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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Manufacturing zooms 15.1 pc
Industrial output up 13.6 pc

FM hints at curbing demand in real estate sector
New Delhi, June 12
Stringent monetary measures that triggered hardening of interest rates does not seem to have impacted the growth story with India’s industrial output soaring to 13.6 per cent in April 2007 riding on a record growth of 15.1 per cent in the manufacturing sector.

Country’s largest warehouse inaugurated
Rohtak, June 12
Logistics service provider Indo-Arya Logistics today launched the country's largest regional distribution centre at Hassangarh in Rohtak district. Established on an area of 5,14,000 sq ft, the warehouse was inaugurated by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today.

Takeover of RBI’s stake in SBI
Govt raises Rs 5,000 cr
New Delhi, June 12
The government has raised Rs 5,000 crore from the money market, outside its scheduled borrowing programme for the first half of the current fiscal, to takeover the RBI’s 59.73 per cent stake in State Bank of India by the month-end.

Govt clears 17 FDI proposals
New Delhi, June 12
The government today approved 17 FDI proposals involving total inflow of Rs 122.3 crore, including that of First Flight Couriers and Carlson Hotels.





EARLIER STORIES

 
Visitors walk past counterfeit liquor on display at the Beijing administration for industry and commerce centre for food safety test in Beijing
Visitors walk past counterfeit liquor on display at the Beijing administration for industry and commerce centre for food safety test in Beijing on Tuesday. China is a top violator of US food safety standards, with the US authorities last month rejecting 257 Chinese food shipments — far more than from any other country. — AFP

Reliance eyes refineries in US, West Asia
New Delhi, June 12
Reliance Industries Ltd is eyeing acquisition of oil refineries in the USA and West Asia as it looks at expanding its overseas portfolio.

Corporate bonds mop up Rs 92,000 crore
New Delhi, June 12
India Inc has mobilised a whopping Rs 92,355 crore through issue of corporate bonds in 2006-07, despite a major fall in the funds raised by state-run companies during the period, a latest report says.

Taj Group on expansion spree
Mumbai, June 12
Taj Group of Hotels will invest about Rs 1,000 crore for building four hotels in Bangalore and has submitted an Expression of Interest (EoI) to the consortium, which is modernising the Delhi airport, to build a world-class hotel in the capital city.

TRAI to review licensing norms
New Delhi, June 12
At a time when the telecom sector is witnessing large scale M&As and technological advancements, telecom regulator TRAI has embarked to review the existing licensing and regulatory framework that could lead to many key policy changes in the sector.

A model introduces the Vardia series of Toshiba HD DVD recorders, the ‘RD-A600’, at a press preview in Tokyo
A model introduces the Vardia series of Toshiba HD DVD recorders, the ‘RD-A600’, at a press preview in Tokyo on Tuesday. The new 600-gigabyte model has the ability to record two digital HD television programmes simultaneously. The ‘RD-A600’ and 300-gigabyte ‘RD-A300’ will be rolled out from June-end. — AFP

Hard-pressed leather exporters seek govt help
New Delhi, June 12
As their margins getting impacted by about 6 per cent due to hardening of the rupee, leather manufacturers today knocked at the doors of finance minister P Chidambaram seeking his intervention to help them remain competitive in the international market.

India, Sri Lanka to ink FTA
Colombo, June 12
The proposed Free Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and India is expected to be signed in March, 2008. The agreement will focus on offering opportunities to exploit potential in service sectors such as finance, tourism, health and education.

L&T bags Rs 991-cr order
Mumbai, June 12
Engineering major Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) today said it has received orders worth Rs 991.43 crore from public sector behemoths — Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) for construction related works.

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Manufacturing zooms 15.1 pc
Industrial output up 13.6 pc
FM hints at curbing demand in real estate sector
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 12
Stringent monetary measures that triggered hardening of interest rates does not seem to have impacted the growth story with India’s industrial output soaring to 13.6 per cent in April 2007 riding on a record growth of 15.1 per cent in the manufacturing sector.

As against the 13.6 per cent growth in the first month of this fiscal, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) was just 9.9 per cent in the corresponding month in 2006.

The manufacturing sector recorded a whopping 15.1 per cent growth in April 2007 as against 11 per cent in the same month last year, according to official data released here today.

The industrial growth has increased despite the core sector which contributes to 26 per cent of the IIP showing a low growth of 7.4 per cent in April 2007.

While the electricity generation went up to 8.7 per cent against 5.9 per cent, consumer non-durables sector recorded a very high growth rate of 21.9 per cent as against 9.4 per cent in April 2006.

On the other hand, consumer durable sector witnessed a deceleration of growth which dipped to 5.3 per cent in April 2007 as against 7.4 per cent in the corresponding month last year.

The IIP growth rate for the basic goods dipped to 8.9 per cent and for capital goods to 17.7 per cent from 9.3 per cent and 19.6 per cent, respectively.

The intermediate goods showed a good performance with a growth rate moving up to 12.6 per cent from 8.5 per cent in April 2006.

In terms of industries, as many as 16 out of the 17 industry groups have shown positive growth during the month of April 2007 as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

The industry group ‘wood and wood products’; furniture and fixtures’ have shown the highest growth of 92.2 per cent , followed by 55 per cent in ‘food products’ and 19.2 per cent in ‘machinery and equipment other than transport equipment’.

On the other hand, the industry group ‘other manufacturing industries’ has shown a negative growth of 5.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, finance minister P Chidambaram termed the high industrial growth in April 2007 as a “good start” for the current fiscal and asserted that the centre did not intend to curb demand except in “overheated” sectors such as real estate and housing.

“Our intention is not to constrain demand in every sector… Intention is to constrain demand in those sectors where there are signs of what you call overheating, an example of that will be real estate and housing,” Chidambaram said.

“But in other sectors, I don’t think there is anybody’s intention to reduce demand,” he added.

Asked whether he anticipated similar growth trend throughout the current fiscal, the finance minister said “Trends are encouraging, but it is too early to draw conclusion.”

The government was also worried of a slowdown in some sectors such as textiles in the wake of the strengthening of rupee against dollar.

“We will look into it”, he said noting that mining and paper were also not doing well.

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Country’s largest warehouse inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, June 12
Logistics service provider Indo-Arya Logistics today launched the country's largest regional distribution centre (RDC) at Hassangarh in Rohtak district. Established on an area of 5,14,000 sq ft, the warehouse was inaugurated by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today.

According to a press statement issued here today, the warehouse is large enough to accommodate six of the largest airplanes of the world or two Melbourne Cricket Club Grounds and can store 85,000 tonnes, making it the country’s largest warehouse.

Scientifically built with advance technology, the warehouse has been completed within six months. To make the warehouse environment-friendly and energy-efficient, Indo Arya has got a rainwater harvesting system installed to store 2.5 lakh litre of rainwater and gravity ventilators that run without electricity, besides 4 per cent natural sky light to save energy.

Yogesh Arya, director, Indo Arya, said: “There is a demand for such well-thought and system-oriented facility to cater to the needs of emerging and growing Indian economy. Such high technology warehousing provides great strategic competitive advantage and is core to a company's business.

Later in the year, the company plans to expand its regional distribution centres in a range of warehousing facilities, which are substantially huge in size and are at areas of geographical importance starting with Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai with a total space of 1 million sq ft. Within 3 years, Indo Arya has plans to expand its reach to six other cities of the country with total capacity of 2 million sq ft.

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Takeover of RBI’s stake in SBI
Govt raises Rs 5,000 cr

New Delhi, June 12
The government has raised Rs 5,000 crore from the money market, outside its scheduled borrowing programme for the first half of the current fiscal, to takeover the RBI’s 59.73 per cent stake in State Bank of India (SBI) by the month-end.

"Government has raised additional money through bonds basically to finance purchase of central bank's stake in the SBI," finance minister P Chidambaram told reporters today.

In his budget speech, the finance minister had announced that the government would take over the SBI from RBI at an estimated market value of Rs 40,000 crore to separate ownership and regulatory functions of the central bank.

Since the process has to be completed by June 30, the government has to arrange the money by that date.

Declining to specify, whether the government would raise additional money through bonds, he said, "We have to wait for the first instalment of the advance tax collection, which is due on June 15." The transaction, however, would be in the form of book entry and would not entail any net outgo from the exchequer. — PTI

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Govt clears 17 FDI proposals

New Delhi, June 12
The government today approved 17 FDI proposals involving total inflow of Rs 122.3 crore, including that of First Flight Couriers and Carlson Hotels.

The FDI projects approved by finance minister P Chidambaram included proposals of Starlight Real Estate, Quipo Telecom Infrastructure Kerstin Rohrig Bendrof, Amalgamated Plantations and DE Shaw Composite Investment, according to an official release.

Mumbai-based First Flight Couriers plans to induct 27.74 per cent equity by way of private placement from Dunearn Investment (Mauritius), entailing an inflow of Rs 4.12 crore.

The proposal of Carlson Hotels Asia Pacific entails setting up a joint venture Elbrus Builders Pvt Ltd for a hotel in Noida and involves an equity investment of Rs 2.6 crore.

The JV also includes Unitech and Lavenders.

Starlight Real Estate planned to bring Rs 42 crore for establishing a holding company for investing in various projects such as hotels, hospitals and SEZs, while Shantha Biotechnics sought foreign investment to undertake activities related to DNA-based biotech products. — PTI

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Reliance eyes refineries in US, West Asia


Gas from KG basin to cost $4.4 per mBtu

Reliance Industries’ gas from its prolific Krishan Godavari basin field will cost between $4.4 to 4.6 per million British thermal unit (mBtu), much on the expected lines and may get the government nod by next month.

Sources said the RIL formula links the price to Brent crude oil price, with a floor and cap of $25 per barrel and $65 per barrel respectively. At the maximum, the delivered price of gas will come to over $6.8 per mBtu in Maharashtra/Gujarat after adding the transportation cost, marketing margin and 4 per cent sales tax.

New Delhi, June 12
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is eyeing acquisition of oil refineries in the USA and West Asia as it looks at expanding its overseas portfolio.

“Operating a refinery, building a new one or upgrading an existing one is our biggest strength. There are takeover opportunities in the USA and we are certainly interested,” RIL CEO (oil and gas) P M S Prasad told reporters here.

Several refineries in the USA, he said, are up for sale and the company was studying at least a couple of them.

Prasad said none of the refineries, Reliance was looking at, belonged to Shell or Chevron. Reliance is vying with China National Petroleum Corp for a 230,000 barrels per day (11.5 million tons) refinery at Guatemala.

RIL, which owns India’s largest refinery off 660,000 barrels per day at Jamnagar in Gujarat and is building another 580,000 barrels per day refinery adjacent to it that will make it the world’s sixth largest refiner, is also looking at setting up refinery projects in west Asia.

It plans to set up a 50,000 barrels per day refinery in Yemen and is looking at opportunities in Libya, Oman and Iraq.

He said Reliance was looking at taking over oil and gas exploration acreage in Latin America and Australia. — PTI

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Corporate bonds mop up Rs 92,000 crore

New Delhi, June 12
India Inc has mobilised a whopping Rs 92,355 crore through issue of corporate bonds in 2006-07, despite a major fall in the funds raised by state-run companies during the period, a latest report says.

The total funds mobilised through issue of corporate bonds on private placement basis in 2007 increased by 13 per cent to Rs 92,355 crore as compared to Rs 81,847 crore in the previous fiscal, data complied by Prime Database shows.

“The major reason for this substantial increase was the continuing large mobilisation by all-India financial institutions and banks. Their raising went up by 13 per cent from Rs 61,614 crore to Rs 69,693 crore,” the report said.

However, a major fall in mobilisation came from public sector units (PSU), which declined by 43 per cent to Rs 6,178 crore from Rs 10,796 crore in the previous year.

Besides, state-level undertakings also recorded a fall by 15 per cent, down from Rs 889 crore to Rs 752 crore.

Interestingly, the private sector witnessed a significant growth as the mobilisation through corporate bonds on private placement basis, went up by 83 per cent from Rs 7,944 crore to Rs 14,540 crore.

Government organisations and financial institutions, put together, witnessed a decrease as it mobilised 84 per cent of the total amount, down from 90 per cent in the previous year.

Among the government organisations, all-India financial institutions/banks led with a 75 per cent share, followed by a 7 per cent share by PSUs, one per cent each by state financial institutions and state level undertakings, the report said.

“On an industry-wise basis, the financial services sector continued to dominate the market, raising Rs 82,982 crore, about 90 per cent of the total amount. Power ranked second with a seven per cent share (Rs 6,748 crore), followed by roads and highways,” Prime Database CEO Prithvi Haldea said.

The database reflects only such deals which have a tenor and put/call option of more than one year.

In addition to the above one-year tenor mobilisation of Rs 92,355 crore, a significant additional amount of Rs 34,435 crore was raised through 805 deals of bonds, having a tenor of less than one year, the report said. — PTI

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Taj Group on expansion spree

Mumbai, June 12
Taj Group of Hotels will invest about Rs 1,000 crore for building four hotels in Bangalore and has submitted an Expression of Interest (EoI) to the consortium, which is modernising the Delhi airport, to build a world-class hotel in the capital city.

"We will invest around Rs 1,000 crore for building four hotels in Bangalore, of which two are already under construction, while the ones in Devanahalli and Yashwantpur will take three years to complete," Indian Hotels vice-president (development) Sumit Guha said here.

He said the company has also submitted an EoI for building a top-class hotel in the vicinity of the airport. They have submitted the EoI to the Delhi Airport International Limited and are awaiting their nod.

Besides, the company has been allocated a site at Greater Noida for building a hotel, while it is keen on entering into a management contract for a hotel in Gurgaon.

The Group was also eyeing to enter hotel business overseas like Maldives, Mauritius, Colombo, Boston and Sydney, he said.

Guha said the Group was also planning to explore seven more locations in Mumbai and take its total room capacity to 2,000 in the commercial capital in the next five years. — PTI

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TRAI to review licensing norms

New Delhi, June 12
At a time when the telecom sector is witnessing large scale M&As and technological advancements, telecom regulator TRAI has embarked to review the existing licensing and regulatory framework that could lead to many key policy changes in the sector.

The exercise could decide on the fate of Reliance Communications’ application seeking permission to offer both GSM and CDMA-based mobile services under a single licence.

The company currently offers both the services in different circles under two different licenses, Reliance Telecom (GSM) and Reliance Communications (CDMA).

Initially, cellular licences were technology-specific allowing only GSM services, but later the licences were made technology neutral.

At present, spectrum allocation is based on technology chosen by the licensee. The watchdog has sought industry’s view on whether a licence of one technology could be allowed to get spectrum for other technology and if so how, at what price.

It also seeks views on criteria for spectrum allocation and if there is any need for additional roll-out. — PTI

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Hard-pressed leather exporters seek govt help
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 12
As their margins getting impacted by about 6 per cent due to hardening of the rupee, leather manufacturers today knocked at the doors of finance minister P Chidambaram seeking his intervention to help them remain competitive in the international market.

A leather exporters’ delegation led by Mukhtarul Amin, chairperson of Council for Leather Exports, impressed upon him the need for immediate intervention to prevent export orders going to China instead of India.

“The finance minister gave a patient and sympathetic hearing and we are hopeful that there will be some positive support,” Amin said.

He stated that the exporters, at present, are not in a position to book any future export orders as hardening of the rupee has made them uncompetitive as compared to China and other countries.

“Unless there is an immediate intervention from the government, exporters will be left in a lurch,” Amin said, adding that in the past two months, the rupee’s upward swing has impacted the margin of exporters by about 6 per cent.

Meanwhile, M Rafeeque Ahmed, president, All India Skin and Hide Tanners and Merchants Association, said: “We have presented our case before the finance minister and now it is up to the government to ensure necessary steps to save exporters.”

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India, Sri Lanka to ink FTA

Colombo, June 12
The proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Sri Lanka and India is expected to be signed in March, 2008.

The agreement will focus on offering opportunities to exploit potential in service sectors such as finance, tourism, health and education.

The implementation of FTA would throw open IT and BPO sectors. At present Sri Lanka annually produces 5,000 software engineers which would expand the opportunities in migration of the skilled labourers from Sri Lanka and will bring in more foreign exchange to the country.

With the aim of exploring business opportunities and strengthening the existing trade ties between India and Sri Lanka, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) (southern region) chairman P K Mohapatra had led a seven-member high-powered CII business delegation to Colombo early this month. — Agencies

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L&T bags Rs 991-cr order

Mumbai, June 12
Engineering major Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) today said it has received orders worth Rs 991.43 crore from public sector behemoths — Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) for construction related works.

L&T bagged the Rs 877 crore ONGC order for the NQ re-construction (NQRC) project in Mumbai High North fields.

NQRC is the largest brown-field project of its kind awarded in the offshore oil and gas sector in India.

The engineering construction and contracts division of L&T has also bagged Rs 114.43-crore order from SAIL for the turnkey construction of gas insulated substation and associated transmission network for steel major's Bhilai Steel Plant in Chhattisgarh, L&T said in a communique to the BSE. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

Religare tie-up
New Delhi, June 12
Financial services provider Religare has tied up with private sector lender IndusInd Bank to provide its Internet trading facility to the bank's customers apart from other offerings. The bank would offer a 3-in-1 benefit scheme to its savings account customers, including a savings account, a depository account and an Internet trading account by Religare, the release said. — PTI

Finnair
Mumbai, June 12
Finnair today said it will start five-day a week direct flight between Helsinki and Mumbai from June 27. “Our Indian business is growing enormously. Sensing the need, we plan to quadruple our flights from India in just a span of eight months since commencement of operations,” Finnair’s senior vice-president (corporate communications) Christer Haglund said. — PTI

Club One Air
Mumbai, June 12
Club One Air will invest $50 million within the next five years to acquire aircraft, of which two will be inducted in the current fiscal including a long-haul to fly overseas, besides planning to get listed by 2009, its senior official said today. — PTI

Cadila Healthcare
Mumbai, June 12
Cadila Healthcare today announced that it has received the US Food and Drug Administration approval for marketing its three products in the USA. “The group will market all three drugs through its US subsidiary Zydus Pharmaceuticals (USA) Inc.,” the company said. — PTI

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