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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

Exports up 23 pc
Manufacturing sector hits new low
New Delhi, April 2
India’s trade deficit grew by 48.6 per cent year-on-year in February, 2006 to $55.85 billion even as exports grew 23.83 per cent to $9.70 billion. In the first 11 months of 2006-07, imports grew 30.59 per cent to $164.98 billion and exports 23.83 per cent to $ 109.1 billion, widening the trade deficit by 48.6 per cent to $55.85 billion, according to figures released by Department of Commerce.

Manufacturing industry should change its mindset: Expert
Chandigarh, April 2
Success story of Indian manufacturing sector can be sustained only if manufacturing industry changes its mindset from operation-oriented to strategic.                     
Prof Shoji Shiba

Prof Shoji Shiba

Hyundai unveils ‘Getz Prime’
New Delhi, April 2
Turning the heat on rival Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor India Ltd today launched its premium hatchback 'Getz Prime', with prices starting at Rs 3.89 lakh, and plans to escalate the price war by introducing another compact car in October.
Hyundai Getz brand ambassador Sania Mirza and managing director of Hyundai Motors India Limited H.S. Lheem at the launch of Hyundai Getz Prime in New Delhi Hyundai Getz brand ambassador Sania Mirza and managing director of Hyundai Motors India Limited H.S. Lheem at the launch of Hyundai Getz Prime in New Delhi on Monday.
— AFP photo

Fiat opens new facility near Pune
Rolls out Palio Stile
Ranjangaon, Pune, April 2
Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today inaugurated the new Fiat production facility at Ranjangaon with the rollout of the new Fiat Palio Stile. Stephan Ketter, senior vice -president, manufacturing, of Fiat group automobiles, told mediapersons here.





A model displays a creation by British designer Matthew Williamson at the closing night of the Singapore Fashion Festival in Singapore
A model displays a creation by British designer Matthew Williamson at the closing night of the Singapore Fashion Festival in Singapore late on Sunday. — AFP



EARLIER STORIES

 
A Sony employee displays the new audio/video compatible player "Walkman NW-A808" (left) and "NW-A806" in Tokyo
A Sony employee displays the new audio/video compatible player "Walkman NW-A808" (left) and "NW-A806" in Tokyo on Monday. The new walkmans are now on sale here with a price of 32,800 yen for 8GB and 26,800 yen for 4GB model. — AFP

Sasan Power Project
PFC seeks legal opinion
New Delhi, April 2
Power Finance Corporation, the nodal agency for ultra mega power projects, has sought legal opinion on whether Lanco Infratech had violated the norms while bidding for the Rs 16,000-crore Sasan power project.

Assocham calls for enhanced pulses output
New Delhi, April 2
With pulses production stagnating at around 13 MT as against their annual demand of 18-19 MT and world’s pulses production showing no signs of improvement, uncontrolled price fluctuations in variety of pulses could bring pains to consumer and government and pose biggest challenge before the latter to contain inflation, according to Assocham.

DoT notice to Hutch, Aircel
New Delhi, April 2
The department of telecom has issued show-cause notices to two cellular operators, Hutch Essar and Aircel, for providing push-to-talk services without permission. The department has also asked them to explain why penalty should not be imposed on them for violating conditions by offering PTT services.

Govt to facilitate SMEs
New Delhi, April 2
The government said today it would introduce new projects to facilitate the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country and to increase employment generation in the sector.

Civil supplies corp achieves record turnover
Shimla, April 2
The state civil supplies corporation has achieved a record turnover of Rs 636 crore up to February, 2007, registering an increase of Rs 145 crore over last year. This was stated by food and civil supplies minister Singhi Ram while presiding over a meeting of the board of directors of the corporation.

Hershey to buy 51% in Godrej foods
Mumbai, April 2
US chocolate-maker Hershey Co is to buy a 51 per cent in Godrej Beverages & Foods Ltd. The company will buy most of the stake from ILFS and the rest directly from the company.

Haryana inks MoU with Maryland
New Delhi, April 2
The Haryana government today entered into a MoU with Montgomery County of Maryland, USA, to strengthen economic and business ties. The MoU aims to expand joint business activities in the fields of trade, tourism, investments in life science.

