SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

SBI may raise Rs 50,000 cr
Plans holding company for non-banking biz

Mumbai, June 26
Country's largest lender SBI today said it was likely to raise Rs 50,000 crore capital for its expansion plans in domestic and overseas markets in the next three years and proposed to form a holding company for its non-bank subsidiaries.

Saudi Telecom enters India
Buys 25 pc in Maxis for $3 b
New Delhi, June 26
Saudi Telecom Co (STC), Saudi Arabia's state-run operator, has entered the Indian market by buying 25 per cent equity in Malaysia's Maxis that owns a controlling stake in Chennai-based mobile operator Aircel.

Indo-Thailand FTA on track, says Thai PM
New Delhi, June 26
India and Thailand are close to concluding a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) covering trade in goods by 2010, Thailand Prime Minister General Surayud Chulanont said here today.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Thailand Prime Minister General Surayud Chulanont in New Delhi on Tuesday.—Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Thailand Prime Minister General Surayud Chulanont in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Cisco buys IronPort for $830 m
New Delhi, June 26
Software firm Cisco today said it has completed the buyout of California-based IronPort Systems Inc for $830 million.



EARLIER STORIES

 

Starbucks' Indian cuppa loses steam

US-based coffee retail chain Starbucks' plans to enter India has been delayed further with the government authorities asking the company to file a new application for getting approval for its proposed venture. Starbucks had announced its plans to enter India as early as in 2006
US-based coffee retail chain Starbucks' plans to enter India has been delayed further with the government authorities asking the company to file a new application for getting approval for its proposed venture. Starbucks had announced its plans to enter India as early as in 2006. — PTI

Package for exporters likely by July 10
New Delhi, June 26
The Prime Minister's Office has taken up the issue of rupee appreciation with finance ministry and a package for exporters that may include revision in the duty drawback rates is likely to be announced by July 10.

Rajasthan refinery still under study: ONGC
New Delhi, June 26
ONGC today said the proposal to build a 7.5 million tonne refinery in Rajasthan to process crude oil found by Cairn India was still under consideration but an alternate plan for a 4 million tonne refinery was found to be uneconomical.

World’s biggest mall on PC
New Delhi, June 26
Having changed the way people communicate with products like e-mail and instant messaging, Internet is now playing a key role in the shopping pattern by bringing world’s top brands under the click of the mouse.

GAIL, China Gas ink JV
New Delhi, June 26
GAIL (India) Ltd today signed a pact with China Gas Holdings Ltd to jointly pursue CNG, city gas projects, coal bed methane opportunities and pipeline and LNG projects in China, India and other countries.

Microsoft, Google seek more H-1B visas
Washington, June 26
With the revived comprehensive immigration reform bill expected to come up before the Senate this week, several high-tech companies like Microsoft have mounted a campaign to get more foreign skilled workers into the United States.

Ficci’s strategy for SMEs
New Delhi, June 26
To boost the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector, industry body Ficci has recommended a five-pronged strategy, which includes plugging of technology gaps and providing low-cost financing to the small units.

SEBI makes PAN mandatory in securities market
Mumbai, June 26
In a bid to improve transparency and check malpractices, market regulator SEBI today decided to discontinue the practise of quoting Unique Identification Number (UIN) and made Permanent Account Number (PAN) the only identification number for transactions in securities markets.

NHPC to invest Rs 27,000 cr in Arunachal
Itanagar, June 26
National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) would invest Rs 27,000 crore in Arunachal Pradesh in the next 10 years for development of mega hydro projects.

Dell to up headcount in India
Hyderabad, June 26
Leading global systems and services company Dell will increase its headcount in the country.

 

 

Top



 

 

 

SBI may raise Rs 50,000 cr
Plans holding company for non-banking biz

Mumbai, June 26
Country's largest lender SBI today said it was likely to raise Rs 50,000 crore capital for its expansion plans in domestic and overseas markets in the next three years and proposed to form a holding company for its non-bank subsidiaries.

"In the next three years, roughly Rs 50,000 crore of capital may be needed by SBI in addition to normal plough back of profits to meet our challenging business growth and expanding role overseas," State Bank of India chairman O.P. Bhatt told the annual general meeting (AGM) here.

SBI is also planning to float a subsidiary to manage pension funds under the New Pension Scheme for government employees, he said.

