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RBI hints at hiking interest rates
Mumbai, January 29
The RBI today hinted at increasing the short-term interest rates in its third quarter monetary policy review later this week to curb inflation, a move that could make home and retail loans costlier.

PM releases auto plan
New Delhi, January 29
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said today that the Indian automotive industry must invest in energy- efficient and environment-friendly technologies.

Assocham seeks cut in CRR
New Delhi, January 29
With just a day to go for the review of monetary policy, the industry kept its fingers crossed and hoped that the central bank does a balancing act that does not impinge on the economic growth.

Reliance to source produce from Punjab, Haryana
New Delhi, January 29
Reliance Retail, which forayed into the National Capital Region with nine stores in Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Noida today, plans to source its products primarily from Punjab and Haryana.

Suzlon Q3 net at Rs 176 cr
New Delhi, January 29
Suzlon Energy announced today that Belgium-based Hansen Transmissions International NV, a step-down subsidiary of the company, would set up a gearbox factory with an estimated investment of Rs 980 crore near Coimbatore.



A model displays a creation by Gattinoni with the image of French Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal, as part of the Spring/Summer 2007 women's collection, at the Rome Fashion Week late on Sunday
A model displays a creation by Gattinoni with the image of French Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal, as part of the Spring/Summer 2007 women's collection, at the Rome Fashion Week late on Sunday. — AFP

EARLIER STORIES

 

A Sony employee displays the world's first six mega-pixel digital video camcorder "Handycam HDR-UX7 in Tokyo on Monday
A Sony employee displays the world's first six mega-pixel digital video camcorder "Handycam HDR-UX7 in Tokyo on Monday. Equipped with a 6.1 mega-pixel CMOS image sensor and a 5.4-54 mm/F1.8-2.9 zoom lens, it records AVCHD formatted high-definition images on a 8cm diameter DVD disk. Sony will put it on the market on February 10 at an estimated price of $1,250. — AFP photo

China unveils 4G mobile system
Beijing, January 29
China has launched the world's first fourth-generation (4G) mobile communication system in Shanghai.

Andhra Bank net up 5.7 pc
Hyderabad, January 29
Andhra Bank has posted a net profit of Rs 136.28 crore during the third quarter ended December, 2006, as against Rs 128.86 crore for the corresponding period previous year.

Increasing interest rates push banks’ short-term deposits
Chandigarh, January 29
The share of short-term deposits in the total time deposits has increased from 43 per cent in March 2000 to over 53 per cent now.

NTPC buys LNG at $12.27 per mBtu
New Delhi, January 29
NTPC has purchased spot cargoes of LNG for as high as $12.27 per million British thermal unit (mBtu ) this fiscal to meet the fuel requirement of its power plants.

Corporate News
Better sales push SAIL net two-fold

Mumbai, January 29
Robust sales in the domestic market and higher capacity utilisation spurred SAIL's third- quarter net profit by 124.2 per cent at Rs 1,471.19 crore as against Rs 656.07 crore in the corresponding quarter last fiscal.

HTMT, Centric form JV
New Delhi, January 29
Hinduja TMT (HTMT) and UK-based business consulting and outsourcing organisation, Centric, announced a joint venture in association with Fox Mandal Little, one of India’s oldest law firms, to provide legal outsourcing services to multinational companies and various international law firms.

 

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RBI hints at hiking interest rates

Mumbai, January 29
The RBI today hinted at increasing the short-term interest rates in its third quarter monetary policy review later this week to curb inflation, a move that could make home and retail loans costlier.

In its macroeconomic and monetary development report released ahead of the review on January 31, the RBI warned of inflationary pressures in the economy, implying a possible hike in interest rates.

The central bank said the prices of primary food articles and manufactured products posed upward pressure on inflation which was 6 per cent by mid-January as compared to 4.1 per cent in end-March, 2006.

"Pre-emptive monetary and fiscal measures along with moderation in fuel prices could have helped in containing inflationary expectations, although underlying inflationary pressures remain," it said.

