SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

India, China partners, not rivals: FM
Shenzhen, March 29
With the India versus China comparison gaining currency, finance minister P Chidambaram said today New Delhi does not view Beijing as a rival but as a partner for making the 'Asian Century' a reality.

Ranbaxy net surges 95 pc
New Delhi, March 29
Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd today posted a 95 per cent jump in its net profit at Rs 515.4 crore for the year ended December 31, 2006 from Rs 264.2 crore in the previous year.

ABCL plans product diversification
Chandigarh, March 29
Amrit Banaspati Company Ltd (ABCL) proposes to expand its plant capacity and diversify its product portfolio from edible oils to value-added products like peanut butter and low-fat margarine, said Jagesh K Khaitan, vice-chairman and managing director of the company.

Sops for industry in North-East
Govt to share info on money laundering

New Delhi, March 29
The government today allowed Financial Intelligence Units (FIU-India), the central agency for monitoring suspected financial transaction, to sign MoUs with various overseas counterparts to share information to curb money-laundering activities.

Hero plans to sell 1 lakh e-bikes
Yamunanagar, March 29
Hero Cycles Ltd (HCL) in collaboration with Ultra Motor Company (UMC) has targeted to sell one lakh units of Hero e-bikes through a chain of concept stores in the country. The company opened one such concept store here today.

BMW opens TN plant, rolls out 3 Series sedan
Chengalpattu, March 29
German automaker BMW today officially opened its plant here and rolled out its first 3 Series sedan with a price tag of Rs 26.7 lakh. The plant will produce 1,700 cars a year and within the next five years reach a figure of 7,000 cars per annum.



Sony Ericsson on Thursday named Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan as its brand ambassador for India and SAARC countries. Hrithik will be endorsing all Sony Ericsson products as part of the company's marketing initiatives
Sony Ericsson on Thursday named Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan as its brand ambassador for India and SAARC countries. Hrithik will be endorsing all Sony Ericsson products as part of the company's marketing initiatives. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 
Fashion designer and chief adviser of Luxury Connexions Ritu Beri and chairman of Gitanjali Group Mehul Choksi at a launch function in New Delhi on Thursday. The Gitanjali Group announced its foray into the luxury retail market with an investment of Rs 100 crore
Fashion designer and chief adviser of Luxury Connexions Ritu Beri and chairman of Gitanjali Group Mehul Choksi at a launch function in New Delhi on Thursday. The Gitanjali Group announced its foray into the luxury retail market with an investment of Rs 100 crore. — AFP photo

Air Deccan to fly on Delhi-Shimla route
Shimla, March 29
Air Deccan is likely to provide the much-needed regular air connectivity to the "Queen of hills" as it is likely to start operation on the Delhi-Shimla route on a regular basis from mid April.

Mankind forays into OTC market
New Delhi, March 29
Himachal-based drug firm, Mankind Pharma, today ventured into the Rs 2,000-crore over-the-counter (OTC) segment by investing Rs 15 crore in launching three drugs.

M’rashtra wants RIL to build smaller SEZ
Mumbai, March 29
The Vilasrao Deshmukh government in Maharashtra has expressed its inability to help Reliance Industries (RIL) build gigantic special economic zone (SEZ) on the outskirts of Mumbai.

Assocham cautions corporates on M&As in US
New Delhi, March 29
As more and more Indian corporates are eyeing mergers and acquisitions (M&As) of the US firms, industry chamber Assocham has cautioned that they must follow anti-trust laws to avoid legal hassles.

BSNL to extend services in Himachal
Kangra, March 29
BSNL has decided to provide triple-play or multi-play facilities in 28 telephone exchanges in Kangra and Chamba districts by the year-end with 10 telephone exchanges on the priority list.

FIPB defers decision on Vodafone
New Delhi, March 29
The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) today deferred a decision on Vodafone's acquisition of Hutch-Essar and sought more information on the foreign shareholding pattern of the Indian firm from all participants.

Govt revises norms for private airlines
New Delhi, March 29
In a bid to purge the aviation sector of fly-by-night operators, the government today revised the guidelines for scheduled private operators by enhancing the equity requirements for these airline companies.

Mankind forays into OTC market
New Delhi, March 29
Himachal-based drug firm, Mankind Pharma, today ventured into the Rs 2,000-crore over-the-counter (OTC) segment by investing Rs 15 crore in launching three drugs. "We would close the current fiscal at Rs 550 crore and are targeting to touch the Rs 1,100 crore mark by 2009-10, " R C Juneja, managing director of the firm said.