To achieve better financial planning and reduce the demand on SBI for capital infusion in some of its subsidiaries, Bhatt said, "We are considering setting up a holding company for our non-banking subsidiaries." To begin with, the bank's shareholdings in the asset management and insurance companies would form the holding company.

The holding company can be listed separately and capital raised for the use of the two companies, he said, adding "this will enable the bank to capture the value that was available in these businesses."

The bank has been shortlisted by PFRDA as one of the four players, he said adding pension funds offered a huge business opportunity as only 11 per cent of the current workforce of 45 million is covered by employment benefits.

In some countries, pension funds assets are as large as 65 per cent of GDP.

Bhatt said the need for capital was a crucial challenge facing the Indian banks today.

There are number of factors that would lead to additional capital requirements — continuing strong credit growth, migration to Basel II framework, consolidation in the domestic banking industry as well as acquisitions overseas.

Also, there would be a growing need for tier I capital which was important for international valuation of banks, he said emphasising that the banking system being dominated by public sector banks will face a constraint in issuing equity to the public.

This is because the minimum government shareholding cannot be relaxed or the government cannot take up its prorata share in future offerings, he said.

Bhatt said SBI's capital adequacy ratio, at 12.34 per cent as of March, was well above the 9 per cent mandated by the RBI and the 11 per cent target set by the board.

Of the 12.34 per cent, 8.01 per cent was Tier I capital which was in line with the best international practice. The bank also raised subordinated debt tier II of Rs 9,442 crore in addition to $400 million overseas by way of innovative perpetual debt instruments which qualifies for tier I capital.

The bank in FY'07 registered strong business growth with a 28 per cent increase in lending and a balance-sheet size crossing Rs 550,000 crore.

The gross and net non-performing assets (NPAs) declined during the year from 3.61 per cent to 2.92 per cent and from 1.88 per cent to 1.56 per cent, respectively. — PTI

Top

 

Saudi Telecom enters India
Buys 25 pc in Maxis for $3 b

New Delhi, June 26
Saudi Telecom Co (STC), Saudi Arabia's state-run operator, has entered the Indian market by buying 25 per cent equity in Malaysia's Maxis that owns a controlling stake in Chennai-based mobile operator Aircel.

STC, the largest telecom company in the West Asia, said it has acquired 25 per cent in Maxis Communication for $3 billion. Maxis, which is owned by T Ananda Krishnan, controls 74 per cent in Aircel. The balance 26 per cent in Aircel is held by the Reddy family of Apollo Hospitals group.

As Saudi Telecom now owns a quarter of Maxis, it would also hold an equivalent stake in Maxis' India operations.

Officials of Aircel or Maxis were not immediately available for comments on the development. When contacted, Apollo Hospitals Group finance director Sunita Reddy said: "We are not in a position to comment at present." Aircel will have to seek Foreign Investment Promotion Board's approval for this change in shareholding.

STC said in the statement it has entered the telecom markets of India, Malaysia and Indonesia with the $3.05 billion investment. The statement quoted STC chairman Muhammad Bin Suliman Al-Jasser as saying: "We will expand our footprint to over 1.4 billion people in these countries." — PTI 

Top

 

Indo-Thailand FTA on track, says Thai PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 26
India and Thailand are close to concluding a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) covering trade in goods by 2010, Thailand Prime Minister General Surayud Chulanont said here today.

“The countries are on track to conclude an FTA in near future, with a view to establishing the FTA covering trade in goods by 2010,” he said addressing the India-Thailand Business Summit, organised jointly by the CII, Ficci and Assocham here.

The Thai Prime Minister pointed out that the FTA covering trade in goods would lead to long-term mutual benefits in trade and investment and the partnership would be expanded further to cover technology know-how and expertise.

He announced the launch of the India-Thailand FTA road show which will be staged in major Indian cities during the visit of the Thai deputy foreign minister and a group of prominent Thai investors from June 28 to July 4. It would look into new business opportunities upon the coming into effect of the India-Thailand FTA.

Commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath underlined the need to give greater economic component to bilateral India-Thailand relations by diversifying the trade basket and enlarging the scope of the proposed FTA.

Top

 

Cisco buys IronPort for $830 m

New Delhi, June 26
Software firm Cisco today said it has completed the buyout of California-based IronPort Systems Inc for $830 million.

''The acquisition of IronPort will accelerate Cisco's growth opportunities. We can provide our customers more services as security threats and demands evolve,'' said Cisco's security technology group senior vice-president and general manager Richard Palmer.

