SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

Semiconductor policy okayed
Nod to 25 pc subsidy for setting up units
New Delhi, February 22
The government has announced a capital subsidy of up to 25 per cent to attract investments from global majors such as Intel for setting up semiconductor fabrication and other high-end items manufacturing units.
Wal-Mart, Bharti finetuning deal
New Delhi, February22
Wal-Mart said today it was discussing its business arrangement with corporate major Bharti in the wholesale segment and is exploring the possibility of investing in backward linkages.
Mr Michael Duke (right), vice-chairman of Wal-Mart, is accompanied by Mr Rajan Mittal of Bharti while touring a shopping mall in Mumbai on Thursday.
Mr Michael Duke (right), vice-chairman of Wal-Mart, is accompanied by Mr Rajan Mittal of Bharti while touring a shopping mall in Mumbai on Thursday. — Reuters

Bids invited for Maruti divestment
New Delhi, February 22
The government today invited bids from public sector financial institutions and mutual funds for its remaining 10.27 per cent stake in Maruti Udyog Limited that would bring in Rs 2,700 crore to the exchequer.

Centre okays Rs 2,925-cr FDI
New Delhi, February 22
The Centre today cleared a Rs 2,250-crore ($500 million) FDI proposal from the Indonesian-based Salim Group and Ciputra Groups for developing infrastructure projects including SEZs, townships and housing, in West Bengal.

  • Rs 675-cr FDI cleared for Sun TV's DTH


A model displays a creation as part of Les Copains during the women’s fall-winter 2007-08 collection at Milan fashion week on Thursday.
A model displays a creation as part of Les Copains during the women’s fall-winter 2007-08 collection at Milan fashion week on Thursday. — Reuters

 
Actress Preity Zinta, who was signed up as a brand ambassador for Rexona Deo in Mumbai on Thursday.
Actress Preity Zinta, who was signed up as a brand ambassador for Rexona Deo in Mumbai on Thursday. — PTI

India’s largest IT park in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram, February 22
Kerala today become home to the country’s largest information technology park with the opening of “Tejaswini”, the seventh building at the Technopark here.

German Co plans harvester-combine plant in Morinda
Morinda, February 22
Claas, a German-based manufacturer of harvesting equipment, is setting up a state-of-the-art combine harvester plant here with an investment of 19 million euros.

HTIL may sell biz in other emerging mkts to Orascom
New Delhi, February 22

Hutchison Telecom, which recently agreed to sell its India unit to UK mobile giant Vodafone, may sell its assets in other emerging markets such as Thailand to Egyptian firm Orascom, a Chinese media report said.

Refineries keen to buy Cairn crude
New Delhi, February 22
Private sector refiners Reliance and Essar Oil and state-run firms Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum have evinced interest in buying Cairn India’s Rajasthan crude oil that will begin flowing from 2009.

Integreon to buy US firm
Mumbai, February 22
Integreon Managed Solutions Inc today announced its acquisition of US-based CBF Group Inc, a business process outsourcing company exclusively focussed on enterprise services to law firms.

McDonald’s to adopt franchise model in North
New Delhi, February 22
With a view to penetrate deeper into India’s growing food and beverages segment, fast food chain McDonald’s is considering adopting franchise model in its North India operations by 2008.

Arcelor-Mittal in race to buy Sesa Goa
London, February 22
Arcelor-Mittal is in the fray to acquire India's top private iron ore producer Sesa Goa for about $1 billion, a media report here said.

Arcelor-Mittal posts $2.37 b profit
Luxembourg, February 22
Arcelor SA and Mittal Steel Co NV, currently combining to form the world’s largest steelmaker, reported a fourth quarter profit of $2.37 billion today without providing comparative figures.

Strengthen internal auditing, says CAG
New Delhi, February 22
The comptroller and auditor general (CAG) of India V.N. Kaul has asked the government to strengthen the internal auditing system in its various departments for speedier auditing of their accounts.

BSNL aims to double turnover
New Delhi, February 22
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will double its turnover to $20 billion dollars in the next three years with an increase of 27 per cent year-on-year.

Aussie firm to invest Rs 2,000 cr in gold mining in Rajasthan
Jaipur, February 22
Australia-based Indo Gold Ltd (IGL) will invest Rs 2,000 crore to develop a gold mine and primary and secondary processing plants in Rajasthan.

Ban on export of gram lifted
New Delhi, February 22
The government has decided to lift the ban imposed on the export of dollar gram to mitigate the distress of farmers.

