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ONGC takes U-turn
Gives go-ahead to Mittal, HPCL pact

New Delhi, March 26
The Mittal-HPCL pact for the Bathinda refinery does not violate the steel baron’s pact with the oil major, ONGC, company officials said today.

FDI inflows record over 150 pc growth
New Delhi, March 26
The period April-December 2006 saw one of the highest industrial growth rates ever since the industrial liberalisation process was initiated in 1991, according to the annual report of the ministry of commerce and industry (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) released earlier this week.

Invest more in India, industry told 
New Delhi, March 26
While asking the Indian steel tycoons, eyeing global expansion not to lose sight of opportunities at home, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today stated that the issue of land alienation and displacement of people would be addressed to the satisfaction of all.

Glenmark bags 90 pc in Czech Co
Mumbai, March 26
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has acquired a majority stake in Czech firm Medicamenta to get a commercial foothold in "the strategically important market" of Europe.

UAE woos Indian investment
New Delhi, March 26
The UAE vice-president and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Moktoum today sought closer cooperation between India and UAE to raise the bilateral trade to ‘No. 1’ position in the region.


Bollywood actress Tabu presents a creation by Rajeshpratap Singh at a fashion show on the last day of the India Fashion Week in New Delhi
Bollywood actress Tabu presents a creation by Rajeshpratap Singh at a fashion show on the last day of the India Fashion Week in New Delhi late on Sunday. — Reuters photograph

 
An employee of Tanishq displays a jewelled headdress at a launch ceremony in Hyderabad
An employee of Tanishq displays a jewelled headdress at a launch ceremony in Hyderabad on Monday, which will be worn by the Indian contestant in the '2007 Miss World' contest. The crown weighs about 450 gm and is made of vivid rectangular blue stones. The 56th Miss World contest will take place on September 30 in Warsaw, Poland. — AFP photograph

Bajaj Auto may foray into car market
Indore, March 26
Facing the heat over the prospect of Tatas' Rs 1 lakh car affecting the two-wheeler market, Bajaj Auto has said it may build cars to ward off the threat.

Emami to invest Rs 2,000 cr
Raipur, March 26
The Emami group would be investing Rs 2,000 crore in Chhattisgarh, company sources said.

Allianz plans banking foray
New Delhi, March 26
The German insurance giant, Allianz is planning to widen base in India with foray in banking business through its unit Dresdner Bank, besides expanding its existing non-banking financial services.

Hyundai plans CNG Santro
Chennai, March 26
Leading carmaker, Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) today announced plans to roll out a CNG version of its bread-and-butter hatchback Santro by this year end or early 2008.

49 SEZs in Haryana okayed
Chandigarh, March 26
The Haryana Industry Minister Lachhman Dass Arora said the state had received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of Rs 1499 crore in the last two years.

PHDCCI delegation to visit Pakistan
New Delhi, March 26
A ten member business delegation from north - India, led by the PHDCCI president Sanjay Bhatia would visit Pakistan on March 28, to explore possibilities of enhancing trade between the two countries as well as studying the possibilities of investment flows.

Travelling to HP by air cheaper
Shimla, March 26
The air fares for flights connecting Dharamsala and Shimla with Delhi will come down with the introduction of bigger 48-seater ATR planes on these routes. The inaugural flight of the Air Deccan from Delhi to Gaggal airport (Dharmasala) will take place on March 28.

Air-India to sell 6 aircraft
Tiruchirapalli, March 26
Air-India plans to mop up substantial capital by selling six of its A310-300 aircraft to a UK-based aircraft funding bank, INVESTEC and would again take them back on lease, Air-India ground services executive director S. Ranganathan said.

 

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ONGC takes U-turn
Gives go-ahead to Mittal, HPCL pact
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 26
The Mittal-HPCL pact for the Bathinda refinery does not violate the steel baron’s pact with the oil major, ONGC, company officials said today.

“As regards the joint venture agreement signed by ONGC and OVL with Mittals, there is no clause which makes it binding or obligatory for Mittals to conduct business in India on exclusive basis with ONGC,” a company spokesperson said here.

