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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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B U S I N E S S

Bathinda refinery to be completed in 42 months
New Delhi, July 4
The nine million metric tonne per annum (MMTPA) Bathinda refinery is expected to be completed in 2010-11, six month ahead of schedule, a senior HPCL official said here today.
Union minister for petroleum and natural gas Murli Deora (left) shakes hands with minister of state for commerce and industry Ashwani Kumar as opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Rajinder Kaur Bhattal looks on, in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Union minister for petroleum and natural gas Murli Deora (left) shakes hands with minister of state for commerce and industry Ashwani Kumar as opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Rajinder Kaur Bhattal looks on, in New Delhi on Wednesday. — PTI

Another international airport for NCR on cards
New Delhi, July 4
The ever increasing pressure on Indira Gandhi International Airport could reduce in near future with the ministry of civil aviation today stepping up construction of another international airport in the National Capital Region (NCR) at Greater Noida.

Nod to 10 FDI proposals
New Delhi, July 4
The centre today cleared 10 FDI proposals worth Rs 2,339 crore, including that of Morgan Stanley Mauritius Company Limited, Rakindo Developers pvt Limited and EMAP Publishing (Netherland) BV.

Sachin Tendulkar Tendulkar to bat for Aviva
Prague, July 4
Aviva India Life Insurance has announced the signing of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar as the brand ambassador.

CNG Santro unveiled
New Delhi, July 4
Car maker Hyundai Motor India today launched alternate fuel variant of its flagship hatchback Santro-CNG at a starting price of Rs 3,25,361 (ex-showroom Delhi).


Actress Urmila Matondkar at the launch of Millionaire Club Card, in Mumbai late on Tuesday.
Actress Urmila Matondkar at the launch of Millionaire Club Card, in Mumbai late on Tuesday. — PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 

Maruti to export Alto to UAE
New Delhi, July 4
Small is beautiful. This is the gospel that country’s largest car maker Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) is trying to evangelise in its export markets - even to the sheikhs of the Arab world known for their penchant for fuel guzzling humongous SUVs, as it steps up to boost overseas sales.

Rupee at 9-year high
Mumbai, July 4
The rupee today rallied to a new high in over nine years at 40.45/46 against the dollar on expectations of robust foreign fund inflows in the near future and lack of intervention by the central bank.

IDBI ups interest rates
Mumbai, July 4
Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) has hiked the interest rates on Foreign Currency Non-Resident (Banks) Scheme deposits (FCNR(B)) and Non Resident External Deposits(NRE).

High Court stays CIC order
Bourses under RTI Act
New Delhi, July 4
The Delhi High Court today stayed an order of Central Information Commission (CIC) bringing stock exchanges under the purview of Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Breather to Karvy
Mumbai, July 4
Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) today stayed a SEBI order banning domestic brokerage firm Karvy Stock Broking Ltd (KSBL) from acting as a broker for three months and as depository participant till December 31.

Tarapur achieves full capacity
Mumbai, July 4
The third unit at Tarapur Atomic Power Plant (TAPP-3), which was activated last year, has reached 100 per cent capacity, according to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).

Vectra to launch chopper service
New Delhi, July 4
Vectra Aviation will launch helicopter charter services across the country on July 15, a senior company official said yesterday.

Another in PAN cradle
Mumbai, July 4
Two sets of parents from the eastern and western parts of the country are vying for records of a different sort — the youngest Indian to have a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card.

RCom plans to link SMEs
Bangalore, July 4
Reliance Communications (RCom) today announced plans to roll out business Internet services for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in top 10 cities and 200-odd tier-II cities in India.

UTI Bank to ramp up headcount
New Delhi, July 4
UTI Bank, the country’s third largest private sector lender, will ramp up its workforce by adding 4,500 persons to its present strength this fiscal as part of an aggressive expansion plan for its retail business.

Mansingh takes charge of oil regulator
New Delhi, July 4
The chairperson of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board L Mansingh today assumed charge of the four-member board, which would systemise the downstream activities of the sector.

 

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Bathinda refinery to be completed in 42 months
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
The nine million metric tonne per annum (MMTPA) Bathinda refinery is expected to be completed in 2010-11, six month ahead of schedule, a senior HPCL official said here today.

“Normally a new refinery requires 48 months, but we hope to complete the project six month ahead of the schedule,” said B S Sant, managing director, Guru Gobind Singh Refinery Ltd (GGSRL).

Explaining the progress of the HPCL-Mittal joint venture refinery project to a delegation led by Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, he said the project would be monitored by independent international consultants.

Sant said the financial closure and finalisation of licences would be done by the end of this month and advance ordering of the long lead items was being done.