IronPort's products and technology enable Cisco to extend its self-defending network strategy, including wide traffic inspection capabilities, ensuring a new approach that combines the depth of network-level security with the breadth of capabilities for inspecting e-mail, web and instant messaging traffic.

The evolution of the self-defending network strategy will enable Cisco to provide customers with integrated end-to-end IT security, he added. — UNI

Top

 

Package for exporters likely by July 10

New Delhi, June 26
The Prime Minister's Office has taken up the issue of rupee appreciation with finance ministry and a package for exporters that may include revision in the duty drawback rates is likely to be announced by July 10.

"After commerce minister Kamal Nath wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting help for exporters, they (PMO) are handling the issue with finance ministry. But the package will definitely be out by July 10," official sources said.

In the backdrop of a sharp rise of about 14 per cent in the value of rupee against the US dollar since August last year, exporters have been seeking relief to retain their competitiveness in the global market.

While the commerce ministry had on June 13 announced a number of concessions, including enhancement of Duty Entitlement Passbook Scheme (DEPB) and Duty Drawback by 5 per cent, the finance ministry is yet to notify the measures.

Nath had then taken up the issue with the Prime Minister and the exporters may finally get some reprieve. The package may also include waiver of service tax announced more than two months ago in the trade policy but is yet to be notified.

Other concessions pending approval of the Revenue Department include clearance of arrears of Terminal Excise Duty and Central Sales Tax by June 30. The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation was also asked to reduce its premia rates by up to 10 per cent. — PTI 

Top

 

Rajasthan refinery still under study: ONGC

New Delhi, June 26
ONGC today said the proposal to build a 7.5 million tonne refinery in Rajasthan to process crude oil found by Cairn India was still under consideration but an alternate plan for a 4 million tonne refinery was found to be uneconomical.

Besides the above proposal, a parallel exercise was undertaken by the ONGC to evaluate the viability of downsizing the refinery to 4 million tonne capacity with a view to containing the capital expenditure.

A smaller refinery was being contemplated to process crude oil near the production site, eliminating the cost for laying a pipeline for exports and extending the availability of Barmer crude at a reduced rate of production of 80,000 barrels a day.

Cairn India is to begin production of crude oil from Rajasthan fields in first quarter of 2009. — PTI

Top

 

World’s biggest mall on PC

New Delhi, June 26
Having changed the way people communicate with products like e-mail and instant messaging, Internet is now playing a key role in the shopping pattern by bringing world’s top brands under the click of the mouse.

While a number of companies seeking to sell their products on the world wide web are establishing their online stores, they are also warming up to another route being offered by firms like eBay, which presents itself to the buyers and sellers as “the world’s biggest shopping mall”.

Promising access to over 20 lakh registered users across 670 cities and 25 lakh unique visitors a month in India alone, eBay is attracting brands like Microsoft, Canon and Sangini as well as small entrepreneurs to set up shops on its website.

The California-based online trading platform and auction giant, which has a market capitalisation of over $43 billion and annual turnover of about $6 billion, is providing similar platforms across all the major countries such as the USA, the UK and European nations. Indian portals like Indiatimes.com and Rediff.com also offer similar platform.

While the cost of setting up and running a store in a physical shopping mall could easily run into lakhs of rupees, an online shop comes at a fraction of this price and holds huge promise due to Internet’s growing penetration.

“The cost for owning a retail store on eBay India is as low as Rs 200 per month, besides a fee equivalent to 5 to 10 per cent of the selling price for each product sold,” the company’s country manager Rajan Mehra said.

For buyers also, this makes a better value proposition as they get various brands on a similar platform, as compared to going to the separate web stores of the individual brands, the company says. Besides, nearly all the brands on eBay stores offer attractive offers and discounts, he added.

“No doubt, we are the world’s largest mall with goods worth over $52 billion traded in a year,” Mehra said. This translates into transactions worth over $1,600 (about Rs 70,000) in a second.

“Many brands have set up shop or started listing on eBay India in a bid to attract buyers from small towns in India as well as time starved metro buyers,” eBay (India) corporate communications manager Deepa Thomas said. — PTI

Top

 

GAIL, China Gas ink JV

New Delhi, June 26
GAIL (India) Ltd today signed a pact with China Gas Holdings Ltd to jointly pursue CNG, city gas projects, coal bed methane opportunities and pipeline and LNG projects in China, India and other countries.

