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HSMC to set up $4-b fab unit
New Delhi, March 28
The Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (HSMC) today announced a $4-billion investment plan for setting up a fab city in India in partnership with German semiconductor supplier major Infineon.

ACC lines up Rs 4,000 cr
Mumbai, March 28
Cement maker ACC Ltd has said it will invest Rs 4,000 crore by 2009 to increase production capacity and indicated it is open to acquire other companies for expansion.

India second-largest cement-maker in world
New Delhi, March 28

India has emerged as the second-largest manufacturer of cement in the world, according to a latest report released by the ministry of commerce and industry.

Grading to help investors: SEBI
New Delhi, March 28
Amid continuing debate on whether grading is mandatory for initial public offers (IPOs), SEBI chief M. Damodaran has asserted that it is a step for helping average investors and the issue has not been understood properly.

Honda cars to get costlier
Noida, March 28
Honda Siel Cars India Ltd has said it will increase prices across all models from April 2 since the sales tax holiday, it enjoys in Uttar Pradesh, is coming to an end.

12 more textile mills face closure
New Delhi, March 28
The government has decided to close 12 more mills of the National Textile Corporation (NTC) and today invited initial bids from private players to partner the firm for modernising and reviving 18 other units.



A model displays a creation by Kaushalya Adiseshan's brand "Pink Elf" on the second day of the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai on Wednesday.
A model displays a creation by Kaushalya Adiseshan's brand "Pink Elf" on the second day of the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai on Wednesday. — AFP

EARLIER STORIES

 
A Sony executive displays the new LCD television sets "Bravia", which enable to connect to the Internet and displays Internet contents of weather forecasts, news, amusement and browsers, in Tokyo on Wednesday. Sony will put these TVs on the market next month with price ranging between 120,000 yen and 720,000 yen.
A Sony executive displays the new LCD television sets "Bravia", which enable to connect to the Internet and displays Internet contents of weather forecasts, news, amusement and browsers, in Tokyo on Wednesday. Sony will put these TVs on the market next month with price ranging between 120,000 yen and 720,000 yen. — AFP photo

Dabhol faces action over unpaid dues
New Delhi, March 28
The beleaguered Dabhol power project has hit a fresh roadblock with Punj Lloyd and its British partner Whessoe, the contractors for completing the LNG terminal, threatening legal action against Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd (RGPPL) for default on payments.

Satyam in $200-m deal with US firm
New Delhi, March 28
Satyam Computer Services has announced that it has won a $200-million contract from US-based semiconductor equipment manufacturer Applied Materials.

Reliance SEZs
Farmers want Rs 1 cr per acre
Sonia asks panel to probe
Mumbai, March 28
With farmers hitting the streets to protest the land acquisition plans of Reliance Industries Ltd in the outskirts of Mumbai and asking for Rs 1 crore per acre from RIL, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has asked a committee headed by Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Prabha Rau to look into the matter.

China offers sops to Indian IT Cos
Bangalore, March 28
After years of looking at each other with suspicion for years, China wants to open the flood gates of information technology cooperation between the two countries by offering attractive facilities to Indian companies wanting to set up shop in the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), near Shanghai.

Sops for hotel industry sought
Rohtak, March 28
Prominent hotelier Sushil Gupta, who owns Hyatt hotel chain in the country, has said the chronic shortage of starred hotel accommodation is likely to aggravate as new incentives are not available to the industry.

Toshiba launches LCD TVs
New Delhi, March 28
Consumer electronics maker Toshiba today launched its new range of LCD television, Regza, in India.

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HSMC to set up $4-b fab unit
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 28
The Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (HSMC) today announced a $4-billion investment plan for setting up a fab city in India in partnership with German semiconductor supplier major Infineon.

The HSMC will start the project with two foundries and would later scale it up to 10 foundries.

This MoU will help build a foundation for the production of integrated circuits for mobile phones, ID cards and automotives in India for the domestic market.

The announcement comes less than a week after the government notified the semiconductor policy, which gives tax sops to companies setting up fab units.

