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Deal back on track
Jet to buy Air Sahara

Mumbai, April 10
Jet Airways today agreed to buy Air Sahara after an out-of-court settlement reached between the two. The curtains on the long-drawn saga is likely to be rung down tomorrow, when the arbitrator hearing the dispute between the two paves the way for the merger of the two airlines.

PPR partly steps into Puma’s shoes
Gucci makers agree to buy 27 pc in German sportswear
Frankfurt/Paris April 10
French fashion retailer PPR will make a voluntary offer to take over German sportswear group Puma after reaching a deal to buy out a leading shareholder, PPR said today. PPR’s unit Sapardis said in a statement it would offer euro 330 ($440.40) in cash per share.
A person walks past a shop of German sporting goods giant Puma in Berlin on Tuesday. French luxury goods group PPR has agreed to buy a 27.1 per cent stake in German sportswear specialist Puma and launch a full takeover offer, the two companies announced
A person walks past a shop of German sporting goods giant Puma in Berlin on Tuesday. French luxury goods group PPR has agreed to buy a 27.1 per cent stake in German sportswear specialist Puma and launch a full takeover offer, the two companies announced. — AFP photo

Suzlon ups bid for REpower
Mumbai, April 10
The bidding war between wind energy firm Suzlon and France's Areva over German wind turbine maker REpower Systems AG intensified today with the Indian company raising its offer price to 1.22 billion euros from 1.023 billion euros earlier.

Rs 1.18-cr pay packet for ISB student
Hyderabad, April 10
The class of 2007 at the prestigious International School of Business (ISB) has recorded the highest international salary of $2.69 lakh (Rs 1.18 crore) this placement season.


 

EARLIER STORIES

 
Tinsley Mortimer, a New York socialite, presents Mosaique de Chie's fur compilation at the 07-08 Royal Chie collection, Bloom Bloom, in Tokyo, on Tuesday
Tinsley Mortimer, a New York socialite, presents Mosaique de Chie's fur compilation at the 07-08 Royal Chie collection, Bloom Bloom, in Tokyo, on Tuesday.— AFP photo

Hyundai finance offer for Santro
Kolkata, April 10
Hyundai Motor India Limited, today announced a special finance scheme on all Santro models for a limited period of 10 days.

Key WTO members to meet tomorrow
New Delhi, April 10
The trade ministers of the G-4 Group of countries, which include India, Brazil, the United States and the European Commission (EC), will meet here on April 12 to take forward the Doha Round of talks, before the fast track authority of US President George Bush for signing trade deals expires in June this year.

SEBI pact with Thailand, Nigeria
Mumbai, April 10
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today signed memoranda of understanding (MoU) with the Securities and Exchange Commissions (SECs) of Thailand and Nigeria “to ensure regulatory co-operation, mutual assistance an sharing of information with the market watchdogs of the respective countries”, here.

Educomp bags 76% in ThreeBricks
New Delhi, April 10
Educomp Solutions Ltd today said it has acquired 76 per cent stake in ThreeBrix E-Services Pvt Ltd. Brix owns ‘The Learning Hour’ tutoring service in West Asia and Dubai markets.

IFCI eyes $250 m by stake sale
New Delhi, April 10
Financial institution, IFCI Ltd seeks to raise as much as $250 million by selling up to 26 per cent fresh equity to a foreign investor, sources familiar with the development said today.
Japanese actress Koyuki displays Panasonic's new 1080p full high definition plasma TV Viera TH-50PZ700SK in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Japanese actress Koyuki displays Panasonic's new 1080p full high definition plasma TV Viera TH-50PZ700SK in Tokyo on Tuesday. — AP/PTI photo

Dow evading liability of Bhopal disaster?
New Delhi, April 10
Is the US multinational Dow Chemical trying to strong-arm the Indian government in order to escape the liability of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster? Is leading industrialist Ratan Tata, along with key government officials, helping Dow escape liabilities the MNC acquired from the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), the owner of the ill-fated factory at the time of the accident?