Trash report on patent law: CPM
New Delhi, February 22
The CPM today urged the government to disband the "discredited" expert committee on patent law take appropriate steps to constitute an expert committee comprising persons "with intellectual integrity and committed to uphold the common man's interests".

Refineries keen to buy Cairn crude
New Delhi, February 22
Private sector refiners Reliance and Essar Oil and state-run firms Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum have evinced interest in buying Cairn India’s Rajasthan crude oil that will begin flowing from 2009.

 

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Semiconductor policy okayed
Nod to 25 pc subsidy for setting up units

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
The government has announced a capital subsidy of up to 25 per cent to attract investments from global majors such as Intel for setting up semiconductor fabrication and other high-end items manufacturing units.

The Union Cabinet had earlier approved the policy, which will be operational till 2010. The subsidy will be in the form of tax breaks and interest-free loans.

Announcing the policy, IT minister Dayanidhi Maran said today the country could safely expect over $10 billion FDI. “A typical fab requires a minimum $3 billion investment. Our country has the eco system to take 2-3 such fab,” he said.

“This policy announcement will give a major fillip to hi-tech manufacturing in the country which can become a significant contributor to the Indian economy. The government of India has started another new chapter in India through this semiconductor policy which will lead to the same kind of achievements that the software policy did about 15 years back,” he said.

For semiconductor companies willing to avail the incentives, which will be 20 per cent of the capital expenditure during the first 10 years, they have to invest a minimum Rs 2,500 crore. Such companies will have to be set up in special economic zones to avail this benefit.

The threshold investment limit for manufacturing other products like storage devices, micro and nano technology products, assembly and testing of all these products and organic light emitting diodes is Rs 1,000 crore.

If the unit is located outside SEZ, the incentive would be 25 per cent of the capital subsidy in the first 10 years and countervailing duty on capital goods would be exempted.

Lack of a policy led the world’s largest chipmaker Intel to turn its back on India and go to Israel for setting up a fab.

India got its first proposal to start such a fab from a group, including Advanced Micro Devices and SemiIndia, for an investment consideration of $3 billion in 2005.

The package comes after the finance minister in his budget speech last year promised support for the semiconductor industry.

He said the time was ripe to make India a preferred destination for the manufacture of semiconductors and other high technology IT products like flat LCD/OLED/plasma panel displays and storage devices.

A Frost and Sullivan study has said India was the fastest growing market for electronic products in the world with consumption expected to grow to $363 billion by 2015 from $28 billion in 2005.

India will account for 11 per cent of the global electronics market by 2015, compared to 1.8 per cent in 2005.

India will also consume $36 billion of semiconductors in 2015, amounting to 6 per cent of the global market.

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Wal-Mart, Bharti finetuning deal

New Delhi, February 22
Wal-Mart said today it was discussing its business arrangement with corporate major Bharti in the wholesale segment and is exploring the possibility of investing in backward linkages.

“Our business arrangements with Bharti for wholesale cash-and-carry are still being discussed. We look forward to partnering with them to build backward linkages with farmers and suppliers through a robust and efficient supply chain,” a Wal-Mart spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson said the visit of vice-chairman Mike Duke, who arrived in Mumbai today, was aimed at getting a first-hand knowledge of the market and no announcement regarding specific plans would be made during this visit.
Seeking to allay fears its entry in India would wipe out neighbourhood stores, the spokesperson said: “A cash-and-carry wholesale operation has the potential to provide much needed support to small business owners and retailers by selling them quality merchandise at competitive prices”. “At this stage, we are still in preliminary discussions,” the spokesperson added.

Sourcing from India for its international operations continues to be a growing focus for Wal-Mart. In 2006, the retailer sourced nearly $600 million in goods directly from suppliers in India for the company’s stores around the world and hopes to increase the sourcing.

Meanwhile, welcoming Mr Duke’s visit to India, Bharti said the two companies were discussing for setting up a wholesale cash-and-carry business, developing supply chain and logistics.

“We believe Wal-Mart’s expertise in wholesale cash-and-carry and building an efficient supply chain will bring significant benefits to farmers and suppliers,” a Bharti statement said.

According to sources, Mr Duke held a meeting with Bharti Enterprises joint managing director Rajan Mittal in Mumbai and discussed the retail venture. — PTI

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Bids invited for Maruti divestment

New Delhi, February 22
The government today invited bids from public sector financial institutions and mutual funds for its remaining 10.27 per cent stake in Maruti Udyog Limited that would bring in Rs 2,700 crore to the exchequer.