GAIL director (finance) R K Goel and China Gas managing director Liu Ming signed an agreement to set up a 50:50 joint venture (JV) company, a company press release said here.

The JV could look into jointly working in the area of modular LNG systems which China Gas had been using, GAIL chairman U D Choubey said.

The board of JV company would comprise of four directors, two from each company. — PTI

Top

 

Microsoft, Google seek more H-1B visas

Washington, June 26
With the revived comprehensive immigration reform bill expected to come up before the Senate this week, several high-tech companies like Microsoft have mounted a campaign to get more foreign skilled workers into the United States.

Bill Gates and Steven A. Ballmer of Microsoft have led a parade of high-tech executives to Capitol Hill, urging lawmakers to provide more visas for temporary foreign workers and permanent immigrants who can fill critical jobs, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Google has reminded senators that one of its founders, Sergey Brin, came from the Soviet Union as a young boy. To stay competitive in a "knowledge-based economy," company officials have said, Google needs to hire many more immigrants as software engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists.

High-tech companies want to be able to hire larger numbers of well-educated, foreign-born professionals who, they say, can help them succeed in the global economy, it said.

The Senate bill would expand the number of work visas for skilled professionals, but high-tech companies say the proposed increase is not nearly enough. Several provisions of the Senate bill are meant to enhance protections for American workers and to prevent visa fraud and abuse.

The proposed "point system" to evaluate immigrants seeking green cards would reward people who have advanced degrees and job skills needed in the United States. But the high-tech companies were upset because the bill would have stripped them of the ability to sponsor specific immigrants for particular jobs, the Times said.

Under a proposed amendment, 20,000 green cards would be set aside each year for immigrants of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers and certain managers and executives of multinational corporations.

The number of green cards for employer-sponsored immigrants would gradually decline, to 44,000 in the fifth year from 115,000 in each of the first two years. No green cards would be set aside for employer-sponsored immigrants after that.

Many high-tech companies bring in foreign professionals on temporary H-1B visas. The government is swamped with petitions. On the first two days of the application period in April, it received more than 123,000 petitions for 65,000 slots.

Under current law, up to 20,000 foreigners who earn a master's degree or higher from an American university are generally exempt from the annual limit on new H-1B visas.

The amendment would also establish a new exemption, providing 20,000 additional H-1B visas for people who have earned advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics from a university outside the United States. — IANS

Top

 

Ficci’s strategy for SMEs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 26
To boost the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector, industry body Ficci has recommended a five-pronged strategy, which includes plugging of technology gaps and providing low-cost financing to the small units.

The strategy calls for plugging of technology gaps coupled with quality upgradation, low-cost financing, linkages between Indian and overseas SME clusters, networking support for gaining access to new markets and information on new products and technologies and provision of institutional support for training and skill development.

The industry chamber said the cluster development approach should move up the value chain to a new trajectory by integrating the five suggested elements.

While suggesting a five-pronged cluster development strategy, it said the lack of an inter-institutional synergy, dearth of committed NGOs and industry associations, paucity of good consultants and service providers have led to limited success of the various initiatives undertaken so far.

The chamber is of the view that the comprehensive strategy could be applied to select clusters at different locations with varied product group and based on the experience, the developmental model could be replicated in other clusters.

Large private sector needs to be involved in the developmental programmes, especially in the areas of capital intensive common facility services, it said.

The availability of finances at a reasonable cost is the core issue in the context of modernisation of SMEs. Therefore, the government needs to make available low-cost funds for effecting modernisation of clusters, Ficci said.

Fostering an organic linkage between Indian clusters and similar product cluster overseas would be of immense help. Networking can play a dominant role in supporting SMEs for gaining access to new markets and information on new products and technologies, which may be difficult for them to achieve on their own.

Programmes for encouraging industry and industry associations to set up their own training facilities need to be devised, the release added.

Top

 

SEBI makes PAN mandatory in securities market

Mumbai, June 26
In a bid to improve transparency and check malpractices, market regulator SEBI today decided to discontinue the practise of quoting Unique Identification Number (UIN) and made Permanent Account Number (PAN) the only identification number for transactions in securities markets.

“It has been decided to discontinue with the requirement of UIN,” the regulator said in a communication to all stock exchanges, NSDL, CDSL and registered intermediaries.

PAN will be the sole identification for all participants in securities market, irrespective of the transaction amount.

SEBI also asked the bourses to inform brokers, market participants and clearing members about the new regulations by disseminating the information on their websites.