The oil major’s clarification came in response to reports in a section of the media that Mittals’s acquisition of 49 per cent stake in Bathinda refinery was in violation of his pact with ONGC to pursue hydrocarbon opportunities exclusively with it.

The ONGC spokesperson said “however, in one of the promoters' meetings, the subject was brought to ONGC's notice and since ONGC did not evince interest, Mittals have gone ahead with their intent to invest in the joint venture refinery project with HPCL.”

The statement clarified that ONGC enjoys a cordial and harmonious relationship with Mittals and in their recent meeting they deliberated on the futuristic business plan to expand the joint-venture activities.

The Guru Gobind Singh Refinery project in Bathinda, the agreement for which was signed on Saturday, will be completed by September 2010.

This was the first 49 per cent FDI in Indian refining industry. The deal with HPCL has been done through Mittal Investments, a 100 per cent subsidiary held by Mittal family.

The remaining 49 per cent equity in the nine million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) refinery will be held by HPCL while 2 per cent of the project will be held by financial institutions.

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FDI inflows record over 150 pc growth
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 26
The period April-December 2006 saw one of the highest industrial growth rates ever since the industrial liberalisation process was initiated in 1991, according to the annual report of the ministry of commerce and industry (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) released earlier this week.

This period witnessed an industrial growth rate of 10.8 per cent compared to an 8 per cent in the corresponding period last year. The growth was led by the manufacturing sector, which grew by 11.8 per cent in the same period. Meanwhile, the capital goods sector maintained its robust performance recording a 17.5 per cent growth (April-Dec 2006) on top of a 15.7 per cent growth in the corresponding period last year.

The infrastructure sector has also shown consistent growth with all six core industries viz. electricity, crude petroleum, petroleum refinery products, coal, steel and cement registering positive growth rates. Overall, these sectors grew by 8.3 per cent during April-December 2006, compared to a 5.5 per cent growth in the same period last year.

India’s forex reserves stood at $193.12 billion on February 23, 2007, up from $151.62 billion at the end of March 2006. The continued surge in forex reserves reflects continued inflow of foreign capital, investors’ confidence and good performance of exports.

Further, FDI inflows (equity capital components only) during April-December 2006 had been $9,272 million against $3,697 million in corresponding period last year, representing an increase of 151 per cent. 

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Invest more in India, industry told 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 26
While asking the Indian steel tycoons, eyeing global expansion not to lose sight of opportunities at home, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today stated that the issue of land alienation and displacement of people would be addressed to the satisfaction of all.

The PM, in his address at the Steel Summit, said, “I want the Mittals’ and the Tatas’ and others, who are eyeing global opportunities to also invest more at home. India is a land of opportunity, they should not miss the moment.”

Observing that 50 per cent of demand comes from construction, he said India was slated to witness a massive increase in investment in infrastructure sector.

The PM said efforts of Indian producers to acquire mines abroad for assured input linkages was another evidence of the growing maturity of Indian steel companies.

His comments on the land issue comes amidst the ongoing agitation in Nandigram.

Focusing on the steel industry, he said its pace of growth had accelerated to over 10 per cent in the current year. The 11th Five-Year Plan projected a 9 per cent average GDP growth rate.

This meant the industry and government had to jointly address challenges of structural constraints to growth. The National Steel Policy, the PM said, set a production target of 110 million tonnes by 2020.

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Glenmark bags 90 pc in Czech Co

Mumbai, March 26
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has acquired a majority stake in Czech firm Medicamenta to get a commercial foothold in "the strategically important market" of Europe.

In a filing to the BSE, Glenmark said its wholly-owned Swiss subsidiary, Glenmark Holdings SA (GHSA) has signed a deal to acquire more than 90 per cent in Medicamenta. It, however, did not disclose any financial details of the deal.

The acquisition would provide a base for branded business in Europe to Glenmark, which would also look for expanding Medicamenta's current portfolio of pharmaceutical products.

"The purchase of Medicanmenta is a landmark event for Glenmark in Europe. It is another part of our long-term strategy to emerge as a speciality company marketing novel drugs, by acquiring front-ends in key branded generics markets," Glenmark MD and CEO Glenn Saldanha said.

As per the Czech Law, a holding of more than 90 per cent shares in a company would trigger a mandatory takeover bid for the remaining shares.

The acquisition would give Glenmark a strategic entry into two of the fastest pharmaceutical markets in Europe, where Medicamenta has sales and marketing operations. — PTI 

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UAE woos Indian investment
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 26
The UAE vice-president and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Moktoum today sought closer cooperation between India and UAE to raise the bilateral trade to ‘No. 1’ position in the region.

Pointing out the fact that the two-way trade between the two countries was much below the potential, he said, “We want to be no.1, and not second. If we join forces together, we would achieve that status.”

He was addressing a joint business meeting organised by Assocham, CII and Ficci in his honour.

India’s two-way trade with the UAE is estimated at around $11 billion, whereas China’s bilateral trade with the UAE is at around $14.2 billion, making the ‘Dragons’, the largest trading partner of the Gulf Cooperation Council in the region.

“Economic convergence between India and UAE is essential for two countries to scale new economic and bilateral heights and joint venture should be established in the areas of mutual benefits,” Sheikh Mohammed, on his first official visit here, said showcasing the UAE as the gateway to markets in the region.

He expressed happiness over India doubling its investment in the UAE in the last three-four years.

The identified joint areas for mutual cooperation include oil and gas, power, health, construction, real estate development, chemicals & fertilisers, pharmaceuticals and third world exports.

Speaking on the occasion, commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath also emphasised the need for organic partnership between India and UAE so that their trade volumes register a multiple growth and emerge as the largest trade partner in the region because of complimentarities in their relationship.

Kamal Nath said India and UAE should also strive very hard to take on the emerging competition from China which could be possible provided the real economic convergence between the business interests of two countries take place.

Three MoUs between top Indian and UAE companies were also signed in the presence of Shiekh Mohammed. An MoU was signed between the Hinduja Group and Dubai World, the UAE’s biggest industrial conglomerate.

Another MoU was singed between DLF and Al-Nakheel, the UAE’s top real estate company for mega real estate ventures in India. Wipro India’s IT major, signed an MoU with a UAE company for a major collaborative project.

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Bajaj Auto may foray into car market

Indore, March 26
Facing the heat over the prospect of Tatas' Rs 1 lakh car affecting the two-wheeler market, Bajaj Auto has said it may build cars to ward off the threat.

"The JD power study says that it (Tata's 1 lakh car) will affect the two-wheeler market. If that happens then we would also manufacture cars for the market," Bajaj Auto chairman Rahul Bajaj told reporters here.

International consultancy firm JD Power said early this week the "people's car" from Tatas could create a major dent in top-end motor cycle sales with its lucrative price tag, provided the corporate house gets the product right in the first shot.

Bajaj's statement is the first confirmation that the country's top three-wheeler and second-largest motor cycle maker was interested in developing a low-cost car.

The company had earlier announced it was developing a four-wheeler goods carrier scheduled for launch in 2009.

Although Bajaj Auto is the second-largest motor cycle maker in the country after Hero Honda, it has an upper hand in high-end bikes with its runaway success Pulsar.

Bajaj, who was here for the eighth annual convocation ceremony of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), had recently also reacted sharply to Tata Group chief Ratan Tata's statement that the low-cost was being developed in concern for the safety of those travelling by two-wheelers.

"He has to sell his car... so he has to speak like that," Bajaj had said, terming Tata's comments as a marketing ploy.

Bajaj also said he was in favour of special economic zones provided they are not located near cities like Mumbai and Delhi where there is land shortage. — PTI

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Emami to invest Rs 2,000 cr

Raipur, March 26
The Emami group would be investing Rs 2,000 crore in Chhattisgarh, company sources said.

"Emami has decided to invest Rs 2,000 crore in the natural resource-rich Chhattisgarh within next three years," company sources said here.

The company is planning to set-up a four million tonnes capacity cement plant and also a 100 MW power plant in the state with total investment of Rs 1,600 crore, they said.

Besides that, Emami is also investing Rs 150 crore for setting up a bio-diesel plant in the state as Chhattisgarh has developed quite a lot of interest in the bio-fuel sector, they said.