"The year-on-year inflation, excluding the fuel group at 6.6 per cent was above the headline inflation rate of 6 per cent as on January 13, 2007," the apex bank stated.

Among the major groups, wheat prices increased by 14.7 per cent as on January 13, 2007, pulses increased by 25.4 per cent while fruit and milk prices by 12 per cent and 7.6 per cent, respectively, the RBI stated.

"Overall, the prices of primary articles have increased by 10.3 per cent since March-end 2006," the RBI said.

The consumer price inflation for industrial workers stood at 6.3 per cent in November, 2006, while that for urban non-manual employees, agricultural labourers and rural labourers was placed at 6.9 per cent, 8.9 per cent and 8.3 per cent, respectively, in December, 2006.

The fuel group inflation moderated to 3.7 per cent on January 13, 2007, from a peak of 9.9 per cent on June 17, 2006, pointing out to the base effect and due to cuts in the prices of petrol, diesel, naphtha and furnace oil. However, the pass-through of higher international prices has been restricted to petrol and diesel. The prices of LPG and kerosene have remained unchanged since November, 2004 and April, 2002, respectively.

The RBI report also noted that GDP growth was high thanks to robust performance of the economy in the first two quarters of the fiscal.

GDP growth in the second quarter moved to 9.2 from 8.4 per cent a year ago led by manufacturing and services.

Industrial production continued its upward momentum with growth accelerating to 10.6 per cent during April-November, 2006, from 8.3 per cent a year ago led by 11.5 per cent growth in the manufacturing sector.

Agriculture growth, however, declined to 2.6 per cent during April-September 2006 from 3.7 per cent a year ago. — PTI 

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PM releases auto plan
Asks industry to invest in eco-friendly technologies
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, January 29
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said today that the Indian authomotive industry must invest in energy- efficient and environment-friendly technologies.

His observation came while releasing a 10-year Automotive Mission Plan, 2006-16, at his residence. The Prime Minister said that in the light of growing global concern about climate change, developed countries must accept their due burden as they had been the biggest polluters.

Developing countries could not be asked to take on the obligations of developed countries and must be helped in addressing the challenge of climate change, he said.

The Prime Minister was of the view that India would emerge as a major centre for the automotive industry in the coming years and he complimented the industry for taking steps to improve competitiveness of Indian brands. In this regard he made a special mention of Tata Motors chief Ratan Tata and Hero Honda Motor's

Brijmohan Lal Munjal for their leadership in the automotive field.

The Mission Plan, 2006-16, is the blueprint for growth and prepared by the Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Ministries in collaboration with the industry.

Hyundai vendors to pump in $785 m

Auto major Hyundai said today its vendors from Korea will pump in an additional $785 million in the next two years.

"We will have 24 new vendors and 17 second tier suppliers from Korea setting up shop in our Chennai facilities. Along with investments from the existing vendor, we are expecting about $785 million of investments," Hyundai Motor India Ltd Managing Director H.S. Lheem said here. 

Honda begins work on small car 

Japanese car major Honda said today it has begun the spade work for the proposed small car to be launched in India by 2009-10, even as it prepares to refresh its existing portfolio in the next 12 months.

"Our engineers from Japan have already started work in India to study the conditions here to collect various data so as to incorporate it while developing a new plaftorm for the small car," Honda Siel Cars India President and CEO Masahiro Takedagawa told reporters here.

He said the new platform would be a global one, keeping in mind the Indian conditions.

"We may introduce the product globally next year...although its introduction in India would be late," Mr Takedagawa said.

HSCI is at present in the process of setting up its second plant in Rajasthan in addition to its existing facility in Greater Noida.

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Assocham seeks cut in CRR
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29
With just a day to go for the review of monetary policy, the industry kept its fingers crossed and hoped that the central bank does a balancing act that does not impinge on the economic growth.

While some of the supply side issues are being addressed through customs duty reductions, it would be interesting to see how the demand side is being viewed by the RBI when the policy announcement is made on January 31, said Mr R Seshasayee, CII President.

We appreciate the balancing the RBI Governor is required to do, and we are certain that he would give the growth imperatives the attention that it deserves, he observed.