 

Top



 

 

 

India, China partners, not rivals: FM

Shenzhen, March 29
With the India versus China comparison gaining currency, finance minister P Chidambaram said today New Delhi does not view Beijing as a rival but as a partner for making the 'Asian Century' a reality.

"This century promises to be the Asian century. China and India are leading the drive to make this century the Asian century," he said inaugurating the first full-fledged branch of Bank of India (BOI) here.

Referring to China's stupendous economic growth that has even touched 13 per cent in the peak years after reforms of 1978, Chidambaram said he was confident India too be able to do it over the next 10 to 20 years.

"Many other countries, envious of China or India, may regard this as China vs India. We do not do so. We regard it as China and India, working together to make this century an Asian century," he said.

He emphasised that relations between India and China in trade, commerce, business, diplomacy and in people-to-people exchanges should strengthen in the years to come.

He noted that bilateral trade in 2006 grew to a record $25 billion and there exists greater scope for the businesses of the two countries to cooperate more with the setting up of more financial institutions like banks in both countries.

He was confident that the Bank of India branch in Shenzhen, one of China's fastest-growing city, will be able to tap the booming bilateral trade and grow faster. — PTI 

Top

 

Ranbaxy net surges 95 pc

New Delhi, March 29
Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd today posted a 95 per cent jump in its net profit at Rs 515.4 crore for the year ended December 31, 2006 from Rs 264.2 crore in the previous year.

The pharma major registered a 17 per cent increase in its sales at Rs 6,065.2 crore during the year as compared to Rs 5,188 crore a year ago.

The sales growth was driven by North America and the BRICS markets which together accounted for 65 per cent of the total sales as against 61 per cent in the corresponding period.

The company approved payment of second interim dividend of 120 per cent amounting to Rs 6 per share at par value of Rs 5 each for the year ended December 31, 2006. — PTI

Top

 

ABCL plans product diversification
Ruchika M. Khanna/ Tribune News Service

Jagesh K Khaitan
Jagesh K Khaitan

Chandigarh, March 29
Amrit Banaspati Company Ltd (ABCL) proposes to expand its plant capacity and diversify its product portfolio from edible oils to value-added products like peanut butter and low-fat margarine, said Jagesh K Khaitan, vice-chairman and managing director of the company.

He said the company had lined up Rs 35 crore for its expansion and diversification plans. “We also propose to set up a greenfield project in Rajpura for a rice mill. This mill, to be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 30 crore, will be a joint venture with the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation. This rice mill will become operational within the next two years,” he said.

“The R&D work for low-fat margarine and peanut butter is complete and the product line is being set up at our Rajpura plant. These two products will hit the shelves by the end of this year.

Since the market share of the vanaspati oil has remained stagnant, we have decided on product diversification,” he added. Khaitan said they were also setting up a co-generation power generation plant of 2 MW, which will become operational by end of 2007-08. 

Top

 

Sops for industry in North-East
Govt to share info on money laundering
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 29
The government today allowed Financial Intelligence Units (FIU-India), the central agency for monitoring suspected financial transaction, to sign MoUs with various overseas counterparts to share information to curb money-laundering activities.

The information or documents received this way would be treated as confidential and subject to official secrecy. The MoUs would envisage such information will not be disseminated to any third party, information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi said after a Cabinet meeting.

Most foreign FIUs require MoU with Indian counterpart to share information on money laundering. The authorities would not be under any obligation to give assistance if judicial proceedings have already been initiated, he added.

The government also approved the new industrial policy for North-East region, extending 100 per cent tax exemption and doubling the capital subsidy given on investment by new as well as existing units.

The North-East Industrial and Investment Policy 2007, cleared by the CCEA, will include Sikkim and seven other states in the region and provide liberal fiscal incentive for 10 years, he added.

The government also approved a Rs 2,610.14 crore Bhutan package for providing project assistance and development subsidy under the neighbouring country’s extended ninth plan.

This will generate opportunities for Indian companies to participate in major projects and strengthen goodwill for India in Bhutan by fulfilling our existing commitments, Dasmunsi said.

In a move to mitigate the problems of Indians seeking jobs in Kuwait, the government approved signing of an agreement between the two countries for facilitating recruitments. It would act as a protection and welfare of the workers not covered under the labour law of the state of Kuwait

Besides facilitating recruitments, the MoU also seeks to prohibit changes to the terms and conditions of the contract of employment that are detrimental to the workers. It also provides for procedure for authentication of the employment contract and unequivocal responsibility on the employee regarding arranging work permit for the worker.

Lakshadweep Islanders can hope for better connectivity with the mainland, as the government decided to acquire two passenger-cum-cargo vessels for $18.3 million (Rs 82.35 crore). The vessels would each have a capacity to ferry 250 passengers and carry 100 metric tonnes of cargo, he said.