He added that the Rs 18,919 crore grassroot refinery would have a captive power plant of 165 MW and a 1,011 km crude oil pipeline from Mundra in Gujarat to Bhatinda. It would have flexibility to process a wide variety of crude oils including heavy, sour and other opportunity crudes, high value added products like LPG, naphtha, petrol, diesel and aviation fuel.

Sant said the built-in cost would be in the debt equity ratio of 1.5:1 i.e. equity of Rs 7,155 crore and Rs 10,733 crore debt.

Mittal Investments, who have become joint venture partners in the project after several other firms parted ways with HPCL, would hold 49 per cent equity along with the state run firm holding an equal share. The balance two per cent would be held by Indian financial institutions.

He said the crude import through VLCC (very large crude carriers) would reduce the transportation cost. The refinery would cater to the demand in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and the NCR region.

Oil ministry seeks bonds

Meanwhile, the petroleum ministry has sought oil bonds worth Rs 19,000 crore to partly compensate state run firms from selling fuel below the cost as the international oil prices have reached the highest level this year.

“We anticipate under-realisation (on sale of petrol, diesel, domestic lpg and kerosene) of around Rs 55,000 crore in 2007-08. About Rs 19,000 crore out of this are being sought to be met through issue of oil bonds,” petroleum secretary M S Srinivasan told reporters here.

About Rs 18,000 to 19,000 crore would be contributed by upstream firms like the ONGC and GAIL for subsidising fuel and the balance amount of under-realisation would be absorbed by refining-cum-retailing firms IOC, BPCL, and HPCL.

Last fiscal, the government had issued oil bonds worth Rs 24,121 crore and an equivalent amount was contributed by upstream firms.

“We have begun consultations with the finance ministry on the issue and we will meet the finance minister on July 13,” he said.

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Another international airport for NCR on cards
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
The ever increasing pressure on Indira Gandhi International Airport could reduce in near future with the ministry of civil aviation today stepping up construction of another international airport in the National Capital Region (NCR) at Greater Noida.

The ministry officials said they had received a techno-feasibility study and project report from the Uttar Pradesh government for setting up an airport at Greater Noida. The ministry has considered the report, but it could take approximately three months to get an ‘in-principle’ approval for the airport from the central government under the prevailing circumstances.

It has, however, given an assurance to the Uttar Pradesh government that the proposal would be considered with a positive view.

This would effectively mean that like West Bengal, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the state of Uttar Pradesh would also be able to have direct links to foreign destinations, besides hosting domestic flights as an alternative for NCR.

According to reports, the government is expected to give its clearance for the international airport on the lines of the ‘greenfield airports’, which have been approved for Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

It will be a joint venture with a private party selected through a competitive bidding process. The equity composition such that the private party would hold 74 per cent of the stake in the airport while the state government, through its sponsor, would hold 13 per cent stake. The rest of the 13 per cent would be held by the other government agencies such as the Airports Authority of India.

The proposal for setting up an airport at Greater Noida was first received by the ministry of civil aviation from the Uttar Pradesh government in 2001 and the technical approval for the selected site was conveyed in 2003.

The proposed site, identified for the construction of the Taj International Aviation Hub by the UP government, is nearly 72 km from Delhi and 120 km from Agra. About 1,500 hectares of land has been identified for the construction of the project. As per the feasibility report of the state government, the site has been selected keeping in mind all other strategic points in the nearby areas and so as to have the least environmental impact.

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Nod to 10 FDI proposals
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
The centre today cleared 10 FDI proposals worth Rs 2,339 crore, including that of Morgan Stanley Mauritius Company Limited, Rakindo Developers pvt Limited and EMAP Publishing (Netherland) BV.

Union finance minister P Chidambaram approved these proposals recommended by Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in its meeting held on June 22.

The FDI of Morgan Stanley – worth Rs 1,894.41 crore – is to invest up to $465 million in a mix of equity and compulsorily convertible preference shares and permitting Morgan Stanley to carry on securities sales, trading and broking, merchant banking and corporate advisory services and other NBFC activities.

Rakindo’s Rs 407.11 crore proposal is to set up a JV in the name of Rakindo Developers Pvt Limited and act as a holding company to make downstream investment in construction development projects.

EMAP’s proposal, worth Rs 4.81 crore, is for induction of foreign equity up to 40.1 per cent by EMAP publishing, Netherlands in M/S Next Gen Publishing Ltd engaged in publishing of magazine ‘Car India’.

Among other proposals cleared by the centre include Furukawa Electric Company Limited, Japan’s Rs 19.64 crore proposal to set up a JV company with a foreign equity of up to 51 per cent.

