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BHEL net up 42 pc
Targets Rs 44,000-cr turnover by 2011-12

New Delhi, April 3
State-owned power equipment supplier Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited(BHEL) today set a target of Rs 44,000 crore turnover by 2011-12. As per the provisional financial performance for the year 2006-07, BHEL's net profit has jumped by 42 per cent to Rs 2,385 crore compared to Rs 1,679 crore in 2005-06.

Iran gas cheapest for India, says WB
Washington, April 3
A World Bank analysis shows that the proposed pipeline from Iran could bring gas to Mumbai at a cost one-third cheaper than the closest alternative, according to a top bank official. And Bangladesh should sell gas to India for the benefit of the entire region.

Smooth ride for car makers
Good growth rate prompts new model launches this year
New Delhi, April 3
Riding high on a buoyant economy, the car industry in the country has never had it so good as has been the past year with all manufacturers recording higher sales figures and reflecting an envious growth rate.





 

Logan is here
Petrol sedan to cost Rs 4.28 lakh
Mumbai, April 3
Spicing up competition in the entry-level sedan segment, French auto major Renault today launched Logan in the Indian market through its joint venture partner Mahindra and Mahindra.


Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of automobile giants Renault and Nissan (R) and Anand Mahindra, managing director of Mahindra and Mahindra pose with the Logan car at its launch in Mumbai on Tuesday. — AFP photo
Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of automobile giants Renault and Nissan (R) and Anand Mahindra, managing director of Mahindra and Mahindra pose with the Logan car at its launch in Mumbai

New ST return form introduced
New Delhi, April 3
The Central Board of Excise and Customs today notified the revised service tax (ST) return form (ST-3), which is fully compatible to automation and e-filing of return.

Public sector banks yet to decide on PLR hike
Mumbai, April 3
Top private sector banks, including ICICI, HDFC and UTI have been quick to hike interest rates following RBI’s move to curb money flow, but public sector banks seem to be biding their time despite a hit on their costs.

Hexaware opens centre at Gurgaon
New Delhi, April 3
Hexaware Technologies Ltd today opened its fourth development centre in the country at Gurgaon.

Whirlpool to ramp up capacity
New Delhi, April 3
Facing stiff competition from South Korean major LG, Whirlpool of India today said it will invest Rs 160 crore in the next 18 months to ramp up capacity and market its entire range of refrigerators, washing machines, air-conditioners and dryers.


Bollywood actors and Whirlpool brand ambassadors Kajol and Ajay Devgan at the launch of Whirlpool products in New Delhi on Tuesday. — AFP photo
Bollywood actors and Whirlpool brand ambassadors Kajol and Ajay Devgan at the launch of Whirlpool products in New Delhi

FT sells 1 pc stake in Dubai gold exchange 
Mumbai, April 3
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) has bought 1 per cent stake in Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) from India’s Financial Technologies Group for $12.5 million (Rs 55 crore) to become the majority stake owner in the joint venture.
CEO of Hershey Richard H. Lenny (left) poses with CMD of Godrej Consumer Products Limited Adi B. Godrej at a press confrence in Mumbai
CEO of Hershey Richard H. Lenny (left) poses with CMD of Godrej Consumer Products Limited Adi B. Godrej at a press confrence in Mumbai on Tuesday. Hershey and Godrej announced a joint venture to manufacture confectionery snacks and beverages across India. — AFP photograph

Power ministry, SJVN sign pact
Shimla, April 3
Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) has set a target of generating 6720 million units of power with an expected revenue realisation of Rs 1403 crore during 2007-08 from its 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power.

Sakhalin projects to fetch $2.3-b investment
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, April 3
The offshore oil and gas projects Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 will attract investments of $2.3 billion this year.

Rupee gains 39 paise
Mumbai, April 3
The rupee surged strongly against the US currency for second straight day today and ended about 39 paise up at 43.0625/0725 following heavy dollar selling by traders amid suspected intervention by the central bank.

 

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BHEL net up 42 pc 
Targets Rs 44,000-cr turnover by 2011-12
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 3
State-owned power equipment supplier Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited(BHEL) today set a target of Rs 44,000 crore turnover by 2011-12. As per the provisional financial performance for the year 2006-07, BHEL's net profit has jumped by 42 per cent to Rs 2,385 crore compared to Rs 1,679 crore in 2005-06.