FM confident of achieving direct tax target
New Delhi, April 10
Finance minister P Chidambaram said today he was confident that the revised target of Rs 2,29,272 crore for the direct tax collections during 2006-07 fiscal would be achieved. For the current fiscal (2007-08), target of Rs 2,67,000 crore has been fixed for direct tax collections.

British Gas plans sales arm
New Delhi, April 10
UK energy major British Gas is planning to set up a wholly-owned arm -BG India Energy Solutions -to foray into marketing and distribution of natural gas in the country.

Indo-Pak trade surges
Islamabad, April 10
Trade between India and Pakistan is surging despite problems in movement of goods and people.

Rupee up 7 paise 
Mumbai, April 10
In sustained volatility, the rupee today ended at 42.8350/8450 against the US currency, seven paise higher from yesterday's close of 42.9050/9200 on fresh dollar purchases by importers.

 

 

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Deal back on track
Jet to buy Air Sahara
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, April 10
Jet Airways today agreed to buy Air Sahara after an out-of-court settlement reached between the two.

The curtains on the long-drawn saga is likely to be rung down tomorrow, when the arbitrator hearing the dispute between the two paves the way for the merger of the two airlines.

Both airlines got into a bitter battle nine months ago when Jet Airways decided not to takeover Air Sahara. A high-profile arbitration panel, headed by British judge Lord Stein, former Chief Justice of India S P Bharucha and retired Supreme Court judge B P Jeevan Reddy is all set to give its ruling with both airlines agreeing to a merger, according to sources.

Naresh Goyal, promoter of Jet Airways, who was present during the hearings, did not comment on the rumours of the merger coming through.

Air Sahara also maintained silence though leaks to the media indicated that Jet would be paying between Rs 1,500 crore and Rs 1,800 crore for the acquisition. Jet had earlier valued Air Sahara at Rs 2,200 crore.

Rival television channels are bandying various figures regarding the valuation of Air Sahara. Jet had earlier paid Rs 500 crore to Air Sahara when the takeover was first proposed. In addition, it had spent Rs 180 crore on Air Sahara and deposited a sum of Rs 1,500 crore in an escrow account before the takeover fell through.

The arbitration hearings began from September 9 last year on the directions of the Supreme Court. Jet had backed out of the deal, citing lack of regulatory approvals from the Indian government. Sahara, however, alleged that Jet backed out after causing it a lot of damage in the market.

Should the Jet-Sahara deal go through, it would result in the combined entity emerge as the largest Indian private airline with a fleet size of 90 aircraft and 42 per cent share of the domestic market.

Though the market share of Air Sahara has declined in the past few months, Jet would benefit from the new acquisition's landing rights at major airports.

Jet would now have to raise money from the international markets to fund the buyout. The airline is looking at raising $400 million from the international market.

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PPR partly steps into Puma’s shoes
Gucci makers agree to buy 27 pc in German sportswear

Frankfurt/Paris April 10
French fashion retailer PPR will make a voluntary offer to take over German sportswear group Puma after reaching a deal to buy out a leading shareholder, PPR said today. PPR’s unit Sapardis said in a statement it would offer euro 330 ($440.40) in cash per share.

The offer values Puma at close to euro 5.56 billion, according to calculations based on Reuters data.

The company said it had already agreed to buy a 27.14 percent stake from Puma’s largest shareholder, Mayfair. Under German law, a takeover offer is only mandatory once a shareholder crosses the 30 per cent threshold. Puma, which is set to hold its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, said its management board had been informed that Mayfair sold its stake in Puma on Tuesday for 330 euros per share as well.

Closing of the agreement between Mayfair and Sapardis is subject to antitrust clearance, Puma said.

Meanwhile, German sportswear maker Puma has welcomed the bid from “perfect partner” PPR, the French luxury group whose brands include Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.

Jochen Zeitz, Puma’s chief executive and chairman, described PPR as the “perfect partner for Puma”.