Top

 

Hero plans to sell 1 lakh e-bikes
Nishikant Dwivedi
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, March 29
Hero Cycles Ltd (HCL) in collaboration with Ultra Motor Company (UMC) has targeted to sell one lakh units of Hero e-bikes through a chain of concept stores in the country. The company opened one such concept store here today.

UMC has invested Rs 25 crore on R&D besides product development while HCL would be investing Rs 50 crore on plant, machinery and working capital. The cost of these bikes range between Rs 14,000 and Rs 28,000. These bikes do not require registration certificates nor are safety helmets compulsory for the riders.

“But we would be campaigning that riders wear helmets,” said Vijay Kumar Joshi, general manager (exports), HCL. The company has approached the Pune-based ARAI for upgrading the motors used in the bikes from 250 watts to 500 watts so that the speed of these bikes could be raised from 25 kmph to 50 kmph and those in the age group of 18-24 years to could be targeted, he added. The two companies have jointly taken up to market e-bikes and have also created fund for the same.

Top

 

BMW opens TN plant, rolls out 3 Series sedan
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chengalpattu, March 29
German automaker BMW today officially opened its plant here and rolled out its first 3 Series sedan with a price tag of Rs 26.7 lakh. The plant will produce 1,700 cars a year and within the next five years reach a figure of 7,000 cars per annum.

Dr Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the executive board of BMW AG said, “Particularly in the premium automobile segment, India offers big opportunities for growth. Opening this plant underpins our long-term route to profitable growth. In addition to the new production facilities, consistent build-up of a powerful sales structure has paved the way for this expanded profile”.

As much as 90 per cent of the vehicles produced from this plant will be sold in India and the rest exported. The plant at present employs a workforce of 120 persons with an investment of 20,000 euros.

The company management said the decision to locate the plant near Chennai was based on the strategy that production follows the market.

Frank Peter Arndt, production director of BMW AG said, “The strategy of local production allows us to exploit the opportunities available for opening up and exploiting markets with long-term potential growth. In India, we will have local production for a significant proportion of sales with BMW vehicles in the 3 Series and 5 Series”.

Dr Reithofer said, “We are a company with exclusive focus on the premium business of the automotive industry. Contrary to many competitors, we have a premium-only product portfolio and do not operate in the mass-market segments. Our goal is to seize all opportunities that arise for us and our three automotive brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce”.

He said that as regards markets, BMW followed a similar approach and the company’s objective was to be present in all those markets in which it saw a BMW group’s profitable growth in Asia.

He observed that the company’s plant in China produced 30,000 cars per annum and the market there was booming.

He said, “Experts predict an increase for the total car market in India from 1.2 million vehicles at present to 2.2 million by 2015. And for the premium segments we operate in, they even expect the market volume to double during the same period”.

Top

 

Air Deccan to fly on Delhi-Shimla route
Tribune News Service

Shimla, March 29
Air Deccan is likely to provide the much-needed regular air connectivity to the "Queen of hills" as it is likely to start operation on the Delhi-Shimla route on a regular basis from mid April.

Though the tentative date of April 15 has been conveyed to the authorities for starting the flights, but it is still not certain whether it will be a daily flight or on alternate days. Air Deccan will be using the 48-seater ATR 42 aircraft on this circuit.

It was on February 24 that the trial flight by Air Deccan had successfully landed at the Jubbarhatti airport. Sources said all necessary clearances had been obtained from the director-general, civil aviation and formalities complete in this regard.

It was only yesterday that Air Deccan started its daily flights on the Delhi-Pathankot-Dharamshala route. So far, the 18-seater Dornier aircraft were being used on the Shimla-Delhi circuit with the air-fare being on the much higher side. With the 48- seater aircraft being used, the air fare on the Delhi-Shimla flight is likely to come down substantially and could be around Rs 2,200.

"However due to some technical problems, Air Deccan will be able to carry passengers in full capacity on the arrival flight from Delhi, but on its way back from Shimla it would not be able to take off with more that 25 passengers," informed sources.

Lack of reliable and regular air connectivity had been the biggest hurdle in tourism promotion to the erstwhile summer capital of the British. With the high-end tourists not willing to spend so many time on travelling by road, the state was not attracting too many tourists who are willing to spend.

The state government and the local hoteliers had been making efforts to provide regular air connectivity to Shimla, which would give a boost to tourism. Infact, to persuade Air Deccan to start its flight from Shimla, about 10 big hoteliers had even given a corporate assurance of 10 seats per flight for the initial six months period.

