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SEBI makes IPO grading mandatory
M. DamodaranAllows short-selling by institutions

Mumbai, March 22
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today made it mandatory for companies planning initial public offers (IPOs) to get rated by agencies and tightened disclosures for real estate IPOs.                                     
M. Damodaran

FDI ceiling in telecom raised to 74 pc
New Delhi, March 22
In a move that could bolster investment in the fast-growing telecom sector, the government today decided to raise foreign direct investment (FDI) up to 74 per cent, up from prevailing ceiling of 49 per cent.

A Nikon employee displays a new entry model single-lens-reflex (SLR) digital camera, the "D40X", in Tokyo on Thursday. A Nikon employee displays a new entry model single-lens-reflex (SLR) digital camera, the "D40X", in Tokyo on Thursday. It is equipped with a 10.2 mega-pixel CCD image sensor on its compact and light-weight body.The company will put it on the market on March 29 at an estimated price of 80,000 yen. — AFP

Cement Cos not bowing down
New Delhi, March 22
Finance Minister P Chidambaram today made a fresh appeal to cement manufacturers to cut prices even as the industry representatives expressed their inability to do so due to high input costs. We have information how much your sales, PBT and PAT have increased.



A model displays a creation by Deepika Govind on the second day of the Wills India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Thursday.
A model displays a creation by Deepika Govind on the second day of the Wills India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal


EARLIER STORIES

 

Lethal weapon

Anna Austen, a porter at Bohams auction house, holds a Colt Python .357 magnum revolver during a preview for a vintage firearms sale in London on Thursday.
Anna Austen, a porter at Bohams auction house, holds a Colt Python .357 magnum revolver during a preview for a vintage firearms sale in London on Thursday. The gun was presented to James Bond author Ian Fleming in 1964 by the Colt Company and is expected to raise more than £10,000. — AFP

Govt notifies chip policy
Investment worth Rs 24,000 cr expected
New Delhi, March 22
The government has notified the much-awaited semiconductor policy providing capital subsidy to the investors setting up chip-manufacturing units in India.

RIL ropes in US firm for chemical plant
Mumbai, March 22
Reliance Industries Ltd today announced joining hands with US-based specialty chemicals major Rohm & Haas Co for setting up a plant at Jamnagar in Gujarat, the hub of the Indian giant’s refinery and petrochemical business.

Maran heeds to Dell’s advice, seeks tax cut
New Delhi, March 22
Days after world’s second-biggest computer maker Dell Inc complained of high taxes in India, IT and communications minister Dayanidhi Maran has said he will raise the issue of reducing duties on personal computers with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Tatas eye Deutsche Telekom’s IT unit
New Delhi, March 22
In line with its strategy of global expansion through acquisitions, corporate giant Tatas are reported to be in advanced stages of talks for buying the IT business unit of German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom.

Spending on health, education up by salaried class: Study
New Delhi, March 22
Despite just 30 per cent rise in per capita income of salaried employees between 2000 to 2006, their consumption patterns respectively went up by 100 per cent for transport and communication, 80 per cent on health and medicare and 60 per cent on education against 35 per cent and 20 per cent on clothing and food, respectively, according to Assocham.

CBoP to focus on consolidation
Chandigarh, March 22
The focus of Centurion Bank of Punjab (CBoP) in the next fiscal will be on consolidation of its branches across the country, after all formalities related to the acquisition of Lord Krishna Bank (LKB) get completed, said Vivek Vig, country head, retail bank, CBoP, here today.

Indo-German trade up 38.7 pc
New Delhi, March 22
Indo-German bilateral trade reached a record level of more than 10 billion euro ($13 billion), up by 38.7 per cent in 2006 — a target set for 2009.

Rs 1 lakh car can dent two-wheeler market: JD Power
New Delhi, March 22
The "people's car" from Tatas could create a major dent in the top-end motor cycle sales with its lucrative price tag, provided the corporate house gets the product right at the first shot, international consultancy firm J D Power said today.

