SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

NHPC plans divestment, IPO
Mumbai, April 5
State-run National Hydroelectric Power Corp. (NHPC) plans to sell 13.6 per cent of the company in an initial public offering to raise up to Rs 25 billion ($580 million).

NTPC aims at 75,000 MW output by 2017
New Delhi, April 5
NTPC today announced an ambitious target of becoming a 75,000 MW company by 2017 and is planning to achieve it through a mix of setting up new plants and acquisitions, especially state electricity boards. 

Indira K. Nooyi, CEO PepsiCo, writer Javed Akhtar and industrialist Sunil Bharti Mittal after receiving Padma Bhushan award from President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday. From left: Indira K. Nooyi, CEO PepsiCo, writer Javed Akhtar and industrialist Sunil Bharti Mittal after receiving Padma Bhushan award from President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday. — PTI 

Big FM to air visual radio on mobile
Chandigarh, April 5
Radio channel Big FM, promoted by Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), will be introducing visual radio in the country within the next four months. The company is already in talks with major mobile phone operators to introduce this technology.

Anand Chakravarthy

Goldbug may bite investors
New Delhi, April 5
Gold prices could rise over the next one year fuelled by investors’ strong interest and weakness in the US dollar, a survey by a global research firm said.

Just chill Bollywood actress Malaika Arora Khan poses with Kwality Wall's new ice-cream, Moo, at its launch in New Delhi on Thursday
Just chill Bollywood actress Malaika Arora Khan poses with Kwality Wall's new ice-cream, Moo, at its launch in New Delhi on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

EARLIER STORIES

 
Models pose by a Honda Civic 1.8 at the Seoul Motor Show during a press preview in Goyang, north of Seoul, on Thursday. The show opens on Friday, with all Korean car manufacturers showing their latest cars and concepts amongst the 188 companies from 11 countries taking part in the event.
Models pose by a Honda Civic 1.8 at the Seoul Motor Show during a press preview in Goyang, north of Seoul, on Thursday. The show opens on Friday, with all Korean car manufacturers showing their latest cars and concepts amongst the 188 companies from 11 countries taking part in the event. — AFP

ONGC Videsh hits oil off Egypt
New Delhi, April 5

ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) and its partner IPR Red Sea Inc. have made a significant new oilfield discovery in their first exploration well North Ramadan-1A in the North Ramadan Concession, Gulf of Suez, Egypt.

Rupee closes at 8-year high
Mumbai, April 5
In highly volatile trade, the rupee today continued its north-bound journey and appreciated by another 14 paise to close at a eight-year high of 42.90/92 against the US currency on account of heavy dollar selling by some banks towards the close of business hours.

Thailand seeks enhanced FTA
Bangkok, April 5
Thai commerce minister Krikkrai Jirapaet will hold talks with his Indian counterpart Kamal Nath in New Delhi next week. The talks are expected to cover scope of the India-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

McDonald’s in Himachal
Solan, April 5
Expanding base in North India, McDonald’s has opened first family restaurant at Jabli on NH22. Aimed at attracting day-trippers and weekend travellers going to Kasauli, en route Shimla, this is the first venture of McDonald’s in Himachal.

India’s exports to touch $311 b by 2012
New Delhi, April 5
India’s share in world services exports will triple from current 2.3 per cent to 6 per cent in the next five years and will surpass the merchandise exports to reach $311 billion by 2012, an industry body said today.

BCCL to float SPV with SAIL
Kolkata, April 5
Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL), a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd, has decided to float a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) to develop a two million tonne underground coking coal mine at a total investment of Rs 500 crore.

HAL turnover touches $1.75 b
Bangalore, April 5
Defence aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has posted a 41 per cent increase in its turnover at Rs 7,505 crore ($1.75 billion) for 2006-07, with profit before tax touching Rs 1,600 crore.

Reliance Mutual Fund
Mumbai, April 5
After emerging as India’s biggest mutual fund, Reliance Mutual Fund (RMF) has mooted systematic investment plans (SIP) for Rs 100 per month. Under these schemes, investors can invest in a number of schemes by putting in just Rs 100 per month.

Lupin sells patent for Rs 115.31 cr
Mumbai, April 5
Pharma major Lupin Laboratories announced here that it has sold certain patent applications and other related intellectual property for its drug Perindopril for multiple countries to French firm Laboratories Servier for Rs 115.31 crore.

Inflation dips
New Delhi, April 5
After remaining unchanged for three weeks in a row, inflation eased to 6.39 per cent for the week. The wholesale price index, on which inflation data is based, rose by 0.2 per cent to 209.8 points during the week from 209.4 points in the previous week.

Top



 

 

 

NHPC plans divestment, IPO
Tribune News Service and Agencies

Mumbai, April 5
State-run National Hydroelectric Power Corp. (NHPC) plans to sell 13.6 per cent of the company in an initial public offering to raise up to Rs 25 billion ($580 million).

NHPC has already filed a draft prospectus with market regulator SEBI for its public offer.

The corporation will be issuing 10 per cent fresh equity in the market, while the government would piggy back on it and divest 5 per cent of its stake in the corporation.

The issue is being made through 100 per cent book-building process wherein at least, 60 per cent of the net issue shall be allocated on a proportionate basis to qualified institutional buyers (QIB). Five per cent of the QIB portion shall be available for allocation on a proportionate basis to mutual funds only, and the remainder of the QIB Portion shall be available for allocation on a proportionate basis to all QIB bidders, including mutual funds.

Post-IPO, government's stake in NHPC would come down to about 86.30 per cent, sources said.

NHPC has a paid-up capital of Rs 10,600 crore and an authorised share capital of Rs 15,000 crore. The offer is aimed at raising somewhere around Rs 25 billion.

Presently it is engaged in the construction of 12 additional hydroelectric projects in the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh/ Assam, Sikkim and West Bengal that is expected to increase the total installed capacity by 5,192 MW.

It is also engaged in the construction of another project with NHDC that is expected to contribute an additional capacity of 520 MW. Further, four projects totalling 2,045 MW and two projects totalling 3,066 MW, to be executed on a joint venture basis, are awaiting Government of India approval or other clearances prior to the commencement of construction.

The company intends to utilise the net proceeds of the issue to part finance the construction and development costs of certain of its projects currently under construction, namely, Subansiri Lower hydroelectric project, Uri - II hydroelectric project, Chamera - III hydroelectric project, Parbati - III hydroelectric project, Nimoo-Bazgo hydroelectric project, and Chutak hydroelectric project, and for general corporate purposes.

The company proposes to list its equity shares on the National Stock Exchange and the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Incorporated in 1975, NHPC has developed and constructed nine power stations and has a total installed capacity of 2,755 MW. In addition, it has also constructed and operates a power station of 1,000 MW of capacity, through a 51 per cent ownership in Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation.

Once completed, this would be the biggest Indian IPO so far this year and would value the company at around $4.25 billion, making it the second most valuable utility behind another state-run firm, NTPC Ltd.

It would be ahead of private sector producers like Reliance Energy Ltd and Tata Power Co. Ltd, which are valued at $2.6 billion and $2.3 billion, respectively. It would also be miles ahead of private sector listed hydro power utility, Jaiprakash Hydro Power Ltd, which has a value of $323 million and is currently trading below the March 2005 IPO price of Rs 32.

The issue, which may need a grading from a credit rating agency, is expected to open by the end of May or early June.

Top

 

NTPC aims at 75,000 MW output by 2017
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, April 5
NTPC today announced an ambitious target of becoming a 75,000 MW company by 2017 and is planning to achieve it through a mix of setting up new plants and acquisitions, especially state electricity boards.

"NTPC has adopted a multi-pronged growth strategy to achieve 75,000 MW plus installed capacity by 2017. The strategy includes capacity addition through green field projects, expansion of existing stations, joint ventures and takeover of SEBs," NTPC CMD T Shankarlingam told reporters.

He said the company would be focusing on adding hydro capacity and foraying into non-conventional and nuclear power generation, even though coal would remain to be its mainstay.

Meanwhile, NTPC said its profit has jumped 15.57 per cent for 2006-07 to Rs 6,726.4 crore as against Rs 5,820.2 crore in the previous fiscal.

Net sales were Rs 30,638.7 crore during 2006-07 as against Rs 26,142 crore last fiscal. The provisional unaudited gross revenue at Rs 33,299.7 crore in 2006-07 was higher than last year at Rs 28,753 crore.

Top

 

Eyes Dabhol LNG terminal
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 5
The Maharashtra government is planning to put up a stiff fight when the empowered Group of Ministers (eGoM) meets next week to decide on whether to hive off the LNG terminal which is part of the Ratnagiri Gas and Power Project Ltd (RGPPL) at Dabhol near Ratnagiri.

A decision to hive off the LNG terminal will be made because of the rising cost of getting the power plant, formerly owned by Enron, off the ground.

Among the bidders for the asset include NTPC and GAIL. The Maharashtra government is also keen on taking over the LNG terminal asset provided concessions are given by the Central government. Should the eGoM decide to hand over the terminal to the lenders to the project, the state government is likely to put up a tough fight.

According to information, NTPC and GAIL are keen on taking over the LNG terminal in return for pumping in Rs 500 crore into RGPPL. 

Top

 

Big FM to air visual radio on mobile
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Radio channel Big FM, promoted by Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG), will be introducing visual radio in the country within the next four months. The company is already in talks with major mobile phone operators to introduce this technology.

Visual radio is a cutting-edge technology, which will allow owners of GPRS mobile handsets to get visuals on the mobile regarding the credits of the song being played by the channel.

Talking to TNS here today, Anand Chakravarthy, national head, Big FM, said the technology platform was already available with them and they were in the process of setting up their network to launch the service.

"We propose to initially introduce this technology in the tier I and tier II cities across the country, before extending it to all our 45 FM stations. This is because these cities have the highest number of FM-enabled phones, which will enable them to use the visual radio.

Surveys reveal that FM-enabled phones is just 4 per cent of the total mobile market, which incidentally has the fastest-growing population of mobile subscribers," he said, while adding that this service would also fuel the growth of FM-enabled phones.

Chakravarthy said the company proposed to put in Rs 450 crore for launching 45 FM stations across the country. "We will be the fastest-growing FM company as we propose to establish all our stations by June this year. Already 14 stations have been set up and two more will be set up in the coming week —Bhubaneshwar and Panjim. In North India, we have already started our operations in Chandigarh and Hisar and will soon start our service in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala and Shimla," he added.

He added that since there was a huge growth potential in the radio industry, there was urgent need for the government to allow the private FM players to broadcast news and current affairs and sports. "So far, only All India Radio can broadcast these. The Association of Radio Operators of India has been taking up the matter with the union ministry of information and broadcasting," he added.

Top

 

Goldbug may bite investors

New Delhi, April 5
Gold prices could rise over the next one year fuelled by investors’ strong interest and weakness in the US dollar, a survey by a global research firm said.

“Investor interest in gold would persist for at least the medium-term, providing essential fuel to the continued rally in the gold price,” GFMS, a leading precious metal consultancy firm, Executive Chairman Philip Klapwijk said in a press note.

The continued weakness in the US dollar, ongoing geopolitical tensions and strong commodity prices, coupled with fundamental support appearing on price dips, continue to make the investment case for gold strong, he said.

GFMS said there was a 13 per cent drop in the volume of world investment in gold that reached 743 tonnes in 2006 but in value terms it rose 18 per cent to $14.4 billion.

World investment comprises of implied net investment in gold, bar hoarding and coin fabrication demand.

“Investor activity enjoyed healthy growth and was the principal driver of price fluctuations,” it said, adding overall gold purchases overwhelmingly exceeded sales

Interest in gold exchange traded funds (ETFs) and over-the-counter market grew while speculative activity in the main commodity exchanges in the world declined last year, GFMS said.

Interestingly, the turnover of India’s leading commodity exchange MCX more than doubled to Rs 22,93,132 crore in 2006-07 financial year mainly on the back of a robust growth in bullion trading. In India also, the first gold ETF — ‘Gold Bees’ was listed on the National Stock Exchange last month and received robust response from investors.

The GFMS survey also found that gold market was dominated by institutional players and high net worth individuals while impact of small retail investors was limited. — PTI 

Top

 

ONGC Videsh hits oil off Egypt
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 5
ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) and its partner IPR Red Sea Inc. have made a significant new oilfield discovery in their first exploration well North Ramadan-1A in the North Ramadan Concession, Gulf of Suez, Egypt.

North Ramadan-1A, the first commitment well for the North Ramadan concession, was drilled to total depth of 10,050 ft in the Lower Miocene Mheiherrat formation.

The consortium anticipates other leads in the concession to be prospective and will focus attention on proving up additional potential during the upcoming drilling campaign.

OVL and IPR are in the first phase (three years) of exploration in North Ramadan and have 2 remaining exploratory wells and acquisition of 3D seismic. The budget for the first phase work program of activities is approximately $45 million.

North Ramadan Concession Agreement was signed for Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation in Gulf of Suez, Egypt between the Arab Republic of Egypt & The Egyptian General Corporation as one part and consortium of ONGC Videsh Ltd. and IPR Red Sea Inc. as the other part in 2005 with the contract being effective from 8th August 2005. ONGC Videsh Ltd. and IPR Red Sea Inc. have 70 per cent and 30 per cent participating interest, respectively, in North Ramadan Concession.

In a separate development, OVL's parent company Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC) entered into service contracts for development of 14 onshore marginal fields with M/s Hydrocarbon Resources Development, M/s Deep Industries Ltd., M/s B G Shirke Construction Technology, M/s KEI - RSOS Maritime Ltd and M/s Shiv Vani Oil & Gas Exploration.

M/s Hydrocarbon Resources Development has been offered service contract for development of Bantumilli field in KG Basin; M/s Deep Industries for development of Ghotaru, Kharatar and Bankia fields in Western Onshore Basin; M/s B G Shirke Construction Technology for Manepalli field in KG Basin; M/s KEI - RSOS Maritime Ltd for development of Mulikipalli, Sirikattapalli, Chintanapalli, Magatapalli & Medapadu fields in KG Basin, Vadatheru, Neyveli & Karaikal fields in Cauvery Basin and M/s Shiv Vani Oil & Gas Exploration for development of Charaideo field in Assam & Assam Arakan (A&AA) Basin.

Development of Marginal Fields is one of the strategic business pursuits of ONGC, for increasing production by unlocking small pools of discovered hydrocarbon reserves. Out of the total 165 new and marginal fields, 44 fields have been monetized; about 90 fields are in the process of monetization / being put on production.

Top

 

Rupee closes at 8-year high

Mumbai, April 5
In highly volatile trade, the rupee today continued its north-bound journey and appreciated by another 14 paise to close at a eight-year high of 42.90/92 against the US currency on account of heavy dollar selling by some banks towards the close of business hours.

In a topsy-turvy trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market, the Indian unit opened better at 42.99/43.01 a dollar from Wednesday's close of 43.04/06 per dollar. It fell back to Rs 43.21 in intra-day trade due to good dollar buying by oil refineries and importers.

Suddenly towards the fag-end, heavy dollar selling by some multinational as well as state-run banks helped the rupee to recover sharply to close at 42.90/92 a dollar registering a steep rise of 14 paise over the previous close.

Completing a straight four-session winning streak, the rupee flared up by a whopping 84 paise or 1.92 per cent. — PTI 

Top

 

Thailand seeks enhanced FTA

Bangkok, April 5
Thai commerce minister Krikkrai Jirapaet will hold talks with his Indian counterpart Kamal Nath in New Delhi next week. The talks are expected to cover scope of the India-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Krikkrai will be in India from April 10-13 heading a delegation of about 30 Thai business leaders.

Besides talks on the FTA, the Thai Commerce Minister is scheduled to initial an MoU on Thai-Indian industrial standard products.

The Thai team’s visit comes as one seeking enhanced trade opportunities with India amidst faltering progress on the parallel FTA being negotiated between India and the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN).

According to Thailand’s top trade negotiations official, talks on the India-ASEAN FTA are stuck over scope of tariff cuts, providing opportunities to both the countries to focus on their bilateral deal.

ASEAN economic ministers will meet in July to take a decision on continuation of the four-year old FTA negotiations with India, said Chutima Bunyapraphasara, director-general of Thailand's Trade Negotiations Department.

Thailand wants to increase the number of items eligible for tariff cuts to about 5,500 under the India-Thailand FTA, the Thai trade official said.

“Thai government does not want to lose its competitive edge to rivals. We will concentrate on the bilateral pact with India,” she added.

Thailand exported $1.8 billion worth of goods to India last year while Indian exports to Thailand amounted to $1.6 billion. — UNI 

Top

 

McDonald’s in Himachal
Our Correspondent

Solan, April 5
Expanding base in North India, McDonald’s has opened first family restaurant at Jabli on NH22. Aimed at attracting day-trippers and weekend travellers going to Kasauli, en route Shimla, this is the first venture of McDonald’s in Himachal.

The restaurant is part of a larger complex that is being developed as a destination point for tourists. This complex will consist of a 23-room luxury hotel, a food court and a mono-cable tram, which will allow tourist to enjoy the mountains in a unique and exciting way. With the opening of this restaurant, the total number of McDonald’s restaurants in India goes up to 110.

Announcing the launch, joint venture partner and managing director Vikram Bakshi, McDonald’s India (North and East) said: “McDonald’s is all about great food, a fun atmosphere and convenience at affordable prices.”

Speaking on the development of the hotel complex, he added: “We plan to make McDonald’s at Savoy Greens, Jabli, a true destination point for travellers, combing comfort, convenience, and a number of unique offerings designed to make the most of our location and surroundings.” 

Top

 

India’s exports to touch $311 b by 2012

New Delhi, April 5
India’s share in world services exports will triple from current 2.3 per cent to 6 per cent in the next five years and will surpass the merchandise exports to reach $311 billion by 2012, an industry body said today.

According to Ficci estimates, expected level of merchandise exports by 2012 is $305 billion.

“With the current rate of growth in services exports to continue, India’s exports of services will be powered by software, business and management consultancy, architectural, engineering, tourism and other professional services,” Ficci president Habil Khorakiwala said here.

The chamber said on a calendar-year basis, India currently exports more than $56 billion of services while its merchandise exports are over $100 billion.

On an average India’s services exports are growing at the rate of 28 per cent per annum for the last 5-6 years and merchandise exports have increased by 22 per cent for the same period.

In first three quarters of just concluded fiscal year, exports of software, professional, business, travel and transportation services have witnessed strong growth ranging from 20 per cent to 98 per cent.

Nearly 100 per cent increase in exports of business services between April-December 2006 and corresponding period of 2005 reflects the underlying growth in exports of professional as well as technology-related services, the chamber noted.

It added that despite the widening trade deficit of $19 billion for third quarter of 2006-07, account deficit has narrowed down to $3 billion from $4.8 billion in the same period largely due to significant growth in these service-segments. — UNI

Top

 

BCCL to float SPV with SAIL

Kolkata, April 5
Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL), a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd, has decided to float a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) to develop a two million tonne underground coking coal mine at a total investment of Rs 500 crore.

“BCCL has initiated a dialogue with SAIL which had shown interest for floating the SPV,” BCCL chairman and managing director A K Paul told reporters here.

He said SAIL would invest Rs 300 crore while BCCL would pump in Rs 200 crore for the proposed SPV and expression of interest for developing the mine would soon be invited from companies globally. The BCCL CMD also said that the company would invest Rs 1,350 crore to produce an additional 6 million tonne of coal in the 11th plan period. — PTI

Top

 

HAL turnover touches $1.75 b

Bangalore, April 5
Defence aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has posted a 41 per cent increase in its turnover at Rs 7,505 crore ($1.75 billion) for 2006-07, with profit before tax touching Rs 1,600 crore. The company said in a press release here today that value of production went up by 37 per cent at Rs 8,100 crore and exports grew by 34 per cent at Rs 250 crore. Export orders worth Rs 500 crore were secured during the year.

HAL had paid the highest-ever interim dividend of Rs 237.95 crore for 2006-07. — UNI

Top

 

Reliance Mutual Fund

Mumbai, April 5
After emerging as India’s biggest mutual fund, Reliance Mutual Fund (RMF) has mooted systematic investment plans (SIP) for Rs 100 per month. Under these schemes, investors can invest in a number of schemes by putting in just Rs 100 per month. RMF had earlier introduced SIPs as low as Rs 500 month. For investors, who invest in schemes under a systematic investment plan over the long term benefit, average cost per unit would be lower. — TNS

Top

 

Lupin sells patent for Rs 115.31 cr
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 5
Pharma major Lupin Laboratories announced here that it has sold certain patent applications and other related intellectual property for its drug Perindopril for multiple countries to French firm Laboratories Servier for Rs 115.31 crore.

Lupin managing director Kamal Sharma said in a statement. For the quarter ended December 31, Lupin posted 26.79 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 56.03 crore as compared to Rs 44.19 crore for the same quarter in 2005.

Top

 

Inflation dips

New Delhi, April 5
After remaining unchanged for three weeks in a row, inflation eased to 6.39 per cent for the week. The wholesale price index, on which inflation data is based, rose by 0.2 per cent to 209.8 points during the week from 209.4 points in the previous week.

Final inflation figure stood at a higher level of 6.69 per cent for the week as compared to 6.58 per cent estimated provisionally. This is based on revision in the wholesale price index to 209 points as compared to 208.8 estimated earlier. — PTI

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 |