ZTE Corp plans second unit in India
New Delhi, April 2
Chinese telecom equipment giant ZTE Corp, which sees India as its most important market, is setting up a second manufacturing plant in the country as part of its expansion plans.

HPMC in the red
Shimla, April 2
The HPMC has incurred losses to the tune of Rs11.81 crore over the past three years taking its total accumulated loss to Rs 37.97 crore. Giving this information in the Vidhan Sabha during question hour.

Tata Steel completes Corus buyout
Mumbai, April 2
Tata Steel has completed the £6.2 billion ($12 billion) acquisition of Corus at a price of 608 pence per ordinary share, the company said in a statement released here today.

Glaxo-TCS pact
London, April 2
GlaxoSmithKline, Britain's largest drug company, has signed an outsourcing deal with Tata Consultancy Services to establish a drug development support facility in Mumbai.





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Exports up 23 pc
Manufacturing sector hits new low
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, April 2
India’s trade deficit grew by 48.6 per cent year-on-year in February, 2006 to $55.85 billion even as exports grew 23.83 per cent to $9.70 billion.

In the first 11 months of 2006-07, imports grew 30.59 per cent to $164.98 billion and exports 23.83 per cent to $ 109.1 billion, widening the trade deficit by 48.6 per cent to $55.85 billion, according to figures released by Department of Commerce.

The increase in trade deficit continued in February despite softening crude oil prices. The trade deficit during the same period last year was $37.57 billion.

Crude oil imports registered a negative growth of 1.18 per cent and stood at $4.06 billion in February 2007, as compared to $4.10 billion in the month of February 2006.

For April-February, crude oil imports grew 32.52 per cent to $52.67 billion.

The only silver lining in the figures apart from declining crude oil bill is the healthy increase in non-oil imports, which grew 39.77 per cent in February to $10.3 billion.

India's non-oil imports largely constitute capital equipment and intermediate goods, which in turn generate economic activity at home.

The non-oil imports for April-February 2006-07 grew 25.67 per cent to $112.31 billion as compared to $89.37 billion in the corresponding period of 2005-06.

Meanwhile, an increase in production levels and easing of input price inflation failed to offset the continuing slowdown in country’s manufacturing sector growth, which hit a new low last month after its steady decline for sixth month in a row.

According to the Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) data for the month of March, which tracks the health of country’s manufacturing sector, rate of growth eased to its lowest level since the survey began in April 2005.The PMI registered a level of 53.0 in March, down from 53.6 in February.

Despite a further drop in the growth rate, production levels in the Indian manufacturing sector recorded an increase.The rate of growth of incoming new business fell further, although the rate of increase of new orders from abroad accelerated slightly.

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Manufacturing industry should change its mindset: Expert
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Success story of Indian manufacturing sector can be sustained only if manufacturing industry changes its mindset from operation-oriented to strategic.

This was stated by Shoji Shiba, world renowned expert in breakthrough management, who is in India to discuss modalities of launching a path breaking management development programme to develop visionary leaders for manufacturing sector. Shiba will be launching this programme with the assistance of CII- LM Thapar Centre for Competitiveness. The programme is being promoted by the Government of India and Japanese government after it was discussed during the recent visit of the Prime Minister to Japan. The Indian Institutes of Technology at Kanpur and Madras and the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata are also collaborating for implementation of the programme.

Talking to TNS here today, Shiba said that though progress of the Indian manufacturing sector was phenomenal, it was affected by ‘Factor 10’ change. The management expert said that Indian manufacturing is also feeling heat from high attrition level. “This will have to be controlled as human power is the key to growth in this sector. We are designing this programme for top Indian managers, so that human power is created at the top level for a complete transformation in business. The academia, industry and government agencies will work together for its implementation. Several top Indian companies like Anand Group, Tatas, Sonakayo Group and Godrej have already committed for training their personnel in this programme,” he said.

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Hyundai unveils ‘Getz Prime’

New Delhi, April 2
Turning the heat on rival Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor India Ltd today launched its premium hatchback 'Getz Prime', with prices starting at Rs 3.89 lakh, and plans to escalate the price war by introducing another compact car in October.

The base model of 'Getz Prime', equipped with a 1.1-litre petrol engine, will be cheaper than that of Maruti Swift's base model (priced at Rs 3.99 lakh) by as much as Rs 10,000 and HMIL is pinning its hopes on it to counter competition.