The German group has often been the subject of bid speculation, especially in the wake of rival Adidas’s $3.8 billion acquisition of Reebok last year.

PPR owns the Gucci Group, home of designers Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. McQueen has designed limited-edition sneakers for Puma, while McCartney designs a line of clothing for rival Adidas. — Reuters

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Suzlon ups bid for REpower

Mumbai, April 10
The bidding war between wind energy firm Suzlon and France's Areva over German wind turbine maker REpower Systems AG intensified today with the Indian company raising its offer price to 1.22 billion euros from 1.023 billion euros earlier.

Suzlon Wind Energie, the German unit of Suzlon, has so far acquired 7.7 per cent stake in REpower by purchasing 6.27 lakh shares of the company at 150 euro a share, it informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.

"This is indicative of our commitment to the merger and acquisition initiative we have taken which will result in a synergistic alliance that will lead to growth and benefit shareholders of both companies," a Suzlon spokesperson said.

Suzlon's current bid is around 19 per cent higher than its earlier offer price of 126 euro and around 7 per cent higher than its French rival Areva's earlier bid. The company is now awaiting Areva's reaction to its fresh offer price.

French nuclear reactor giant Areva had earlier increased its offer price for REpower from 105 euro to 140 euro in an attempt to outbid Suzlon's earlier offer of 126 euro.

"We do not know what Areva's reaction would be at this point of time. If Areva makes another bid we will give it a complete thought," the official said.— PTI

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Rs 1.18-cr pay packet for ISB student
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, April 10
The class of 2007 at the prestigious International School of Business (ISB) has recorded the highest international salary of $2.69 lakh (Rs 1.18 crore) this placement season.

While average domestic salary was Rs 15.03 lakh with the highest domestic offer being Rs 43.91 lakh, average international salary was Rs 59.5 lakh.

“High CTC levels demonstrate confidence that companies have in high quality of ISB’s management talent,” said M Rammohan Rao, dean, ISB.

The class of 2007 had 416 students graduating the post graduate programme in management. Of these 414 students participated in the placement process. Over 200 companies visited the campus making a total number of 584 offers.

An interesting aspect of this placement season is the adoption of alternate recruitment models. One company recruited two groups of students as core management teams to run stand alone businesses. Two groups of four-five students were recruited together as the core management team for specific projects along with the full responsibility of setting up the project from ground zero and leading it to become a success. The company has offered students both CTC and equity stakes in the project.

A large number of students opting for domestic offers is another interesting trend. “Many ISB students come with international work experience and after a year of learning and exposure to global faculty and management practices, they are keen to develop careers in India,” said Ajit Rangnekar, deputy dean, ISB.

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Hyundai finance offer for Santro

Kolkata, April 10
Hyundai Motor India Limited, today announced a special finance scheme on all Santro models for a limited period of 10 days.

Company sources said the special financial scheme offered a low interest structure for all potential Santro customers. Under the new offer, the interest rate for a loan amount up to Rs 3 lakh is 8.99 per cent per annum for a tenure of three years, against the prevalent industry rate of 15.5 per cent to 16 per cent per annum.

Hyundai vice-president, marketing and sales, Arvind Saxena said "The interest rate on car loans has been on a rising trend. But Hyundai's endeavour is to consistently come up with new schemes ". — UNI

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Key WTO members to meet tomorrow
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10
The trade ministers of the G-4 Group of countries, which include India, Brazil, the United States and the European Commission (EC), will meet here on April 12 to take forward the Doha Round of talks, before the fast track authority of US President George Bush for signing trade deals expires in June this year.

At India’s initiative, the meeting would try to work out an acceptable framework toward the progress of the talks and find a meeting ground among competing interests.

Besides, commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath, the meeting will be attended by US trade representative Susan Schwab, EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson and Brazilian trade minister Celso Amorim.

The G4 discussions will be widened to G6 with inclusion of Australia and Japan.

The last meeting of G4 and G6 was held in London after the impasse in the WTO negotiations was broken at the Davos on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum meeting.

Despite fresh efforts, wide differences continue to persist over the issues of farm subsidies and tariffs in developed countries and pressure on developing countries to open their markets for farm produce. Even in industrial goods, developed counties want developing countries to cut their import duties.

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SEBI pact with Thailand, Nigeria

Mumbai, April 10
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today signed memoranda of understanding (MoU) with the Securities and Exchange Commissions (SECs) of Thailand and Nigeria “to ensure regulatory co-operation, mutual assistance an sharing of information with the market watchdogs of the respective countries”, here.

The MoUs were signed on the second day of the 32nd annual conference of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

SEBI Chairman M Damodaran signed the MoUs with Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala, Secretary General, SEC, Thailand and Musa Al-Faki, Directoral General, SEC, Nigeria, respectively.

“The signing of MoUs with the jurisdictions has been made to establish a general framework for co-operation and consultation between the regulatory authorities of the market regulators in order to facilitate the regulatory responsibilities,” Damodaran said while addressing the press after the signing ceremony.

Regulatory authorities from across the globe will have mutual discussions on various issues pertaining the economies like the strengthening of crossborder co-operation, interdependence of security markets, the need for closer co-operation of security authorities and also regarding the effective enforcement of the laws and regulations with the governing the markets, SEBI sources said.

Two more MoUs will be signed tomorrow with the capital market and financial institutions supervisory agency, Indonesia and the financial supervisory commission of Taiwan. — UNI

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Educomp bags 76% in ThreeBricks

New Delhi, April 10
Educomp Solutions Ltd today said it has acquired 76 per cent stake in ThreeBrix E-Services Pvt Ltd. Brix owns ‘The Learning Hour’ tutoring service in West Asia and Dubai markets.

The partnership between the company and ThreeBrix will leverage the company’s large content library and pedagogical materials to provide tutoring in several ways, online, offline and through learning centres mainly focused on serving Indian students. — Agencies

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IFCI eyes $250 m by stake sale

New Delhi, April 10
Financial institution, IFCI Ltd seeks to raise as much as $250 million by selling up to 26 per cent fresh equity to a foreign investor, sources familiar with the development said today.

While this was the company's internal target, the actual price at which it would sell the strategic stake depended on negotiations with prospective investors, the sources said.

In March, IFCI appointed management consultant Ernst & Young (E&Y) as an adviser to its search for a strategic partner with a long-term view.

According to media reports, some foreign banks like Citigroup, Barclays, and ABN Amro Bank have evinced interest in IFCI, but the sources declined to name those who had evinced interest.

IFCI is valued at $550 million at current equity base and market price. IFCI posted a net profit of Rupees 2.3 billion in April-December 2006. — Reuters

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Dow evading liability of Bhopal disaster?
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10
Is the US multinational Dow Chemical trying to strong-arm the Indian government in order to escape the liability of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster? Is leading industrialist Ratan Tata, along with key government officials, helping Dow escape liabilities the MNC acquired from the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), the owner of the ill-fated factory at the time of the accident?

Controversies related to the “world’s toxic hotspot” of the UCC factory site in Bhopal continue to rage 23 years after the "world' worst industrial disaster" when the lethal methyl isocynate leaked, killing and creating health-realted problems for thousands.

The international campaign for justice in Bhopal, on the basis of letters acquired through the Right to Information Act on March 21, has alleged of "a conspiracy between Dow, industrialist Ratan Tata and key Indian officials to rid the MNC of liabilities arising from UCC’s activities in Bhopal.”

On the basis of the letters circulated in the Press, noted Bhopal campaigner Rashida Bi and activist Rachna Dhingra alleged that documents revealed Dow’s “private fears that the Bhopal issue will derail its investments and expansion plans in India”.

