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GST roadmap
FinMin to share revenue collection with states

New Delhi, April 4
In a major step towards moving to single GST (goods and service tax) by April 1, 2010, the finance ministry has decided to share revenue collections from 33 services to respective states with immediate effect, Parthasarthi Shome, adviser to finance minister P Chidambaram, disclosed here today.

SEBI moots price band on relisting of shares
Mumbai, April 4
In a bid to contain huge fluctuation in share prices of a company on the first day of trading, market regulator SEBI has proposed a price band of 20 per cent on relisting of securities in cases other than initial public offers.

Satyam logs in Brazil
Mumbai, April 4
In order to expand operations in the South America region, IT major Satyam Computer Services has opened a multi-lingual development centre, named ‘Satyam Latam Center’ in Sao Paulo.

US firm takes Nitco Paints
Mumbai, April 4
US-based paints and coating maker Sherwin-Williams Co has entered the Indian market, by acquiring full ownership of Nitco Paints Pvt. Ltd., which mainly serves western India.

Cement makers decry govt move
New Delhi, April 4
The Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA) today hit at government's decision to abolish all customs duties on the construction material, saying this tantamount to "incentivising of imports".

Pakistan offers cement to India
New Delhi, April 4
Pakistan today offered to export cement to India, a move that may help lower the commodity's market price by at least Rs 20 per bag of 50 kg and bring relief to the government that is trying hard to persuade domestic industry to roll back hike in prices announced post-Budget.


Managing Director of the retail unit of Tata group, Tren Limited, Noel Tata, looks on as he stands next to a hoarding of advertising the new range of Titan eyewear in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Managing Director of the retail unit of Tata group, Tren Limited, Noel Tata, looks on as he stands next to a hoarding of advertising the new range of Titan eyewear in Bangalore on Wednesday. Noel Tata inaugurated the flagship Titan Eye+ store as part of a strategy in which Titan Industries entered the prescription eyewear segment. — AFP

EARLIER STORIES

 
A potential buyer stands in front of Chinese modern oil painting, Put Down Your Whip, by Xu Beihong in Sotheby’s spring sales preview in Hong Kong on Wednesday. The painting is estimated to fetch
A potential buyer stands in front of Chinese modern oil painting, Put Down Your Whip, by Xu Beihong in Sotheby’s spring sales preview in Hong Kong on Wednesday. The painting is estimated to fetch 
HK $30 million. — AFP

PNB may hike PLR
New Delhi, April 4
Punjab National Bank, second largest public sector lender in the country, today indicated that it might increase PLR in the range of 25 to 50 basis points.

Cricketers still call the shots
New Delhi, April 4
Most celebrities mellow and fade with age but Indian cricketers never seem to be falling out of favour with corporates, who have bet between Rs 250- 300 crore on old warhorses, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, for . advertising campaigns.

SBI set to enhance Gulf presence
Dubai, April 4
The State Bank of India (SBI) plans to open office in Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) in a matter of weeks, a move, which will boost India’s largest bank’s presence in the Gulf region.

FDIs by India on an upswing
New Delhi, April 4
Indian companies made foreign direct investment (FDI), worth $23 billion in January and February, 2007, which far exceeds the investments of $21 billion made during the 12 months of 2006.

eGoM meets today to break SEZ impasse
New Delhi, April 4
The empowered group of ministers (eGoM) is likely to lift the freeze on special economic zones (SEZs) at a meeting tomorrow and clear proposals where developers have received all approvals, but may put a cap on the size and number of SEZs in the country.

Merc makers may sell off Chrysler unit
Berlin, April 4
DaimlerChrysler acknowledged for the first time on Wednesday it is talking with prospective buyers of its loss-making Chrysler unit, but did not commit itself to a sale of the US business.

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GST roadmap
FinMin to share revenue collection with states
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
In a major step towards moving to single GST (goods and service tax) by April 1, 2010, the finance ministry has decided to share revenue collections from 33 services to respective states with immediate effect, Parthasarthi Shome, adviser to finance minister P Chidambaram, disclosed here today.

The finance ministry would also identify yet another 44 services whose revenue collections would also be transferred to them after taxes on such services have begun, Shome said while inaugurating a conference on ‘GST for accelerated economic growth and competitiveness’, organised by Assocham here.

Dr Shome said a mission mode project called Tinexsystem is put in place by ministry of information technology to exchange information about states taxes to help them understand one another’s tax structure under supervision of the Revenue Department.

“With the system in place, it would be easier for states to comprehend other states tax structure and share information so that a single GST is executed as proposed by April 1, 2010 in a uniform manner,” he said.

The finance ministry has decided to devise a practical mode of unified GST tax structure, based on prevalent GST model that exists in countries like Canada, Brazil and European Union to suit the requirement of Indian taxpayers.

He said that revenues collected from 33 services by the central government from service tax imposition would be proportionately transferred to respective states and when tax collection starts from another 44 services, the finance ministry would transfer it to all states and UTs.

Dr Shome said under the GST, the Centre’s dominance would continue as far as levy of taxes on manufacturing and manufacturing process were concerned, but states would be empowered to suggest taxation beyond manufacturing to retailing.

Commenting on Assocham’s roadmap on GST, Dr Shome concurred that with GST in place, the government revenues could go up to the extent of 5 lakh crore per annum without putting trade and commerce to any inconvenience. 

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SEBI moots price band on relisting of shares

Mumbai, April 4
In a bid to contain huge fluctuation in share prices of a company on the first day of trading, market regulator SEBI has proposed a price band of 20 per cent on relisting of securities in cases other than initial public offers.

SEBI said there have been significant price spikes on the first day of commencement or recommencement of trading in certain stocks. In this scenario, application of price bands or circuit filters was deemed necessary for cases other than IPOs, the regulator said.

Accordingly, it has framed a draft policy for fixing the base price for start of trading in stocks beloning to non-IPO cases and has invited comments from stock brokers and other stakeholders by April 17.

In its draft guideline for fixing of price bands for commencement of non-IPO trading on stock exchanges, the regulator said the price band or circuit filter would apply to “all cases of merger, amalgamation, capital induction, scheme of arrangements, revocation of suspension etc.” — PTI

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Satyam logs in Brazil

Mumbai, April 4
In order to expand operations in the South America region, IT major Satyam Computer Services has opened a multi-lingual development centre, named ‘Satyam Latam Center’ in Sao Paulo.

“In addition to enable Satyam to respond to our clients needs with more agility, the new centre will serve as the organisation’s South American headquarters,” leader of Satyam’s initiatives in the Americas Gary Teelucksingh said.

The development centre marks the first of the several key investments Satyam is making on this continent. In fact, plans for another substantial centre in Brazil are already under way, he added.

The Satyam Latam Center is already providing services for several Brazilian, South American and global customers.

“Sao Paulo has a great number of skilled and highly capable information technology and business professionals who would benefit the company and our clients,” Ram Mynampati, president of Satyam’s commercial and health care businesses said. — PTI 

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US firm takes Nitco Paints

The Canada unit of US-based Sherwin-Willams is seen in this photo, which acquired Nitco Paints on Wednesday.
The Canada unit of US-based Sherwin-Willams is seen in this photo, which acquired Nitco Paints on Wednesday.

Mumbai, April 4
US-based paints and coating maker Sherwin-Williams Co has entered the Indian market, by acquiring full ownership of Nitco Paints Pvt. Ltd., which mainly serves western India.

The acquisition, made for an undisclosed amount, would be followed by investment by the American firm in privately owned Nitco’s manufacturing and distribution infrastructure, Conway Ivy, Sherwin-Williams senior vice-president, told reporters. “We need to understand the Indian market better. We will explore what products and technology we need to bring in,” he said.

Sherwin-Williams, Ivy said, had drafted an aggressive growth strategy in India. “We are interested in acquisitions in India and will be talking to other companies,” he said. Nitco Paints, which makes exterior paints, reported sales of Rs 800 million in 2006/07, up 25 per cent from a year ago. Ivy said Nitco, under the US firm, would initially focus on the decoratives paint segment, but would later broaden the product line.

Indian paint companies have been growing at an average of 15 per cent annually, spurred by strong housing and construction demand in a growing economy. The decoratives segment is dominated by Asian Paints, India’s top paints maker. “The large growing middle class will drive the paint market to high quality products, which basically fits with our range of products,” Ivy said. — Reuters

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Cement makers decry govt move

New Delhi, April 4
The Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA) today hit at government's decision to abolish all customs duties on the construction material, saying this tantamount to "incentivising of imports".

"Cement prices in India have gone up only because of change in excise structure and not for any other reasons...If government wants the prices to come down, it should simply abolish excise duty the same way as it did in case of import duties and provide level-playing field to domestic industry," CMA president Manoj Gaur said.

Every one million tonne of cement capacity provides direct job employment to 5,000 persons and indirect employment to 25,000, he said, wondering as to why the government should discriminate against the domestic industry.

The finance ministry had yesterday abolished 16 per cent countervailing duty and 4 per cent special additional duty on cement (except white cement) to make imports of the construction material duty free. The government had earlier abolished basic customs duty of 12.5 per cent in January.

The cement industry said the move would not make imported cement cheaper than being offered by domestic manufacturers.

The abolition of import duties would make imports of cement cheaper by around Rs 22-23 a bag, but it would still be higher than the domestic product, J K Cement CFO A K Saraogi said, pointing to limited scope of the government's move.

CMA vice-president H M Bangur also said foreign exporters could not compete with Indian cement companies. — PTI

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Pakistan offers cement to India

New Delhi, April 4
Pakistan today offered to export cement to India, a move that may help lower the commodity's market price by at least Rs 20 per bag of 50 kg and bring relief to the government that is trying hard to persuade domestic industry to roll back hike in prices announced post-Budget.

Imports from across the border in tandem with abolition of all import duties would ensure that Pakistani cement would land at Mumbai port at Rs 200 per bag of 50 kg and even less in Punjab, builders said.

This compares favourably with the domestic availability of cement at a price tag of Rs 220 or more per bag.

During his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his Pakistani counterpart Shaukat Aziz said his country was ready to export cement to India taking advantage of the import duties abolition by India, according to an official statement. — PTI

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PNB may hike PLR
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
Punjab National Bank, second largest public sector lender in the country, today indicated that it might increase PLR in the range of 25 to 50 basis points.

“We have not taken any decision but there could be a case for hike in PLR (preferential lending rate) by 25 to 50 basis points,” PNB chairman and managing director S C Gupta told reporters here.

The decision about rate hike would be taken after reviewing market situation, he said adding ALCO (asset liability committee) of the bank will decide in a week.

PNB’s current PLR stands at 12.25 per cent which was last raised in February.

Major private sector banks like ICICI and HDFC have already raised their PLR by one per cent.

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Cricketers still call the shots

New Delhi, April 4
Most celebrities mellow and fade with age but Indian cricketers never seem to be falling out of favour with corporates, who have bet between Rs 250- 300 crore on old warhorses, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, for . advertising campaigns.

Though the trio may not make it to the next world cup, admakers feel that their faltering performance would not hurt long term endorsements.

“It will be a very immediate reaction to say a brand like Tendulkar has eroded. If a brand like him was event specific and if one bad performance was to erode his value, then entire concept of celebrity endorsements will be fallacious,” Canon India vice-president Alok Bharadwaj told PTI.

Earlier this year, Canon had signed a three-year contract with Tendulkar, who is reported to command an estimated Rs 6-7 crore annual fee per endorsement and has about a dozen such contracts with various brands.

“We’ve shared a healthy relationship with him (Tendulkar) and see ourselves continuing to do so in future,” PepsiCo India executive vice president (marketing) Vipul Prakash said.

However, with veterans such as Ian Chappell calling for his retirement, many in the industry believe Tendulkar’s stock has gone down and it would be difficult for him to command the same fees.

“His performance has taken a beating and definitely this will be reflected in his endorsements,” Percept D'Mark CEO Preeta Singh said.

This is strongly contested by his manager, Saatchi & Saatchi, whose arm Iconix looks after Tendulkar’s business.

Dravid, who is reported to command an annual fee between Rs 1.5 crore to 2 crore, is on a much more comfortable wicket.

“We are solidly behind him,” Bank of Baroda chairman Anil K Khandelwal said, adding that the bank would retain him.

“Dravid continues to be our brand ambassador and we are proud to have him,” he said, adding that one unsuccessful experience would not write off Dravid.

The bank had signed a multi-crore three year contract with Dravid in 2005 when it went for an image makeover.

As for Ganguly, his comeback performance onfield has had a similar effect off the field, with his fee returning into the crore league. — PTI 

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SBI set to enhance Gulf presence

Dubai, April 4
The State Bank of India (SBI) plans to open office in Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) in a matter of weeks, a move, which will boost India’s largest bank’s presence in the Gulf region.

In the Gulf region, SBI already operates in Bahrain and Oman, and plans to open a Saudi branch in Jeddah this year.

SBI received a licence from the Dubai Financial Services Authority in December last year allowing it to provide investment in banking services, but cannot offer retail services. Among the Indian banks, ICICI and Exim Bank have a licence in DIFC. — PTI

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FDIs by India on an upswing
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
Indian companies made foreign direct investment (FDI), worth $23 billion in January and February, 2007, which far exceeds the investments of $21 billion made during the 12 months of 2006.

This was revealed by Department of Industrial Policy Secretary Ajay Dua while speaking at the national conclave organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here today.

Highlighting the importance of mergers and acquisitions for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Dua said: “SMEs are increasingly acquiring companies to gain the advantages of quick scale up, technology acquisition and benefits of innovation.”

“Moreover, a large number of SMEs overseas already have FDI approvals, thus making the process of acquisitions faster,” Dua added.

The secretary further said that the size of company was no longer valid in relation to mergers and acquisitions.

CII’s past president Sunil Kant Munjal said that there is an increasing war in business for talent acquisition, funds, market share, technology and innovation.

“M&As are one route to win this war… M&As are a phenomenon that are here to stay and we can only take advantage of it if we are smart”, he said.

Various issues related to making M&As successful in India were discussed at the day long conclave.

Dr. Sarita Nagpal, Head, Manufacturing Services Division, CII, said: “M&A’s have acquired a strategic importance for India’s manufacturing sector across size and industry. According to a recent CII NMCC survey, 42 per cent of the respondents consider M&A’s as an outside factor impacting their businesses overtaking technology”.

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eGoM meets today to break SEZ impasse

New Delhi, April 4
The empowered group of ministers (eGoM) is likely to lift the freeze on special economic zones (SEZs) at a meeting tomorrow and clear proposals where developers have received all approvals, but may put a cap on the size and number of SEZs in the country.

"The eGoM will meet tomorrow and its first call will be to decide on the 82 cases where all formalities have been completed and are awaiting notification," official sources said here.

Of the 234 SEZ proposals with formal clearance, only 63 have been notified. Of the remaining, 82 have applied for notification after completing all formalities.

The meeting of the eGoM follows a clearance from the Congress party last week on SEZs, which were facing uncertainty after violent protests over land acquisition at Nandigram in West Bengal and uproar in other states.

The party gave the clearance after pressure mounted from the commerce ministry and also from UPA partners, including DMK in Tamil Nadu and some other state governments.

Sources said the relief is coming only for those SEZs which have land. The fate of those without land will be decided only after the Centre comes out with a comprehensive relief and rehabilitation policy.

Apart from clearing the zones that have completed all formalities, the eGoM may put a cap on the maximum size as demanded by a key supporter of the government - CPM. It could also look at putting sector specific limits on number of SEZs.— PTI

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Merc makers may sell off Chrysler unit

Berlin, April 4
DaimlerChrysler acknowledged for the first time on Wednesday it is talking with prospective buyers of its loss-making Chrysler unit, but did not commit itself to a sale of the US business.

“I can confirm that we are talking with some of the potential partners who have shown a clear interest,” Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche told the annual meeting of the world’s fifth-biggest carmaker.

“But it is also true that we need to keep all options open, and that I cannot disclose any details, because we need to have the maximum scope for manoeuvre,” he said. “So far I am satisfied with the process. Everything is going according to plan.” But critical shareholders wanted action.

“If Chrysler is finally led before the divorce court judge, we would be very grateful. But what happens if you don’t find a new bridegroom or if he demands an inappropriately high dowry,” asked Henning Gebhardt, head of German equities for Deutsche Bank fund management arm DWS. Deutsche Bank has a voting stake of around 4.4 per cent in DaimlerChrysler. — Reuters

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BRIEFLY

Gitanjali Gems
New Delhi, April 4
Gitanjali Gems Ltd today informed the BSE that it has got approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for acquisition of 97 per cent stake in US-based Samuels Jewellers. The FIPB has given its go ahead for issuance of 15,54,050 equity shares of Rs 10 each of the company at a premium of Rs 280 to B III capital partners and B III A capital partners.The shares are issued as part of consideration for acquiring 1,900 shares constituting 97 per cent interest in Samuels Jewellers. — UNI

Vedanta Alumina
Bhubaneswar, April 4
Vedanta Alumina Ltd, a subsidiary of Sterlite Industries Ltd, today signed an MoU with the Orissa government for setting up its alumina-aluminium complex in Kalahandi and Jharsuguda districts.The state government had signed an MoU with Sterlite Industries on June 7, 2003, for establishment of an alumina refinery with an investment of Rs 4,500 crore at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district.— PTI

Frankfinn tie-up
Mumbai, April 4
Air Deccan today announced a tie-up with Frankfinn Institute of Air Hostess Training under which Air Deccan will recruit cabin crew only from Frankfinn.Under the agreement, Air Deccan will also provide on-board training to all the students. Air Deccan, at present, is the second largest airline in the country, with a market share of 21.60 per cent. Keeping in mind the boom in the aviation sector, the company is eyeing passengers from non-metro cities. It is expecting to carry eight million passengers this year. — UNI

ONGC order
Mumbai, April 4
Garware Offshore engaged in support drilling and oil exploration activities has bagged a five-year contract from ONGC for supply of platform supply vessel. The company would receive around Rs 125 crore for the contract.The supply vessel which will be delivered in May, the company told BSE. — PTI

RPL-Petron pact
New Delhi, April 4
Reliance Petroleum (RPL) has awarded a Rs 19-crore contract for mechanical works to Petron Engineering Construction for its polypropylene unit at Jamnagar, Gujarat. Earlier this year, RPL had awarded two orders to Petron for electrical jobs at its sulphur and coke units. — UNI

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