“We look forward to our cooperation with HSMC,” said Dr Wolfgang Ziebart, CEO of Infineon. “With this cooperation, we position ourselves as a reliable partner for the prosperous Indian semiconductor market”.

Dr Deven Verma, chairman, HSMC, said: “We have strategically selected Infineon, a leading supplier of chip sets for mobile phones, smart cards and automotive applications. This initiative will lead India to become a destination of choice for the future of manufacturing hi-tech products”.

Minister for communication and IT Dayanidhi Maran said: “The strategic cooperation with the HSMC for the fab project is in line with my vision for the semiconductor industry. The domestic demand for semiconductors is projected to reach $36 billion by 2015 riding on the booming electronic goods manufacturing in India. We need the fabrication industry to complete the full semiconductor ecosystem. Now, with a clear cut policy in place, fab units will attract large investments and the state governments could take it further by attracting large players like Infineon and the HSMC”.

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ACC lines up Rs 4,000 cr

Mumbai, March 28
Cement maker ACC Ltd has said it will invest Rs 4,000 crore by 2009 to increase production capacity and indicated it is open to acquire other companies for expansion.

“We will invest Rs 4,000 crore up to 2009 to add over 7.5 million tonnes per annum capacity in our existing plants from 19.91 mtpa now,” ACC chairman N.S. Sekhsaria said.

Capacity expansion is currently going on in Lakheri, Tikaria, Kymore, Wadi and Sindri plants, he said, adding ACC’s total capacity would go up to 23.1 mtpa by the end of the current year, once the expansion works were over.

The company also plans to augment cement grinding capacity at Madukkarai plant by 0.22 mtpa and at Bargarh facility to 2.14 mtpa along with a 30 MW captive power plant.

“These will go on stream in 2008,” Sekhsaria said.

Besides, the company board has approved an outlay of Rs 1,487 crore to increase the clinkering capacity at New Wadi plant with additional cement grinding facilities in Karnataka and a captive power plant of 50 MW capacity,” he said.

“This project is likely to be operational in 2009 and will enhance cement capacity in the state by three mtpa. With this, the capacity of our company will rise to 27.5 mtpa by the end of 2009,” Sekhsaria said.

To a question, Sekhsaria said the company was looking constantly for acquisitions, but added “nothing is on the cards”. — PTI

No to merger with Guj Ambuja

Cement majors ACC and Gujarat Ambuja won't be merged immediately, Narrotam Sheksaria, chairman, ACC, said today. Significant stakes in both companies are held by international cement company Holcim though the two companies operate as separate entities.

Holcim holds nearly 28 per cent of Gujarat Ambuja and about 38 per cent of ACC.

Sheksaria decided to clarify on the matter following speculation that a merger and consolidation is on the cards.

Cement companies have come under pressure from the government to hold the price line as part of measures to contain inflation. A merger, it was felt, would allow both companies to optimise use of resources. — TNS

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India second-largest cement-maker in world
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 28
India has emerged as the second-largest manufacturer of cement in the world, according to a latest report released by the ministry of commerce and industry.

The report released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion said the production of cement during the year 2006-07 is estimated at 162 million tonnes.

Cement production during the year 2006-07 (April to December 2006) has been 117.37 million tonnes, registering a growth of 9.87 per cent over the corresponding period of 2005-06.

India exported 6.07 million tonnes of cement and clinker during April-December 2006.

The cement industry in India comprises 129 large cement plants with an installed capacity of 165.10 million tonnes and more than 206 operating mini cement plants with an estimated capacity of 11.10 million tonnes per annum, making a total installed capacity on 176.20 million tonnes.

There are few large cement plants owned by the central and the state government.

The report suggested that the cement demand is likely to grow at 11.5 per cent per annum during the 11th Plan.

Cement production and capacity by the end of the 11th Plan is estimated to be 269 million tonnes and 298 million tonnes, respectively, with the capacity utilisation of 90 per cent.

To attain the targeted capacity addition, an investment of Rs 52, 400 crore would be required during the 11th plan, the report added.