"We expect to have sales of about 30,000 units of 'Getz Prime' in domestic market and 40,000 units in the export market during the remaining part of this calendar year," HMIL managing director HS Lheem told reporters here.

HMIL introduced four variants of 'Getz Prime' with two petrol engine options of 1.1 litre and 1.3 litre at an introductory price range of Rs 3.89 lakh and Rs 5.24 lakh.

Lheem said the company expected the 1.1-litre version to clock about 70 per cent of the total sales of Getz Prime in the domestic market.

He said the company was working on a 1.5-litre diesel variant of Getz Prime for the Indian market that could be launched in the second half of this year.

Besides the Getz Prime, HMIL has chalked a strategy of intensifying the price war with its new compact car code-named 'PA', expected to hit the market by October.

The new compact car will be positioned to compete with the top-end models of Zen Estillo and WagonR, while the existing Santro will be made more price attractive to take on the lower end of competition and also wean away customers from 'Alto'.

He also said the company will be introducing a top-end diesel variant of its mid-sized sedan Verna SX in May-June.

The company has made India its global hub for 'Getz' exports and started overseas shipments from last week.

Asked if the hardening interest rates would be a deterrent to its sales prospects, HMIL vice-president sales and marketing Arvind Saxena said it was premature to come to a conclusion. — PTI

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Fiat opens new facility near Pune
Rolls out Palio Stile

Ranjangaon, Pune, April 2
Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today inaugurated the new Fiat production facility at Ranjangaon with the rollout of the new Fiat Palio Stile.

Stephan Ketter, senior vice -president, manufacturing, of Fiat group automobiles, told mediapersons here the MoU with Tatas would help both auto majors add to each others strengths.

The new models of Tata's engines will be rolled out from this facility, he said.

Fiat India manager, Giovanni de Filippis, said they would increase the present 63 dealers to around 100 in the near future and with Tata Motors technology and support make after the sales services available, providing interesting product range. The India factory will have cost advantages and will be used for exports, he said.

In the Rs 4,000 crore facility, the first phase has an investment of Rs 300 crore that will be increased steadily with Tatas sharing 50 per cent. The Palio will be 70 per cent localised.

The Ranjangaon project will produce both Fiat and Tata motors cars and Fiat powertrains. The new cars Grande Punto and Linea will be launched next year, he said without giving details of the prices. The facility will produce in excess of 100,000 cars and 200,000 engines and transmissions yearly, he added.

To a query, managing director Tata Motors Ravi Kant said the facility would cater to the new generation of Tata Motors. To another query, he said ''the jv could also mean that Fiat markets the much-touted Rs 1 lakh car of Tata Motors in Latin American countries.'' — UNI

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Sasan Power Project
PFC seeks legal opinion

New Delhi, April 2
Power Finance Corporation (PFC), the nodal agency for ultra mega power projects, has sought legal opinion on whether Lanco Infratech had violated the norms while bidding for the Rs 16,000-crore Sasan power project.

According to sources, PFC has asked the attorney- general (AG) and the additional solicitor-general to give their views on alleged violations committed by Lanco Infratech, which won the project in partnership with Globeleq Singapore, hitherto 100 per cent subsidiary of Globeleq Ltd UK.

Globeleq Singapore is now jointly owned by Lanco and Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) in 60-40 per cent ratio.

Asked by when the decision would be taken on the fate of the first ultra mega power project, sources said the case has been referred to power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and a decision was expected in the next few days.

Meanwhile, R.C. Lahoti, former Chief Justice of India, gave a clean chit to Lanco Infratech on the issue of lead member (Globeleq Singapore) saying there was no violation of any of the clauses of the bidding process.

"It cannot be disputed nor denied that the successful consortium met and continues to meet these minimum financial requirements even with a changed shareholding pattern of the lead member," Justice Lahoti said in his views sought by Lanco Infratech.