"Our fresh order inflows have swelled by a whopping 88 per cent in 2006-07 to Rs 35,633 crore, up from Rs 18,938 crore in the previous year. We have doubled the turnover in the past three years. Our next target is to reach $10 billion by 2011-12," BHEL chairman and managing director Ashok K Puri told reporters.

The company is making a re-entry into oil rig manufacturing business and is hoping to bag its first major order from ONGC worth about Rs 680 crore.

"ONGC is looking for 10-20 rigs for onland drilling. We are in discussions with them and expect an order of 10 rigs in the first phase," BHEL director (industrial systems and products) A K Mathur told reporters here.

Puri also announced an investment of Rs 3,200 crore to augment its capacity to supply equipment for up to 15,000 MW annually. The company is already in the process to increase the capacity to 10,000 MW from 6,000 MW.

On the issue of creating another manufacturing company as an alternate to BHEL, he said: "If the country needs more capacity we can think of further expansion, but first there should be consistent demand to ensure that capacity does not remain idle."

About the future plans of the company, Puri said the physical exports is expected to grow by six times the current size, mergers and acquisitions route would be pursued to avail inorganic growth opportunities.

He said spares and services business is expected to be the next growth opportunity for the company where revenues are expected to increase four- fold from present levels. The marketing activities of spares and services have already been consolidated and systems capability is being strengthened to address various market segments.

On the nuclear power plant construction, he said the company was in dialogue with many companies, including Alstom of France. Reports said Alstom is in talks with BHEL 'about an alliance covering conventional islands' (i.e. non-reactor parts) of nuclear plants.

Alstom already has a technology-sharing agreement with BHEL covering coal-fired stations.

The state-run company has expanded its global footprint with Kazakhstan being its latest foray. BHEL already has significant presence in Sudan, France, Egypt, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sweden, and Oman.

On rig manufacturing business, he said: "We have been in oil rig manufacturing business long time back. We had, in fact, supplied some 70 rigs to ONGC, but with the flagship firm's focus shifting from owning the rig to leasing, BHEL didn't get much business. Now with the global rig scarcity, ONGC is again looking at having its own rigs manufactured".

Oil rigs would be manufactured at BHEL's Hyderabad plant that has a capacity to build 6-7 rigs in a year.

"We are talking to ONGC about rig specifications. This may take about six months but we expect first orders before the end of the current calendar year," Mathur said.

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Iran gas cheapest for India, says WB

Washington, April 3
A World Bank analysis shows that the proposed pipeline from Iran could bring gas to Mumbai at a cost one-third cheaper than the closest alternative, according to a top bank official. And Bangladesh should sell gas to India for the benefit of the entire region.

Such economic home truths could be used to counter political opposition to development projects like that of the US to the Iran gas pipeline, Praful Patel, World Bank vice-president for the South Asia region, said yesterday.

Similarly, Bangladesh should allow India to use its gas for the benefit of the region as any value addition by Dhaka itself would not be cost effective, he said on the eve of the SAARC Summit in New Delhi.

Citing such examples, Patel said there were clear signs that policy-makers and the private sector in South Asia were pushing for closer regional integration as an unprecedented growth, averaging close to 6 per cent per year since the 1990s, has created a new momentum for it.

Regional cooperation, he said "can be a very effective tool in increasing trade, relieving energy shortages, improving connectivity, increasing investment, and promoting peace and stability."

According to a recent World Bank study, South Asia is the least integrated region in the world. Intra-regional trade is less than 2 per cent of GDP, compared to more than 20 per cent for East Asia.

Annual trade between India and Pakistan, the bulk of which is routed through Dubai, is currently estimated at $1 billion, but could be as great as $9 billion.

In addition, cross-border investments, and the flow of ideas, crudely measured by the cross-border movement of people or the number of telephone calls, are all low for South Asia.

Patel said, "Starting from such a low base, greater integration among South Asian countries could bring huge benefits to its people. Intra-regional trade in South Asia can increase to $20 billion by 2010 if trade barriers are lifted.

Benefits from energy trade can also be huge. — IANS

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Smooth ride for car makers
Good growth rate prompts new model launches this year
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 3
Riding high on a buoyant economy, the car industry in the country has never had it so good as has been the past year with all manufacturers recording higher sales figures and reflecting an envious growth rate.

The growth rate has been so encouraging for most of the car manufacturers that they are also preparing to launch newer models in the coming fiscal. Some of them have already made their intentions clear for not giving up in the competition with the announcements for new launches and some others are expected to announce their newer available options in the coming months.

Leading the pack is the country’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL), which has set a record of sorts by selling 6,35,629 vehicles in the domestic market in 2006-07, the highest-ever annual sales in the company’s history. It marks a growth of 21 per cent over domestic sales in fiscal ending 2006.

Although other companies like Ford India, Honda Siel and Tata Motors may have a higher growth rate at 45 per cent, 43 per cent and 28 per cent respectively, yet they fall far behind in the number of vehicles sold.

In all, MUL sold 6,74,924 vehicles during the year, including exports of 39,295 vehicles, which saw a growth of 13 per cent over the last fiscal. The demand mainly grew from increased demand for the Zen Estilo and diesel-powered Swift hatchbacks.

Sales were powered by, among others, the Alto which grew by a whopping 41.1 per cent over the previous year.

Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) reported 22.8 per cent jump in domestic vehicle sales in 2006-07 to 1,95,261 units, even as domestic sales in March this year dipped 14.31 per cent to 19,300 units. The company had reported domestic sales of 22,524 units during March 2006.

Total sales (including exports) in March 2007 declined 5.9 per cent to 28,239 units (30,038 units).

In comparison Tata Motors reported 11 per cent jump in vehicle sales (including exports) during March to 62,779 units (56,406 units). The company said that it recorded the highest passenger vehicle sales in a month during March at 25,760 units, up 14 per cent over the same month last year.

Exports in the month, however, declined 33 per cent to 6,299 units (6,508 units). For the fiscal ended March 31, the company reported cumulative sales of 5,79,378 units (4,54,345 units), up 28 per cent.

Ford India saw March vehicle sales dip 9.2 per cent to 5,382 units (5,929 units). However, the company’s vehicle sales during the fiscal gone by zoomed 45 per cent to 41,797 units (28,840 units). Similarly, Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) reported 38.7 per cent increase in March vehicle sales to 8,489 units (6,120 units). The company’s vehicle sales for the fiscal grew 43.5 per cent to 61,327 units (42,727 units).

General Motors India saw 12 per cent increase in March vehicle sales to 4,542 units from 4,070 units in the same month a year ago. Skoda Auto reported 9.9 per cent increase in vehicle sales during the month to 1,612 units from 1,467 units in the same month a year ago. 

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Logan is here
Petrol sedan to cost Rs 4.28 lakh

Mumbai, April 3
Spicing up competition in the entry-level sedan segment, French auto major Renault today launched Logan in the Indian market through its joint venture partner Mahindra and Mahindra.

The car, which was unveiled at a function here, will be priced at Rs 4.28 lakh for the petrol variant and Rs 5.47 lakh for the diesel model.

The Mahindra-Renault joint venture will be rolling out 50,000 units of Logan this year from its Nashik facility in Maharashtra set up at a cost of nearly Rs 700 crore.

While M&M has 51 per cent stake in the joint venture, Renault has the remaining 49 per cent.

Renault President and CEO Carlos Ghosn told reporters that the investment here has been 15 per cent lower than forecast. Logan is the first Renault product to hit the Indian market and the first right-hand drive car from the French carmaker.

“India offers significant growth and profitability prospects,” Ghosn said.

Renault also plans to launch other models in the Indian market over a period of time.

About 50 per cent of the Logan is made from locally sourced components, and the two firms will increase the degree of localisation to cut production costs and compete better. Engines are currently being imported from Romania and Spain.

Renault may export Logan cars from India if demand is less than 50,000 units a year, a company official said. — PTI

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New ST return form introduced
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 3
The Central Board of Excise and Customs today notified the revised service tax (ST) return form (ST-3), which is fully compatible to automation and e-filing of return.

