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Deora expects IPI pipeline pact by mid-July
Decision on Mittal’s stake in HPCL refinery today

Noida, June 20
While the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline is expected to be finalised by mid-July, the Cabinet is taking up the petroleum ministry’s proposal to allow steel baron Lakshmi N Mittal to pick up 49 per cent stake in HPCL's Bathinda refinery, petroleum minister Murli Deora said today.

SEBI to set up investor protection fund
Mumbai, June 20
An investor protection fund to save gullible investors from defaulting member brokers will be set up by early July, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) chairman M Damodaran said today.

Kingfisher orders 50 Airbus aircraft
Paris, June 20
An aerial view of the Bourget airport shows an Airbus A380 and an Airbus tanker (background) in front of EADS-Airbus pavilion at the 47th Paris International Air Show on Wednesday. In the single largest order by a private Indian carrier, liquor baron Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines today signed a deal with European manufacturer Airbus Industrie to purchase 50 aircraft at an estimated $7.3 billion at list prices.

An aerial view of the Bourget airport shows an Airbus A380 and an Airbus tanker (background) in front of EADS-Airbus pavilion at the 47th Paris International Air Show on Wednesday. — AFP photo



EARLIER STORIES

  United, Ambanis were big, divided they are bigger
Mukesh AmbaniAnil Ambani New Delhi, June 20
Ambani clan and stock markets have a close affinity with each other and the proof lies in over four-fold jump in the market value of the companies owned by Mukesh and Anil in last two years notwithstanding their separation on June 18, 2005.


President and managing director, Ford India, Arvind Mathew, poses with the new Endeavour, a premium action sports utility vehicle, at its launch in New Delhi on Wednesday. It has a 2.5-litre duratorq engine and is priced in Delhi at Rs 14,72,000 for the 4X2 wheel drive variant and Rs 15,62,000 for the 4X4 drive variant.
President and managing director, Ford India, Arvind Mathew, poses with the new Endeavour, a premium action sports utility vehicle, at its launch in New Delhi on Wednesday. It has a 2.5-litre duratorq engine and is priced in Delhi at Rs 14,72,000 for the 4X2 wheel drive variant and Rs 15,62,000 for the 4X4 drive variant. — Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan

India, Singapore form business forum
Singapore, June 20
India-owned companies here came together today to form the India Business Forum (IBF) to portray the “voice of corporate India” as the number of such enterprises continue to expand their operations here in this island republic.

Hydel project awaits PPP route nod
Dharamsala, June 20
Parbati-Kol Dam hydro-electric project in Himachal Pradesh is awaiting the union government's nod for entering into public-private participation (PPP) in the power transmission line business. The project is pending approval from the finance ministry for the past over 18 months.

Focus on SMEs must to sustain growth: NMCC
New Delhi, June 20
To sustain robust growth of manufacturing sector, a greater focus on the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is a must, National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) chairperson V Krishnamurthy said.

A Sony employee displays a new hard-disk drive (HDD) camcorder "Handycam HDR-SR7", in Tokyo on Wednesday. The camcorder is equipped with a 6.1 mega-pixel CMOS image sensor, 5.4 - 54mm/f1.8 - 2.9 zoom lens and a 60GB built-in HDD which allows recording and play up to 22 hours 50 minutes of high-definition images.
A Sony employee displays a new hard-disk drive (HDD) camcorder "Handycam HDR-SR7", in Tokyo on Wednesday. The camcorder is equipped with a 6.1 mega-pixel CMOS image sensor, 5.4 - 54mm/f1.8 - 2.9 zoom lens and a 60GB built-in HDD which allows recording and play up to 22 hours 50 minutes of high-definition images. — AFP

Canadian Co inks pact with IGRUA
New Delhi, June 20
Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy (IGRUA) will now be run by Canadian Aviation Electronics (CAE) following the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today, whereby all the management and operations of the institute would go into the hands of the Canadian company.

Telecom user base up by 6.3 m
New Delhi, June 20
India added 6.3 million telecom subscribers during May with the total number of telephones in the country registering a growth of 46.9 per cent between June 2006 and May 2007 at 218.06 million.

HP attracts investments worth Rs 26,535 cr
Shimla, June 20
The hill state has attracted investments to the tune of Rs 26,535.84 crore since the centre had granted special package of incentives to encourage industries in 2003.

