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B U S I N E S S

GAIL, ONGC to lay gas pipeline 
New Delhi, February 2
GAIL (India) Ltd and the ONGC will invest about Rs 3,000 crore for laying a pipeline from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh to Haldia in West Bengal to transport natural gas discovered by the ONGC in the Bay of Bengal.

TRAI slashes network charges by 29 pc
New Delhi, February 2
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said today it would cut by up to 29 per cent the charges paid by mobile service operators to allow their customers to make calls to different carriers' networks from April 1, which is expected to result in a reduction in call charges.

DuPont plans Rs 200-cr knowledge centre
New Delhi, February 2
Science-based products and services company DuPont will invest Rs 200 crore to set up its first knowledge centre in India.

Bajaj to pull curtains on 100cc segment
New Delhi, February 2
Bajaj Auto Ltd has decided to exit the 100cc motor cycles, segment owing to relatively lower margins. Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj said the company was developing a new platform for a new bike as it had decided to move away from the 100cc segment.

ICICI Bank freezes many NRI accounts
Dubai, February 2
ICICI Bank has frozen the accounts of many NRIs in the UAE after they failed to submit personal documents demanded by the bank.

 

Tata Tea brand ambassador Sania Mirza at a promotional event in Hyderabad on Friday.
Tata Tea brand ambassador Sania Mirza at a promotional event in Hyderabad on Friday. — AFP

EARLIER STORIES

 
An  auctioneer takes bids on M.F. Husain's painting ‘‘Woman and Horses’’(1915) during a Christie's auction in Dubai on Friday.
An auctioneer takes bids on M.F. Husain's painting ‘‘Woman and Horses’’(1915) during a Christie's auction in Dubai on Friday. The international modern and contemporary art auction in Dubai presented 196 works by artists from the Arab world, India, Iran and the West. The first public art sale Christie's held in the region took place in the UAE in May, 2006 — AFP

Indian Bank raises lending, deposit rates
New Delhi, February 2
Closely following the RBI's move to raise the repo rate making borrowing from the central bank costlier for banks, Indian Bank today announced an increase in the lending rates by 0.5 per cent and a 0.25 per cent hike in the home loans rate.

Corus vote on Tata offer on March 7
Jamshedpur, February 2
Shareholders of Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus will meet on March 7 to vote on Tata Steel's 608 pence-a-share offer of takeover.

IFFCO plant in Jordan
New Delhi, February 2

IFFCO has signed an MoU with Jordan Phosphates Mines Company for setting up a 1,500 tonne phosphoric acid plant in southern Jordan with an investment of $350 million. IFFCO and its associates will hold 52 per cent stake in the new entity. — PTI

Corporate Results
Gujarat Ambuja net up nearly four-fold

Mumbai, February 2
Cement major Gujarat Ambuja Cements today posted an around four-fold jump in net profit to Rs 337.76 crore for the quarter ended December 31 and has declared a final dividend of 40 per cent.

NTPC all set for overseas foray
Tiruchirapalli, February 2
National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited is all set for an overseas foray by expanding its activities into various foreign countries.

RCom’s market cap crosses Rs 1,00,000 cr
New Delhi, February 2
For the first time, Reliance Communications (RCom) market cap arose over Rs 1,00,000 crore today.
Ajay Gupta
Ajay Gupta

Supreme Yarns plans Rs 238-cr expansion
Chandigarh, February 2
Supreme Yarns has earmarked Rs 238 crore for expanding the capacity of its Ludhiana-based unit over the next one year. In the first phase, the company proposes to double its spinning capacity to manufacture knitted garments, Mr Ajay Gupta, Joint Managing Director, said today.

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GAIL, ONGC to lay gas pipeline 

New Delhi, February 2
GAIL (India) Ltd and the ONGC will invest about Rs 3,000 crore for laying a pipeline from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh to Haldia in West Bengal to transport natural gas discovered by the ONGC in the Bay of Bengal.

"GAIL and the ONGC have signed a preliminary agreement to form a special purpose vehicle for laying the 1,000-km pipeline," a GAIL source said.

The pipeline passes through Peddapuram to Srikakulam (in Andhra Pradesh), Ganjam, Khorda, Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack, Jaipur, Balasore, Bhadrak (in Orissa), Kharagpur, Medinipore, Hugli and Naida to Pandua near Kolkata (in West Bengal). The pipeline is likely to be completed by 2011-12.