The move is expected to check malpractices noticed in public offers by companies while ensuring compliance with tax norms. — PTI 

Top

 

NHPC to invest Rs 27,000 cr in Arunachal

Itanagar, June 26
National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) would invest Rs 27,000 crore in Arunachal Pradesh in the next 10 years for development of mega hydro projects.

This was announced by the company's CMD S.K. Garg after signing a revised MoA with the state government for development of three more projects with a total capacity of 4,500 MW.

Garg handed over a cheque for Rs 225 crore as advance to Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, saying this was the first time that such a large amount was given by any organisation to a state government as advance.

The entire amount, he said, would be used by the state government to revive the state-owned Arunachal Pradesh Cooperative Apex Bank lying non-functional for the past two years because of indiscriminate disbursement of loans.

He said of the projects, the 3,000-MW Dibang hydel project would be the biggest in the country when completed by 2016. Two projects of 750 MW each would be located in Tawang.

Garg said that NHPC has already spent Rs 1,700 crore on the 2,000-MW Lower Subansiri project in the state, which is by far the biggest in the country.

Arunachal Pradesh, he said, would become the power house of the country with a potential of over 55,000 MW hydro power potential.

The state has already signed MoUs and MoAs for a total capacity of around 30,000 MW, including 10,230 MW with PSUs like NHPC on seven projects.

All these projects were likely to be completed by the end of the 12th Plan period. — PTI 

Top

 

Dell to up headcount in India

Hyderabad, June 26
Leading global systems and services company Dell will increase its headcount in the country.

Dell, which has a presence in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Gurgaon is expected to increase its headcount from 14,000 to 20,000 by next year in view of the YoY growth of 70 per cent, Dell International Services India managing director Romi Malhotra said here today.

He said the company would double its revenue in the near future but refused to specify a time frame.

Malhotra said the $-32 million manufacturing plant at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu would be operational in next two months and is expected to roll out 4 lakh computers every year.

Earlier, Malhotra inaugurated the second Dell computer centre in the city for the underprivileged children towards its corporate social responsiblity.

He said "this is our global citizenship and our vision of bridging the digital divide by utilizing Dell technology".— PTI

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Jet profit dips
Mumbai, June 26
Jet Airways today announced that its profit has dipped by 61 per cent to Rs 1,391 million. The company has posted a net profit of Rs 880.1 million for the quarter ended March 31 as compared to Rs 2,271.2 million for the corresponding period a year ago. The board of directors has recommended a dividend of 60 per cent for its shareholders. — UNI

3i Infotech
New Delhi, June 26
3i Infotech Ltd today said it has raised $100 million through an issue of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds for expansion. The zero coupon bonds will be convertible at a price of Rs 331.87 a share, or can be redeemed on the expiry of five years at a yield-to-maturity of 7.05 per cent, 3i Infotech said. — UNI

OWM issue
Ludhiana, June 26
Oswal Woollen Mills Ltd (OWM) has decided to defer its Rs 150-170 crore initial public offer (IPO) till October. “We, first, want to focus on our ongoing consolidation and expansion programme of the company. That is why we have decided to defer our IPO for the time being and plan to come out either during October or November,” OWM director (finance and tax) Dinesh Gogna said. — PTI

Lotus India
Mumbai, June 26
Lotus India AMC today launched a closed-ended debt scheme to generate income by investing in a portfolio of debt and money market instruments normally maturing in line with the duration of the scheme. Lotus India Fixed Maturity Plan-3 Months-Series XII offers two options - growth and dividend reinvestment. It would open on June 27 and would close on June 29.— PTI

Birla MF
Mumbai, June 26
Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund has announced a 40 per cent dividend in the dividend plan of Birla Frontline Equity Fund, subject to availability of distributable surplus. The record date for the dividend is June 29. Investors would not have to pay tax on the dividend, a Birla MF release said here. — PTI

UB net jumps
New Delhi, June 26
United Breweries Ltd today said its net profit during the year ended March 31 jumped over 235 per cent to 65.09 crore, compared to Rs 19.4 crore in the previous year. Earning per share increased from Rs 0.47 per share to Rs 2.62 during the fiscal. The company also achieved market capitalisation of $1.7 billion during the same period. The board of directors have recommended payment of additional dividend of 10 per cent making a total dividend payout of 25 per cent for the year ended March 31. — PTI

Top

 



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |