7.5 per cent levy as compared to the earlier range of 10-12.5 per cent. The concessional project import rate of 7.5 per cent will be available to airport development and metro rail projects.

Capital goods and their parts will now attract 7.5 per cent duty, compared to 10-12.5 per cent earlier. Similar is the case with winding wires.

Customs duty has been cut to 5 per cent from 7.5 per cent for primary and semi-finished forms of copper, aluminium, zinc, tin, other base metals, ferro-alloys, stainless steel and other alloy steel. On pipes and tubes of aluminium, copper and zinc (heading 7907), the duty has been cut from 12.5 to 7.5 per cent. 

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CITU against pension funds in stock market
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
The UPA government’s decision to notify an interim investment pattern for the contributions under the new pension scheme (NPS), including a five per cent investment in stocks, is a “retrograde move, with omnious portens for the social security of government employees,” said CITU, the CPM-backed trade union today.

Asking the government to drop the proposed order, CITU said the move was contrary to the common minimum programme (CMP), which was the basis for running the coalition government.

The trade union said the CMP had stated that consultation, cooperation and consensus and not confrontation must mark labour-management relations. “It is deplored that the government has not even attempted to either to hold consultations or evolve a consensus on this important measure concerning the social security of its own employees,” CITU said.

While the CMP talks of protecting the interest of small investors, the trade union said the UPA government’s move was “beyond comprehension” as to how it would protect the social security contributions of its own employees by diverting it in the risk prone speculative investments in stocks.

It said the NPS was a unilateral and arbitrary measure brought in by the NDA government which had met stiff opposition from the organisation of government employees and the central trade unions.

The NPS was yet to secure legislative nod of Parliament, as the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill was still awaiting passage. “Resort to an executive notification and not even an Ordinance is in scant respect of accepted parliamentary norms,” the trade union said.

On Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s claim that the move would be on the lines of the existing pattern for non-government provident funds, CITU said the present proposal envisaged drastic departure. 

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Tata Steel, CSN oppose auction process

London, January 23
The UK Takeover Panel is close to initiating an auction process to decide who between Tata Steel and CSN gets steel maker Corus. Tata is understood to be contemplating an offer of up to 550 pence a share, The Times reported today, even as sources following the bidding war said the UK takeover regulator was a day or two away from deciding a process to pick the winner.

The regulator, over the past few days, has been holding discussions with Corus as well as its two suitors -- India's Tata Steel and Brazil's CSN, who have made their submissions to the panel.

The bidders are apparently uneasy with certain terms of the process, such as a sealed bidding and a prescribed gap between the two bids in the case of an open auction.

Late in December, the panel had set a deadline of January 30 while ruling that an auction process could be started "shortly before" this date if the competitive situation continued to exist.

The panel has conveyed to the two suitors that it would start the auction process only if Tata Steel was keen on raising its bid.

Currently, CSN has offered 515 pence a share for Corus, compared to Tata's 500 pence a share While a CSN spokesperson declined to comment, officials of Tata Steel and the takeover panel were not available.

While Tata Steel is believed to be opposing the auction process on the grounds that it could take the valuation much higher, CSN says that it has already placed a higher bid on table and therefore there was no need for an auction.

Both bidders have expressed their apprehensions against the auction process as the UK Takeover Panel could ask for a minimum increase of anything between 25 pence and 50 pence between each offer if the battle is resolved under the hammer. — PTI

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Tata Motors Q3 net up 12 pc
Small car to hit market by end of 2008

Mumbai, January 23
Tata Motors third quarter net profit has increased by 12 per cent to Rs 513 crore while revenue for the quarter ended December 31 on a stand-alone basis (net of excise) stood at Rs 6956.84 crore, an increase of 37 per cent compared to Rs 5074.74 crore in the corresponding quarter of the last year.

The vehicles sales volume for the quarter was 1,41,827 units, compared to 1,11,228 units during the corresponding quarter last year.

MD of Tata Motors Ravi Kant said the small car project by his company was well on track and was likely to hit the market by the end of 2008. The prototype for the same was ready, he said, adding that almost 60-70 vendors have already been selected across the country to sell the small car.

Bharti Airtel

Bharti Airtel today reported a massive 123 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 1,215 crore as it added 50 lakh new subscribers in the third quarter this fiscal.

The company’s market share rose to 21.8 per cent with its subscriber base — mobile, broadband and telephone — increasing about two-fold to reach 3.37 crore as on December 31, 2006.

Total revenues stood at Rs 4,913 crore for the third quarter this fiscal, up 62 per cent over Rs 3026 crore in the corresponding period last year. Net profit during the third quarter of 2005-06 was Rs 545 crore.

For the nine-month period ended December 31, 2006, the company’s net profit increased by 84 per cent year-on-year to touch Rs 2,904 crore.

Bharti Airtel will transfer its towers and related passive infrastructure business to its wholly owned arm — Bharti Infratel Ltd.

The company is also foraying into direct-to-home (DTH) services to tap the fast-growing home entertainment segment through a subsidiary — Bharti Telemedia Ltd.

Cipla Q3 net up

Cipla has posted a net profit of Rs 184.38 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2006, up 5.17 per cent over Rs 175.31 crore in the year-ago period.

Total income (net of excise) of the firm rose by 5.71 per cent to Rs 906.67 crore for the latest quarter as against Rs 857.71 crore recorded in the same period last year.

Ceat India

Ceat India has reported over seven fold increase in net profit for the quarter ended December 31, 2006, at Rs 11.78 crore as against Rs 1.54 crore for the corresponding quarter previous year.

Gross turnover for the quarter stood at Rs 600 crore as against Rs 455 crore in the same period last year, up by 32 per cent. — Agencies

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SBI Q3 net dips 4 pc at Rs 1,065 cr

Mumbai, January 23
The country's largest public sector bank, the State Bank of India (SBI), today posted a decline of 4.49 per cent in net profit at Rs 1,065.06 crore for the quarter ended December 31, as compared to Rs 1,115.19 crore for the same quarter last year.

The total income increased 1.30 per cent to Rs 11,546.97 crore for the third quarter this fiscal from Rs 11,398.62 crore for the corresponding quarter a year ago, the bank said.

The group posted a net profit after minority interest at Rs 1,524.42 crore for the quarter ended December 31 as compared to Rs 1466 crore for the same quarter last year.

The total income of the group increased to Rs 17483.20 crore for the quarter ended December 31 from Rs 15484.26 crore for the corresponding quarter a year ago. 
— PTI 

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CEOs against quarterly results

New Delhi, January 23
An overwhelming number of CEOs and MDs have voiced against mandatory declarations of their quarterly performance as required by SEBI, claiming that it is a great drain of human resource and prevents corporate innovations and therefore, should be scrapped for good, according to the ASSOCHAM’s Eco Pulse survey.

ASSOCHAM President Venugopal N. Dhoot said today 95 per cent of CEOs and MDs, who were surveyed, were of the opinion that SEBI in consultation with the Company Law Department should make amends in the current statute so that corporates, both public and private, were required to make their performance public only twice a year. — TNS

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Nod to 23 FDI proposals
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
The government has cleared 23 proposals that will bring a total of Rs 5,910.66 crore of foreign investment, a major chunk of which will come through Reliance Communications Ltd's plans to sell securities in overseas markets.

Foreign institutional investors have been allowed to invest up to Rs 5,400 crore in Reliance Communications through ADRs or GDRs.

Proposals by merchant banker Lehman Brothers, power generation company Velcan Energy of France and Horse-Shoe Capital of Mauritius are other cases cleared by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

Lehman Brothers Investments' proposal will bring in Rs 225 crore of foreign direct investment. 

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Suzuki launches four motor cycles

New Delhi, January 23
Suzuki Motorcycle India, a subsidiary of leading Japanese two-wheeler manufacturer Suzuki Motor Corporation, today introduced four upgraded models of its existing motorcycles, “Zeus” and “Heat”.

The new variants of “Zeus” would be available at a price range of Rs 42,725 and Rs 46,326, whereas the new “Heat” variant would be tagged at Rs 35,100 (ex-showroom Delhi). The new introductions are part of plans to meet the demand for the 125 cc segment, the company said in a statement.

“Our two motorcycles, which were launched in 2006, have had positive response from consumers. We are sure that the upgraded versions will exceed customer expectations in all aspects, Suzuki Motorcycle India Joint Managing Director Katsumi Takata said. The company is targeting students and executives looking for contemporary style. — PTI

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Allahabad Bank ups deposit rates

Kolkata, January 23
Allahabad Bank today hiked the card rates of deposits in the time buckets of 91 days and above.

Allahabad Bank sources said the maximum rate would be 8.5 per cent per annum in the time bucket of two years to 10 years compared to the previous timeframe of five years to 10 years.

Interest rate had also been enhanced in the time bucket of 91 days to 180 days from 6.25 per cent to 6.5 per cent, 181 days to less than one year from 7.25 per cent to 7.5 per cent and one year to less than two years from 8 per cent to 8.25 per cent per annum. —UNI

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Russia to offer 5-yr biz visa

New Delhi, January 23
Russia is considering introducing five-year business visas for Indian entrepreneurs and raise bilateral trade from $2.75 billion to $10 billion by 2010. Russia is also creating four economic zones in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities and planning to open technology parks, and plans to invite Indian investors to participate in the proposed free economic zones.

Officials at the Russian Embassy said here today Indian entrepreneurs would be invited to participate in the 11th International Economic Forum at St Petersburg in July where focus would be on BRIC (Brazil, Russia, China India) countries, with a separate session on India.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive here on January 25 to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day function.

The two countries will also sign about 10 agreements, including one on cultural cooperation for 2007-2009 and a protocol on celebrating the year of India in Russia and vice versa. — UNI

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Caparo to invest Rs 1,000 crore in India

Jamshedpur, January 23
Caparo Engineering India Private Limited, the flagship company of Lord Swaraj Paul, has planned a total investment of Rs 1,000 crore in India by 2009.

Chairman and Group CEO Angad Paul said here today that the company had already invested Rs 300 crore in the existing 17 units all over the country.

He said considering the recent boom in the automobile industries in India, the company would invest another 700 crore in the next two years.

Mr Paul said the company had registered a turnover of Rs 400 crore in the last fiscal in India while the group had Rs 65,000 crore turnover worldwide. The turnover would double in the next couple of years.

Mr Paul said Caparo Stampings, a division of Caparo Engineering, had acquired the stamping unit of International Auto Limited, situated here and at Pune at cost of Rs 39 crore. — UNI

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Corporate Results
Grasim net profit up 154 pc 

New Delhi, January 23
Grasim Industries Ltd has posted a 154 per cent increase in its net profit for the third quarter ended December 31, 2006, at Rs 411.58 crore as compared to Rs 161.87 crore for the same quarter an year ago.

The total income of the company rose by 38.7 per cent to Rs 2,323.78 crore for the quarter from Rs 1,675.33 crore for the same quarter previous year.

The group posted a net profit (after minority’s share) of Rs 555.30 crore for the quarter, up by 184 per cent as compared to Rs 195.34 crore for the corresponding period the previous year.

The total income of the group stood at Rs 3,752.83 crore for the quarter from Rs 2,550.04 crore for the same quarter ended December 31, 2005, with a growth of 47 per cent.

Voltas PAT up 71 pc

Voltas Ltd, a leading air conditioning and engineering services company of the Tata group, has posted a profit after tax of Rs 19.43 crore in the quarter ended December 31, 2006, up 71 per cent over Rs 11.36 crore recorded in the year-ago period. Sales of the company grew by 30 per cent to Rs 580.86 crore in the latest quarter as against Rs 447.09 crore recorded in the quarter ended December 31, 2005, Voltas said.

Ipca Laboratories

Ipca Laboratories has posted an over 13-fold net profit after tax of Rs 34.84 crore for the quarter ended December 31, as compared to Rs 2.67 crore in the year-ago period.

Total income (net of excise) has increased to Rs 233.05 crore for the latest quarter, up 33.48 per cent over Rs 174.59 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2005, Ipca Labs said

Dabur Pharma net up

Dabur Pharma has reported a 18.05 per cent jump in its net profit during third quarter ended December 31, 2006, at Rs 8.93 crore compared to Rs 7.56 crore in the corresponding quarter of previous fiscal.

The company’s sales revenues in the quarter stood at Rs 83.61 crore as against Rs 71.03 crore in the same quarter previous fiscal, up 17.7 per cent year on year.

For the nine-month period ended December 31, the company's net profit grew by 22.78 per cent at Rs 22.5 crore compared to Rs 18.3 crore in the corresponding period previous fiscal.

Indian Hotels

Indian Hotels Company, owner of the Taj chain of hotels and a Tata enterprise, has reported a 43 per cent increase in net profit for the third quarter ended December 31, 2006, at Rs 87.99 crore as compared to Rs 61.54 crore for the corresponding quarter a year ago.

The company’s total income rose 25.5 per cent to Rs 412.33 crore for the quarter from Rs 328.5 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2005. — Agencies

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BRIEFLY

Bhushan Steel
New Delhi, January 23
Bhushan Steel & Strips Ltd has said it will set up an integrated steel plant in West Bengal, for which it has received an approval from its Board of Directors. The new unit will have facilities such as steel slab plant, coke oven plant, captive power plant etc. The company will also set up a six million tonnes per annum steel and power plant as expansion of its existing plant being set up in Orissa. — UNI

Godrej Lifespace
Chandigarh, January 23
Godrej Lifespace has planned to increase its footprint in Punjab with five new stores within the next three years, raising its turnover from this region to Rs 20 crore, said Mr Shyam Motwani, Vice-President and Business Head, Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing. The new stores in this region will be set up at Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala and a second store in Chandigarh. — TNS

Universal Cables
Kolkata, January 23
Universal Cables Limited, an M.P. Birla group company, today announced that it had entered into a technological tie-up with Furukawa Electric Limited of Japan to manufacture extra high voltage cables up to 400 KV. A company spokesman said this would involve a capital outlay of Rs 63 crore and was a part of technological upgradation-cum-expansion project of the company. — PTI

NHPC chief
New Delhi, January 23
The NHPC today appointed Mr S.K. Garg as its Chairman and Managing Director. Prior to this, Mr Garg was working as Director, Finance, in NHPC and also held additional charge as its CMD. — PTI 

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