Petronet to supply LNG to Dabhol
New Delhi, March 22
Petronet LNG would supply 1.5 million tonne (MT) liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Ratnagiri Gas and Power, which owns Dabhol project, until September 2009 at $5.83 per million British thermal unit.

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SEBI makes IPO grading mandatory
Allows short-selling by institutions

Mumbai, March 22
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today made it mandatory for companies planning initial public offers (IPOs) to get rated by agencies and tightened disclosures for real estate IPOs.

The two decisions could affect some high-profile IPOs being planned by big developers, bankers said.

"The grading of IPOs will come into effect immediately," SEBI chairman M. Damodaran told reporters.

"The fees to be paid for grading of IPO would be paid by companies," he said.

While Damodaran didn't detail the reasons for the decisions, market players said the performance of some newly listed shares that are trading below their offer price could have led to the move.

For instance, Parsvnath Developers Ltd and Akruti Nirman Ltd made a strong debut on the markets but are now available below their IPO prices.

The regulator also said real estate firms must provide ownership or purchase agreement details to justify their claims about land holdings. SEBI hoped this would prevent firms from exaggerating their real assets.

"No projection of the land value or project value must be given and any indication of the market value should only be at present value," Damodaran said.

He also said the board approved short-selling by institutions as indicated in the budget on February 28.

"The board has approved exactly on the line of the statement contained in the budget," he added. — Reuters

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FDI ceiling in telecom raised to 74 pc

New Delhi, March 22
In a move that could bolster investment in the fast-growing telecom sector, the government today decided to raise foreign direct investment (FDI) up to 74 per cent, up from prevailing ceiling of 49 per cent.

Along with raising the FDI limit, the Union Cabinet also approved revised conditions for such direct investment, information and broadcasting minister P R Dasmunsi told reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Cabinet clearance followed after the Department of Telecom and security agencies reached a consensus on allowing remote access with certain safeguards.

The changes in Press Note 5 of 2005, which would increase the FDI limit in the sector, were delayed due to stiff opposition from the home ministry.

However, following consultations with the industry and persuasion by communications minister Dayanidhi Maran, the Cabinet agreed to revise the conditions for enhancement of FDI ceiling, DoT sources said.

Dasmunsi said remote access to networks in India would be allowed only from approved locations and to equipment suppliers, manufacturers and affiliates. It would not be used for monitoring of content and its mirror image information would be made available online to security agencies.

A complete audit trail of remote access activities would be maintained for six months.

These changes will help in implementation of FDI policy notified in November 2005, a government statement said. — PTI 

 

Cement Cos not bowing down
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 22
Finance Minister P Chidambaram today made a fresh appeal to cement manufacturers to cut prices even as the industry representatives expressed their inability to do so due to high input costs.

We have information how much your sales, PBT and PAT have increased. So you should come forward with some proposals on moderating cement prices

— Chidambaram

While Chidambaram sought the help of the industry in containing inflation and appealed to them to come with a proposal to moderate cement prices, industry representatives have expressed their inability to reduce price due to high input costs.

Cement manufacturers also asserted that the cement industry had started looking up only in the later part of 2005 and in the previous 15 years the cement industry was in the red.

Any reduction in prices will have negative impact on the manufacturers’ expansion plans, which is essential to bridge the demand-supply gap, sources quoted the cement industry representatives as saying during a meeting with Chidambaram.

After the meeting, the finance minister claimed that a section of the industry was keen to cooperate with the government for checking price rise.

“I get the impression there are both views in the industry. One is more sober view that we must help the government control inflation. The other view seems to be more hawkish,” Chidambaram said.

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Govt notifies chip policy
Investment worth Rs 24,000 cr expected

New Delhi, March 22
The government has notified the much-awaited semiconductor policy providing capital subsidy to the investors setting up chip-manufacturing units in India.

The government expects to attract an investment of Rs 24,000 crore in the next three years. The country is likely to have two-three fab units at an investment of $2-3 billion each by 2010, minister for IT and communications Dayanidhi Maran told reporters here.

"An appraisal committee to be headed by additional secretary in the Department of IT will be formed very soon.