Some of the big hotels like Wild Flower Hall and Cecil, owned by the Oberoi group, were at a big loss due to the erratic unreliable flights from Shimla. Infact, efforts had been made at the government level to allow landing of chartered flights at the Kalyani helipad in Mashobra, but the Centre refused to grant permission in view of the area being in close proximity of the Retreat, the residence of the President of India.

Top

 

Mankind forays into OTC market
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 29
Himachal-based drug firm, Mankind Pharma, today ventured into the Rs 2,000-crore over-the-counter (OTC) segment by investing Rs 15 crore in launching three drugs.

"We would close the current fiscal at Rs 550 crore and are targeting to touch the Rs 1,100 crore mark by 2009-10. The new OTC division is expected to contribute Rs 125 crore to the overall revenues by then," R C Juneja, managing director of the firm said.

He said the major portion of the earmarked Rs 15 crore would go towards strengthening dealership network and increasing brand presence across the country.

The company is targeting revenues of Rs 30 crore from the first full year of operations of the OTC division.

The OTC division would sell products, including shampoos, soaps, energy drinks, calorie-free sweeteners, sanitary napkins, medicated dressings, condoms and diapers.

“The company has just got the licence to start commercial production in Himachal Pradesh. Keeping in mind our exports plans, we are investing Rs 30 crore for doubling the capacity. We are filing registration of our products by June this year,” he said.

Top

 

M’rashtra wants RIL to build smaller SEZ
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, March 29
The Vilasrao Deshmukh government in Maharashtra has expressed its inability to help Reliance Industries (RIL) build gigantic special economic zone (SEZ) on the outskirts of Mumbai.

According to sources, the state government will not issue the required notification, bringing within its ambit the vast area required by the company for the SEZ following protests from villagers. RIL's Mahamumbai multi-purpose SEZ was to originally spread over 25,000 acres. It will now be scaled down to half the area.

The Maharashtra government, which had earlier decided to acquire 25,000 acres of land, is expected to issue a notification earmarking a smaller area for the SEZ. Deshmukh asked RIL to negotiate directly with farmers rather than hoping for the government to acquire land for it.

It would still be huge and would exist seamlessly with the Navi Mumbai SEZ, which the company is jointly promoting with the Maharashtra government.

The NMSEZ would be spread across 12,500 acres. RIL will have to do with 25 villages instead of the 45 it required for the SEZ.

According to reports, the matter over allocation of land is to be taken up by the empowered group of Union ministers (eGoM) on SEZs in Delhi sometime in May.

However, large-scale protests by farmers in the villages close to Navi Mumbai have put the Vilasrao Deshmukh government on the backfoot.

Sources say the main opposition comes from the villagers in the Uran region where petrochemical industries already exist. A number of businesses were to be relocated as per the RIL's plan. The villagers are demanding as much as Rs 1 crore per acre of land with prices in some areas likely to go up by as much as Rs 3 crore per acre.

Villagers in the area had banded together and defeated the Congress party in the just-concluded zilla parishad elections to show their displeasure at the land acquisition process.

Top

 

Assocham cautions corporates on M&As in US
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 29
As more and more Indian corporates are eyeing mergers and acquisitions (M&As) of the US firms, industry chamber Assocham has cautioned that they must follow anti-trust laws to avoid legal hassles.

All Indian corporates eyeing to take over the US companies with M&As cost exceeding $50 million should have their deals approved by the US anti-trust department, Assocham said here.

The chamber has also advised such corporates, who wish to hold a part of ownership in American companies through formation of joint ventures and any other route, to subject their transactions through US anti-trust laws well in advance, before paying off their commercial costs.

This is necessary to sustain such deals for their longevity as the US anti-trust department takes serious note of such M&As after these are concluded, cautioned Assocham.

It, however, added that takeover worth up to $50 million of the US companies were exempted from pre-notification to the anti-trust authority of America.

The Assocham also clarified that prior sanction from the US federal anti-trust authority was also required even for American companies that intend to takeover overseas companies.

It also cautioned that violation of the rules laid down by the anti-trust authority of the US federal system for any overseas takeover resulted into heavy penalties and mergers & acquisitions could also be declared null and void. 

Top

 

BSNL to extend services in Himachal
Our correspondent

Kangra, March 29
BSNL has decided to provide triple-play or multi-play facilities in 28 telephone exchanges in Kangra and Chamba districts by the year-end with 10 telephone exchanges on the priority list.

Deepak Chautervedi, general manager, BSNL telecom, said Dharamshala, Kangra, Chamba, McLeodgang, Yol, Palampur, Dalhousie, Jawalamukhi, Dhera and Shahpur exchanges were on the priority list for introducing triple-play facility. He said the system would provide customers with three pronged facilities, which included internet broadband data facility, broadcasting video on demand with video text facility and voice facility.