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Grading to help investors: SEBI

New Delhi, March 28
Amid continuing debate on whether grading is mandatory for initial public offers (IPOs), SEBI chief M. Damodaran has asserted that it is a step for helping average investors and the issue has not been understood properly.

While one section of market observers believe that the decision to make IPO grading mandatory is not warranted, others believe that it is a welcome step for stemming the “overheating” in this segment of primary market.

It is not just the economy whose “overheating” has become a matter of concern, the IPO market has got its own share and these measures, like mandatory grading and tightened disclosure norms, could just be the beginning of a prolonged process to tackle this issue, says an analyst.

According to IPO market tracking firm Prime Database, there are public issues worth Rs 1,75,000 crore in the pipeline while companies are estimated to raise as much as Rs 45,000 crore in 2007 alone from as many as 150 IPOs.

“Overheating has become a buzzword in Indian economy and while the broader macroeconomic issues are being addressed at institutions like RBI, Planning Commission and Finance Ministry, SEBI is trying to do its own bit through measures like mandatory IPO grading and enhanced disclosure norms,” says another broker.

However, another section believes there is no overheating and grading system could be a “waste” of time as India already has a good disclosure-based regime.

“There is no flooding in the IPO market, six to seven IPOs in a month is normal as our listed companies domain is still small,” Primedatabase CEO Prithvi Haldea said. — PTI

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Honda cars to get costlier

Noida, March 28
Honda Siel Cars India Ltd has said it will increase prices across all models from April 2 since the sales tax holiday, it enjoys in Uttar Pradesh, is coming to an end.

“Since inception, we have been exempted from the 4 per cent CST in Uttar Pradesh related to the amount of investments we make in the state. This tax holiday is coming to an end,” HSCI senior general manager Jnaneswar Sen said.

The company, however, has not decided on the quantum of the increase and would take a decision on whether the whole 3 per cent increase would be passed on to the consumers or not.

Sen said the company needed to take competition into consideration while deciding whether it passes on the entire increase to the customer or not.

Honda, which is planning to set up its second greenfield manufacturing facility in Rajasthan, is likely to sign an MoU with the state government in the next couple of months.

The company’s new car facility will be spread over an area of 700 acres with an initial capacity to produce 50,000 unit per annum. When fully operational, the facility would have an overall capacity to produce 2.5 lakh cars per annum. — PTI

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12 more textile mills face closure

New Delhi, March 28
The government has decided to close 12 more mills of the National Textile Corporation (NTC) and today invited initial bids from private players to partner the firm for modernising and reviving 18 other units.

Though the government had earlier decided to revive 30 mills through joint venture with private companies but it has called bids for only 18 of them. The rest of the mills will be closed.

The NTC has so far closed 65 mills and transferred one to the government of Puducherry.
The private players will be offered 49 per cent in the 18 mills, while the 51 per cent stake will be with the NTC, officials said.

The bidders can place expression of interest (EoI) for more than one mill and the successful companies will form a special purpose vehicle with the government for running them.

Out of the 18 mills on offer, 10 are in Maharashtra and two each in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

To ensure the viability of joint venture, the parent company NTC will take on the existing liabilities of the mills and offer voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for its employees. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has been appointed advisers by the government for the transaction. — PTI

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Dabhol faces action over unpaid dues

New Delhi, March 28
The beleaguered Dabhol power project has hit a fresh roadblock with Punj Lloyd and its British partner Whessoe, the contractors for completing the LNG terminal, threatening legal action against Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd (RGPPL) for default on payments.

The 50:50 joint venture of Whessoe-Punj Lloyd sent a notice of default on March 16 to RGPPL, the owner of the 2,150 MW power plant as well the adjacent unfinished 5 million tonnes LNG receipt facility, for clearing all payments due against work already completed.

The JV has threatened to take legal action against RGPPL in Singapore and remove its equipments from the site if the payments are not made by April 2, official sources said.
RGPPL has paid only Rs 68 crore against Rs 317 crore worth of work executed on LNG jetty and dredging. “Bills worth Rs 265 crore are pending with RGPPL,” a source said.

The JV was awarded a Rs 500-crore contract for completing the jetty facilities in June last year with a target date of July 2007 for completion. Besides, Rs 51 crore of dredging work and Rs 15 crore of marine work was also awarded.

When RGPPL took over the Dabhol project in 2005 only one of the three power blocks was in operational condition and the LNG terminal was 85 per cent complete.

It requires Rs 450 crore for revival of power plants and Rs 565 crore for the LNG works, but the cash-starved company, which has been running on loans from financial institutions, does not have the money to pay the contractors, the sources said.

RGPPL had been delaying payments since the beginning of the contract in June last year. Moreover, both Punj Lloyd as well as Whessoe have been running a cash flow deficit on this particular project as payments have been delayed, the sources said, adding the British company has also stopped supplying the material. — PTI

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Satyam in $200-m deal with US firm

New Delhi, March 28
Satyam Computer Services has announced that it has won a $200-million contract from US-based semiconductor equipment manufacturer Applied Materials.

“The contract is worth $200 million and will be executed over next five years,” Satyam senior vice-president Ramesh Shastri said.

The revenues from the deal would be spread evenly over five years and it will start reflecting in the company’s balance sheet from the first quarter of the next fiscal, he said, adding that the work on the contract has already started.

Ramesh said the contract would be executed on a managed services model and Satyam would be offering application management, maintenance and support. It will also offer business transformation core technology services.

Though Satyam has been working with Applied Materials for the past five years, today it announced a new contract with the company. With this mega-deal, the US-based company is also consolidating its IT services vendor base.

Earlier, this job was distributed among different vendors including some in India, Ramesh said.

The company will be setting up a dedicated team at its Bangalore centre for the deal. Satyam is already working with 25 semiconductor companies. — PTI

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Reliance SEZs
Farmers want Rs 1 cr per acre
Sonia asks panel to probe
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, March 28
With farmers hitting the streets to protest the land acquisition plans of Reliance Industries Ltd in the outskirts of Mumbai and asking for Rs 1 crore per acre from RIL, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has asked a committee headed by Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Prabha Rau to look into the matter.

The team will speak to farmers living in the affected areas that come under the Navi Mumbai SEZ and formulate the party’s response. Prabha Rau said the committee would have former MP Sanjay Nirupam, Ramseth Thakur and MPCC secretary Sanjay Patil.

RIL is setting up two SEZs side by side which together will be more than one-third the size of Mumbai city. The company is seeking 25,000 acres spread across 45 villages for its Mumbai SEZ in Raigad district. Adjacent to it the company in a joint venture with the Maharashtra City and Industrial Development Corporation is setting up the Navi Mumbai SEZ spread over 12,500 acres. Both SEZs would roughly measure 140 sq km.

Farmers in the area are insisting that RIL negotiate directly with them rather than get the government to acquire land for the company.

Though the price of land in the area is Rs 1 lakh per acre as per the government records, the Ambanis are offering as much as Rs 10 lakh per acre. But farmers are demanding more than Rs 1 crore per acre on the grounds that property prices outside the periphery would appreciate.

They are roping in a number of NGOs to begin a struggle. So far RIL has managed to buy just about 2500 acres of land from farmers.

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China offers sops to Indian IT Cos
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, March 28
After years of looking at each other with suspicion for years, China wants to open the flood gates of information technology cooperation between the two countries by offering attractive facilities to Indian companies wanting to set up shop in the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), near Shanghai.

In line with this effort, an agreement was signed between local company Datamatics Limited and DarwinSuzsoft, an IT and BPO company based in the Suzhou, China.

DC Zhang, director, science and technology development bureau, who was here today as part of a 15-member delegation to promote the SIP, said the percentage of Indian investment in China, particularly in the IT sector, was minuscule.

"This is the first largest agreement between both countries in this sector", he added.

SIP vice-president Sun Yanyan said China was providing incentives to encourage investments in the IT and software sector. He said these incentives included start up venture capital, rent-free official space for three years and a host of infrastructure facilities, including provision of expensive software.

Today's agreement between Datmatics and DarwinSuzsoft includes setting up a joint 20,000 sq m development centre in SIP. Datamatics managing director Rahul Kanodia said the centre would connect directly with Datamatic's US and Mumbai facilities to provide end-to-end solutions, including BPO data entry work. Both companies will invest $ 15 million in the project, which will have 1,800 employees on its rolls within a year.

DarwinSuzsoft president James Tong said enterprises worldwide required partners who could grow with them at lower costs. He said China had excellent raw engineering talent and by partnering with Datamatics, we hope to leverage our partner's deep knowledge of project management and capability to deliver end-to-end IT/BPO solutions on a global scale.

Wang Jinhua, deputy secretary of Suzhou, said the agreement was a step to take Sino-India bilateral relation ahead. He said SIP would provide all incentives and necessary platform for IT companies to flourish in China. He said while China presently had the necessary infrastructure, India had a huge young talent. "This is a win-win situation for both countries", he added.

Chinese ambassador to India Sun Yuxi termed the bilateral relationship between India and China as the most important for his country. "The trade volume between the two countries had gone up to $ 25 billion presently and China had set a target of $40 billion by 2010. "We, however, hope to surpass it to reach a figure of $ 50 billion", he added.

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Sops for hotel industry sought
Raman Mohan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, March 28
Prominent hotelier Sushil Gupta, who owns Hyatt hotel chain in the country, has said the chronic shortage of starred hotel accommodation is likely to aggravate as new incentives are not available to the industry.

Gupta said the gap in demand and supply in India was already huge and since not many new hotels were coming up to fill the gap, the shortage could be embarrassingly acute for an upcoming economy in the next few years.

He said the government should give the hotel industry tax relief on the pattern of the nineties when the industry was given tax exemption if a company invested half of its earnings in a year in expanding its chain.

Currently, with no such incentive, hotel chains were finding it hard to expand or improving upon their existing infrastructure. The situation was unlikely to ease before the 2010 Commonwealth Games, he added.

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Toshiba launches LCD TVs

New Delhi, March 28
Consumer electronics maker Toshiba today launched its new range of LCD television, Regza, in India.

"In the first year of direct sale operations of Toshiba India, we are targeting to acquire a minimum 10 per cent market share in the domestic market," Toshiba India head, consumer product marketing division, Pranab Mohanty said.

The company has launched two series of LCD TVs, A3000 and 100 Hz full HD. While A300 has been priced in a range of Rs 48,300 to Rs 1,20,990, the 100 Hz series would be sold in a range of Rs 1,15,000 to Rs 2,24,990. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

Domino’s outlets
New Delhi, March 28
Pizza chain Domino’s will invest Rs 80 crore in 2007-08 to set up new stores, as it eyes a 45 per cent share of the organised pizza retail market in the country. “The company would be spending about Rs 50 crore in the next one year to set up new stores. While Rs 10 crore has been earmarked to develop infrastructure, Rs 20 crore would be set aside as marketing spend,” Domino’s Pizza India, chief of marketing Dev Amritesh said. Domino’s currently has 132 stores and would be setting up 50 more outlets in the next one year. — PTI

Oil surges
London, March 28
World oil prices soared today after spiking to $69 per barrel in London late yesterday following an unsubstantiated rumour that Iran had attacked an American ship, traders said. In European trading today, the price of Brent North Sea crude for May delivery leapt $1.02 to $65.62 a barrel in electronic trading. — AFP

Accenture tie-up
Bangalore, March 28
Accenture and Sun Microsystems have announced that they have teamed up to set up an innovation centre here for Sun solutions. The innovative solutions center based on Sun’s technologies would be a global hub for next generation, top executives of the two companies said. — PTI

MindTree
New Delhi, March 28
Mindtree Consulting has announced the launch of its infrastructure management and technical support (IMTS) business, dealing with end-to-end responsibility of managing the IT infrastructure of global enterprises. As part of the IMTS business, Mindtree would offer server and storage management, network management, database administration and management, performance management and IT helpdesks. — PTI

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