The committee will receive expression of interest from interested parties and will submit its recommendations to the government," he said.

Maran said now that the policy has been notified, he will reopen negotiations with Intel and other companies to explore possibilities of them setting up units in the country.

World's largest chip-manufacturer Intel had been waiting for the semiconductor policy to take decisions on its India plans and had in the meantime selected Vietnam for a facility.

The Union Cabinet had earlier approved the policy. The subsidy will be in the form of tax breaks and interest-free loans. The incentives will be 20 per cent of the capital expenditure during the first 10 years, but the companies have to invest a minimum Rs 2,500 crore. Such units will have to be set up in special economic zones to avail this benefit.

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.

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.

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 incentives will be for the manufacture of all semiconductors, displays, including liquid crystal displays, plasma displays as well as other such panels, including solar cells and photvoltaics. — PTI

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RIL ropes in US firm for chemical plant

Mumbai, March 22
Reliance Industries Ltd today announced joining hands with US-based specialty chemicals major Rohm & Haas Co for setting up a plant at Jamnagar in Gujarat, the hub of the Indian giant’s refinery and petrochemical business.

RIL, which is believed to be in a global hunt for acquisition in the areas of chemicals, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Rohm & Haas, the world’s biggest producer of acrylic paint ingredients for an acrylic monomer complex.

The announcement coincides with reports that a top level RIL team is holding parleys with another North American chemical giant Nova for a possible joint venture for product manufacturing, a move that may lead to equity participation.

“RIL and Rohm and Haas have entered into an MoU to explore the joint construction of a world-scale acrylic-monomer complex in Jamnagar,” a Reliance press release said here.

The two firms will explore the possibility of setting up a plant to make 2,00,000 tonnes a year of acrylic acid in Jamnagar, where RIL operates the world’s third-biggest oil refinery with a capacity of 33 million tonnes per year.

Incidentally, Rohm & Haas Co is headed by India-born and IIT-Mumbai alumnus Raj Gupta as chairman and CEO. The company has revenues of more than $8 billion. — PTI

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Maran heeds to Dell’s advice, seeks tax cut

New Delhi, March 22
Days after world’s second-biggest computer maker Dell Inc complained of high taxes in India, IT and communications minister Dayanidhi Maran has said he will raise the issue of reducing duties on personal computers with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Maran said today he would write to both the Prime Minister and finance minister P Chidambaram for the rationalisation of tax structure applicable on PCs.

The reduction on taxes of mobile phones led to a high growth in the telecom sector and attracted some of the biggest multinationals like Nokia, Samsung, LG, Motorola to set up manufacturing units in the country, he said.

Maran’s comments came less than 48 hours after Michael Dell said high taxes in India were impeding the usage and manufacturing of PCs in the country.

Dell had said about 25 per cent of the cost of a PC goes as taxes in India and if these were brought down the market could grow substantially. This growth would also attract large high technology companies to set up base in India.

Dell procures $19 billion worth of components from China and Taiwan while nothing from India as there was no manufacturing base for high technology items, he had said. — PTI

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Tatas eye Deutsche Telekom’s IT unit

New Delhi, March 22
In line with its strategy of global expansion through acquisitions, corporate giant Tatas are reported to be in advanced stages of talks for buying the IT business unit of German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom.

Tata group is currently studying the books of Deutsche Telekom's T-Systems unit. Tatas are planning this deal through the European unit of Tata Consultancy Services, German business weekly Focus Online reported today.

T-Systems is one of the smallest units of Deutsche Telekom. It had reported a revenue of 12.5 billion euro (about Rs 73,000 crore) last year and has a total workforce of over 55,000 persons.

When contacted, a TCS spokesperson in Mumbai said the report was completely speculative and the company did not comment on speculations. — PTI

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Spending on health, education up by salaried class: Study
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 22
Despite just 30 per cent rise in per capita income of salaried employees between 2000 to 2006, their consumption patterns respectively went up by 100 per cent for transport and communication, 80 per cent on health and medicare and 60 per cent on education against 35 per cent and 20 per cent on clothing and food, respectively, according to Assocham.

An analysis carried out by the chamber on “Changing patterns for consumption” from 2000 to 2006, reveals that health and medicare, education have taken precedent over other expenditures for average employees to take on the challenges and opportunities of liberalisation in which the fastest and fittest survive.

It also says that the per capita income of average salaried employees in organised and unorganised sector which was measured at less than 14,000 per annum in 2000, in majority of cases rose by a mere 30 per cent towards end of 2006 to touch less than 19,000.

The analysis condensed the domestic households consumption patterns, beginning 2000 to 2006 to interestingly discover that Indian populace have now opted for a reversal trend in their eating habits with allocating their budget a much more for health and education to insure them for better future.

The current data infers that most of the households prefer to spend a larger portion of their income on healthcare and education to about 12 per cent and 15 per cent of total expenditure in 2006 against less than 4 per cent and 5.50 per cent way back in 2000, highlights the findings of study.

A rapid growth of private expenditure on education, health and social services is one of the most effective instruments open for improving the productivity and earning capacity of the less privileged sections of the population.

The share of communications have gone up mainly due to greater use of private services, including cellular phones in the urban and rural areas. This has pushed up our communication expenses even though the cost of the same has been coming down due to competition.

On the other side, we are spending more on transportation, which is a combination of running our own vehicles as well as making use of civic transport services.

The share of fuel and power in overall consumption increased from 3.64 per cent in 2000 to about 4.1 per cent in 2006.

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CBoP to focus on consolidation
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The focus of Centurion Bank of Punjab (CBoP) in the next fiscal will be on consolidation of its branches across the country, after all formalities related to the acquisition of Lord Krishna Bank (LKB) get completed, said Vivek Vig, country head, retail bank, CBoP, here today.

He said once the acquisition process was complete the bank would have 400 branches across the country, from its present 256 branches. “The momentum will be on consolidation, rather than new retail banking initiatives during the next year,” he said.

Asked about the focus of banking on short-term deposits and the high rates of interest being offered, Vig agreed that increase in long-term deposits would help in the financial sustainability of the bank. “The good sign is that there has been a slight lengthening of the period of deposits, from three to six months earlier, to one year to one and half year,” he said.

He said aligning corporate social responsibility with business the bank had embarked upon a unique programme to sponsor education of rural children, through promoting the use of its “miracle credit cards”.

“This social contribution works on a unique concept. Each subscription facilitates members to make a nominal contribution of Rs 50, while a matching contribution of Rs 50 is made by the bank. This means that for the 5,00,000 “miracle credit cards” that we issue, Rs 5 crore is contributed as one time donation towards this initiative, he added. 

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Indo-German trade up 38.7 pc

New Delhi, March 22
Indo-German bilateral trade reached a record level of more than 10 billion euro ($13 billion), up by 38.7 per cent in 2006 — a target set for 2009.

The target of a bilateral trade volume of 10 billion euro set for 2009 on the occasion of then German Chancellor Schröder´s visit to India in 2004 has now been reached three years before time, says Mr Ajay Singha, deputy director-general, Indo-German Chamber of Commerce.

With bilateral trade increasing by 38.7 per cent in 2006 as compared to 2004, Indo-German trade relations are on their highest-level ever.

Indian exports to Germany increased by 23 per cent to reach 4.2 billion euro. German exports to India grew by an overwhelming 51.5 per cent to Rs 640 crore.

There has been a considerable shift in the nature of goods exported from India. Engineering goods as a group is the largest export commodity accounting for 0.74 billion euro. — UNI

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Rs 1 lakh car can dent two-wheeler market: JD Power

New Delhi, March 22
The "people's car" from Tatas could create a major dent in the top-end motor cycle sales with its lucrative price tag, provided the corporate house gets the product right at the first shot, international consultancy firm J D Power said today.

"Unlike Indica, in which Tata Motors' got a second chance, it is doubtful if it would get a similar one with the Rs 1 lakh car as consumers have become more discerning and demanding," JD Power director India Mohit Arora said.

When Tatas' launched the Indica in 1998, it was not received well with the product having to overcome teething problems. Later on when the company rectified the issues, sales of the hatchback picked up propelling Tata Motors to the number two spot in the Indian car market.

Arora said assuming Tatas get the product, after sales service and spare parts right, the Rs 1 lakh car can spark a new segment of customers.

"The two-wheeler market in India could see a dent at the top-end because of the Rs 1 lakh car, but how far-reaching will it be, will depend on the product's performance, after sales service and overall customer satisfaction," he added.

Even the rural customers, one of the main targets of the car are becoming demanding and less forgiving, he said.

The international consulting firm also said that Ratan Tata's ambitious project has become a global case study with its progress being monitored by automobile industries across the world for possible replication in different markets. — PTI

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Petronet to supply LNG to Dabhol

New Delhi, March 22
Petronet LNG would supply 1.5 million tonne (MT) liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Ratnagiri Gas and Power, which owns Dabhol project, until September 2009 at $5.83 per million British thermal unit.

The gas supplies would begin in June after the completion of the gas pipeline from Dahej to Uran in May, sources said.

Petronet has signed agreements with Oman, Qatar and Nigerian companies to source LNG.
The LNG is expected to flow from June once the pipeline between Dahej and Uran is completed. Before that, RGPPL will have to sign the power purchase agreement with Maharashtra state power distribution company, MahaVitaran, for drawing 2,150 MW.

The sources said GAIL (India) Ltd had also assured to provide gas for the Dabhol project while the government had directed it to work faster on constructing necessary pipelines for this purpose. — UNI

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BRIEFLY

John Backus dies at 82
Boston, March 22
John Backus, whose development of the Fortran programming language in the 1950s changed how people interacted with computers and paved the way for modern software, has died. He was 82. Backus died on Saturday in Ashland, Oregon, according to IBM Corp, where he spent his career. The breakthrough earned Backus the 1977 Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery, one of the industry’s highest accolades. The citation praised Backus’ “profound, influential, and lasting contributions.” — PTI

Punj Lloyd
Mumbai, March 22
Punj Lloyd said today it has bagged a Rs 242 crore contract to construct the Uran Trombay gas pipeline (UTG) project on a turnkey basis from ONGC. The contract has been bagged in partnership with its wholly owned subsidiary PT, Punj Lloyd Indonesia. The project entails engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of a pipeline from Uran to Trombay in Maharashtra. — PTI

Pfizer net up
Mumbai, March 22
Pharma major Pfizer Ltd today posted 14.13 per cent growth in net profit at Rs 28.27 crore for the quarter ended February 28, 2007, as compared to Rs 24.77 crore in the year-ago period. Total Income (net of excise and sales tax) of the company increased to Rs 166.97 crore for the first quarter in the current fiscal, up 5.63 per cent. — PTI

Kotak Bank
Mumbai, March 22
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will invest $45 million in Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd to augment capital base and increase its lending to SMEs and individual housing. IFC will make the investment in upper tier II subordinated bonds with a final maturity of 15 years to be issued by Kotak Mahindra Bank. — PTI

Playstation
New Delhi, March 22
Sony has said it will launch its much-awaited gaming console playstation 3 in India on April 27. The company has priced the 60 GB model of its gaming console at Rs 39,990. Additional gaming titles from publishers, including Electronic Arts, Namco Bandai and Sony Online Entertainment, would be available for users at a price of Rs 2,799 per game. — PTI

Cognizant
Chennai, March 22
Cognizant has announced an IT contract with New York-based publishing giant, Simon & Schuster, Inc (S&S). Cognizant will provide S&S with end-to-end IT infrastructure management services, including, helpdesk, network management, server management, application infrastructure support, and desktop support. — TNS

PNB camp
Mandi, March 22
Punjab National Bank organised a retail lending camp at Ner Chowk here today, where loans worth Rs 8.75 crore were disbursed to over 400 beneficiaries. Zonal manager of the bank KI Singh apprised people of various bank depository schemes. The bank also opened its second ATM here and started the facility for online trading. — TNS

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