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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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B U S I N E S S

Rate of Inflation Inflation up at 6.09 pc
New Delhi, April 20

The inflation rate surged to 6.09 per cent for the week ended April 7 from 5.74 per cent for the previous week, triggering the possibility of further monetary measures to tighten money supply by the RBI, which is slated to present its annual monetary policy on April 24. The wholesale prices-based inflation rose by 0.35 per cent due to sudden 23 per cent surge in vegetable prices, exposing the supply side deficiency.

RMK to uplift women in Haryana
Chandigarh, April 20
The Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK), in association with the department of women and child development, Haryana, has come up with a unique model to extend micro-credit and empower women in the state.

ONGC-Mittal gets first right over Nigerian block
New Delhi, April 20
Billionaire Lakshmi N Mittal’s joint venture with state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp, ONGC-Mittal Energy Ltd (OMEL), has won preferential rights to bid for a Nigerian exploration block after promising to invest $2 billion in the African country’s infrastructure.

Takeover deal completed
Jet Airways pays Rs 400 cr to Sahara
New Delhi, April 20
Jet Airways today paid Rs 400 crore to acquire all shares of Sahara Airlines Ltd and close the Rs 1,450 crore takeover deal, converting Lucknow-based Air Sahara into its wholly-owned subsidiary called 'JetLite'.


EARLIER STORIES

 

Samsung to set up LCD unit in Chennai
New Delhi, April 20
TV actor Simone Singh poses next to Samsung’s newly launched Mosel Blaque LCD television in New Delhi on Friday. Samsung launched three new series of LCD televisions and two series of plasma televisions ranging from Rs 60,000 to Rs 5 lakh. Sensing a strong growth potential in southern India, the market leader in flat panel televisions, Samsung India- a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd- today announced setting up of an LCD manufacturing unit in Chennai by August.

TV actor Simone Singh poses next to Samsung’s newly launched Mosel Blaque LCD television in New Delhi on Friday. Samsung launched three new series of LCD televisions and two series of plasma televisions ranging from Rs 60,000 to Rs 5 lakh. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Nokia N95 coming
Nokia will soon bring its most awaited flagship convergence device, the Nokia N95 cell phone to India. It today announced an exciting pre-booking offer for mobile enthusiasts.
Nokia will soon bring its most awaited flagship convergence device, the Nokia N95 cell phone to India. It today announced an exciting pre-booking offer for mobile enthusiasts. — UNI

 

Power Grid to invest $2 b
New Delhi, April 20
The Power Grid Corporation India Ltd (PGCIL), which plans to hit the capital market by May-June with its IPO, would invest about $2 billion (approx Rs 8,000 crore) in new transmission projects in the current fiscal.

Mittal retains UK’s richest man slot
London, April 20
Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal has again emerged as Britain's richest person after topping The Sunday Times' annual rich list and adding £4.1 billion to his existing wealth, now worth £19 billion.

Rupee ends sharply up
Mumbai, April 20
The rupee today surged to strong finish at 41.76/77, higher by 30 paise over previous close of 42.06/08, on renewed exporters' dollar selling and weaker greenback overseas amid heavy capital inflow.

Rs 50,000 cr needed to meet Basel II norms
New Delhi, April 20
Indian banks will need as much as Rs 50,000 crore to bolster the capital to meet the Basel-II requirements on minimum capital adequacy of 9 per cent by March 31, 2009.

Petronet to spend $150 m
New Delhi, April 20
Petronet LNG Ltd, India’s largest liquefied natural gas importer, plans to invest about $150 million to build a second jetty at its Dahej LNG import terminal in Gujarat.
General Motors' chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner unveils the E-Flex fuel cell variant for the Chevrolet Volt at the Shanghai Auto Show in Shanghai on Friday. This second variant of the E-Flex system uses GM's new fifth-generation fuel cell propulsion technology and a lithium-ion battery to provide up to 300 miles of petroleum and emissions-free electric driving.
General Motors' chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner unveils the E-Flex fuel cell variant for the Chevrolet Volt at the Shanghai Auto Show in Shanghai on Friday. This second variant of the E-Flex system uses GM's new fifth-generation fuel cell propulsion technology and a lithium-ion battery to provide up to 300 miles of petroleum and emissions-free electric driving. — Reuters

ADB-Microsoft tie-up
New Delhi, April 20
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Microsoft Corporation have tied up to promote Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Asia and the Pacific region.

Corporate Results
Wipro records 24.5 pc jump in profit
Bangalore, April 20
Wipro today emulated Infosys to post a 24.54 per cent jump in net profit for the fourth quarter at Rs 818.9 crore as against Rs 657.5 crore recorded in the same period a year ago.


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Nissan Motor eyeing Indian car market.
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Inflation up at 6.09 pc
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 20
The inflation rate surged to 6.09 per cent for the week ended April 7 from 5.74 per cent for the previous week, triggering the possibility of further monetary measures to tighten money supply by the RBI, which is slated to present its annual monetary policy on April 24.

The wholesale prices-based inflation rose by 0.35 per cent due to sudden 23 per cent surge in vegetable prices, exposing the supply side deficiency.

While analysts felt that the RBI may again take more monetary measures to check inflation, finance minister P Chidambaram hoped that the inflation would again come down to around 5.7 per cent next week.

“To contain inflation remains a very high priority and my expectation is that it will hover around 5.7 per cent next week,” Chidambaram told newspersons, reacting to inflation once again breaching the 6 per cent mark, well over the RBI’s target rate of 5 to 5.5 per cent.

For the past few months, inflation has been a main concern for the UPA government as it continued to hover around 6 per cent despite several monetary and supply management side measures.

The headline inflation calculated on a point-to-point basis was just 3.81 per cent during the corresponding week a year.

The wholesale price index for all commodities for the week ended April 7, rose by 0.4 per cent to 210.8 from 210 for the previous week.

The index for the primary articles group rose by 1.4 per cent to 218.9 from 215.9 for the previous week.

The index for food articles group rose by 1.8 per cent to 218.6 from 214.8 for the previous week due to higher prices of fruits and vegetables, barley, Masur, Bajra, condiments and spices and urad.

The index for manufactured products group rose by 0.1 per cent to 183.5 from 183.4 for the previous week.

The index for food products group rose by 0.1 per cent to 186.8 from 186.6 for the previous week due to higher prices of imported edible oil (4 per cent), rice bran oil (3 per cent), oil cakes and gingelly oil (2 per cent each) and mustard oil (1per cent).

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RMK to uplift women in Haryana
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK), in association with the department of women and child development, Haryana, has come up with a unique model to extend micro-credit and empower women in the state.

In the wake of absence of intermediaries for extending micro-credit to the self-help groups (SHGs) of women, the women and child development department launched a campaign to establish village-level NGOs called Sakshar Mahila Samooh (SMS). During the past three months, the state government has been successful in organising 5,933 SMS across the state.

Talking to TNS here today, Snehlata Kumar, executive director of the National Credit Fund for Women, said, “Considering the zeal of the state government to help in economic and social uplift of women, we have decided to waive off the condition regarding extending of credit to institutions registered for a minimum of three years. We will be extending loans to these SMS, so that they can start some economic activity”.

Anuradha Gupta, commissioner and secretary, women and child development, Haryana, said: “Though we have formed thousands of NGOs in Haryana under various schemes, we were unable to sustain them for want of extending micro-credit. We thus decided on setting up these SMS, with at least 10 women, who are matriculates. Being educated, these women will make the SHG self-sustaining by deciding on the income generating activity to be undertaken and market the goods produced”.

The commissioner added that they planed to enrol consultants from National Institute of Fashion Technology for training these women in fashion designing so that some designers could outsource work to them. “We also propose to take help from National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, for starting dairying and from National Research Institute for Mushroom Cultivation, Solan, for initiating mushroom cultivation as an activity among the SHGs,” she said.

Known for empowering women by extending small loans at affordable interest rates (8 percent), RMK plans workshops for members of these SMS as well as SHGs from May 1 onwards.

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ONGC-Mittal gets first right over Nigerian block

New Delhi, April 20
Billionaire Lakshmi N Mittal’s joint venture with state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp, ONGC-Mittal Energy Ltd (OMEL), has won preferential rights to bid for a Nigerian exploration block after promising to invest $2 billion in the African country’s infrastructure.

OMEL has been given right of first refusal on Block 250 in return for a pledge to carry out a feasibility study into a new railroad, industry sources said.

Ten foreign and local companies were given preferential rights for 20 blocks under Nigeria’s right of first refusal (RoFR) system in the country’s latest bidding. Under the terms of the right of first refusal deals, bidding companies pledge to invest in new infrastructure in exchange for choice exploration blocks.

Sources said Nigeria has given China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) RoFR for at least one block, and possibly four in total, in exchange for a pledge to become a major investor in the Kaduna railway project.

China’s CNOOC Ltd has RoFR on up to seven blocks in return for a $2.5-billion loan from the Export-Import Bank of China for a railroad project in western Nigeria.

Nigeria is auctioning a total of 45 exploration blocks, 11 in deep water offshore, 10 shallow water on the continental shelf, 13 onshore in the Niger Delta and 11 in inland basins.

In May 2006 auction, OMEL agreed to spend $6 billion on building a new 1,80,000 barrels per day refinery, 2,000 MW power generation, and a railway running East-West across Nigeria in lieu for right of first refusal for three blocks - 279, 285 and 291. It did not submit any bid for Block 291 but managed Blocks 279 and 285.

Sources said last year ONGC-Mittal Energy exercised its right of first refusal over a hotly contested Block 279, near ExxonMobil’s giant Erha oil field, and matched a top bid of $75 million. For Block 285, the combine paid $50 million signature bonus.

Despite the fact that 10 companies already appear to have jumped the queue, Indian Oil Corp and Oil India Ltd are planning to jointly bid in the latest auction, the last date for which is May 2.

Sources said Indian firms Sterling Global Exploration and Production and Global Steel also received preferential rights to a number of blocks in exchange for infrastructure projects. — PTI

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Takeover deal completed
Jet Airways pays Rs 400 cr to Sahara

New Delhi, April 20
Jet Airways today paid Rs 400 crore to acquire all shares of Sahara Airlines Ltd and close the Rs 1,450 crore takeover deal, converting Lucknow-based Air Sahara into its wholly-owned subsidiary called 'JetLite'.

Soon after the amount was paid, Air Sahara president Alok Sharma announced he had quit his post but said he would be available for effecting a smooth transition of the airline and continue to work with the parent group, Sahara India Parivar.

Senior officials of Jet Airways led by chief commercial officer Garry Kingshott went to Air Sahara headquarters here to give effect to the amalgamation process.

Kingshott, who held talks with Sharma, is tipped to head 'JetLite' once it is formally established with Mumbai as its headquarters. Jet informed Bombay Stock Exchange that as part of the agreement concluded last week, it has today effected closure of the share purchase agreement of January last year between it and the selling shareholders of Sahara, by paying Rs 400 crore and acquiring 100 per cent of the issued, subscribed and paid-up share capital of the Lucknow-based airline.

The Naresh Goyal-owned company was required to pay the amount to the Sahara promoters by today, as was decided by the arbitration panel last week.

Under the offer approved by arbitration panel, all shares of Air Sahara were to be transferred to Jet for Rs 1,450 crore, inclusive of Rs 500 crore which Jet paid last year. Jet was asked to pay Rs 400 crore by April 20 and Rs 550 crore in four annual instalments starting March 2008. — PTI

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Samsung to set up LCD unit in Chennai

New Delhi, April 20
Sensing a strong growth potential in southern India, the market leader in flat panel televisions, Samsung India- a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd- today announced setting up of an LCD manufacturing unit in Chennai by August.

The company plans to manufacture 2,00,000 units per year through this new unit.

The Chennai unit, entailing an investment of $100 million, is also expected to produce different kinds of electrical gadgets like panels and monitors. The company had started its flat panel television manufacturing unit in Noida in June 2006.

“The flat panel TVs will contribute 11 per cent by volume to the total TV sales of the company this year and we are optimistic that the growth will soar to 30 per cent in another two years,” Samsung India director (sales) Pradeep Tognatta said.

The flat panel television market in the country is expected to come close to 4,00,000 units this fiscal.

Samsung, the digital technology leader, aims at a 50 per cent market share in the flat panel category this year. — UNI

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Power Grid to invest $2 b

New Delhi, April 20
The Power Grid Corporation India Ltd (PGCIL), which plans to hit the capital market by May-June with its IPO, would invest about $2 billion (approx Rs 8,000 crore) in new transmission projects in the current fiscal.

"Last year, our new project investments were around $1.5 billion and this year, Power Grid will be spending $2 billion," company's executive director R.N. Nayak said here at a conference on 'Emerging trend in EHV switchgear'.

Nayak highlighted that transmission sector was growing by 35 per cent.

PGCIL chairman and managing director R.P. Singh said the company has a grand plan to connect southern India by 2011-12, which would integrate the transmission system of the entire country.

"Entire country will be integrated in the transmission system," Singh said, adding the northern region had already been connected in August 2006.

Singh said the transmission growth rate was 35 per cent, which might have to be expanded to 50 per cent.

The inter-regional capacity of national grid operated by the company would increase from the current 13,700 MW to 16,700 MW by May 2007 and 40,000 MW by 2012, he added.

Nayak said the company would be commissioning its first 800 KV system next month, besides planning to construct 5,000 circuit kilometers of 765 KV AC links in the next 3-4 years. — PTI

Gets ISO certification

Power Grid Corporation has achieved the distinction of being first power utility and second company in the world to get certified for PAS 99:2006, integrating the requirement of ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001:1999. This certification is provided by M/s BSI after audit of Power Grid’s integrated management system. — TNS

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Mittal retains UK’s richest man slot

Lakshmi Mittal
Lakshmi Mittal

London, April 20
Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal has again emerged as Britain's richest person after topping The Sunday Times' annual rich list and adding £4.1 billion to his existing wealth, now worth £19 billion.

Philip Beresford, compiler of the annual Sunday Times rich list, said Mittal had the business sense of spotting the right kind of investment at the right time. Beresford has compiled the authoritative guide for the past 19 years.

He said: "It is absolutely extraordinary. He is an expert at spotting an industry and getting in there early, buying it cheaply and selling at a high price. That is the secret of his success and the only way to make money."

According to the list, Mittal has increased his staggering fortune to more than £19 billion — up from last year's £14.9 billion.

The full details of the list will be revealed Sunday, but highlights were revealed on ITV1 Thursday night. According to the advance highlights of the latest list, foreigners dominate the list with only one Briton among the top five richest individuals. — IANS

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Rupee ends sharply up

Mumbai, April 20
The rupee today surged to strong finish at 41.76/77, higher by 30 paise over previous close of 42.06/08, on renewed exporters' dollar selling and weaker greenback overseas amid heavy capital inflow.

The forex market witnessed brisk activity and rallied sharply after resuming higher at Rs 42.02/04 per dollar and fluctuated in range of 41.7350 and 42.0600 during the day.

Fresh bout of dollar selling by exporters in the absence of any intervention by the central bank helped the rupee to bounce back after four-day losing streak, during which it lost about 55 paise from the level of 42.51/52 on April 13. — PTI

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Rs 50,000 cr needed to meet Basel II norms
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 20
Indian banks will need as much as Rs 50,000 crore to bolster the capital to meet the Basel-II requirements on minimum capital adequacy of 9 per cent by March 31, 2009.

During the meeting finance minister P Chidambaram held yesterday with the chiefs of public sector banks here, the banks were asked to line up their strategies quickly to mop the capital required to meet the Basel II norms.

The issue of the enhanced capital requirement of the banking system, especially the state-owned banks, figured prominently in the meeting.

As the lending expands, with the Indian economy growing at 9 per cent level, both private and public sector banks would have to increase their capital to meet the Basel II norms.

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Petronet to spend $150 m

New Delhi, April 20
Petronet LNG Ltd, India’s largest liquefied natural gas importer, plans to invest about $150 million to build a second jetty at its Dahej LNG import terminal in Gujarat. Petronet is raising its capacity to 12.5 million tonnes from current 6.5 million tonnes and needs another jetty to increase operational flexibility, safety and security. It has commissioned UK-based consultant HR Wallingford to carry out marine impact studies for the jetty. Another jetty for the Dahej solid cargo port would be constructed one-km north of Petronet LNG’s present jetty. — PTI

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ADB-Microsoft tie-up

New Delhi, April 20
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Microsoft Corporation have tied up to promote Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Asia and the Pacific region. Through this partnership, ADB and Microsoft would jointly undertake projects, studies and capacity building initiatives in five strategic areas of common interest including innovation, ICT and governance, ICT and education, enabling jobs and opportunity, and regional integration and trade. — PTI

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Corporate Results
Wipro records 24.5 pc jump in profit

Chairman of Wipro Azim Premji announces the financial results of the company in Bangalore on Friday.
Chairman of Wipro Azim Premji announces the financial results of the company in Bangalore on Friday. — AFP
photo

Bangalore, April 20
Wipro today emulated Infosys to post a 24.54 per cent jump in net profit for the fourth quarter at Rs 818.9 crore as against Rs 657.5 crore recorded in the same period a year ago.

The company saw its revenues for the last quarter rising to Rs 3,874.4 crore, an increase of 9.23 per cent as against Rs 3,546.9 crore registered in the quarter ended March 31, 2006. Net profit for the year ended March 31, 2007, was Rs 2,842.1 crore as compared to Rs 2,020.5 crore recorded for the year ended March 31, 2006.

Commenting on the results, Wipro chairman Azim Premji said strategic acquisitions, expanded local sales footprint and deeper domain skills were responsible for the robust growth in revenues. He said global delivery capabilities had also been widened through centres in Romania, Brazil and Portugal.

Mr Premji said the company looked forward to sustain the growth momentum in the new fiscal. “We expect revenue from our global IT services and products to be about $711 million in the first quarter of this fiscal," he added.

Satyam Computer

Satyam Computer Ltd reported encouraging financial results for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2007, showing a 37.11 per cent increase in profit after tax at Rs 397.50 crore.

The net profit for the last year's fourth quarter was Rs 289.90 crore.

The total income of the company rose by 38.12 per cent to touch Rs 1,778.40 crore during the period, from Rs 1,287.52 crore for the corresponding quarter last year.

For the year ended March 31, 2007, Satyam recorded net profit of Rs 1,423.23 crore as against Rs 1,239.75 crore for the last fiscal and the total income rose to Rs 6,410.08 crore from Rs 5,012.22 crore.

The board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange-listed company at its meeting here today declared a final dividend of 125 per cent for the financial year 2006-07.

Exide Industries

Leading battery manufacturer, Exide Industries today posted a 48.74 per cent increase in net profit after tax (PAT) at Rs 38.51 crore for the quarter ended March 31, despite rising input costs.

Last year, the company posted a net PAT of Rs 25.89 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2006.

The total income of the company increased by 38.49 per cent to Rs 533.11 crore for the quarter ended March 31, from Rs 384.94 crore for the corresponding quarter a year ago, Exide Industries informed the BSE.

The board of directors have declared a dividend of 35 per cent for the financial year ended March 31, subject to approval of the shareholders at the ensuing annual general meeting.

India Cement

India Cement Ltd today clocked a 417.7 per cent increase in its net profit at Rs 139.8 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2007 as against Rs 27 crore during the corresponding period last year.

The total income of the company rose by 36.1 per cent at Rs 577.9 crore for the quarter as compared to Rs 424.5 crore in the quarter ended March 31, 2006.

The group has posted a net profit of Rs 453.3 crore for the year ended March 31, 2007 as compared to Rs 42.7 crore for the year ended March 31, 2006. — TNS, Agencies

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