When contacted, Pradeep Lenka, CEO of Lanco Group, said: "At this juncture, I would like to emphasise that there was no violation of any of the condition of qualification for participating in the bidding process." — PTI

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Assocham calls for enhanced pulses output
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 2
With pulses production stagnating at around 13 MT as against their annual demand of 18-19 MT and world’s pulses production showing no signs of improvement, uncontrolled price fluctuations in variety of pulses could bring pains to consumer and government and pose biggest challenge before the latter to contain inflation, according to Assocham.

In a paper on growth of pulses, compiled by Assocham, it has been pointed out that already, the first green revolution has bypassed pulses production with no breakthrough in high yield variety. The net result is near stagnation in output and a decline in per capita availability.

In pre-Independence era, India’s pulses production was about 9 MT and since then increased by around 4-5 million MT.

The paper has, therefore, recommended that second green revolution is called for to produce high yield variety of pulses to enhance their annual production to meet their growing demand and contain rising prices.

It has also been stated that though India continues to be the largest producer of pulses in the world, its production has been falling and a similar situation is emerging in the USA, Russia, Thailand and China.

Releasing the paper here today, Assocham presidentVenugopal N. Dhoot said even during 2006-07, the country consumed over 17 MT of pulses, while its production has stagnated at 11-13 MT for the past five years.

It may be mentioned that in June last year the government had banned export of pulses from the country in view of lower production and shortage of supply till March 31, 2007. Further, the government in an effort to curb price rise also allowed import of pulses duty-free till March 31, 2007 through Nafed and other agencies.

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DoT notice to Hutch, Aircel

New Delhi, April 2
The department of telecom has issued show-cause notices to two cellular operators, Hutch Essar and Aircel, for providing push-to-talk (PTT) services without permission.

The department has also asked them to explain why penalty should not be imposed on them for violating conditions by offering PTT services.

If DoT is not satisfied with their replies, they could face penalty of Rs50 crore each.

The DoT sources said these two did not have the permission to launch the services and had not provided monitoring or interception facilities as needed by security requirements.

These were violations of licence agreement conditions under the Cellular Mobile Telecom Service (CMTS) agreement and they could face penalty on two counts -for providing service without permission and for not paying the applicable access deficit charge payable in long distance calls, sources said.

PTT allows customers of a company to talk and message with other subscribers of the same company anywhere in the country by pressing a single button with all calls being treated as local.

TRAI had earlier written to DoT that this was against the licence agreement, apart from being a concern to national security. — PTI

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Govt to facilitate SMEs

New Delhi, April 2
The government said today it would introduce new projects to facilitate the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country and to increase employment generation in the sector.

The MSME (micro, medium and small enterprises) Act of 2006 is providing a legal framework for further growth of the sector and the government would also bring new projects to achieve increased employment generation in the sector, union small scale industries minister Mahabir Prasad said today.

The minister urged state governments to take benefit of various packages announced for the development of MSME sector, including loan assistance for cluster-based development, assistance for entrepreneur development and quality enhancement and empowerment of women entrepreneurs.

He was speaking at a small and medium enterprises conference jointly organised by the PHDCCI and Germany's Konard Adenuer foundation here today.

The integration of Indian SMEs into the global sector is important for technology transfer and capacity building, PHDCCI senior vice-president L K Malhotra said. — PTI

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Civil supplies corp achieves record turnover
Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 2
The state civil supplies corporation has achieved a record turnover of Rs 636 crore up to February, 2007, registering an increase of Rs 145 crore over last year.

This was stated by food and civil supplies minister Singhi Ram while presiding over a meeting of the board of directors of the corporation. He said the corporation had geared up its machinery for procurement of pulses, edible oils and iodised salt and invited open tenders to make these items available to the consumers on subsidy from April, 2007 as announced in the budget. A sum of Rs 100 crore had been allocated for providing subsidy on these items.

An area office of the corporation has also been opened at Hamirpur to cover Una, Bilaspur and Hamirpur districts.

The corporation also paid a dividend of Rs 52 lakh to the state government during the current year.

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Hershey to buy 51% in Godrej foods
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 2
US chocolate-maker Hershey Co is to buy a 51 per cent in Godrej Beverages & Foods Ltd. The company will buy most of the stake from ILFS and the rest directly from the company.

Godrej Beverages and Foods is valued at about $100 million, sources said here today.

Godrej has been holding talks with international food companies in a bid to offload stake in the company. Godrej is expected to invest the proceeds in developing its sprawling real estate complex at Vikhroli in North Central Mumbai.