“Letters reveal Dow is scared of investment in India. These letters will now be circulated at the Dow’s next AGM so that stockholders know that it should be held responsible,” they said. They also alleged that in February 2007, the MNC was fined a whopping $3,25,000 by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for repeatedly bribing Indian officials.

Referring to “statements by the representative of the Indian Government at the US-India CEO Forum in New York on October 25 regarding the non-liability of Dow”, a letter by Dow CEO Andrew Liveris on November 8, 2006, to the Indian Ambassador in the US says that “the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers should now withdraw its application for a financial deposit against remediation costs”.

"The Indian Government’s 2005 court application invokes the polluter pays legislation to request a $22 million deposit from Dow towards the cost of cleaning the site left contaminated by its subsidiary UCC. These documents confirm suspisions of a powerful transnational intersts pressurising India to indemnify Dow against liability. Just because Ratan Tata and Indian officials step to help Dow and UCC, it doesn’t mean that Dow will be able to escape its responsibility towards Bhopal. And if Ratan Tata is so intersted in cleaning up Bhopal, he should first do so by cleaning its sites” says Rahida Bi.

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FM confident of achieving direct tax target
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10
Finance minister P Chidambaram said today he was confident that the revised target of Rs 2,29,272 crore for the direct tax collections during 2006-07 fiscal would be achieved. For the current fiscal (2007-08), target of Rs 2,67,000 crore has been fixed for direct tax collections.

“For the last year, revised estimates (for direct tax collections) fixed an ambitious target of over 2,29,000 crore. I am confident that when final data comes, we would achieve the target,” Chidambaram said while launching video conference facility of the Income Tax Department here.

As per the latest figures available from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Rs 2,23,797.1 crore was collected, comprising Rs 1,41,915.4 crore of corporate tax, Rs 71,011.4 crore of personal income tax, Rs 5,331.7 crore of fringe benefit tax, Rs 4,729.5 crore of securities transaction tax and Rs 505.4 crore of banking cash transaction tax.

In the last three years, a number of steps have been taken to make this department more efficient, responsive and responsible. The measures include a project of complete computerisation of the department, provision of additional manpower and vehicles, a proposal to set up centralised processing centres at Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore, making e-filing mandatory for more access, using information on AIRs and implementation of tax preparers scheme, the minister said.

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British Gas plans sales arm

New Delhi, April 10
UK energy major British Gas is planning to set up a wholly-owned arm -BG India Energy Solutions -to foray into marketing and distribution of natural gas in the country.

The company plans to procure gas from domestic and imported sources, including re-gassified LPG in India, an official said.

BG has received a conditional approval from its joint venture partner GAIL (India). However, the proposed subsidiary would be debarred from entering the city gas distribution business as it would be in conflict with the interest of the two companies' existing JV Mahanagar Gas LTD (MGL).

The BG group has 65.12 per cent equity stake in Gujarat Gas Company (GGCL) and 49.75 per cent stake in MGL. While GGCL is engaged in city gas distribution in Gujarat, MGL has natural gas distribution network in Mumbai and Greater Mumbai. — UNI

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Indo-Pak trade surges

Islamabad, April 10
Trade between India and Pakistan is surging despite problems in movement of goods and people.

Bilateral trade swelled from $235.74 million in 2001-02 to more than $1 billion last fiscal year. The balance of trade remains in India’s favour.

Trade analysts see further growth as Pakistan has expanded positive list of import trade with India to include machinery/equipment, raw materials, chemicals and accessories of a number of manufactured items in great local demand.

Pakistan’s exports to India have increased from less than $50 million in 2001-02 to about $300 million in 2005-06.

Simultaneously, Indian exports to Pakistan, too, surged from $186.52 million to $802 million, up from 1.8 per cent to 2.8 per cent Pakistan’s global imports. In these five years the balance of bilateral trade remained in favour of India. In 2005-06, it rose up to more than $500 million.

“(The deficit) came as a rude shock to the commerce ministry in Islamabad,” the newspaper noted.

In July 2006, when the commerce ministry notified to implement concessional tariffs under the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), India was omitted from the list of South Asian countries. Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath then issued a veiled threat at a conference at Kathmandu that India might review the tariff concessions offered to Pakistan under SAFTA.

So far as implementation of SAFTA is concerned, the minister said that India could raise this issue bilaterally at the committee of experts or at the inter-ministerial committee level.

India’s exports of engineering goods now exceed $10 billion. Pakistan meets 25 to 30 per cent requirements of engineering products from imports. India can be a good source of engineering products with freight advantage and relatively quick delivery and after-sales service.

Joint working group on the cards

New Delhi: There is need to remove impediments to enhance bilateral trade between India and Pakistan, including opening of Wagah border for movement of goods. However, facilities at both ends, including bonded warehouses, need to be created, said the industrial body of North India, which recently went to Pakistan.

Addressing newspersons, Sanjay Bhatia, president, PHDCCI, who recently led a delegation to Pakistan, said today a joint working group between PHDCCI and the counterpart chambers would be set up, which would meet quarterly and discuss specific issues and irritants and take up the same with the respective governments.

There was also need for regular exchange of delegations and participation in each other's exhibitions. — IANS, TNS

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Rupee up 7 paise 

Mumbai, April 10
In sustained volatility, the rupee today ended at 42.8350/8450 against the US currency, seven paise higher from yesterday's close of 42.9050/9200 on fresh dollar purchases by importers.

The public sector banks, however, were seen selling dollar to raise rupees requirements for the new statutory reserve as result of a hike in the CRR by the central bank.

The forex market remained volatile due to alternate bouts of buying and selling and moved in a range of 42.77 and 42.94 during the day. —PTI

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BRIEFLY

Fortis plan
Chennai, April 10
Fortis Healthcare Limited, a Ranbaxy Group Company, has drawn up plans to set up an hospital in New Delhi at a total investment of Rs 200 crore. To meet the cost, Fortis has proposed to enter the capital market with an IPO of 45,996,439 equity shares of Rs 10 each for cash at a premium to be decided through 100 per cent book building process. Price band for the issue has been fixed between Rs 92 and Rs 110 per equity share. The issue will open for subscription on April 16 and close on April 20. — UNI

Nasscom chief
New Delhi, April 10
Nasscom, the premier chamber of commerce of IT software and services industry in India, today appointed Cognizant Technology Solutions vice chairman Lakshmi Narayanan as its chairman for the year 2007-08. Zensar Technologies deputy chairman and managing director Ganesh Natarajan has been appointed as vice chairman for the current year. — TNS

ABG Shipyard
Mumbai, April 10
ABG Shipyard Ltd, country’s largest private ship building company, today announced that it has bagged an order worth Rs 618 crore from Essar Shipping & Logistics Ltd, Cyprus. In a statement here. ABG Shipyard has secured the order for construction of four 54,000 DWT supramax bulk carriers at a price of $139 million from Essar as a part of its fleet acquisition programme. The delivery period is by March, 2011. — UNI

Subash Projects
New Delhi, April 10
Subhash Projects & Marketing Ltd today said it has bagged orders worth Rs 309 crore for execution of power projects. The projects include Rs 220 crore order from Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd and Hubli Electricity Supply Co Ltd in Karnataka and Rs 89 crore order from the Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) in Bihar on turnkey basis. — UNI

Qapco’s deal
Dubai, April 10
Qatar Petrochemical Company (Qapco) has signed a contract with Finolex Industries for sale of 22,500 metric tonnes (MT) of ethylene and up to 60,000 MT of ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride monomer. The supplies to Finolex will begin from January 1, 2008, and the contract is valid until December 31, 2009. — UNI

Batliboi buyout
New Delhi, Apríl 10
Mumbai-based machine tool and engineering company, Batliboi Ltd has acquired Canadian firm Quickmill Inc to leverage on the latter’s distribution network and research and development capabilities. The 100 per cent equity acquisition deal is estimated at Rs 22 crore. — PTI

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