The new form, the format of which has been finalised after taking into account all suggestions received from taxpayers, consultants and departmental officers, should be used by the taxpayers for the next return to be filed by April 25, 2007, an official press note said here today.

To meet the long-standing request of taxpayers, detailed instructions have been provided for filling up the form, it said. The revised format has been necessitated due to significant changes in law and procedure.

As the secondary and higher education cess on taxable services would come into force after enactment of the Finance Bill, 2007, the resultant changes have been incorporated in the new format.

In a simplification measure, separate entries have been prescribed for computation of service tax and details of payment of service tax. 

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Public sector banks yet to decide on PLR hike

Mumbai, April 3
Top private sector banks, including ICICI, HDFC and UTI have been quick to hike interest rates following RBI’s move to curb money flow, but public sector banks seem to be biding their time despite a hit on their costs.

Private sector banks have resorted to a steep increase in prime lending rates, ranging between 0.75-1 per cent, while normally in the past, the hikes have been in the order of quarter to half a per cent.

Banking sources said today it would be difficult for banks to absorb such frequent hikes in key lending rates and cash reserve ratio. Hence, the decision to pass on the increasing costs to customers.

The heat of the increasing rates is already being felt in the booming home and car loan sectors, where bankers claim that there is some slowing down in new loans.

The RBI might be feeling that this may help to some extent in containing liquidity but the industry feels that this may ultimately impact real estate and industrial growth, sources said.

The country's apex bank had hiked both the repo and CRR thresholds on Friday in a desperate attempt to shackle spiralling inflation.

The reason for public sector banks holding back PLR hikes could be due to procedural requirements such as requiring their boards to ratify the hikes. Being government-owned, they are subject to certain restrictions, while private sector banks enjoy greater autonomy on these aspects.

It may be recalled that a few months ago, when a few public sector banks had hiked their PLRs, the finance ministry had specifically asked them to have the hikes ratified by their Boards. — PTI

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Hexaware opens centre at Gurgaon

New Delhi, April 3
Hexaware Technologies Ltd today opened its fourth development centre in the country at Gurgaon.

Spread over 12,949 sq ft, company’s first centre in north India would provide testing services, ERP services, product engineering services and travel-transportation-hotel-logistic (TTHL) services.

“The new centre will enable Hexaware to tap IT talent in north India. In the first phase centre has a capacity for 150 people which will be ramped up in phases to accommodate more than 1,000 people in coming years,” company’s founder and chairman Atul Nishar told reporters.

The company currently employs about 6,000 professionals. It has six global delivery centers - four in India, including the newly opened centre in Gurgaon and one each in Germany and Mexico.

It has also acquired 25 acres of land in Hinjewadi Phase III SEZ and another 14 acres in New Mumbai to build state-of-the-art campuses. — UNI

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Whirlpool to ramp up capacity

New Delhi, April 3
Facing stiff competition from South Korean major LG, Whirlpool of India today said it will invest Rs 160 crore in the next 18 months to ramp up capacity and market its entire range of refrigerators, washing machines, air-conditioners and dryers.

Of this, Rs 90 crore will be invested in the next 12-18 months in production and another Rs 70 crore on advertising and marketing, WOI vice-president (marketing) Shantanu Das Gupta informed.

“Whirlpool, which had incurred losses in the past, expects to turn around and become profitable by 2008. We are aiming for the number one position and plan to fill the existing gap with new products and aggressive marketing,” Gupta said.

Company’s operating profit has increased considerably from Rs 2 crore for April-December 2006 to Rs 44 crore for the same period in this fiscal and net profit will be achieved by 2008, he added.

Whirlpool grew at 19 per cent in the last fiscal and is looking at an overall growth of around 20-25 per cent in the next financial year. Its turnover stood at Rs 1,245 crore for April-December 2006. Production capacities in existing facilities at Faridabad, Pune and Puducherry will be increased.

Priced between Rs 12,500 and Rs 29,500, Whirlpool ‘MagiCool’ ACs are available in all capacities ranging from 0.8 ton, 1 ton, 1.5 ton and 2 ton in both window and split AC segment. — UNI

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FT sells 1 pc stake in Dubai gold exchange 

Mumbai, April 3
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) has bought 1 per cent stake in Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) from India’s Financial Technologies Group for $12.5 million (Rs 55 crore) to become the majority stake owner in the joint venture.

Following the 1 per cent sale by FT Group, DMCC now holds 51 per cent and FT Group 49 per cent in DGCX, Financial Technologies (India) Ltd informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.

DGCX was started as a joint venture between DMCC, Government of Dubai, FTIL and Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX).

“To date, DGCX has proven to be a successful venture and DMCC, as a Government of Dubai Authority with extensive relationships with the commodity sector in the region, is the appropriate venture partner to hold the majority interest in DGCX,” Jignesh Shah, Founder CEO of FT Group said. DGCX is an electronic futures and options exchange, which utilises trading, clearing and settlement technology developed by the FT Group. — PTI

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Power ministry, SJVN sign pact
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 3
Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) has set a target of generating 6720 million units of power with an expected revenue realisation of Rs 1403 crore during 2007-08 from its 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power.

An MoU to this effect was signed between the union ministry of power & the nigam.

Energy generation will however be subject to 15 per cent mandatory discharge release in the Satluj as per notification of state government depending on the availability of water.

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Sakhalin projects to fetch $2.3-b investment

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, April 3
The offshore oil and gas projects Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 will attract investments of $2.3 billion this year.

According to Sakhalin regional committee for foreign economic relations, one more oil platform called PA-B will be placed in the Sea of Okhotsk under Sakhalin-2 project.

The platform will complete a group of four sea platforms and one coast platform that will begin oil and gas output by 2008.

Exxon Neftegaz Limited, an American corporation, owns platforms Orlan and Yastreb.

The oil output in Sakhalin will be over 20 million tons a year and of gas over 10 million tons. — Itae-Tass

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Rupee gains 39 paise

Mumbai, April 3
The rupee surged strongly against the US currency for second straight day today and ended about 39 paise up at 43.0625/0725 following heavy dollar selling by traders amid suspected intervention by the central bank.

In fairly active trade at the forex market, the local currency moved between 43.04 and 43.30 during the day after resuming firm at 43.26/28 a dollar.

In the first trading session after the RBI hiked the repo rates and cash reserve ratio on Friday, traders and foreign banks reportedly sold dollars to take advantage of raised cash rates in the call money market, forex dealers said.

The rupee has gained nearly 68 paise in the consecutive two trading sessions.

Meanwhile, the RBI fixed the reference rate for the US currency at Rs 43.13 per dollar and for the single European unit at Rs 57.64 per euro. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

Stake in Granules
Mumbai, April 3
New Jersey-based investment advisor ISP Investco will acquire around 18 per cent stake in Granules India for Rs 23.33 crore through a preferential issue. Granules today informed the BSE that its board of directors has approved the issue of 22.11 lakh shares representing 17.82 per cent stake to ISP Investco at Rs105.50 per share. — PTI

Beaufort plan
Kochi, April 3
United Arab Emirates-based Beaufort RAK today announced plans to invest Rs 200 crore in India over the next three years for setting up a distribution centre and manufacturing unit for hygiene products. The company, which launched its Dreamy's brand baby diapers in the Indian market today, said its product line includes hygiene products for women and adult diapers. — PTI

Fortune Fin
Mumbai, April 3
In order to fund its expansion plans, Fortune Financial Services (FFSI) India has raised Rs 22 crore through sale of its 22 per cent equity stakes to two overseas investors, the names of whom were not disclosed. To fund the expansion plan of the company, the equity placement has been done. The balance would come from internal accruals and borrowings, it added. — PTI

Orchid’s move
Mumbai, April 3
Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals today said it plans to enter the Canadian generic formulations market as it has received formal approval from the Canadian TPD (Therapeutic Product Directorate) for two of its drug applications. Orchid is planning to step up its market presence in Canada further by launching other generic formulations. — PTI

Order for Xansa
New Delhi, April 3
Outsourcing and technology company Xansa has signed a six-year £19 million contract to provide finance and accounting (F&A) and payroll services to National Health Service (NHS) professionals of the UK. Xansa's NHS Shared Business Services has become the largest external payroll-processing provider in the NHS and would serve 58,000 flexible workers, customers and suppliers, a company press note said. — PTI

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