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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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B U S I N E S S

Boeing to invest $185 m in India
Bangalore, February 7

After bagging aircraft orders worth about 20 billion dollars from India, US major Boeing today announced its commitment to invest almost $185 million to develop aviation-related projects and facilities in the country.

Experts to study FDI impact on rural economy 
New Delhi, February 7
Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath has agreed to set up an expert committee to look into the sectors FDI was flowing into and its impact on the rural economy.

Key nations agree on IP transfer to developing world
New Delhi, February 7
Key nations of the world have agreed to facilitate transfer of Intellectual Property (IP) to developing countries.



EARLIER STORIES

 

Govt to develop model townships for IT industry
Mumbai, February 7
The government will develop integrated model townships across the country to cater to BPO and IT industries, Union IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran said here today.

New marker to stem petro adulteration
New Delhi, February 7
In a move to reduce adulteration of petrol and diesel, the government has come out with a new system of marking to prevent diversion of kerosene for contamination.

Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora (right) and Mr Keshub Mahindra (left), Chairman of Mahindra Group, flag off Asia's first 100 per cent bio-diesel SUV in New Delhi on Wednesday
Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora (right) and Mr Keshub Mahindra (left), Chairman of Mahindra Group, flag off Asia's first 100 per cent bio-diesel SUV in New Delhi on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

M&M unveils bio-diesel Scorpio, Bolero
New Delhi, February 7
Mahindra & Mahindra today announced its entry into the bio-diesel utility and vehicles market with the launch of Scorpio and Bolero DI vehicles.

Reliance Life Sciences buys UK-based Co 
Mumbai, February 7
Reliance Life Sciences said today it had acquired UK-based GeneMedix Plc for £14.6 million (about Rs 126.83 crore).

Acting ONGC chief shown the door
New CMD by May, says Deora
New Delhi, February 7
The ONGC will have a new Chairman and Managing Director by May as the process of selection begins within a week, the Petroleum Ministry said today.

Ace passenger carrier coming
New Delhi, February 7

Tata Motors said today that it would launch a passenger-carrier version of its mini truck 'Ace' in the next six months.

Microsoft launches ERP software
New Delhi, February 7
Microsoft today launched a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software targeted at the large enterprises in India.

12 firms on Wipro radar
Mumbai, February 7

Wipro Technologies said today it was 'actively' looking at about 12 companies for acquisition and was hopeful of completing at least one in the current quarter.

$15-m RIL order for South  Arabian firm
Dubai, February 7

A Saudi Arabian cable manufacturing company has won a $15-million contract from Reliance Industries (RIL) to supply cables for the latter's Jamnagar project.

Punj Lloyd to recast capital
Mumbai, February 7

Punj Lloyd has received approval to shake up its capital by cancelling 1 crore preference shares and creating 1 crore equity shares in their place.

An employee of Japanese fuel cell battery venture FC R and D displays a robot hand, powered by fuel cell battery, at the International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Expo in Tokyo on Wednesday. Over 500 companies are exhibiting  recent technology of next generation energy at a three-day event.
An employee of Japanese fuel cell battery venture FC R and D displays a robot hand, powered by fuel cell battery, at the International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Expo in Tokyo on Wednesday. Over 500 companies are exhibiting recent technology of next generation energy at a three-day event. — AFP

Nasscom fund
Mumbai, February 7
In a bid to promote innovation in IT, Nasscom, the representative body of IT services, is planning to set up a Rs 100-crore fund.

Glaxo looking for buyouts
New Delhi, February 7

Glaxo SmithKline said today it was looking out for acquisitions in the health and wellness space in India. 

Assocham for tax relief to Indian Cos in overseas mergers 
New Delhi, February 7
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has sought a comprehensive merger & acquisition policy to facilitate Indian corporates to take over foreign companies by providing them with a conducive taxation framework.

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Boeing to invest $185 m in India

Bangalore, February 7
After bagging aircraft orders worth about 20 billion dollars from India, US major Boeing today announced its commitment to invest almost $185 million to develop aviation-related projects and facilities in the country.

Announcing that his company was also committed to invest a total of $1.7 billion in offsets, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ Senior Vice-President (Sales) Dinesh Keskar said the firm would invest up to $100 million for an MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) facility in Nagpur, and up to $75 million for a flight crew training centre and $10 million for initial pilot training.

He said on the sidelines of the Aero India show here that there was a tremendous opportunity for Boeing and Indian companies to work together on a multitude of projects and business initiatives, especially the shortage of pilots, airport capacity management and creation of a large skilled maintenance workforce and MRO facilities.

Keskar said Boeing was eyeing the domestic air cargo sector, which had expanded at an average annual growth rate of over 10 per cent. He said his company was offering a comprehensive range of freighters including the 747-8F, 777F and the 767F.

The US manufacturer has bagged orders from Air-India for 68 aircraft, Jet Airways (30) SpiceJet (20) and Air Sahara (10).

The IAF has also placed firm orders for three Boeing 737 business jets for its squadron that ferries VVIPs.

The orders totalled up to 131 aircraft, required for fleet renewal and route expansion, at a cost of about $ 20 billion at list prices. — PTI

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Experts to study FDI impact on rural economy 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 7
Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath has agreed to set up an expert committee to look into the sectors FDI was flowing into and its impact on the rural economy.

Accepting the suggestion from members of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Commerce and Industry at a meeting held yesterday, Mr Nath said the purpose was to ensure equitable distribution of FDI and to bridge the rural-urban divide.

An official statement said here today that MPs agreed with the minister on the importance of FDI in the country’s economy in terms of not only generating economic activities and jobs, but also facilitating transfer of technology and managerial capabilities, thereby enhancing India’s global competitiveness.

Presiding over the meeting, Mr Nath said FDI inflows had witnessed a quantum leap during the current fiscal and were expected to be more than double the inflows recorded last year.

The FDI equity inflows during the current year (April-November, 2006) had been $7.2 billion -- the highest ever received in equity capital since the commencement of economic liberalisation in India, Mr Nath said, adding that the monthly inflows this fiscal crossed $1 billion on three occasions in July, October and November, 2006.

Referring to the higher credit rating to investment grade assigned to India by Standard and Poort’s recently, Mr Nath said this should lead to even greater FDI inflows into India.

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Key nations agree on IP transfer to developing world

New Delhi, February 7
Key nations of the world have agreed to facilitate transfer of Intellectual Property (IP) to developing countries.

At the first-ever international meeting on Intellectual Property and development issues here, it was decided to approach the matter in context of broader societal interest and development-related concern, in accordance with the TRIPs Agreement.

Towards this end there was a consensus that policies, initiatives and reforms were needed to ensure the transfer and dissemination of technology for the benefit of developing countries should be explored.

It was also agreed that innovative means for fostering transfer of technology to enable SMEs take better advantage of flexibilities as provided by relevant international agreements were needed.

The participants were also of the view that technical cooperation programme of World Intellectual Property Organisation should be strengthened.

"They were generally in favour of carrying forward the development agenda and harmonisation of proposals of developing countries in this regard for expeditious consideration in the ensuing meeting of the WIPO Provisional Committee on Development Agenda,"a statement said here.

The 3-day meeting, which concluded today, was organised by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in association with the Ficci  and National Intellectual Property Organisation. — PTI

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Govt to develop model townships for IT industry
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, February 7
The government will develop integrated model townships across the country to cater to BPO and IT industries, Union IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran said here today.

Mr Maran said the initiative, first proposed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, aimed at providing jobs  to people close to their homes.

"The model IT townships will come up in 25 cities, which will obliterate the need for people to leave their hometowns in search for jobs," Maran said. He noted that such a move would take the pressure off bigger cities and decentralise infrastructure requirements.

Mr Maran said his ministry would work closely with the Urban Development Department to take the proposal forward.

The model IT cities will come up at Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Bhopal, Chandigrah-Mohali, Coimbatore, Dehra Dun, Jaipur, Kochi, Lucknow-Kanpur, Panaji, Mangalore, Mysore, Nagpur, Thiruvananthpuram, Visakhapatnam, Agra, Guwahati, Indore, Patna, Siliguri-Jalpaiguri and Shimla. More cities and state capitals are also being brought under this plan, he said.

The minister noted that the IT townships will aim to provide crucial support for the export markets. They will also nurture talent for the booming domestic IT markets.

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New marker to stem petro adulteration
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 7
In a move to reduce adulteration of petrol and diesel, the government has come out with a new system of marking to prevent diversion of kerosene for contamination.

Petroleum Secretary M.S. Srinivasan said with the introduction of a world-standard marker adulteration of petrol and diesel could be effectively prevented.

He said the Petroleum Ministry has issued the necessary notification to provide the legal backing to the practice of blending kerosene with the approved marker.

He pointed out that the latest initiative was part of the government’s efforts to weed out malpractices in the distribution of petroleum products so that consumers get quality products.

To poularise the system, the supplier of marker Authentix of U.K. has trained about 2000 field officers of public sector oil marketing companies.

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M&M unveils bio-diesel Scorpio, Bolero

New Delhi, February 7
Mahindra & Mahindra today announced its entry into the bio-diesel utility and vehicles market with the launch of Scorpio and Bolero DI vehicles.

Based on CRDE technology, the Scorpio is the first Asian vehicle in its class to run on 100 per cent bio-diesel. The company also unveiled a 5 per cent bio-diesel tractor.

''Our alternate fuel programme addresses India's fuel consumption needs and is, therefore, a natural extension of our priorities,'' Mahindra Group Chairman Keshub Mahindra said.

Mr Mahindra added that the company has proposed the large-scale implementation of the programme to the government.

However, the products will not be immediately available in the markets.

''It will take many years. The launch is an experiment. We have to test their durability, reliability, and overall performance.''

Inaugurating the vehicles, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said, ''The innovative use of this technology will serve as a benchmark in India's push for a sustained and more responsible use of valuable energy resources.”— UNI

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Bids for PTL stake 

M&M has put in a bid for acquiring stake in Punjab Tractors Ltd (PTL).

"We have put in a bid for acquiring stake in Punjab Tractors, which is up for sale," Mr Keshub Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra and Mahindra said here. He said the bid was a non-binding one.

The Burman family, which holds a 14.5 per cent stake in Punjab Tractors, is reported to be interested in selling its stake. — PTI

 

 

Reliance Life Sciences buys UK-based Co 

Mumbai, February 7
Reliance Life Sciences said today it had acquired UK-based GeneMedix Plc for £14.6 million (about Rs 126.83 crore).

This acquisition is by way of subscription by Reliance Life Sciences to 1,168 million additional equity shares of GeneMedix at 1.25 pence per share, the company said.

This represents a share holding of 74 per cent of the enlarged equity of GeneMedix for Reliance Life Sciences.

The acquisition deal also involves a five-year warrant option for Reliance Life Sciences for a further 1,404 million shares at 1.25 pence per share to enable infusion of an additional £17.5 million, which would take the shareholding of Reliance Life Science in GeneMedix to 86 per cent.

"We are pleased to be able to work closely with GeneMedix in realising its aspirations of being a major bio-generics player," Reliance Life Science President and CEO K V Subramaniam said here.

Reliance Life Sciences is a research-driven organisation, which participates in medical, plant and industrial biotechnology opportunities. — PTI 

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Acting ONGC chief shown the door
New CMD by May, says Deora
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 7
The ONGC will have a new Chairman and Managing Director by May as the process of selection begins within a week, the Petroleum Ministry said today.

The search for a new CMD has begun as the Cabinet Committee on Appointments has not confirmed the name of acting CMD R.S. Sharma for the post.

A new committee will be formed within a week to interview candidates, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said.

Mr Sharma, also Director (Finance), ONGC, is likely to step down as its acting CMD.

The Public Enterprise Selection Board (PSEB) selected Mr Sharma, who has been officiating as CMD since May-end, 2006, when the government decided not to extend the term of Mr Subir Raha for the top job on August 30, 2006.

However, despite getting all necessary clearances from the CBI, IB, and CVC, the Prime Minister's Office last evening scrapped the recommendations and called for fresh interviews.

Petroleum Secretary M.S. Srinivasan said the new search panel would be headed by the PSEB Chairman and comprise members of the PSEB, Petroleum Secretary and two independent eminent personalities.

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Ace passenger carrier coming

New Delhi, February 7
Tata Motors said today that it would launch a passenger-carrier version of its mini truck 'Ace' in the next six months.

"We hope to introduce a passenger-carrier version of Ace in the next six months," Tata Motors Managing Director Ravi Kant told reporters on the sidelines of a SIAM summit on diesel.

Mr Kant said the company would produce Ace at its upcoming greenfield facility at Uttaranchal, which would be used for manufacturing light commercial vehicles.

Tata Motors would also set up "the world's biggest" bus and coach body-building facility in India in a joint venture with Brazil's Marco Polo. However, he refused to give details on the location of the plant, saying that "discussions are under way with state governments".

The company is in the middle of a row over its plans to build a plant at Singur in West Bengal for its ambitious and much-awaited Rs 1 lakh car.

Asked if Tata Motors was hopeful of bringing out the car by 2008, Mr Kant said with the start of construction of the plant, the car launch "is on schedule".

Tata Motors would invest Rs 10,000 crore over the next 3-4 years to increase production capacity and launch new models. — PTI 

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Microsoft launches ERP software

New Delhi, February 7
Microsoft today launched a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software targeted at the large enterprises in India.

"Dynamics AX 4.0, targeted at large enterprises with over 1,000 users, would help us augment our portfolio of business application software for enterprises," Microsoft India Chief Operating Officer Doug Hauger said.

Microsoft has tied up with 46 partners so far for the deployment of AX 4.0 across a spectrum of industries, including automotive, construction, retail, IT and ITES, life sciences and healthcare. — PTI 

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12 firms on Wipro radar

Mumbai, February 7
Wipro Technologies said today it was 'actively' looking at about 12 companies for acquisition and was hopeful of completing at least one in the current quarter.

"We are actively looking at 9-12 companies...we hope to complete at least one acquisition in the current quarter," Wipro Technologies Chief Strategy Officer Sudip Nandy said at the Nasscom India Leadership Forum here.

"We are looking at companies worth above $50 million but in some cases we could pick up a stake also," Mr Nandy said.

The verticals in focus were healthcare, travel, telecom, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. — PTI

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$15-m RIL order for South Arabian firm

Dubai, February 7
A Saudi Arabian cable manufacturing company has won a $15-million contract from Reliance Industries (RIL) to supply cables for the latter's Jamnagar project.

Jamnagar project is the world's largest grassroot refinery and aromatics complex.

''The move is significant because smaller firms from the region often found it difficult to enter the Indian market,'' spokesman of the company, Middle East Specialised Cables Co, was quoted by media reports as saying.

Reliance's decision to look outside India was due to a bad experience it had during the first phase, he said.

''In the last few weeks we have received enquiries from petrochemical companies in India simply because of our new relationship with Reliance,'' he added.— UNI

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Punj Lloyd to recast capital

Mumbai, February 7
Punj Lloyd has received approval to shake up its capital by cancelling 1 crore preference shares and creating 1 crore equity shares in their place. The shares of Rs 10 each so created would be split into five shares of Rs 2 each.. If the move is through, the total capital would constitute 35 crore shares of Rs 2 each and 1 crore preference shares of Rs 10 each. — PTI

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Nasscom fund

Mumbai, February 7
In a bid to promote innovation in IT, Nasscom, the representative body of IT services, is planning to set up a Rs 100-crore fund.

"The first-of-its-kind initiative by the apex body, the fund would be supported by the industry and would be for driving innovation by IT companies," Nasscom President Kiran Karnik said here. — PTI

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Glaxo looking for buyouts

New Delhi, February 7
Glaxo SmithKline said today it was looking out for acquisitions in the health and wellness space in India. "As we look for consolidating our position in India, we are actively pursuing both organic and inorganic strategies, particularly the latter," Glaxo SmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH) Senior Vice- President Worldwide Business Development and Strategic Alliances Catherine Angell Sohn said here.

GSKCH is looking out for acquiring brands and business in the health and nutrition category, including over-the-counter drugs (OTC). — PTI

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Assocham for tax relief to Indian Cos in overseas mergers 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 7
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has sought a comprehensive merger & acquisition policy to facilitate Indian corporates to take over foreign companies by providing them with a conducive taxation framework.

Assocham Senior Vice-President Sajjan Jindal said here today that “there is urgent need for an M&A policy that can support Indian corporates to go global with sufficient government support.”

Mr Jindal said that he had taken up this issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week when an Assocham delegation called on him, suggesting that fiscal and taxation incentives werenecessary to be incorporated in the new policy for global merger and acquisition.

Assocham President Venugopal N. Dhoot had already appointed a committee to suggest measures as to how global acquisition could be made a painless exercise. The committee would submit its report to the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and the departments concerned well before the Budget so that the suggestions, seeking fiscal incentives and tax benefits are incorporated in the 2007-08 Budget proposals, added Mr Jindal.

Seeking incorporation of fiscal and tax incentives necessary for acquisitions in the policy, he said a conducive taxation framework would definitely facilitate overseas takeovers by domestic firms.

Mr Jindal pointed out that Tata Steel's takeover of Corus would motivate other Indian players to go global, particularly in areas like textiles, pharmaceuticals, telecom, automobile and heavy engineering.

Referring to the Tata-Corus deal Jindal said the country has taken a giant leap in establishing its lead among the leading steel producing nations like Brazil, China and Russia but warned that lack of sufficient infrastructure capacity addition would take place in the overseas, particularly in the steel sector.

He exuded confidence that many industrialists would follow Tata and Mittal to go global and widen their presence and sufficient infrastructure facilities should be created within India and to harness domestic capital adequate raw material for the industry be ensured. 

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BRIEFLY

ICICI Prudential
Ludhiana, February 7
In a bid to increase its presence in the region, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance has decided to increase the number of its branches from the existing 39 to around 70 by the end of this calendar year. The company is also actively working towards tapping the potential of widening health cover in rural India. Punjab, which contributes 7 to 8 per cent towards the total premium, will remain a key focus area, said Mr Pranav Mishra, Vice-President, ICICI Prudential, here today. — TNS

Topworth plan
Mumbai, February 7
Topworth Group of Industries said today it would invest Rs 4,000 crore to set up a 600 MW power plant in Chhattisgarh to feed its upcoming one million steel plant. The company signed an MoU with the state government for the coal-based power project, which would go on stream in the next three to five years.— PTI

Ranbaxy pact
Mumbai, February 7
Ranbaxy Laboratories today announced the signing of a global development and marketing agreement with Zenotech Laboratories Ltd for its first biosimilar product, G-CSF(filgrastim). G-CSF is used to prevent infections from cancer chemotherapy- induced neutropenia (decrease in the number of a type of white-blood cells). — UNI

Licence revoked
Mumbai, February 7
The RBI has cancelled the licence of Gujarat-based Rajkot Mahila Nagrik Sahakari Bank Limited with effect from January 31. This followed after the bank became insolvent and all efforts to revive it failed, an RBI release said. The Registrar of Companies has been requested to issue an order for winding up the bank and appoint a liquidator for it. — PTI

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