Hershey has already obtained approval from the FIPB for the proposed deal. Hershey is likely to introduce a number of its popular international brands into the Indian markets, following the acquisition.

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Haryana inks MoU with Maryland
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 2
The Haryana government today entered into a MoU with Montgomery County of Maryland, USA, to strengthen economic and business ties.

The MoU aims to expand joint business activities in the fields of trade, tourism, investments in life science, advance technology and education in both public and private sectors, with regard to the economies of Mongtomery County and Haryana.

The MoU was signed by the director of the Department of Economics Development, American Community College of Montgomery County of Maryland, USA, Dr Pradeep Ganguly and Haryana’s education minister, Mr Phool Chand Mullana, in the presence of Haryana Governor, Dr A.R.Kidwai and Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda here today.

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ZTE Corp plans second unit in India

New Delhi, April 2
Chinese telecom equipment giant ZTE Corp, which sees India as its most important market, is setting up a second manufacturing plant in the country as part of its expansion plans.

The company, which started its operations in India in 2001, had set up its first plant at Manesar, Haryana, with an investment of almost Rs 40-50 million in 2005, mainly to manufacture handsets.

"We are looking for suitable sites in West Bengal, Haryana and Tamil Nadu for setting up our second manufacturing unit which will have more capacity as it will be a much bigger unit than the existing one," Dilip Kumar Ghosh, chairman and managing director, ZTE India, said. — IANS

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HPMC in the red
Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 2
The HPMC has incurred losses to the tune of Rs11.81 crore over the past three years taking its total accumulated loss to Rs 37.97 crore. Giving this information in the Vidhan Sabha during question hour, horticulture minister Singhi Ram said that some pending payments were cleared by the corporation and a tetrapack unit was also installed during the period.

Replying to another question he said his department was not purchasing farm implements for fruit growers. It was only providing subsidy under the horticulture mission.

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Tata Steel completes Corus buyout
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 2
Tata Steel has completed the £6.2 billion ($12 billion) acquisition of Corus at a price of 608 pence per ordinary share, the company said in a statement released here today.

The combined entity will produce 27 million tonnes of crude steel and will be world's fifth largest steel producer with 84,000 employees across four continents.

Following the acquisition, Tata Steel will have a presence in 45 countries, the statement said.

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Glaxo-TCS pact

London, April 2
GlaxoSmithKline, Britain's largest drug company, has signed an outsourcing deal with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to establish a drug development support facility in Mumbai. Under the deal, TCS will support GSK's global clinical R & D programme by providing outsourced data management and medical trial reporting services. The arrangement will create nearly 100 new jobs on an existing site and the deal is understood to be worth more than £ 10 million. — IANS

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BRIEFLY

Spice Telecom
Mumbai, April 2
Spice Ltd, Spice Telecom’s manufacturing arm is going to sell its 48.23 per cent stake in Spice Systems Ltd (SSL) to BK Modi’s MCorpGlobal for Rs 10.59 crore. The board of directors have approved the sale of 81.50 lakh shares at Rs 13 per share, company informed the BSE. — PTI

Core Projects
Mumbai, April 2
Core Projects & Technologies has acquired US-based Emacs Technologies, Inc (Emacs) for an undisclosed amount. In a filing to the BSE, Core Projects & Technologies said its board of directors has approved the acquisition of 100 per cent equity of Emacs. The company, however, did not disclose the financial details of the acquisition. — PTI

Lanco Infratech
New Delhi, April 2
Lanco Infratech Ltd today said it has won a bid for three construction projects worth Rs 102 crore in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. With this, order book of the construction and EPC division of the company stands at more than Rs 5,000 crore. The projects include upgradation of public health centres to community health centres and taluk level hospitals for the Karnataka Health Systems Development and Reforms Project. — UNI

Airtel ISD tariffs
New Delhi, April 2
Bharti Airtel today announced up to 11 per cent reduction in its ISD tariffs. Calls made to the USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Europe will cost Rs 6.40 per minute from Rs 7.20 per minute. Other countries, including the Gulf, SAARC countries, Africa and Europe will be accessible at Rs 9.20 a minute, cheaper by 8 per cent. — UNI

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