However, Mr Venugopal N. Dhoot, President, Assocham, recommended reduction in cash reserve ratio (CRR) and status quo in prime lending rates.

He said, “Rising CRR and interest rates will have a negative impact on the economy in the long run, and project cost will go up, leading to mismatch between supply and demand for commodities/services. In short-term, cost of production will go up, leading to further inflationary pressures. In view of this, reversal of RBI’s strong bias for higher interest is the most obvious measure to ease the situation, especially in view of impending global growth slowdown, moderation of inflation and unwinding of international liquidity overhang”.

The CRR has been raised in two phases by 50 basis points to 5.50 per cent effective from December 23, 2006, and January 6, 2007. “The rise in CRR would adversely affect industrial, economic and GDP growth as lesser funds would be available for productive purposes”, he added.

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Reliance to source produce from Punjab, Haryana
Opens 9 retail outlets in NCR
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29
Reliance Retail, which forayed into the National Capital Region with nine stores in Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Noida today, plans to source its products primarily from Punjab and Haryana.

Reliance Fresh, the only Indian Fortune 500 company, plans to invest around Rs 8,000 crore in the region over the next three years.

The company hopes to give people a taste of shopping in western-style convenience stores, which would be stocked with vegetables, fruits, groceries and dairy products.

Company sources said the company planned to buy 50 cargo aircraft through the sale-lease buyback process for transporting fruits and vegetables. The full-fledged launch of the cargo services is expected towards the year-end or early next year. Plans include using smaller air strips in various states and setting up a dedicated airport for cargo in Punjab to bring fresh vegetable and farm products to retail outlets across the country.

RIL President and CEO (Operations and Strategy) Raghu Pillai said 8-10 per cent of the Rs 25,000-30,000 crore planned for the retail venture by 2010 had been invested so far. The company planned to pay in cash to the grower, depending on the quality and grading of fruits and vegetables.

Sources indicated the company planned to sell fruits and vegetables at least 20 per cent less than the prevailing market prices, by cutting intermediaries and managing procurement, cold storage and transport.

Reliance Fresh now sells about 160 varieties of fruits and vegetables in its stores. 

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Suzlon Q3 net at Rs 176 cr
Subsidiary to set up gearbox unit near Coimbatore

New Delhi, January 29
Suzlon Energy announced today that Belgium-based Hansen Transmissions International NV, a step-down subsidiary of the company, would set up a gearbox factory with an estimated investment of Rs 980 crore near Coimbatore.

The factory, which will manufacture gearboxes for wind turbines in the megawatt range for supply to Suzlon Energy and other wind turbines manufacturers in India, is slated to be operational by the end of 2008.

Meanwhile, Suzlon Energy has posted Rs 176.23 crore net profit for the quarter ended December 31 whereas the same was Rs 161.94 crore in the year-ago period.

The total income of the Ahmedabad-based firm stood at Rs 1126.07 crore for the latest quarter while the same was Rs 863.24 crore for the corresponding quarter in 2005

The consolidated results of the group show that it has posted a net profit after minority interest of Rs 174.39 crore for the third quarter whereas the same was Rs 134.94 crore in the year-ago period.

The consolidated total income of the group was Rs 1939.29 crore while the same was Rs 908.35 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2005.

Suzlon Energy through its wholly owned Dutch subsidiary, AE-Rotor Holding B V, has purchased 10 per cent of the share capital of Eve Holding NV, Belgium, for a consideration of euro 431.43 million. — PTI

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China unveils 4G mobile system

Beijing, January 29
China has launched the world's first fourth-generation (4G) mobile communication system in Shanghai.

The home-grown 4G system provides speeds of up to 100 mbps in wireless transmission of data and images many times faster than that of current mobile technology.

The rollout of the trial, which has cost $19.2 million, is a milestone in the development of China's 4G technologies, the official 'China Daily' reported.

"It testifies that the technology we've developed is feasible and brings us one step closer to put it into commercial use," a leading expert involved in the programme, You Xiaohu said.

The country has set a goal of conducting field tests of the 4G system and putting it into trial commercial use between 2006 and 2010, according to the FuTURE Project.— PTI

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Andhra Bank net up 5.7 pc

Hyderabad, January 29
Andhra Bank has posted a net profit of Rs 136.28 crore during the third quarter ended December, 2006, as against Rs 128.86 crore for the corresponding period previous year.

The bank's total income has grown to Rs 2,708.76 crore as against Rs 2,265.16 crore, registering a growth of 19.58 per cent while low-cost deposits grew to Rs 13,372 crore against Rs 11,472 crore for the corresponding period, registering a growth of 16.56 per cent, constituting 37 per cent of total deposits. — PTI

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Increasing interest rates push banks’ short-term deposits
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The share of short-term deposits in the total time deposits has increased from 43 per cent in March 2000 to over 53 per cent now.

This is mainly due to the spiralling interest rates, which is driving smart savers to shift from existing term deposits to high-yielding deposits. A recent study by the RBI shows that retail savers, including senior citizens, are exiting from their existing long-term deposits because they are getting almost 2-2.5 per cent hike by shifting to short-term deposits.

In case of private sector and foreign banks, the short-term bulk deposits are as high as 80 per cent of the total deposits. According to the RBI figures, banks have raised over Rs 1,00,000 crore in deposits since April 2006. This is more than double the money raised by the banks during the same period last year.

It is learnt that the share of short-term deposits in the banks was hovering around 50 per cent in March 2006. In less than a year, this share has increased by over 3 per cent. Since November 2006, the rate of interest has been hiked thrice by most banks.

The rising interest rates is also leading to an exodus from small savings scheme, as depositors get same returns on fixed deposits and liquidity factor here comes as a bonus. 

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NTPC buys LNG at $12.27 per mBtu

New Delhi, January 29
NTPC has purchased spot cargoes of LNG for as high as $12.27 per million British thermal unit (mBtu ) this fiscal to meet the fuel requirement of its power plants.

NTPC, which ironically walked out of Petronet LNG Ltd some years ago as it thought buying LNG at $2.53 per mBtu (delivered price of $4.60 per mBtu) from Qatar was too expensive, has been making monthly tenders to procure LNG for its plants at Anta, Kawas, Gandhar, Auraiya and Dadri.

Official sources said NTPC bought 7 million standard cubic meters per day of gas this month from BPCL, IOC, GAIL at $11.33-11.78 per mBtu and from Shell and GSPC at $12 per mBtu. — PTI 

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Corporate News
Better sales push SAIL net two-fold

Mumbai, January 29
Robust sales in the domestic market and higher capacity utilisation spurred SAIL's third- quarter net profit by 124.2 per cent at Rs 1,471.19 crore as against Rs 656.07 crore in the corresponding quarter last fiscal.

The company also declared an interim dividend of 16 per cent against the paid-up equity amounting to Rs 660.86 crore for the nine-month period ending December 31.

SAIL's total income during the quarter ended December 31 stood at Rs 8,760.16 crore, compared to Rs 6,736.84 crore in the same quarter previous fiscal, up 30 per cent quarter on quarter.

SAIL Chairman S.K. Roongta said amongst other factors that contributed to growth in Q3 figures included better product mix, use of improved technology and energy consumption measures. For the nine-month period ended December 31, the company reported a 47.79 per cent increase in its net profit at Rs 4,300.41 crore compared to Rs 2,909.7 crore in the corresponding period of previous fiscal.

The company's total sales in the period stood at Rs 25,241.55 crore as against Rs 20,183.7 crore in the year-ago period, up 25 per cent year on year.

Pantaloon Retail Q3 net doubles

Pantaloon Retail (India), the flagship company of the Future Group, today reported over two-fold increase in its net profit for the quarter ended December 31, 2006, at Rs 43.97 crore as against Rs 32.09 crore in the same quarter last year.

Net sales of the company stood at Rs 795.48 crore for the third quarter this fiscal, up 57 per cent from Rs 506.67 crore in the corresponding quarter last year.

Finolex Industries

Finolex Industries has posted a net profit of Rs 22.88 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2006, as compared to Rs 14.67 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2005, a jump of 55.86 per cent.

The company's total income (net of excise) has increased from Rs 180.44 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2005, to Rs 313.65 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2006.

IOC net Rs 1,059 cr

The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has posted a net profit of Rs 1059.01 crore for the quarter ended December 31, as compared to net loss of Rs 6.48 crore in the year-ago period. The total income rose by 23 per cent to Rs 55218.42 crore in the latest quarter as compared to Rs 44874.06 crore recorded in the corresponding quarter in 2005, IOC said.

International Tractors

International Tractors Ltd, makers of the Sonalika brand of tractors, said today that its Board of Directors had declared an interim dividend of 500 per cent on the existing equity capital of Rs 5.80 crore. The dividend would result in an outflow of Rs 29 crore, International Tractors said.

This is the highest rate of dividend declared in the Indian tractor industry so far, Sonalika Group Chairman L.D. Mittal said.

L&T profit up 33 pc

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today reported a 33 per cent jump in its net profit at Rs 344 crore for the third quarter ended December, 2006, as compared to the same period last fiscal.

Gross sales from operations for October-December 2006 stood at Rs 4,200 crore as against Rs 3,742 crore for the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

The net profit for the nine-month period ended December 2006 stood at Rs 702 crore.

Group PAT for the quarter October-December stood at Rs 604 crore, which was higher by 80 per cent when compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. — Agencies, TNS

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HTMT, Centric form JV
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29
Hinduja TMT (HTMT) and UK-based business consulting and outsourcing organisation, Centric, announced a joint venture in association with Fox Mandal Little, one of India’s oldest law firms, to provide legal outsourcing services to multinational companies and various international law firms.

The new company will be named Centric LPO and would be a subsidiary of HTMT.

While HTMT is one of the players in the Indian BPO market, Centric provides business consultation and outsourcing services in sectors such as IT, power, pharmaceuticals, construction and logistics, a HTMT statement said here today.

According to Forrester Research report, the current annual value of legal outsourcing is worth $80 million and can increase to $4 billion by 2015.

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BRIEFLY
Children gaze at an experimental kit car utilising a fuel cell battery as Japan's auto giant Honda Motor offers an education programme to learn the working of fuel cell vehicles at Honda's headquarters in Tokyo on Sunday.
Children gaze at an experimental kit car utilising a fuel cell battery as Japan's auto giant Honda Motor offers an education programme to learn the working of fuel cell vehicles at Honda's headquarters in Tokyo on Sunday. Honda's fuel cell concept vehicle "FCX Concept" is displayed in the background. — AFP photo

Market holiday
Mumbai, January 29
Trading in the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the National Stock Exchange (NSE), Forex and Call money markets will remain closed tomorrow on account of death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and Moharrum, brokers said. — UNI

Indiabulls stake
Mumbai, January 29
Indiabulls Financial Services Ltd said today its demerged arm Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd (IREL) will sell partial stakes in real estate development projects to Isle of Man incorporated firm Dev Property Development Plc for Rs 437.4 crore. The company informed the BSE that it has entered into a share purchase and subscription agreements with Dev Property, which would acquire a minority shareholding in Indiabulls Property Pvt Ltd . — PTI

JK Cement buyout
Mumbai, January 29
JK Cement Limited, the second largest producer of white cement in India, has acquired Nihon Nirman Ltd from the IDBI for Rs 42 crore. The 3.5 lakh-tonne plant, which will produce grey cement, is scheduled to be commissioned shortly. The grey cement produced will be sold in the northern market where the company enjoys a strong presence. — UNI

Amrit Banaspati
New Delhi, January 29
Amrit Banaspati Company Ltd has announced an investment of Rs 750 crore to restructure its existing business. Under the restructuring plan ABCL will demerge its paper business into a separate entity with a view to increasing the production capacity from 48,000 tonnes to 75,000 tonnes per annum at an investment of Rs 125 crore. — PTI

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