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Refund banker scheme starts
SBI to issue IT refunds in Delhi, Patna
New Delhi, January 24
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram launched a pilot project of refund banker scheme here today aimed at speedy and secure income tax refunds. The SBI has been authorised by the Central Board of Direct Taxes to operate as the refund banker in select Commissionerate charges of Delhi and Patna.

Bharti allows Vodafone to exit Airtel
Davos, January 24
Bharti Airtel chief Sunil Mittal today gave a go-ahead to British telecom giant Vodafone to sell its equity from his company in the market in case the UK entity acquired Indian mobile player Hutch-Essar.

Govt cuts duty on edible oils
New Delhi, January 24
Continuing its offensive on rising inflation, the government today cut customs duty on edible oils by up to 12.5 per cent and froze the tariff values at the July 2006 levels.



EARLIER STORIES

 

Name rival who fuelled Singur row, MUL to Tata 
New Delhi, January 24
Stung by Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata's accusation that competitors were fuelling controversy over its small-car project at Singur in West Bengal, Maruti today dared Tatas to name the competitor.

Mr Jagdish Khattar (right), Managing Director and CEO, Maruti Udyog Limited, and Mr S. Oishi, Director, Marketing, Maruti Suzuki, unveil Swift Diesel in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Mr Jagdish Khattar (right), Managing Director and CEO, Maruti Udyog Limited, and Mr S. Oishi, Director, Marketing, Maruti Suzuki, unveil Swift Diesel in New Delhi on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

Maruti unveils diesel Swift 
New Delhi, January 24
Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) today sought to take lead in the diesel sector with the launch of Swift (diesel), the engine of which it claimed was the best available at present in India.

Metro to roll out tubeless bike tyres
New Delhi, January 24
Ludhiana-based Metro Tyres is planning to roll out tubeless motor cycle tyres in technical collaboration with continental AG of Germany for overseas markets to cater to global two-wheeler players like Honda, BMW and Yamaha.

New oil bonds ruled out
New Delhi, January 24
Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said today the government has no plans to further issue the oil bonds to the state-run oil companies

Reliance eyes petrochem biz in Russia
New Delhi, January 24
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is keen on setting up a mega petrochemical plant in Russia and its top boss Mukesh Ambani may explore possibilities when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin here tomorrow.


Mega star Amitabh Bachchan smiles as he is introduced at a promotional event of the diamond trading in Mumbai on Wednesday. Bachchan has been conferred with the French Government's highest civilian honour, the Legion d'Honneur.
Mega star Amitabh Bachchan smiles as he is introduced at a promotional event of the diamond trading in Mumbai on Wednesday. Bachchan has been conferred with the French Government's highest civilian honour, the Legion d'Honneur. — AFP

Nalco’s smelter in West Asia hits roadblock 
New Delhi, January 24
Nalco's plan to construct a Rs 16,000-crore greenfield smelter in West Asia has run into serious trouble with Qatar, Oman and the UAE refusing to assure gas supply for the project.

Tata Steel expands in South-East Asian market
Mumbai, January 24
As it is looking for an entry into the European steel market through a possible buyout of Corus, Tata Steel is equally busy increasing presence in South-East Asia, where it has consolidated stake in three companies.

Corporate Results
Castrol profit up 20 per cent
Mumbai, January 24
Auto major Tata Motors has posted a net profit of Rs 513.17 crore in Q3 FY 07 as against Rs 460.23 crore in the same period last fiscal, and an increase of 12 per cent in revenues to Rs 6,957 crore.

Bank Account
Bank of Baroda net up 63 pc
Mumbai, January 24
Bank of Baroda today posted a 62.79 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 329.13 crore for the quarter ended December 31, as compared to Rs 202.18 crore for the same quarter last year.

Videos

Maruti launches diesel Swift.
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Refund banker scheme starts
SBI to issue IT refunds in Delhi, Patna
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram launched a pilot project of refund banker scheme here today aimed at speedy and secure income tax refunds.

The SBI has been authorised by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to operate as the refund banker in select Commissionerate charges of Delhi and Patna.