It was also being planned to construct a 500-bedded hospital near the capital city with an outlay of Rs 175 crore, the sources said. — PTI 

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Allianz plans banking foray

New Delhi, March 26
The German insurance giant, Allianz is planning to widen base in India with foray in banking business through its unit Dresdner Bank, besides expanding its existing non-banking financial services.

Allianz, which currently offers life and general insurance services through its joint ventures with Bajaj Auto, is believed to have approached the regulatory authorities for necessary approval to launch banking business in the country.

The company is upbeat on starting retail banking business here after signing its third joint venture with Bajaj Group earlier this month to sell financial products like mutual funds, credit cards and home loans.

Speaking from Singapore, an Asia Pacific spokesperson for Allianz said, the company was optimistic about India’s economic development and given its economic outlook, it was natural for them to take a closer look at asset management and banking businesses as well.

“Allianz - being one of the biggest financial service providers worldwide, offering insurance, asset management, and banking products in many countries across the globe - is quite qualified to provide this range as virtually no other company is that resourceful,” the company official said.

Allianz, which posted revenues of over 101 billion euros and net income of over 7 billion euros in 2006, is currently in talks with the various institutions and authorities as part of its plans to enter banking business in India, he added.

The company said it has attained a strong foothold in the Indian market through its two JVs Bajaj Allianz Life and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, while it has just launched Bajaj Allianz Financial Distributors as a new distribution company.

According to the Allianz Group study, India is on its way to become a significant economic power and enjoys the second highest growth potential in the world after China with average economic growth of 7.5-8.5 per cent up to 2015. — PTI

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Hyundai plans CNG Santro

Chennai, March 26
Leading carmaker, Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) today announced plans to roll out a CNG version of its bread-and-butter hatchback Santro by this year end or early 2008.

The car, with a factory-fitted CNG kit and the option of a second fuel (petrol), would be manufactured at the company's existing plant here, HMIL managing director H S Lheem told reporters at the Chennai Port here today after flagging-off the first shipment of 'Getz Prime' to the European market.

The CNG version of Santro would be a bi-fuel car, Lheem said, adding that a new small car was also on the anvil from HMIL in the last quarter of this year.

On export of Getz Prime, he said this is the third car after Santro (Atoz Prime) and Accent to be exported from India to the European market. Getz Prime, 4,000 units of which were shipped to Germany today, would soon be launched in India too, he added. — PTI 

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49 SEZs in Haryana okayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The Haryana Industry Minister Lachhman Dass Arora said the state had received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of Rs 1499 crore in the last two years.

He remarked that 49 SEZs had been accorded approval in principle by the central govt. These SEZs would attract an investment of more than Rs 1,75,000 crore and generate employment potential for 20 lakh people.

He said, a petro-chemical hub was also being developed jointly by the Indian Oil Corporation and the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) over an area of 4000 acres with an investment of Rs 15,000 crores for down-stream industries linked with Panipat refinery.

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PHDCCI delegation to visit Pakistan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 26
A ten member business delegation from north - India, led by the PHDCCI president Sanjay Bhatia would visit Pakistan on March 28, to explore possibilities of enhancing trade between the two countries as well as studying the possibilities of investment flows.

The delegation, consisting of some biggies of the industry from north India, representing sectors like packaging, metal containers food and beverages, grinding media, synthetic yarns, steel strips and castings, rock-salt, township and infrastructure development, food processing including bakery products, ice creams and preserves etc. would visit Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore.

They would be meeting the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Karachi Chamber, Chambers at Lahore and Islamabad as well as senior govt. officials and industry counter- parts.

The delegation would also be visiting the Expo - Pakistan 2007 being organised by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan from March 29 to April 1, in Karachi. The exhibition will showcase the products of Pakistan and would provide a good opportunity to have a look at the products and meet the Pakistani businessmen and discuss business opportunities.

The delegation is also likely to have meetings with the Prime Minister and Commerce Minister of Pakistan.

Outlining the agenda of the visit, Bhatia said efforts are being made by both the countries for improving bi-lateral economic relations and there is need to evolve a structured framework.

The Opportunities for economic co-operation between the two countries are huge and the present level of trade is less than $1 billion which could multiply in the next few years.

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Travelling to HP by air cheaper
Tribune News Service

Shimla, March 26
The air fares for flights connecting Dharamsala and Shimla with Delhi will come down with the introduction of bigger 48-seater ATR planes on these routes. The inaugural flight of the Air Deccan from Delhi to Gaggal airport (Dharmasala) will take place on March 28.

The tariff for the flight, to be operated four days in a week, will be Rs 2,500 as against the existing Rs 3,900 for the smaller planes.

The company plans to start regular four-day-a-week flights between Delhi and Shimla from April 15.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Airports Authority of India Dr K Ramalingam said today the new terminal building of Kangra airport would be inaugurated by union minister for civil aviation Praful Patel on March 28.

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Air-India to sell 6 aircraft

Tiruchirapalli, March 26
Air-India plans to mop up substantial capital by selling six of its A310-300 aircraft to a UK-based aircraft funding bank, INVESTEC and would again take them back on lease, Air-India ground services executive director S. Ranganathan said.

Talking to newspersons, Ranganathan said the discussions were on with the bank authorities, who had shown interest to purchase the six aircraft for $80 million and lease them back to Air-India for a rental of $2.47 lakh per month.

The lease period would be about 60 months if the negotiations are successful and as of now the cost of aircraft in the books of Air-India is almost nil due to depreciation, he added.

He said, Air-India would include new destinations to its network and as soon as the airlines strengthens its fleet, new destinations across the globe would be included to its already crowded network. — UNI

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BRIEFLY

Videocon mulls unit in Dubai
New Delhi, March 26
The Videocon group today said it was considering setting up a new manufacturing unit for consumer durables in Dubai. “We have been invited by the Prime Minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai H H Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, to set up a unit in Dubai. We would be going there next week to discuss the details,” Videocon chairman, Venugopal Dhoot said. The proposed unit would be for making consumer durable products. The company already has a unit in Oman, he said. — PTI

Hindujas plan
New Delhi, March 26
Hinduja Group is planning to start a chain of hospitals in India with an investment of $1 billion (nearly Rs 4,400 crore) in a tie-up with Dubai government-owned Limitless LLC. The investment would most probably come through the group's listed entity in India, Hinduja TMT, Hinduja Group chairman (India) Ashok P Hinduja told reporters here. — PTI

Punj Lloyd
New Delhi, March 26
Infrastructure major, Punj Lloyd Ltd today said its subsidiary, Sembawang Engineers and Constructors, has secured an order worth Rs 542 crore to construct a residential community in Bahrain. Sembawang has entered into an agreement with Riffa Golf and Residential Development Company of the Kingdom of Bahrain to construct 325 villas of Riffa Views, a residential community, adjacent to the existing Riffa Golf Club. — UNI

Godrej JV
Mumbai, March 26
Godrej Consumer Products Ltd has entered into a 50:50 Joint Venture with Sweden-based SCA Hygiene Products AB (SCA) to form a new entity with an equity capital of Rs 20 crore catering to the hygiene and baby diapers segment. The new entity — Godrej SCA Hygiene Ltd — would be formed through equal investments by both parents and A B Godrej would be the chairman of the new JV company. — PTI

Oil prices up
London, March 26
World oil prices struck the highest points so far in 2007, nearing $64 a barrel in London today as the market fretted over rising tensions in major crude producer Iran, traders said. In London, the price of Brent North Sea crude for May delivery rose 75 cents to $63.93 a barrel. It had earlier struck $63.97 dollars — the highest point since December 6. — AFP

Markets closed
Mumbai, March 26
The Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange, all principal commodities markets like sugar, oils and oilseeds, cotton and metals will remain closed here tomorrow on account of Ram Navami, trades said. However, the bullion market will function as usual. — UNI

Rupee stronger
Mumbai, March 26
The RBI today fixed the reference rate at Rs 43.39 per US dollar, up by 31 paise from its Friday's rate of Rs 43.70 per dollar, according to a RBI spokesperson here. — UNI

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