He said with triple-play facility the customers of 28 exchanges would be at par with the customers of Mumbai and Delhi in e-governance and tele-medicines facilities.

Top

 

FIPB defers decision on Vodafone

New Delhi, March 29
The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) today deferred a decision on Vodafone's acquisition of Hutch-Essar and sought more information on the foreign shareholding pattern of the Indian firm from all participants.

"I have sought more comments from the companies," finance secretary Ashok Jha told reporters after the FIPB meeting, in which Vodafone, Hutchison and two other minority shareholders made presentations.

Vodafone had last month acquired 52 per cent controlling stake in Hutch-Essar from Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecom at an enterprise value of $18.8 billion.

The controversy arose over the 12.6 per cent stake jointly held by Hutch-Essar MD Asim Ghosh and Analjit Singh on whether they are the actual owners or HTIL was the owner. — PTI 

Top

 

Govt revises norms for private airlines

New Delhi, March 29
In a bid to purge the aviation sector of fly-by-night operators, the government today revised the guidelines for scheduled private operators by enhancing the equity requirements for these airline companies.

Under the revised norms, airlines operating five small aircraft like ATRs and turbo-props, with a take-off mass of up to 40,000 kgs, should have an equity capital of Rs 20 crore.

Those operating five planes of over 40,000 kgs, like Boeing or Airbus, should have an equity worth of at least Rs 50 crore.

The norms for starting airline operations have also been revised.

An airline, while meeting the fresh equity norms, can start operations with one aircraft, but would have to augment its fleet size to five within a year. Earlier, the minimum number of aircraft required to start operations was three, an official spokesperson said.

The changes would come into effect as soon as the fresh norms are notified by Directorate-General of Civil Aviation, official sources said, adding the notification would amend the relevant civil aviation requirement provisions to give effect to the changes. — PTI

Top

 

Mankind forays into OTC market
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 29
Himachal-based drug firm, Mankind Pharma, today ventured into the Rs 2,000-crore over-the-counter (OTC) segment by investing Rs 15 crore in launching three drugs.

"We would close the current fiscal at Rs 550 crore and are targeting to touch the Rs 1,100 crore mark by 2009-10, " R C Juneja, managing director of the firm said.

He said the major portion of the earmarked Rs 15 crore would go towards strengthening dealership network and increasing brand presence across the country.

The company is targeting revenues of Rs 30 crore from the first full year of operations of the OTC division.

The OTC division would sell products, including shampoos, soaps, energy drinks, calorie-free sweeteners, sanitary napkins, medicated dressings, condoms and diapers.

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Man Industries wins $225-m deal
Mumbai, March 29
Leading pipe manufacturer, Man Industries India has bagged Rs 1,000 crore ($225 million) order from a US-based company, taking its new order book position to Rs 2,200 crore. “This is the single largest order received by any Indian pipe manufacturing company from the US and is also one of the largest orders made by a single customer of an engineering company from USA in the recent past,” Man Industries said. — PTI

Reliance Comm
Chandigarh, March 29
Reliance Communications today launched special tariff voucher of Rs 69 for pre-paid mobile subscribers of Chandigarh and Punjab. Under the scheme, the subscribers can make outgoing calls during daytime at 10 paise on any Reliance mobile and landline. For calls to mobile and landline networks of other companies, the subscribers will have to pay 50 paise and Re 1 per minute, respectively, said Naozer Firoze Aibara, CEO, Reliance Communications, Punjab Circle. — TNS

DLF contract
Bangalore, March 29
DLF Ltd has awarded IBM India a 10-year contract to manage ites IT infrastructure. “Currently, a $29-million contract, this could multiply on the back of DLF’s growth plans,” IBM India said. IBM Global Technology Services will implement and maintain policies, standards, technology and delivery infrastructure across more than 20 locations in India. — PTI

Stake in India TV
Mumbai, March 29
Private news broadcaster India TV has said international venture fund Comventures has picked a stake in its parent company with an investment of $11.5 million (Rs 50.96 crore). The investment gives Fuse+Media a 19.17 per cent stake in Independent News Services Pvt Ltd (INSPL), which runs India TV. — PTI

Optra Platinum
Mumbai, March 29
General Motors today launched Chevrolet Optra Platinum, a special edition of its popular luxury sedan. Priced at Rs 8,24,399, the Optra Platinum features elegant new exterior accoutrements, stylish new interior elements and an unmatched range of options. — UNI

Top

 



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |