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Govt clears 35 SEZ proposals 
Two Reliance zones also get nod

New Delhi, June 5
The Board of Approval (BOA) today gave approval to 35 special economic zone (SEZ) proposals, including the multi-services SEZ of Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Industries in Gurgaon and ‘in principle’ approval to the company’s port-based SEZ in Rewas, Maharashtra.

Another CRR hike on the cards?
Mumbai, June 5
Considering the sustained capital inflows and unprecedented surge in the rupee value, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may moot another hike in cash reserve ratios (CRR) which, in turn, may be passed on to the customer kitty.

Banks, FIs to spend $3.5 b on IT upgradation
New Delhi, June 5
Banks and financial institutions (FIs) in the country are expected to invest more than $2 billion by year-end, in information technology upgradation, with areas like customer relationship management (CRM), human resources management (HRM), business intelligence and data mining applications and services showing a higher growth rate than the traditional core banking software.

TRAI levies fine for unsolicited calls, SMSs
New Delhi, June 5
Coming down heavily on unsolicited commercial calls and SMS, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) imposed a fine of Rs 500 on the telemarketing firms for each such call/SMS.

Asian Paints to set up world’s largest plant in Haryana
Chandigarh, June 5
Haryana Investment Promotion Board has accorded approval to providing 160 acres of land to Asian Paints in the industrial model township (IMT), Rohtak, for setting up the largest paint producing plant in the world. The board met here last evening under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

GMR to set up 1,000 MW thermal project 
Mumbai, June 5
GMR Energy, the holding company of GMR group's power business, today said it would set up a 1,000 MW coal-based power project in Chhattisgarh.


Japan's electronics giant Toshiba unveils the new ultra slim notebook PC with 12.1-inch LCD display and optical disk drive "Dynabook SS RX1", in Toyko
Japan's electronics giant Toshiba unveils the new ultra slim notebook PC with 12.1-inch LCD display and optical disk drive "Dynabook SS RX1", in Toyko on Tuesday. Toshiba will put the world's lightest and thinnest Dynabook series, weighing only 959g and 19.5mm in thickness, on the market on June 22. — AFP

 
 

Pfizer in trouble
This file photo shows a logo of US drug giant Pfizer in front of one of its factories in the western French town
This file photo shows a logo of US drug giant Pfizer in front of one of its factories in the western French town of Amboise. Nigeria on Monday filed a lawsuit for $7 billion damages from Pfizer over a drug test in which about 200 children were either killed or deformed, court officials said. The federal government suit says the children suffered various degrees of adverse effects, ranging from deafness to muteness, paralysis, brain damage, loss of sight, slurred speech, while 11 died. The federal action follows a similar suit filed last month by Kano, Nigeria's largest state, which is seeking $2.75 billion from the pharmaceutical giant. The Kano state suit alleges that Pfizer administered an untested drug, called Trovan Floxacin, without authorisation on almost 200 children infected with meningitis in the state. — AFP  

Allotment of 39 coal blocks okayed
New Delhi, June 5
Seeking to meet growing needs of the power sector, the government today approved allocation of 39 coal blocks for state-run and private power utilities like NTPC, Tata Power, Essar and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.

DLF to hit market on June 11
Chandigarh, June 5
DLF Limited is entering the capital market with an IPO of 175,000,000 equity shares of Rs 2 each through a book building process. The issue opens on June 11 and closes on June 14. The price band has been fixed at Rs 500 to Rs 550 per equity share.

LIC to enter health insurance
Indore, June 5
Country’s largest life insurance services provider Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) is set to enter health insurance space in about two months as it is awaiting a nod from the IRDA.

Gulf Cos eye Indian retail sector 
Dubai, June 5
With a retail boom sweeping India, private entities from the Gulf region are making a beeline to invest in the sector but are wary of some challenges in the huge and diverse market, according to experts here.

Chakrabarty is PNB chief
New Delhi, June 5
Kamalesh Chandra Chakrabarty today took over as the new chairman-cum-managing director of Punjab National Bank. He succeeds S C Gupta, who retired on May 31. He was earlier serving as CMD of Indian Bank. Presently, he is also director of United India Assurance Company Limited and member of management committee of Indian Bank Association. — TNS

 

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Govt clears 35 SEZ proposals 
Two Reliance zones also get nod
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
The Board of Approval (BOA) today gave approval to 35 special economic zone (SEZ) proposals, including the multi-services SEZ of Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Industries in Gurgaon and ‘in principle’ approval to the company’s port-based SEZ in Rewas, Maharashtra.

The BOA, which met here, gave formal approvals to 24 SEZ proposals and ‘in principle’ approvals to nine SEZs. Two ‘in principle’ approvals of SRI City SEZ for a multi-product SEZ in Andhra Pradesh and Reliance Haryana SEZ for a multi-services SEZ in Gurgaon were also approved for grant of formal approval, an official release said.

Reliance’s multi-services SEZ in Gurgaon will come up in an area of 440 hectares, while the company’s Rewas SEZ will be developed in an area of 2,850 hectares.

Other prominent SEZ proposals that got formal approvals include airport-based multi-product SEZ by GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd in Andhra Pradesh (101.2 hectares), IT/ITES SEZ by Wipro in Andhra Pradesh (40.46 hectares), Agro Processing SEZ by MIDC in Maharashtra, IT/ITES SEZ by MIDC in Thane, Gems and jewellery SEZ by Royal Palms India in Maharashtra, multi-product SEZ by Indiabulls Industrial Infrastructure in Maharashtra.

Two IT/ITES SEZs by TIDCO in Tamil Nadu; IT/ITES SEZ by APIIC in Andhra Pradesh; handicrafts and artisan SEZ by Gujarat Growth Centres Development Corp Ltd in Gujarat; electronic hardware SEZ by SIPCOT in Tamil Nadu; handicrafts SEZ by Mansarover Industrial Development Corporation in Rajasthan.

Prominent ‘in principle’ approvals granted are gems and jewellery SEZ by Gitanjali Gems in Maharashtra; leather industry SEZ by MIDC in Maharashtra; steel SEZ by Jaibalaji Sponge Ltd in West Bengal; multi-services SEZ by Gitanjali Gems in Maharashtra, multi-product SEZ by Indiabulls Builders in Maharashtra and textile SEZ by DLF in West Bengal.

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Another CRR hike on the cards?

Mumbai, June 5
Considering the sustained capital inflows and unprecedented surge in the rupee value, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may moot another hike in cash reserve ratios (CRR) which, in turn, may be passed on to the customer kitty.

Sustained capital inflows, where liquidity and money supply concerns persist heavily, and unprecedented surge seen on the rupee value, which has gained more than 9 per cent in last quarter, have been fingered out as a possible reason for another CRR hike, industry experts said.

''The RBI could be testing market positioning by letting liquidity ease ahead of the expected acceleration in forex flows to participate in initial public offerings (IPOs) later in June and early July. We expect bond-swap spread convergence and long positions in upto 7 year bonds to perform,'' says an analyst with Merrill Lynch.

Forex had witnessed enormous capital inflows in the past quarter taking rupee in to a fresh nine year peak of 40.28 in last week mounting pressure on export-oriented industries like the textile and IT, which tasted losses owing to a weak dollar and corresponding rupee surge.

''Capital inflows are in full flow for the past few weeks and is likely to remain in high spirits in the ensuing sessions. Rupee is expected to clinch on the hights in weeks ahead,'' says Indrajith Sen Guptha, chief forex dealer of Canara Bank.

With a view to suck out the excess liquidity, the apex bank had hiked the CRR rates by 50 basis points to 6.5 per cent on March 30, while repo rate was hiked by 25 bps to 7.75 per cent.

CRR, the mandatory cash reserve that banks should keep with the central bank, claims a proportional impact on the bank loan rates.

As a further measurer to absorb excess liquidity, RBI had introduced a couple of tightening measures. — UNI

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Banks, FIs to spend $3.5 b on IT upgradation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
Banks and financial institutions (FIs) in the country are expected to invest more than $2 billion by year-end, in information technology upgradation, with areas like customer relationship management (CRM), human resources management (HRM), business intelligence and data mining applications and services showing a higher growth rate than the traditional core banking software.

Expenditure on core banking software packages slumped by 10 per cent while still accounting for more than 50 per cent of packaged software spending of $263 million in 2006.

“With most core-banking packages offering similar functionality, one of the reasons for higher growth rate in applications like CRM, HRM, business intelligence and data mining is that they are now considered critical for cross selling, avoiding customer churn and differentiating brand and product offerings,” said Sameer Kochhar, CEO of Skoch Consultancy.

The seriousness that banks have shown in enhancing IT infrastructure can be seen from the fact that while they spent about $1,764 million in 2006, an estimated $2,078 million is expected to be spent by December - a growth of 18 per cent.

“With enhanced mergers and acquisitions activity, middle ware, that is crucial to make heterogeneous systems in the banks to work together, will become a growth driver in addition to security, mobility and non-core banking applications like customer relationship management,” he added.

Further, as the banks and financial institutions try to reach the rural areas, they will have to depend heavily on partners as correspondents or facilitators. Micro-credit institutions and non banking financial companies are expected to see a high degree of IT spending not just for automation but also cut down transaction costs for reaching financial services to the hinterland.

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TRAI levies fine for unsolicited calls, SMSs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 5
Coming down heavily on unsolicited commercial calls and SMS, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) imposed a fine of Rs 500 on the telemarketing firms for each such call/SMS.

However, the regulation does not talk of compensating customers, whose privacy has been invaded by such calls/SMS.

A National Do Not Call Registry (NDNC) containing list of telephone numbers of the subscribers who do not want to receive Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC) would be created by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) within three months.

An amount of Rs 500 per call/message has been prescribed to discourage telemarketers who makes calls to numbers registered in the NDNC list. “The defaulter telemarketer will face disconnection of telecom services,” TRAI said, while issuing regulation to curb unsolicited commercial calls that came into effect from today.

“The telemarketer will have to register with NDNC registry to avail the facility of scrubbing their calling list,” TRAI said.

The telemarketers would make on-line request by submitting the calling list to the NDNC registry and the registry will return the list of NDNC numbers to the requested telemarketer.

Since majority of the telemarketers are being employed by the banking sector, TRAI has also approached the RBI and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) to ensure that no telemarketers are engaged by them without valid registration certificate issued from DoT.

TRAI, in the regulation, said the UCC has been defined as “any message, through telecommunications service, which is transmitted for the purpose of informing about, or soliciting or promoting any commercial transaction in relation to goods, investments or services which a subscriber opts not to receive.”

But it does not include, any message relating to a service or financial transaction under a specific contract between the parties to such contract; or any messages relating to charities, national campaigns or natural calamities transmitted on the directions of the government or agencies authorised by it for the  said purpose.

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Asian Paints to set up world’s largest plant in Haryana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Haryana Investment Promotion Board has accorded approval to providing 160 acres of land to Asian Paints in the industrial model township (IMT), Rohtak, for setting up the largest paint producing plant in the world.

The board met here last evening under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

The plant would be set up in a phased manner. In the first phase, more than Rs 600 crore would be invested and 1,100 jobs would be available. Once the entire project is completed, its gross turnover would be Rs 4,600 crore. The plant would generate revenue amounting to Rs 40 crore annually for the state and Rs 700 crore annually for the central exchequer.

The plant is expected to attract other large industries to IMT, Rohtak, and make it an alternative destination to IMT Manesar.

The board also accorded its approval in principle for setting up of the European technology park, costing over Rs 1,448 crore on 500 acres of land in Manger village in Faridabad district or any other suitable location.

An official press release quoted the Chief Minister as having said that the concept behind the proposed park was to attract European companies to establish in the park their high-end research and development activities in the fields of bio-technology, engineering, finance, pharma and other new age industries.

It was claimed that about two lakh persons would get direct and indirect employment in the project which would be implemented in two phases over a period of seven years.

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GMR to set up 1,000 MW thermal project 

Mumbai, June 5
GMR Energy, the holding company of GMR group's power business, today said it would set up a 1,000 MW coal-based power project in Chhattisgarh.

With this project, the GMR Group now has projects with a total capacity of about 830 MW under operation and projects with 2,440 MW capacity in various stages of development, GMR Infrastructure informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.

GMR Energy, a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure, signed a memorandum of understanding with Chhattisgarh government for setting up a 1,000 MW power plant. The detailed project feasibility studies are expected to begin in a fortnight.

Chhattisgarh government would provide all necessary assistance toward the development of the project and give all incentives which other industrial projects receive, GMR added.

As per the MoU, Chhattisgarh is entitled to avail 5 per cent of net energy annually at variable cost as determined by the appropriate regulatory commission in case the company gets a coal linkage and 7.5 per cent if it gets a coal block.

Chhattisgarh has the right to purchase up to 30 per cent of power from the project for 20 years through its nominated agency.— PTI

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Allotment of 39 coal blocks okayed

New Delhi, June 5
Seeking to meet growing needs of the power sector, the government today approved allocation of 39 coal blocks for state-run and private power utilities like NTPC, Tata Power, Essar and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd.

“The coal ministry has approved allocation of 39 coal blocks for various public and private sector power companies to meet growing needs of the power sector,” a top coal ministry official said.

The ministry has allocated 10 coal blocks, with reserves worth 6,075 million tonnes, to the central and state government companies while another 12 blocks, having reserves of 800 MT, have been allocated to public and private companies under the captive mining dispensation, he said.

“Besides, another 17 blocks, with reserves worth 190 MT, have been allocated to central and state PSUs,” the official said.

With the latest allocation, total number of coal blocks allocated to PSUs and private companies have increased to 163. — PTI

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DLF to hit market on June 11
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
DLF Limited is entering the capital market with an IPO of 175,000,000 equity shares of Rs 2 each through a book building process. The issue opens on June 11 and closes on June 14. The price band has been fixed at Rs 500 to Rs 550 per equity share.

This was disclosed by executive director, DLF, Yogesh Verma, and Joy Saxena, CFO (retail) while addressing media persons here today. They said the net proceeds of the issue, Rs 3,500 crore, would be utilised for acquisition of land and development rights. “We already have land bank available for 10 years, but would like to increase this with the proceeds of the IPO. Another Rs 3,493.4 crore for development and construction costs for existing projects and the balance for payment of loans,” said Verma.

They also said of the total issue, 1,000,000 shares would be reserved for subscription by employees. The issue was being made through the 100 per cent book building process wherein at least 60 per cent of the net issue shall be allotted on a proportionate basis to qualified institutional buyers and five per cent of these will be available for allocation to only mutual funds and the remaining for bidders, including mutual funds.

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LIC to enter health insurance

Indore, June 5
Country’s largest life insurance services provider Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) is set to enter health insurance space in about two months as it is awaiting a nod from the IRDA.

“The company will soon enter the health insurance sector and has submitted to the Insurance regulator (IRDA), newly- designed quality products in this regard,” LIC managing director Thomas Mathew told reporters here today.

The company has formed a new subsidiary for taking care of the proposed business, he said. — PTI

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Gulf Cos eye Indian retail sector 

Dubai, June 5
With a retail boom sweeping India, private entities from the Gulf region are making a beeline to invest in the sector but are wary of some challenges in the huge and diverse market, according to experts here.

"Over the next two years, India is planning to develop a staggering 518 shopping malls across the country. Typically every 100 miles, the food and language changes, which means that your communications has to be key," Srinath Sridharan, head of lifestyle business and strategic alliances at Wadhawan Holding Private Limited in India was quoted as saying by Gulf News. — PTI

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Chakrabarty is PNB chief

New Delhi, June 5
Kamalesh Chandra Chakrabarty today took over as the new chairman-cum-managing director of Punjab National Bank. He succeeds S C Gupta, who retired on May 31. He was earlier serving as CMD of Indian Bank. Presently, he is also director of United India Assurance Company Limited and member of management committee of Indian Bank Association. — TNS

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BRIEFLY

Sterlite to raise $2 b via ADS
Mumbai, June 5
Sterlite Industries, flagship company of Vedanta Group, today commenced an American Depositary Shares (ADS) issue to raise around $2 billion for funding expansion plans including buyouts. The company will offer 125 million shares with an over-allotment option of 18.75 million shares. The issue price will be determined on basis of the company’s share price in India, which closed at $13.65 on June 1. At this price, the company would be able to mop-up around $1.96 billion (about Rs 8,000 crore). Also, the company has applied to get the ADS listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Sterlite Industries (India) said. — PTI
The president of Fuji Heavy Industries, known for Subaru brand, Ikuo Mori introduces the new sporty wagon "Impreza",
The president of Fuji Heavy Industries, known for Subaru brand, Ikuo Mori introduces the new sporty wagon "Impreza", equipped with a 1.5 or 2.0-litre boxer engine , in Tokyo on Tuesday. Subaru started to sell the new models with price ranging 1.39 million yen to 2.47 million yen. — AFP

Jain Irrigation
Tel Aviv, June 5
Jain Irrigation has bought 50.01 per cent of Israel’s Na’anDan Irrigation systems for $21.5 million. “Within one year our company hopes to achieve the target of $300 million in revenues, and by March 2009 will possibly be the largest drip irrigation company in the world,” managing director of Jain Irrigation, Anil Jain said after signing the deal. — PTI

Amtek Auto
New Delhi, June 5
Amtek Auto Ltd today said it has acquired assets of UK-based J L French’s Ltd Witham (JLF) for an undisclosed amount. With the acquisition, it will be able to expand its customer and product portfolio as well as attain technological edge in automotive component manufacturing, a statement said. —UNI

Sadbhav Engg
Mumbai, June 5
Sadbhav Engineering today said it has bagged two orders worth Rs 90.5 crore for Handri Neeva Sujala Sravanthi (HNSS) project in Andhra Pradesh. The company bagged Rs 51.9 crore order for package no 53 of HNSS project and the second order of Rs 38.6 crore is for package no 52 of HNSS project. — PTI

KEC Intl
Mumbai, June 5
KEC International Ltd today announced it has bagged a Rs 380 crore order in Kazakhstan. The project entails design, construction and commission of a 475-kilometre transmission line in the Ekibastuz-Agadyr section of the north-south electricity transit. — PTI

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