About 8-10 lakh refund seekers are expected to receive their refund cheques or credit through ECS in Delhi and Patna faster this year due to implementation of thi project.

The SBI will issue the refund within three days from the date the IT Department passes on the refund data to its cash management product department (CMP) in Mumbai.

The IT Department normally takes four months to process the IT returns and refunds will be speedier in the case of electronic filing and where the ECS facility is available at present.

“This is a pathbreaking initiative of the Income Tax Department to ensure that refunds reach Income Tax assessees quickly and without fraud or failure,” Mr Chidambaram said.

He hoped the department would invite competitive bids from other banks as well to appoint them as refund bankers.

Under the scheme, processing and determination of refund will be done by Assessing Officers of the IT Department and intimation of the refunds will be sent to the central system of the IT Department which, in turn, will transmit the refund data to SBI’s cash management product department in Mumbai.

The SBI would then segregate payments data for ECS or cheque refund and arrange for payments within three days of receipt of the data to the assessees.

Mr Chidambaram appealed to the assessees to switch over to ECS as the system is expected to be expanded to 36 cities against 12 at present. The ECS will enable the assessees to get refunds quickly.

Currently, it is mandatory for corporates only to file returns electronically.

The SBI will get Rs 5 if the money is transferred through ECS and Rs 10 as well as postal charges if money is transferred through cheques.

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Bharti allows Vodafone to exit Airtel

Davos, January 24
Bharti Airtel chief Sunil Mittal today gave a go-ahead to British telecom giant Vodafone to sell its equity from his company in the market in case the UK entity acquired Indian mobile player Hutch-Essar.

"They can go to market and sell. It is good for the company as well since more of the float gets created," Mr Mittal told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting, which began here today.

Vodafone is a front-runner for acquiring Hutchison Telecom's majority stake in the Indian venture Hutch-Essar.

Indian partner Essar, Reliance Communications and Hindujas are also interested in picking up the 67 per cent stake.

The British firm has about 9.9 per cent in India's largest mobile operator. The two companies have a non-compete clause in the agreement, and Vodafone has to seek Bharti's permission before buying a stake in a rival company.

Mr Mittal, who is among the four co-chairs of WEF meeting, said his talks for disengagement of Vodafone from Bharti would begin only after something comes out of Essar-Hutch deal.

The CII Vice-President said even if Vodafone continues to hold stake in Bharti, the latter would have no problem.

"There would be no conflict of interest since Vodafone would not be in the management," he said.

However, since Vodafone has big aspirations for the growing Indian market, it is likely to exit from Bharti if it is able to strike the Hutch deal. — PTI

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Govt cuts duty on edible oils

New Delhi, January 24
Continuing its offensive on rising inflation, the government today cut customs duty on edible oils by up to 12.5 per cent and froze the tariff values at the July 2006 levels.

"As part of its strategy to keep the prices of essential commodities under check, the government had exempted customs duty on wheat and pulses. Today's reduction is the second such for edible oils," an official statement said.

The duty on refined bleached and deoderised palm oil, palmolein and other refined palm oils have come down to 67.5 per cent from 80 per cent.

Duty on crude palm oil and palmolein has been cut to 60 per cent from 70 per cent, on crude sunflower oil to 65 per cent from 75 per cent and refined sunflower oil to 75 per cent from 85 per cent, the statement said.— PTI 

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Name rival who fuelled Singur row, MUL to Tata 

New Delhi, January 24
Stung by Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata's accusation that competitors were fuelling controversy over its small-car project at Singur in West Bengal, Maruti today dared Tatas to name the competitor.

"I don't know which competitor he is talking about. Since he has the knowledge, he should tell it," Maruti Udyog Managing Director and CEO Jagdish Khattar told reporters here.

Asked about Tata's comments last month to a private television channel that he suspected hands of competitors in the controversy, Mr Khattar said: "We don't do all these things (scuttling a rival's project). We believe in a healthy competition."

This is not the first time that the two major car-makers are involved in public sparring over the small car, also known as the Rs 1 lakh car, that is scheduled for rollout in 2008.

Last year, Mr Osamu Suzuki, Chief Executive of Suzuki Motor Corp, the parent of Maruti, had ridiculed the Tata project, saying that it was not feasible and could only be a cheap product.

Tatas had then maintained that they would roll out a good product within the projected price.

Mr Ratan Tata said his 'people's car' would not be a cheap three-wheeler with an additional wheel, but would be a proper family car. — PTI

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Maruti unveils diesel Swift 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) today sought to take lead in the diesel sector with the launch of Swift (diesel), the engine of which it claimed was the best available at present in India.

The CEO and Managing Director of MUL, Mr Jagdish Khattar, while launching the diesel model of Swift, said, "Our engine is the best available at the moment and is also ‘Euro IV' compliant, to be applied in the country by 2010/11.” He added that the engine being produced here would also be exported to Suzuki's plant in Hungary.

The company said it planned to launch two more models next fiscal. The car is priced at Rs 4.68 lakh for the lower-end model and Rs 4.96 lakh for the top-end model.

Mr Khattar said diesel vehicles were no more polluters as their engines come fitted with cutting-edge technologies.

According to company officials, the technology for this diesel engine was obtained by Suzuki through a technical licence agreement with European companies — Fiat and Adam Opel.

Mr Khattar said the demand for diesel cars was growing in the country. Although at present diesel cars had about 18 per cent market share but with product like ours it was expected to grow, he said.

Suzuki Motor Corp and Maruti Udyog have made major investments in the diesel facilities. He said, "We plan to invest Rs 2,500 crore by 2010 for producing diesel engines... Presently, we have a capacity to produce 1,00,000 units a year and we plan to increase it three times”.

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Metro to roll out tubeless bike tyres
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 24
Ludhiana-based Metro Tyres is planning to roll out tubeless motor cycle tyres in technical collaboration with continental AG of Germany for overseas markets to cater to global two-wheeler players like Honda, BMW and Yamaha.

These tyres would be launched in the domestic market later.

Rummy Chhabra, Managing Director, Metro Tyres, said: “Metro will be the first company in India to roll out tubeless tyres for motor cycles.”

Metro is setting up a facility to manufacture tyres for motor cycles, scooters and three-wheelers at an estimated project cost of over Rs 50 crore in tax-free zones in north India

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New oil bonds ruled out

New Delhi, January 24
Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said today the government has no plans to further issue the oil bonds to the state-run oil companies.

The government has issued oil bonds worth Rs 14,000 crore to the oil companies till now.

Mr Deora said the Finance Minister has not rejected the demand for the Re 1 excise cut on diesel to control the rising inflation. — UNI 

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Reliance eyes petrochem biz in Russia

New Delhi, January 24
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is keen on setting up a mega petrochemical plant in Russia and its top boss Mukesh Ambani may explore possibilities when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin here tomorrow.

Mr Ambani put off his visit to Davos for the World Economic Forum meeting to be part of delegation-level discussions between India and Russia tomorrow, industry sources said.

The RIL Chairman may get to meet Putin personally, but company officials did not confirm the meeting.

Reliance is interested in setting up a large petrochem plant in Russia to tap the market in Europe and Central Asia. — PTI

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Nalco’s smelter in West Asia hits roadblock 

New Delhi, January 24
Nalco's plan to construct a Rs 16,000-crore greenfield smelter in West Asia has run into serious trouble with Qatar, Oman and the UAE refusing to assure gas supply for the project.

"In course of our negotiations with these countries, we found they were not willing to commit anything on gas supply, in the absence of which we may not be able to proceed with our plans there," Nalco Chairman and Managing Director C.R. Pradhan said here.

The company had virtually stopped negotiations with Qatar, although talks were on with Oman and the UAE for the proposed five lakh tonne per year smelter, he said.

Earlier, after conducting a pre-feasibility survey, Nalco's technical consultant Engineers India Limited had shortlisted Ras Laffan (Qatar), Salalah (Oman) and Fujairah (UAE) as the possible locations for the smelter, Mr Pradhan said.

"The aim of constructing a smelter in West Asia was to take advantage of cheap gas to reduce the energy cost of the plant and effectively utilise surplus alumina of 1.2 million tonnes for our second phase expansion (in Orissa)," he said.

Of the total outlay for the smelter, certain sum would be spent on building a 1,100-MW gas-fired power plant for captive use of the smelter, Mr Pradhan said.

Nalco will spend Rs 9,453 crore in the 11th Five-Year Plan for various projects. Of this, Rs 4,091 crore would be spent for its second-phase expansion plan at its Orissa facility, a company official said. — PTI

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Tata Steel expands in South-East Asian market

Mumbai, January 24
As it is looking for an entry into the European steel market through a possible buyout of Corus, Tata Steel is equally busy increasing presence in South-East Asia, where it has consolidated stake in three companies.

Tata Steel said that NatSteel Asia Pte Ltd, its Singapore arm, had acquired Malaysia-based Southern Steel Berhad's stake worth Rs 83.5 crore in NatSteel Trade International, NatSteel (Xiamen) and NatSteel Vina Ltd.

The acquisition of a 40 per cent stake in NatSteel Trade and a 50 per cent stake in NatSteel (Xiamen) would make these two companies the wholly owned subsidiaries of NatSteel Asia Pte Ltd. — PTI

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Corporate Results
Castrol profit up 20 per cent

Mumbai, January 24
Castrol India registered 27 per cent sales growth at Rs 563 crore and a 20 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 68 crore in the fourth quarter of the current fiscal (calendar year).

The Board of Directors has announced the final dividend of Rs 5 per share in addition to an interim dividend of Rs. 4 per share totalling Rs 9 per share for the full year 2006.

Jindal Stainless

Jindal Stainless Ltd he reported a staggering 440 per cent jump in net profit during the third quarter this fiscal to Rs 113.05 crore on higher capacity utilisation backed by strong market demand.

The company had posted a net profit of Rs 20.94 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal.

Total sales also more than doubled in the quarter ending December 31, 2006 at Rs 1,451 crore as against Rs 711.63 crore in the previous fiscal.

Finolex Cables

Finolex Cables has posted a net profit of Rs 16.10 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2006, compared to Rs 10.79 crore for the same quarter last fiscal.

The total income (net of excise) was Rs 254.45 crore for the third quarter this fiscal against Rs 215.57 crore for the corresponding quarter a year ago,.

Apollo Hospitals Q3 net up

Chennai-based healthcare major Apollo Hospitals Enterprise has posted a net profit of Rs 17.9 crore for the quarter ended December 31 as compared to Rs 16.9 crore in the year-ago period.

The total income rose by 27.16 per cent to Rs 234.1 crore in the third quarter as against Rs 184.1 crore recorded in the corresponding period an year ago.

Torrent Pharma net doubles

Torrent Pharmaceuticals has recorded a two-fold net profit at Rs 23.52 crore for the quarter ended December 31 as compared to Rs 11.57 crore in the same period a year ago.

The total income (net of excise) of the Ahmedabad-based company has increased by 27.29 per cent to Rs 218.74 crore in the third quarter as against Rs 171.84 crore in the corresponding period in 2005.

Helios & Matheson

Helios & Matheson Information Technology Ltd has posted a net profit of Rs 15.56 crore in the third quarter ending December 31, 2006, as compared to Rs 10.14 crore in the corresponding quarter previous year, an increase of 54 per cent.

During the quarter, the total income was Rs 102.04 crore, an increase of 80 per cent over the corresponding quarter previous year. The operating profit was Rs 22.16 crore vis-à-vis Rs 14.64 crore, representing a year-on-year growth of 51 per cent.

Tata Motors

Auto major Tata Motors has posted a net profit of Rs 513.17 crore in Q3 FY 07 as against Rs 460.23 crore in the same period last fiscal, and an increase of 12 per cent in revenues to Rs 6,957 crore.

“This quarter has also seen a strong performance with volumes going up by 28 per cent at 1.4 lakh. The operating profit too increased by 53 per cent at Rs 952 crore,” Tata Motors Executive Director, Finance and Corporate Affairs, Praveen Kadle, said.— Agencies, TNSTop

 

Bank Account
Bank of Baroda net up 63 pc

Mumbai, January 24
Bank of Baroda today posted a 62.79 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 329.13 crore for the quarter ended December 31, as compared to Rs 202.18 crore for the same quarter last year.

The total income increased 32.86 per cent to Rs 2720.67 crore for the third quarter this fiscal from Rs 2047.66 crore for the corresponding quarter a year ago, the bank said.

Allahabad Bank

Allahabad Bank has recorded an increase of 27.56 per cent in net profit at Rs 286.12 crore for the quarter ended December 31, as compared to Rs 224.30 crore for the same quarter last year.

The total income increased 30.56 per cent to Rs 1,430.44 crore for the third quarter from Rs 1,095.58 crore for the corresponding quarter a year ago, the bank said.

OBC Q3 net up 27 pc

Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) has posted 27.19 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 182.42 crore for the quarter ended December 31 as compared to Rs 143.42 crore for the same quarter last year.

The total income increased 23 per cent to Rs 1446.72 crore for the third quarter this fiscal from Rs 1176.14 crore for 
the corresponding quarter 
a year ago.

Indian Overseas Bank

Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) has posted a net profit of Rs 246.78 crore for the quarter ended December 31, up 25.13 per cent as compared to Rs 197.21 crore in the year-ago period.

The total income for the third quarter increased to Rs 1671.69 crore, registering an increase of 28.26 per cent as against Rs 1303.31 crore posted in the corresponding period of 2005.

Corporation Bank

Corporation Bank has posted a net profit of Rs 146.42 crore for the quarter ended December 31, where as the same was at Rs 115.07 crore for the same quarter last year.

The total income was Rs 1046.11 crore for the third quarter this fiscal while the same was Rs 783.48 crore for the corresponding quarter a year-ago.

Interest rates hiked

The Bank of Maharashtra has increased interest rates on domestic term deposits with effect from January 22. The bank is now offering interest at 8.5 per cent per annum on deposits of over three years and 8.25 per cent per annum on deposits of over one year.

In the case of a single deposit of Rs 15 lakh and above, the depositor will get an interest rate 8.5 per cent p.a. for deposits over one year, bank said.

An additional 1 per cent interest is payable to senior citizens on all term deposits for 91 days and above, subject to a maximum rate of 9 per cent per annum. — Agencies

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BRIEFLY
Indian jewellery trader G.P. Gupta displays the world's largest transparent and colourless crystal ball, 28 cm in diameter and weighing 29 kg, at the annual international jewellery trade show in Tokyo on Wednesday. The crystal ball has an estimated price of 500 million yen ($4.2 million), Mr Gupta said.
Indian jewellery trader G.P. Gupta displays the world's largest transparent and colourless crystal ball, 28 cm in diameter and weighing 29 kg, at the annual international jewellery trade show in Tokyo on Wednesday. The crystal ball has an estimated price of 500 million yen ($4.2 million), Mr Gupta said. — AFP photo

BHEL bags DVC contract
New Delhi, January 24
BHEL has won a turnkey contract from the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) to set up two 500 MW units at Mejia thermal power station in West Bengal. The project, planned to be commissioned during the 11th Plan (2007-2012), would add around 24 million units every day to the grid. A major portion of this would be transmitted to Delhi for the Commonwealth Games in 2010, BHEL said. — PTI

Rs 355-crore orders for L&T
Mumbai, January 24
Larsen & Toubro Ltd has bagged three orders amounting to Rs 355 crore from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation for the second phase of the Delhi Metro project. These orders would be executed by the company's construction division - ECC - and would be completed in 38 months, it said. L&T has bagged two direct contracts pertaining to the construction of underground stations at Udyog Bhavan and Green Park. In addition, tunnels of around one km length would be built by the company. PTI

Virtual IT mart
Chandigarh, January 24
The first IT products virtual supermarket of the country has been launched in the city. The portal, www.fastrackcomputing.com, features a range of laptops, notebook PCs, desktops, PDAs, multimedia gadgets etc. A separate store for upgradation possibilities of old computers and a range of hardware products, accessories and peripherals is also on offer, according to Mr Iqbal Singh, MD, Fastrack Computing. —TNS

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