The ONGC has discovered huge gas reserves in deep-sea block KG-DWN-98/2 off the Andhra coast. Though the reserves have not yet been ascertained, the production potential according to some estimates could be as high as 50 million standard cubic metres per day.

The source said the ONGC and GAIL would hold an equal stake in the SPV to lay the pipeline, which would run almost parallel to a similar pipeline proposed by Reliance Industries for transporting gas found in the neighbouring KG-DWN-98/3 block.

The state-run firms are also likely to collaborate in setting up pipeline networks to supply gas to households and commercial establishments for cooking purposes and compressed natural gas (CNG) to automobiles in cities falling on the pipeline route.

"At current prices, revenue from the sale of one mmscmd of gas through CGD networks such as in Delhi and Mumbai is Rs 500 crore," the source said.

GAIL has plans to lay a 853-km pipeline from Haldia to Jagdishpur, where its trunk Hazira-Vijaipur-Jagdishpur pipeline terminates.

The company has identified 28 cities for implementation of projects for supplying CNG to automobiles and piped cooking as to households and commercial establishments.

The cities include Agra, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Pune, Faridabad, Patna, Ahmedabad, Sholapur, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Allahabad, Bareilly, Jhansi, Mathura, Noida, Navi Mumbai, Gwalior, Indore, Ujjain, Rajamundry, Vijayawada, Rajkot, Surendranagar, Kota and Vadodara.

To connect these cities, GAIL is laying Vijaipur-Kota, Dahej-Uran, Dabhol-Panvel and Jagoti-Pithampur pipelines. — PTI

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TRAI slashes network charges by 29 pc
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 2
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said today it would cut by up to 29 per cent the charges paid by mobile service operators to allow their customers to make calls to different carriers' networks from April 1, which is expected to result in a reduction in call charges.

"There has been a long-pending demand by interconnection seekers that port charges need to be reviewed. TRAI expects that service providers will pass the benefit of reduction in port charges to consumers," the regulator said.

Last month, the telecom regulator cut tariffs for national roaming on mobile networks by up to 56 per cent.

The reduction in existing charges is about 23-29 per cent for various slabs. The revised port charges from April 1 will be Rs 10,500-Rs 39,000 instead of Rs 14,000-Rs 55,000 now.

Port charges, which private players pay to BSNL and MTNL, have always been a bone of contention as operators complain of overcharging by these firms. Interconnection seekers are mandated to place their demand for the required number of ports on every point of interconnection (PoI) on the basis of traffic projection on a six-monthly basis.

It said that with rising competition in the telecom sector, interconnection among service providers had become an essential requirement for the development of the sector.

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DuPont plans Rs 200-cr knowledge centre

New Delhi, February 2
Science-based products and services company DuPont will invest Rs 200 crore to set up its first knowledge centre in India.

"We have five R&D centres worldwide, including in the US, Germany and China, but this centre to be set up at Hyderabad will be the company's first knowledge centre," DuPont President and CEO Balvinder Singh Kalsi said here.

"A total of initial Rs 100 crore will be invested on infrastructure and another Rs 100 crore on equipment and manpower in the knowledge centre," DuPont R&D Director Homi Bhedwar said.

The centre would come up on 15 acres of land on the ICICI Knowledge Park at Hyderabad.

The centre, whose groundbreaking ceremony is slated for March, would start operations by the second quarter of 2008.

Detailing a n to how the knowledge centre is unique from its other five R&D centres all over the world, Mr Homi Bhedwar said apart from basic research, the centre would have applications development to cater to the global markets, including India, aiming at increasing productivity of the its products.

On choosing India for its first knowledge centre, which would cater to applications development along with basic research, Mr Kalsi said: "India is a strategic market with intellectual capital and human resource available in plenty." — PTI 

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Bajaj to pull curtains on 100cc segment

New Delhi, February 2
Bajaj Auto Ltd has decided to exit the 100cc motor cycles, segment owing to relatively lower margins. Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj said the company was developing a new platform for a new bike as it had decided to move away from the 100cc segment.

The decision would also mean phasing out of its entry-level success story 'Boxer'.

The decision to exit from the 100cc segment was due to the increasing sales of its models such as 'Discover' and other DTSi products. — PTI 

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ICICI Bank freezes many NRI accounts

Dubai, February 2
ICICI Bank has frozen the accounts of many NRIs in the UAE after they failed to submit personal documents demanded by the bank. The bank had asked for the documents after the 2005 Mumbai floods damaged documents originally given by the customers, including papers submitted for opening savings and current accounts, demat accounts etc.

NRIs in the UAE were given a deadline of January 31for submitting the requisite documents. — PTI

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Indian Bank raises lending, deposit rates

New Delhi, February 2
Closely following the RBI's move to raise the repo rate making borrowing from the central bank costlier for banks, Indian Bank today announced an increase in the lending rates by 0.5 per cent and a 0.25 per cent hike in the home loans rate.

Indian Bank CMD K.C. Chakrabarty told reporters on the sidelines of a roadshow for the IPO that the prime lending rate had been raised by 50 basis points across the board to 12.5 per cent. The deposits rates had also been increased from February 1. — PTI

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Corus vote on Tata offer on March 7

Jamshedpur, February 2
Shareholders of Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus will meet on March 7 to vote on Tata Steel's 608 pence-a-share offer of takeover.

Tata Steel Managing Director B. Muthuraman said the Corus shareholders, attending the extraordinary general meeting (EGM), would also tender their shares at the rate of 608 pence per share.

"Hopefully, our financial structure will be ready by then and we will be in a position to announce it," he said, asserting that the acquisition of Corus was a 'good deal.' Muthuraman, who arrived in the steel city this morning, told reporters that "the company's shareholders and employees would realise that a good deal had been made." Asked about the options Tata Steel was exploring to fund the deal, he said, "We are thinking many ways to raise funds as the company is extremely prudent as far as financial issues are concerned." — PTI

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Corporate Results
Gujarat Ambuja net up nearly four-fold

Mumbai, February 2
Cement major Gujarat Ambuja Cements today posted an around four-fold jump in net profit to Rs 337.76 crore for the quarter ended December 31 and has declared a final dividend of 40 per cent.

The net profit for the company in the year-ago period stood at Rs 87.90 crore.

The total income (net of excise) of the company stood at Rs 1369.36 crore the period under review, up 78.87 per cent from Rs 765.56 crore in the corresponding quarter of 2005, Gujarat Ambuja Cements said.

The company said it has declared a 40 per cent final dividend on equity shares of Rs 0.80 per share.

With two interim dividends at 50 per cent (Re 1 per share) and 75 per cent (Rs 1.50 per share) paid during the year, the total dividend for the year 2005-06 (18 months) works out to 165 per cent (Rs 3.30 per share) as against 70 per cent (Rs 1.40 per share) on comparable share capital in the previous year (12 months).

Greaves Cotton Q3 PAT up 66 PC

Engineering major Greaves Cotton Ltd has clocked a 66 per cent jump in its PAT in Q3 FY 07 at Rs 29.8 crore as against Rs 17.9 crore in the same year-ago period.

The company’s turnover in the quarter rose 38 per ent at Rs 326 crore as against Rs 236 crore in the previous corresponding period of last fiscal.

The company’s infrastructure equipment business performed well, registering a 138 per cent rise in sales.

It has declared its second interim dividend of 20 per cent, equivalent to Rs 2 per equity share, making the total interim dividend to 40 per cent for the current financial year.

Indiabulls Financial

Indiabulls Financial Services has posted a 55.9 per cent rise in consolidated profit after tax at Rs 111.76 crore in the third quarter ended December 31, as against Rs 71.69 crore recorded in the year-ago period.

The consolidated total revenues more than doubled to Rs 334.53 crore in the latest quarter as compared to Rs 164.37 crore in the corresponding period of 2005, a company statement said here.

Indiabulls Financial Services has also declared a 100 per cent dividend of Rs 2 per share having a face value of Rs 2 each.

For the nine months ended December 31, the consolidated profit after tax soared by 63.9 per cent to Rs 283.47 crore as against Rs 172.98 crore in the year-ago period. — Agencies

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NTPC all set for overseas foray

Tiruchirapalli, February 2
National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited is all set for an overseas foray by expanding its activities into various foreign countries.

NTPC Chairman and Managing Director T Sankaralingam said the company would be entering into some specific activities in Nigeria, Indonesia, South Africa and Australia after being to Sri Lanka.

The company had recently signed an agreement with the Sri Lankan Government for the establishment of a 2X250 MW coal-based thermal power plant at Trincomalee, upon a 50-50 investment stake holding with the Sri Lankan Electricity Authority.

The Nigerian Government has also entered into an agreement with NTPC on varied power generation activities. As short-term plans, the public sector giant would assist that government in refurbishing LNG-based sick power plants to extend life span and to enhance production capacity.

As a long-term plan, NTPC would install a coal-based power plant of 500 MW. It could be a joint venture with the Nigerian Government or any private corporate or even a partner on a global venture.

The Nigerian Government had expressed its wish to tie up with NTPC and the PSU was awaiting clearance from the Centre, he added.

Similarly, NTPC is holding discussions with the Indonesian Government for power projects. There would also be power generation ventures into Australia and South Africa.

The NTPC Board, in principle, had cleared the company to venture into nuclear power generation. As such, by the middle of 11th Five Year Plan period, the company would embark on generating 2000 MW by nuclear technology and the details were being worked out, he said. — UNI

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RCom’s market cap crosses Rs 1,00,000 cr

New Delhi, February 2
For the first time, Reliance Communications (RCom) market cap arose over Rs 1,00,000 crore today.

RCom is among the highest contributors to the rise in Sensex and Nifty over the past five months and its scrip has over performed Bharti during the past three months.

It is the seventh largest Indian corporate in terms of market capitalisation with the ONGC, NTPC, RIL, TCS, Infosys, Bharti slightly ahead of it.

Among the private corporates it is the fifth largest in terms of market capitalisation. It covered the Rs 1,00,000 crore market capitalisation in less than 
10 months.

Among Asia’s five most valuable telecom companies, it has a shareholder equity of Rs 20,000 crore. — UNI

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Supreme Yarns plans Rs 238-cr expansion
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Supreme Yarns has earmarked Rs 238 crore for expanding the capacity of its Ludhiana-based unit over the next one year. In the first phase, the company proposes to double its spinning capacity to manufacture knitted garments, Mr Ajay Gupta, Joint Managing Director, said today.

It was proposed to have a 100 per cent export-oriented unit to manufacture knitted garments with a capacity of 30,000 pieces a day. In the second phase the daily capacity would be raised to 60,000 pieces.

The company catered to the USA, Canada, UK, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Korea and Hong Kong. The capital required for investment would be raised through internal accruals and from financial institutions. 

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BRIEFLY

Inflation again soars to 6.11 pc
New Delhi, February 2
With the surge in the prices of food items, including pulses, fruits, vegetables and eggs continuing, inflation based on the wholesale price index has again increased to 6.11 per cent for the week ended January 20 as compared to 5.95 per cent during the previous week. Although, inflation had touched 6.12 per cent during the week ending January 6 this fiscal, but it came down to 5.95 per cent in the following week. The cut in customs duty on edible oil, cement and other manufacturing products, along with the RBI's decision to tighten liquidity in the market announced on January 31 will take some time to dampen the rising prices due to a time lag factor, said government officials. — TNS

Reliance MF tops list
Mumbai, February 2
The Reliance Mutual Fund has toppled the UTI MF to become the country’s largest fund house in January with assets under management of more than Rs 39,000 crore. According to data available with the Association of Mutual Funds of India (AMFI), assets under management (AUM) of the Reliance MF jumped to Rs 39,019.94 crore in January, well ahead of UTI MF’s Rs 37,535.07 crore. — PTI

Rajesh Exports
Mumbai, February 2
Cashing in on the large demand for ethnic hand-made jewellery in South Asian countries, Rajesh Exports has bagged an export order worth Rs 352 crore from Singapore-based Gold Star Jewellery. The export order was placed for the new collection of jewellery developed by its R&D wing at its manufacturing facility at Bangalore. — PTI

SpiceJet offer
New Delhi, February 2
SpiceJet said today said it will start offering web check-in service from Delhi to 14 destinations across the country. Passengers travelling from Delhi to select destinations would be able to check-in, choose preferred seats and print boarding passes through the SpiceJet website, the airline said.— PTI

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