 

 

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Deora expects IPI pipeline pact by mid-July
Decision on Mittal’s stake in HPCL refinery today
Tribune News Service

Noida, June 20
While the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline is expected to be finalised by mid-July, the Cabinet is taking up the petroleum ministry’s proposal to allow steel baron Lakshmi N Mittal to pick up 49 per cent stake in HPCL's Bathinda refinery, petroleum minister Murli Deora said today.

"On June 27, there is a bilateral meeting and on June 28-29 there are trilateral meetings in New Delhi. We have to strike the deal by mid-July," he said on the sidelines of a function here today.

India and Pakistan officials are expected to meet on June 27 to sort out differences on transportation tariff and transit fee payable by New Delhi to Islamabad for allowing passage of the IPI pipeline to India.

A ministerial-level meeting is expected later in July, when the three countries could ink a Framework Agreement on the over $7-billion pipeline.

Talks have been stalled on that issue because of two factors: the price of Iranian gas and transit fee that India must pay to Pakistan.

Iran wants to sell natural gas to the two countries at $4.93 per mBtu, using the price of oil at $60 per barrel as a benchmark.

Pakistan has climbed down from its earlier demand of $1.57 per million British thermal unit to $0.70-0.75 per mBtu as transportation tariff. India is willing to pay not more than $0.55 per mBtu ($220 million annually).

On transit fee, Islamabad is seeking $0.493 per mBtu while New Delhi has offered $0.20 per mBtu.

"Transportation tariff and transit fee have huge bearing on the cost of gas. The price of gas as per the tariff proposed by us will be $5.68 per mBtu at Indo-Pak border. Had Pakistan's original demand been accepted, the price would have been $7 per mBtu," the official said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) will consider allowing Mittal to pick up 49 per cent stake in state-run HPCL's Bathinda refinery tomorrow.

The petroleum ministry has granted project-specific approval to Mittal Investments, the holding company of L N Mittal, to pick up stake in the refinery.

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board ( FIPB) has proposed that foreign direct investment in state-run refineries should be raised to 49 per cent from the existing 26 per cent.

The proposal was required as the current policy restricts foreign direct investment in public sector petroleum refineries to 26 per cent. The current policy also restricts PSU holding at 26 per cent in such projects, and makes it mandatory for the balance 48 per cent to be offered to the public.

HPCL had, on March 2, signed an agreement with Mittal Investments for the nine million tonne refinery in Punjab.

If Mittal gets the nod, HPCL will also hold 49 percent, and the remaining two percent will be held by financial institutions.

It would be the country's first ever major foreign investment in a refinery set up by a state-run firm.

Earlier, Deora said India will build crude oil reserves of five million tonnes at an estimated investment of Rs 24 million ($585 million) to address its rising energy demand.

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SEBI to set up investor protection fund

Mumbai, June 20
An investor protection fund to save gullible investors from defaulting member brokers will be set up by early July, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) chairman M Damodaran said today.

He, however, said the SEBI Act needs to be amended ahead of setting up such a fund. Indications were that the changes would be carried out by July.

Investor protection fund will be a consolidated fund that will be created from the money collected through fines and penalties, as per the announcement made by finance minister P Chidambaram in his Budget speech early this year, Damodaran said.

Speaking at the CII's Mutual Fund Summit 2007, the SEBI chairman said for the next 12 months, the regulator would focus on a nationwide investor education campaign.

Damodaran also exhorted the Association of Mutual Fund in India (AMFI) to play the role of a self-regulatory organisation (SRO) "as it was rightly placed to perform this duty in comparison to others." Given its skill-sets, AMFI could become the first SRO in this sector, he said.

"If you take AMFI as a trade body that represents asset management companies, I believe that it is uniquely positioned to play this role and to be the SRO," Damodaran said.

He also said SEBI would shortly convene a meeting of trustees of mutual fund houses in order to entrust them with greater responsibilities. — PTI

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Kingfisher orders 50 Airbus aircraft

Paris, June 20
In the single largest order by a private Indian carrier, liquor baron Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines today signed a deal with European manufacturer Airbus Industrie to purchase 50 aircraft at an estimated $7.3 billion at list prices.

The agreement, signed at the ongoing Paris Air Show by Mallya and Airbus COO John Leahy today, is for the acquisition of 15 A350-800 XWBs (extended wide-bodied), 10 A330-200s, 5 A340-500s and 20 aircraft from the A320 family, that is A-318s, A-319s, A-320s and A-321s.

Kingfisher is so far the only Indian airline to have ordered the world's largest aircraft A-380. The five A-380s it has ordered are expected to be delivered in 2011-12.

With these 50 wide-bodied and single-aisle aircraft, the airline promoted by the UB Group plans to operate new long haul routes and expand the existing ones. The deal value is at list prices, which does not take into account discounts.

After signing the deal at the Le Bourget airport here, Mallya said: "With the A340-500 and then the A350 XWB, we will be able to offer direct routes between India and the US for example.

"The A330 will allow us to expand services to Europe and the A320s will help us meet demand in our home region."

Kingfisher is yet to be permitted by the government to operate globally as it has not completed the mandatory five years of domestic operations, though it satisfies the other condition for international operations of having a 20-aircraft fleet. — PTI

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United, Ambanis were big, divided they are bigger

New Delhi, June 20
Ambani clan and stock markets have a close affinity with each other and the proof lies in over four-fold jump in the market value of the companies owned by Mukesh and Anil in last two years notwithstanding their separation on June 18, 2005.

Interestingly, the gains for investors during the two years of their separation have been more than doubled during the past two years they were together.

When the two brothers reached settlement to part ways two years ago, the combined investors’ wealth, measured in terms of market value of all listed companies, stood at about Rs 1,00,000 crore.

Two years later, the combined value of all listed entities of the two groups has soared over fourfolds to about Rs 4,30,000 crore, representing a gain of about Rs 3,30,000 crore.

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications (RCom), whose market cap today stands at about Rs 1,00,000 crore, was not a listed company two years ago, while Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Petroleum, with a current market cap of about Rs 42,000 crore, also made its debut on the bourses after the separation.

Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL), part of Anil group, also debuted on the stock exchanges after separation. It currently carries a market value of about Rs 5,000 crore.

RIL’s market cap has alone gained about Rs 1,50,000 crore to Rs 2,32,000 crore, from about Rs 82,000 crore two years ago.

The collective market value of the companies under Mukesh-fold — RIL, IPCL, RPL and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure Ltd (RIIL) — today stands at about Rs 2,80,000 crore, up from about Rs 86,200 crore two years ago from RIL, IPCL and RIIL.

In comparison, the combined market value of the four Reliance group companies under the control of Anil Ambani — RCom, Reliance Capital, Reliance Energy and RNRL — today stands at Rs 1,43,000 crore. — PTI

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India, Singapore form business forum

Singapore, June 20
India-owned companies here came together today to form the India Business Forum (IBF) to portray the “voice of corporate India” as the number of such enterprises continue to expand their operations here in this island republic.

Launching the IBF, visiting external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee described it as a “laudable initiative”, saying it reflected the emergence of an entrepreneurial India.

“The IBF is a commendable step in bringing together Indian companies in Singapore. As these companies compete in a challenging market, they inevitably face issues that need to be addressed collectively,” Mukherjee said addressing Indian and Singaporean entrepreneurs.

He added that the grouping could make a critical contribution to the appreciation of “Brand India” in Singapore. The IBF is the brainchild of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Singapore trade and industry minister Lim Hng Kiang said the last few years had witnessed the “renaissance of India” and evidence of this could be seen by the increasing number of Indian companies setting up operations or hub in Singapore.

“In 2001, there were 1100 Indian companies here, but by the end of 2006 this figure had shot up to 2600,” he said.

“Fora like the IBF will play a pivotal role in bringing together people of the two countries,” he added.

Within the IBF, various sub-groups will be set up in the areas of manufacturing, services, trade and financial services.

“There will be a lot of brainstorming by the entrepreneurs over business issues, policy recommendations etc,” a CII official said.

Currently, 30 companies have become part of the IBF, which will be chaired by Girija Pande, head, TCS Asia-Pacific based here.

Mukherjee, in his address, noted that India had to urgently address some challenges, which included ensuring a rapid expansion of employment opportunities, improving infrastructure, which is affecting both urban and rural India, and human development where he noted “our indices would only improve with more commitment of resources and effective delivery.”

On employment front, Mukherjee said it would be the country’s success in expanding employment “that will determine whether our demographic structure is to India’s advantage.”

To do that, growth in manufacturing would not only have to be sustained, but spread more evenly throughout India, he added.

The CEOs Forum, organised by the CII, will be co-chaired by Tata Group’s Ratan Tata and chairman of Singapore’s DBS Bank Koh Boon Hwee.

The members to this exclusive club will be a mixed group of top level CEOs from India and Singapore. The Indian CEOs, who will participate in the Forum include Ranbaxy’s Malvinder Singh, ICICI Bank’s K V Kamath and Bharat Forge’s Baba Kalyani, a CII official said. — PTI

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Hydel project awaits PPP route nod
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, June 20
Parbati-Kol Dam hydro-electric project in Himachal Pradesh is awaiting the union government's nod for entering into public-private participation (PPP) in the power transmission line business. The project is pending approval from the finance ministry for the past over 18 months.

Sources revealed that the files of the 1,600 MW Parbati-Kol Dam project were pending before the Public-Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) and the Department of Expenditure in the union finance ministry.

The Power Grid Corporation of India, which is the nodal agency in this new power transmission plan, had selected the private partner for the project through an international competitive bidding.

For this, the corporation had invited bids in February, 2004, and the final letter of selection was issued in December, 2005. However, the agreement between them was yet to be signed, the sources added.

It may be mentioned that as of now, the only public-private joint venture in power transmission by any Indian company is the Tata hydroelectric project in Bhutan between the Power Grid Corporation of India and Tata Power.

As per the country's transmission perspective plan for the 10th and 11th Plans, the union government had already decided to focus on the creation of a national grid in a phased manner by adding over 60,000 km of transmission network by 2012.

This integrated grid would have the capacity to carry an additional 1,00,000 MW of power by 2012. This would be the 60 per cent carrying capacity of the total power generated in the country. The existing inter-regional power transfer capacity is just 9,000 MW which is also to be further enhanced to 30,000 MW by 2012 through creation of transmission super highways.

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Focus on SMEs must to sustain growth: NMCC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 20
To sustain robust growth of manufacturing sector, a greater focus on the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is a must, National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) chairperson V Krishnamurthy said.

“There is no doubt that the manufacturing sector is experiencing phenomenal growth and there is a certain degree of resurgence, but for an all-inclusive growth and to sustain it for a long-term, it is imperative to focus on the development of millions of SMEs in India,” Krishnamurthy told newsperons after launching a national manufacturing portal, a public-private participation (PPP) initiative of NMCC in association with Microsoft Corportion (India) Pvt Limited.

He pointed out that the manufacturing sector, which has recorded a growth of 12.3 per cent in 2006-07, has the potential to contribute 35 per cent in India’s GDP in the next few years and if it grows at a steady pace, then it has the potential to generate eight to 10 million jobs annually.

“SMEs require proper attention as they are the backbone of India’s industrial development. They account for 75 per cent of labour force and about 35 to 40 per cent of Indian exports,” he said.

Pointing that only the big and some medium firms have enjoyed the growth, Microsoft India chairman Ravi Venkatesan said: “This growth can be short-lived if it does not trickle down to the lowest level.”

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Canadian Co inks pact with IGRUA
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 20
Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy (IGRUA) will now be run by Canadian Aviation Electronics (CAE) following the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today, whereby all the management and operations of the institute would go into the hands of the Canadian company.

In an effort to bring more professionalism into the training of pilots and to bring the academy out of the red, the government has taken the decision to outsource the entire operations. The MoU was signed in the presence of civil aviation minister Praful Patel and other senior officials in Paris during the ongoing Paris Air Show.

As per the MoU, CAE will assume full responsibility of the management of IGRUA including maintenance of aircraft, flying operations, ATC, runway maintenance, NAV aids and fire fighting facilities.

In an effort to fill the existing gap between the demand and supply of pilots in the country, capacity of IGRUA would be increased from the present 40 cadets to about 110 cadets per year and to eventually more than 200 cadets a year.

However, handing over the management and operations to CAE would not mean that the IGRUA management would lose control of the institute. IGRUA would be in a position to leverage CAE’s advanced training and management systems and the Canadian company would make available to relevant expertise, software and other tools/instruments to the institute.

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Telecom user base up by 6.3 m

New Delhi, June 20
India added 6.3 million telecom subscribers during May with the total number of telephones in the country registering a growth of 46.9 per cent between June 2006 and May 2007 at 218.06 million.

The GSM subscriber base increased by five million and CDMA by 1.5 million, while the fixed line segment declined by 0.2 million, according to the government statistics.

The overall teledensity reached 19.25 per cent in May.

The government has projected 250 million telephone subscribers by end of this year and 500 million by 2010, 440 million of them using mobiles.

Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh circles added more than 4.5 lakh subscribers each.

In the GSM segment, Tamil Nadu telecom circle added more than 4.1 lakh subscribers. In the CDMA segment, Maharashtra circle added 1.49 lakh subscribers during the period.

The growth of broadband connections improved further and at the end of April 2007, about 2.38 million broadband connections were provided and coverage of broadband connectivity by public sector service providers has reached 1,039 cities.

The total number of existing ISP licences is now 377, the data showed. — UNI

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HP attracts investments worth Rs 26,535 cr
Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 20
The hill state has attracted investments to the tune of Rs 26,535.84 crore since the centre had granted special package of incentives to encourage industries in 2003.

A government spokesman said here today that during this period, 9,316 units were approved and 3,208 units had already started production. He informed that over the next two years, when all the 9,316 approved industrial units come into production, three lakh persons would be employed. Besides, lakhs of people would get indirect employment in transport, hospitality and service sectors.

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BRIEFLY

Internet portal
Paris, June 20
Yahoo will launch its new generation Internet portal for mobile phones in 12 countries on Friday, the company said. Yahoo! Go Mobile 2.0 will be pre-installed on many new models that come out on the market in coming months, said Christophe Parct, director general of Yahoo France. The new portal will be launched in India, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, Italy, the Philippines, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam. — AFP

UTI dividend
Mumbai, June 20
UTI-Infrastructure Fund today announced a tax-free dividend of 35 per cent on its shares. The record date for the dividend is June 22 and the Net Asset Value (NAV) of the dividend would fall to the extent of payout and statutory levy, if any, the firm said in a statement here today. — UNI

Yahoo tie-up
Mumbai, June 20
Yahoo today said it has entered into a partnership agreement with Idea Cellular to distribute its mobile search service Yahoo!oneSearch in India. Yahoo!oneSearch, launched in Asia last month, gives consumers access to news, web images, financial information, weather conditions and websites. — PTI

BoM dividend
New Delhi, June 20
Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) chairman cum managing director M D Mallaya today handed over the dividend cheque of Rs 66.1 crore for the financial year 2006-07 to finance minister P Chidambaram. The shareholders of the bank, in the annual general meeting held on June 7, approved a dividend of 20 per cent. — TNS

Himbunkar pact
Kulu, June 20
The Himachal Pradesh Handloom and Handicraft Weavers Apex Cooperative Society Limited, popularly called Himbunkar, achieved the highest ever sales of Rs 1.42 crore during the last financial year. This was stated by industries and cooperative minister Kuldeep Kumar at a press conference at Mashoo resort, near Bhuntar, yesterday. He said they had fixed a target of Rs 1.6 crore for the current financial year. He said the society, comprising 290 societies of weavers, had tied up with the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) for the sale of exclusive products through show windows being put up at prominent hotels and locations under the HPTDC. — OC

Hafed unit
Chandigarh, June 20
The Haryana State Cooperative Supply & Marketing Federation Limited (Hafed) has decided to set up a new cattle feed plant at Rohtak at a cost of Rs 5 crore and the capacity of the same would be expanded. Sharing this information, Haryana Minister of State for Cooperation Meena Mandal said that the plant was expected to be commissioned by February next year. — TNS

Tata Indicom
Chandigarh, June 20
Tata Indicom has launched ‘InstaReturn’, a special offer that enables a low entry cost of Rs 499, for its Haryana-based post-paid customers. Under the offer, the customers do not have to pay any security deposit or additional cost for the SIM to subscribe to the services. The customer also gets the benefit of free local talk time worth Rs 499, which is valid for a span of 60 days. — TNS

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