The process of sale is expected to be completed in this fiscal itself as the last date for expression of interest (EoI) has been kept as March 9.

The sale of the remaining 2,96,79,709 shares in the company would fetch the government Rs 2,700 crore based on the current price of MUL’s shares on the bourses.

The money raised from the sale would go to the government and not the National Investment Fund (NIF) as MUL is no longer a public sector fund.

Last year, the government raised Rs 1567 crore from selling its 8 per cent stake in the company which went to the exchequer and not to the NIF that was created to receive funds from the sale of government shares in state-owned companies. — PTI

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Centre okays Rs 2,925-cr FDI

New Delhi, February 22
The Centre today cleared a Rs 2,250-crore ($500 million) FDI proposal from the Indonesian-based Salim Group and Ciputra Groups for developing infrastructure projects including SEZs, townships and housing, in West Bengal.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, at its meeting here, gave its approval to the New Kolkata International Development Pvt Ltd (NKID), set up by the two Indonesian groups, ''to make downstream investments in Indian companies developing various components of the integrated infrastructure development project comprising townships, housing, SEZs, industrial parks and related infrastructure''.

The high-profile Salim group last year announced investments exceeding Rs 2,000 crore in the state

Rs 675-cr FDI cleared for Sun TV's DTH

The government also gave its nod to FDI of Rs 675 crore ( $150 million) in Maran family-run Sun TV's ambitious direct to home (DTH) service project.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval for issuance of equity shares to Mauritius-based South Asia Entertainment Holdings Limited (SAHEL), Finance Minister P Chidambram told reporters after the meeting.

The investment will constitute 20 per cent of total issues subscribed and paid-up capital of the company amounting to about $150 million from time to time.

Sun TV is promoted by Mr Kalanidhi Maran, brother of Communications and Information Technology Minister Dayanidhi Maran. — PTI

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India’s largest IT park in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, February 22
Kerala today become home to the country’s largest information technology park with the opening of “Tejaswini”, the seventh building at the Technopark here.

With the opening of Tejaswini, which is spread across 8.50 lakh sq ft, the IT park now boasts of almost 32 lakh sq ft of commercial space, housing 120 IT companies.

Dedicating the park to the nation, Kerala chief minister V.S. Achuthananda said the government would take all efforts to improve infrastructure facilities and provide maximum support for the growth of the IT industry. — PTI

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German Co plans harvester-combine plant in Morinda
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Morinda, February 22
Claas, a German-based manufacturer of harvesting equipment, is setting up a state-of-the-art combine harvester plant here with an investment of 19 million euros.

The new plant will manufacture combine harvesters that have been specially engineered for India’s grain harvest conditions.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the plant was performed by deputy chairperson of the shareholders committee of the firm Catherina Claas at the plant site near here today. This will be the second production facility to be set up by the company in India, the first plant being at Faridabad. German ambassador Bernd Muetzelburg was the chief guest on the occasion.

“We are the first western manufacturer to have a combine harvester plant based in India to manufacture machines tailored to the local harvesting conditions. With the new harvester plant here, we are underlining our long term commitment in India,” Ms Catherina said.

“The total capital expenditure for this factory will take place in two phases. We plan to invest about 11 million euros (Rs 63.80 crore) in the first phase and will employ 300 persons. By the end of the second phase, a total investment of 19 million euros (Rs 110.20 crore) will be made and a total of 500 persons will be employed,” she added.

The company will manufacture the indigenously designed Crop Tiger 60 harvester with a 125 hp engine.

“This plant would not only cater to the local market, but also contribute to the export of harvesters to Asian countries like South Korea and Thailand, and to African countries like Sudan,” she said.

Managing director of Claas India P.K. Malik said they would increase their reach in the Indian market. “The capacity of our Faridabad plant is 650 units. When the new plant at Morinda is commissioned, we will also expand our dealership and service network in the country. We presently have 24 dealers across India, ” he added.

Meanwhile German ambassador Bernd Muetzelburg said with Germany being the biggest trade partner of India within the European Union, the total trade between the two countries was to the tune of 10 billion euros.

Indian exports to Germany are to the tune of 4.2 billion euros, while the imports from Germany to India are worth 5.8 billion euros. The Indian economy is overheated, with an operating capacity of 99 per cent, India needs to build up on its manufacturing sector and ensure a higher growth in this sector. 

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HTIL may sell biz in other emerging mkts to Orascom

New Delhi, February 22
Hutchison Telecom, which recently agreed to sell its India unit to UK mobile giant Vodafone, may sell its assets in other emerging markets such as Thailand to Egyptian firm Orascom, a Chinese media report said.

HTIL may sell its business in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and other emerging markets to Orascom and its Hong Kong business to its parent firm, Hutchison Whampoa, Chinese daily 'The Standard' said, quoting investment bank UBS.

The daily, published from Hong Kong, said HTIL might grab the opportunity to sell its assets in developing markets to Orascom Telecom, which holds a 19.3 per cent stake in the company.

Meanwhile, HTIL said today its local partner Essar did not have the right to match the British firm's bid, but the Ruias-led company contested the claim.

"Our management has said that Essar does not have the right to first refusal (RTFR) in Hutchison Essar Ltd (HEL)," an HTIL spokesperson said from Hong Kong.

This would restrict Essar to match Vodafone's bid for HTIL's 67 per cent stake in HEL for $11.08 billion based on the enterprise value of $18.8 billion.

An Essar spokesperson said: "Essar's position on this matter has not changed." Essar had earlier said that they enjoy the RTFR, which gives them the powers to match the highest bid for HTIL's stake.

The dispute over RTFR resurfaced after Essar sought joint management with Vodafone and a higher shareholding in Hutch-Essar. — PTI

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Refineries keen to buy Cairn crude

New Delhi, February 22
Private sector refiners Reliance and Essar Oil and state-run firms Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum have evinced interest in buying Cairn India’s Rajasthan crude oil that will begin flowing from 2009.

“BPCL has evinced interest in making Cairn’s Rajasthan crude the base crude for its upcoming Bina refinery in Madhya Pradesh. It has said it can take up to 1,00,000 barrels per day in the 6 million tons Bina refinery,” an industry source said.

Reliance wants 30,000 barrels per day for its existing Jamnagar refinery and a similar quantity in the upcoming refinery of Reliance Petroleum. Essar Oil can take between 30,000 to 40,000 bpd crude in its Vadinar refinery.

BPCL and HPCL can take 30,000 bpd Rajasthan crude in their Mumbai refineries after a pipeline is laid from Barmer district in Rajasthan to a port on Gujarat coast, from where the oil can be shipped.

Cairn and its 30 per cent partner ONGC plan to lay a 340-km line to Indian Oil’s Viramgam pipeline terminal in Gujarat. — PTI

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Integreon to buy US firm

Mumbai, February 22
Integreon Managed Solutions Inc today announced its acquisition of US-based CBF Group Inc, a business process outsourcing company exclusively focussed on enterprise services to law firms.

Ayala Corporation, a leading conglomerate of the Phillippines and Integreon’s majority shareholder, provided funds for acquisition and future expansion capital, a press statement said.

Upon acquisition CBF’s management team will remain in place to continue to oversee routine operations of its recently expanded North Dakota facility. — PTI

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McDonald’s to adopt franchise model in North

New Delhi, February 22
With a view to penetrate deeper into India’s growing food and beverages segment, fast food chain McDonald’s is considering adopting franchise model in its North India operations by 2008.

“We are studying the franchising sector in India to identify the right kind of people and opportunities suitable for a business model like McDonald’s and hope to launch franchise programme by 2008,” managing director Connaught Plaza Restaurants Vikram Bakshi said.— PTI

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Arcelor-Mittal in race to buy Sesa Goa

London, February 22
Arcelor-Mittal is in the fray to acquire India's top private iron ore producer Sesa Goa for about $1 billion, a media report here said.

Besides the Luxembourg-based company, Anglo American and Rio Tinto are in the race to buy Japanese trading giant Mitsui's 51 per cent stake in Sesa Goa.

Arcelor Mittal chief executive Lakshmi Mittal confirmed his company's interest in buying the Indian ore producer, The Guardian reported.

Meanwhile, Arcelor SA and Mittal Steel Co NV reported a fourth quarter profit of $2.37 billion without providing comparative figures. Full year earnings fell 3.6 per cent to $6.34 billion from 2005.

The two companies are still counting the cost of coming together after Brazilian regulators ordered Mittal to raise its offer for Arcelor's Latin American steel unit and the US Department of Justice told the company to sell a Maryland mill to settle antitrust issues. — PTI/AP

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Arcelor-Mittal posts $2.37 b profit

Luxembourg, February 22
Arcelor SA and Mittal Steel Co NV, currently combining to form the world’s largest steelmaker, reported a fourth quarter profit of $2.37 billion today without providing comparative figures.

Full year earnings fell 3.6 per cent to $6.34 billion from 2005.

The two companies are still counting the cost of coming together after Brazilian regulators ordered Mittal to raise its offer for Arcelor’s Latin American steel unit and the US Department of Justice told the company to sell a Maryland mill to settle antitrust issues.

Arcelor-Mittal repeated that it was still “evaluating the options” on whether to appeal the Brazilian decision that could raise the cost of Mittal’s offer for Arcelor by another $5 billion.

But it said the DoJ ruling meant that it was now free to fold Canadian steelmaker Dofasco Inc into Arcelor-Mittal.

Revenue for the three months ended December 31 was $23.2 billion. — AP

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Strengthen internal auditing, says CAG
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
The comptroller and auditor general (CAG) of India V.N. Kaul has asked the government to strengthen the internal auditing system in its various departments for speedier auditing of their accounts.

“Not enough attention has been paid to strengthen internal auditing system in government departments… I have already written to the government to strengthen the internal auditing system,” Mr Kaul told newspersons at a meet the press organised by the Economic Writers Forum here yesterday.

“Right now the auditors of the CAG have to go through even the cash vouchers of various departments, which consumes lot of time. If a sound internal auditing system is in place, it will help CAG to conduct auditing in a speedier manner,” Mr Kaul said.

Asked whether the pendency in receipt of action taken notes from the government/departments, coupled with procedural delays are undermining the role of the CAG, Kaul said: “I don’t think the relevance of CAG is being undermined, but of course, it does make the job of the CAG much more difficult.”

“Efficiency of the government suffers if there is no compliance to what we suggest or point out…No responsible democratic government will sit over it,” he said.

In order to benchmark the financial audit to the contemporary global standards, Kaul said the CAG has implemented a capacity building project assisted by the IDF grant from the World Bank.

“Under this project, a gap analysis in our standards of financial (attest) audit was carried out and 28 officers received training with the National Audit Office, the UK,” he said .

Asked whether the auditors of CAG had to face political pressure to suppress the findings, Mr Kaul said “there can’t be any political pressure as we strictly follow the guidelines.”

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BSNL aims to double turnover

New Delhi, February 22
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will double its turnover to $20 billion dollars in the next three years with an increase of 27 per cent year-on-year.

It will add an average of three million GSM subscribers per month from January next year till 2010. Also, it is going to add five lakh broadband connections per month from January 2008.

“We are focusing on all required parameters to ensure Navratna status to BSNL in the next one year,” communications and IT minister Dayanidhi Maran told reporters while addressing a conference of BSNL circle heads here.

BSNL is to take the lead by offering fibre to home by leveraging optical fibre cable capacity with extensive application of GPON technology.

“The telecom major would work beyond voice, IPTV and data and would soon launch IPTV services in Delhi and Mumbai,” Mr Maran added.

Mr Maran said the decision in this regard would be taken by the management. — UNI

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Aussie firm to invest Rs 2,000 cr in gold mining in Rajasthan

Jaipur, February 22
Australia-based Indo Gold Ltd (IGL) will invest Rs 2,000 crore to develop a gold mine and primary and secondary processing plants in Rajasthan.

The company’s consultants Golder Associates Pty Ltd has recently confirmed that Indo Gold has struck 3.85 crore tonnes of gold resources of low-grade as per Australian Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) guidelines, in the state.

The proposed mine with the required technology will bring the findings into a polished, fit-for-sale shape.

“Indo Gold will invest up to Rs 2,000 crore to develop a modern mine in Rajasthan. Not just mine, we will also invest in primary and secondary processing plants onsite,” Indo Gold Managing Director Mike Higgins said.

The company has secured clearance from Ministry of Environment for site of discovery, which is primarily an uninhabited area.

IGL, engaged in investing in Indian exploration and mining industry, is already working on a joint venture project with Metal Mining India Pvt Ltd (MMI).

The two companies are working on Jagpura project spread over 2,135 sq km in southern Rajasthan.

“There is an immense potential of mining in Rajasthan. The state is a host to highly prospective Archaean and Proterozoic rocks similar to those in Australia. Drilling in the Banswara area has shown good widths and grades of gold mineralisation,” IGL Exploration Manager Antony James Truelove said.

“For mineral-rich Rajasthan, the mining sector is extremely important. The state government has also taken an initiative to develop the sector. IGL believes that mining can play a lead role in bringing faster growth and prosperity to the state,” said MMI Managing Director Surendra Chaku. — UNI

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Ban on export of gram lifted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
The government has decided to lift the ban imposed on the export of dollar gram to mitigate the distress of farmers.

A notification to this effect was issued by the Director-General of Foreign Trade on Tuesday after Commerce Minister Kamal Nath discussed the issue with Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, an official press note said here today.

This particular variety of gram is primarily grown in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

The prices of dollar gram had fallen between Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,300 per quintal as against the last year prices of Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,500 per quintal due to which there were reports that a few farmers were contemplating suicide since they are not able to meet even half the cost of cultivating this variety of gram.

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Trash report on patent law: CPM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
The CPM today urged the government to disband the "discredited" expert committee on patent law take appropriate steps to constitute an expert committee comprising persons "with intellectual integrity and committed to uphold the common man's interests".

The party said it had written to the government asking Dr R.A. Mashelkar-headed expert committee's 56-page report, submitted in December 2006, be withdrawn on the grounds of technical inaccuracy and plagiarism.

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Refineries keen to buy Cairn crude

New Delhi, February 22
Private sector refiners Reliance and Essar Oil and state-run firms Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum have evinced interest in buying Cairn India’s Rajasthan crude oil that will begin flowing from 2009.

“BPCL has evinced interest in making Cairn’s Rajasthan crude the base crude for its upcoming Bina refinery in Madhya Pradesh. It has said it can take up to 1,00,000 barrels per day in the 6 million tons Bina refinery,” a source said.

Reliance wants 30,000 barrels per day for its existing Jamnagar refinery and a similar quantity in the upcoming refinery of Reliance Petroleum. Essar Oil can take between 30,000 to 40,000 bpd crude in its Vadinar refinery.

BPCL and HPCL can take 30,000 bpd Rajasthan crude in their Mumbai refineries after a pipeline is laid from Barmer district in Rajasthan to a port on Gujarat coast, from where the oil can be shipped.

Cairn and its 30 per cent partner ONGC plan to lay a 340-km line to Indian Oil’s Viramgam pipeline terminal in Gujarat. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

JM, Morgan Stanley split
Mumbai, February 22
Domestic financial services firm JM Financial said today it had called off its nearly 10-year association with global investment banker Morgan Stanley, which is keen on tapping the Indian market on its own. The split is “at the behest of Morgan Stanley. They have been insisting on the split for almost three years now,” JM Financial Group chairman Nimesh Kampani said. Under the terms of separation, JM Financial would acquire Morgan Stanley’s 49 per cent stake in the joint venture for $20 million, while the Indian company would sell its 49 per cent stake for $445 million. — PTI

House of Pearl Fashions
New Delhi, February 22
House of Pearl Fashions said today it had acquired a warehouse facility Milton Keynes in the UK for an investment of 2.4 million pounds. The takeover of the 43,000-sq ft facility has been funded through internal accruals and debt and will result in an increase of garment handling capacity of the company to three million pieces per month from two million pieces at present. — UNI

BEL dividend
New Delhi, February 22
Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) today paid Rs 24 crore as interim dividend to the government. The cheque for the dividend amount for the current financial year 2006-07 was presented to defence minister A.K. Antony by BEL chairman & managing director V.V.R. Sastry here. BEL has declared 40 per cent interim dividend to its shareholders. — UNI

UTI gold fund
Nagpur, February 22
The UTI Mutual Fund announced the launch of the UTI Gold Exchange Traded Fund here today. The offer opens on March 1 and closes on March 12, 2007. Investment would be made in physical gold and would reflect the international price of gold in the market. Every unit of the fund would represent approximately 1 gm of pure gold, to be held only in dematerialised form. The units would be listed on the NSE. — UNI

Firstsource
Mumbai, February 22
Firstsource Solutions today got listed at Rs 75.10 with a 17.34 per cent premium on the Bombay Stock Exchange, over its issue price of Rs 64 per share. The scrip touched highs of Rs 88.90 within minutes of listing as 24.20 lakh shares changed hands on the BSE. On the NSE, Firstsource made its debut at Rs 90.10 with 40.81 per cent premium. — UNI

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