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Tendulkar to bat for Aviva

Prague, July 4
Aviva India Life Insurance has announced the signing of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar as the brand ambassador.

Announcing this at a media summit here, Aviva India managing director Bert Paterson said: “Aviva shared values like commitment, honesty, forward thinking, security and trust typically associated with Tendulkar.” Tendulkar will feature in Aviva’s all advertising campaigns and promotional events, he added. — UNI

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CNG Santro unveiled

New Delhi, July 4
Car maker Hyundai Motor India today launched alternate fuel variant of its flagship hatchback Santro-CNG at a starting price of Rs 3,25,361 (ex-showroom Delhi).

The CNG powered Santro would be pitted against rival Maruti's Wagon R LPG duo, which comes at a base price of Rs 3.49 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

The CNG kit would be retrofitted at the dealership level and the alternate fuel variant has been introduced only in Delhi.

The company has introduced four variants of CNG Santro — XK (non A/c), XL, XO and AT (automatic transmission).

CNG Santro would also come with a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty. — PTI

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Maruti to export Alto to UAE

New Delhi, July 4
Small is beautiful. This is the gospel that country’s largest car maker Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) is trying to evangelise in its export markets - even to the sheikhs of the Arab world known for their penchant for fuel guzzling humongous SUVs, as it steps up to boost overseas sales.

The company, which has set an export target of around 2,20,000 units by 2010, is spreading into new markets like the UAE, where it has just started shipments of its best selling small car Alto, and Philippines and Indonesia.

Besides, MUL is also intensely focusing on penetrating deeper into the existing export market, where in many of the cases it is pitched against cheap imported second hand big cars.

“Our strategy has been to promote the small car and how a brand new fuel efficient vehicle is better and more environment-friendly than those second hand imported big cars through our distributors in those markets,” MUL managing director Jagdish Khattar said.

Already the strategy seems to be working for Maruti and this fiscal’s target of 50,000 units from exports is on track. — PTI

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Rupee at 9-year high

Mumbai, July 4
The rupee today rallied to a new high in over nine years at 40.45/46 against the dollar on expectations of robust foreign fund inflows in the near future and lack of intervention by the central bank.

The Indian unit had hit an intra-day high of 40.28 on May 28 this year and the previous high was at 39.85 a dollar recorded on May 13, 1998.

It gained nine paise today over the previous close and garnered a total 55 paise in the last five straight sessions.

In active trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the domestic currency opened slightly better at 40.52/54 per dollar from yesterday’s close of 40.54/55 a dollar.

It remained stable in morning trade on expectation of intervention by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at 40.50 level.

Sustained bullish equity market also helped the rupee to rally further. — PTI

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IDBI ups interest rates

Mumbai, July 4
Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) has hiked the interest rates on Foreign Currency Non-Resident (Banks) Scheme deposits (FCNR(B)) and Non Resident External Deposits(NRE).

The revised rates for FCNR(B) deposits in dollar are 4.68 per cent for deposits having tenure of one year to less than two years and two years to less than three years respectively.

For deposits having maturity period of three years to less than four years, the rate has been fixed at 4.71 per cent.

The revised rates are 5.43 per cent and 5.46 per cent for deposits having maturity periods of one year to less than two years and three years respectively.

The revised rates have come into effect from July 1, IDBI said. — UNI

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High Court stays CIC order
Bourses under RTI Act

New Delhi, July 4
The Delhi High Court today stayed an order of Central Information Commission (CIC) bringing stock exchanges under the purview of Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Acting on a petition by the National Stock Exchange, a Bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed also issued notices to market regulator SEBI, ministry of finance and CIC seeking their replies. The court asked them to submit affidavit within four weeks and file rejoinder, if any, in four weeks thereafter.

The NSE had challenged CIC's decision of June 7 to open up the bourses under the transparency legislation.

Gopal Subramanium, the counsel for NSE, contended that bourses did not come within the definition of the state and so, cannot come under the purview of RTI Act.

Subramanium, who is also additional solicitor general, said information under RTI can be sought only against the government or its agencies and not against a company. NSE is a company incorporated under the Companies Act, he said.

Organisations which come within the ambit of RTI Act should be constituted, controlled and substantially funded by the central or the state government. Stock exchanges do not fit in the definition and their board of directors are not appointed by the government, he added.

Contesting the government's view it had no control on bourses, the SEBI counsel said it monitored exchanges and the regulator was a government body.

The CIC had last month on a plea by two investors against NSE and Jaipur Stock Exchange directed all bourses to comply with RTI rules within three months. — PTI

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Breather to Karvy

Mumbai, July 4
Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) today stayed a SEBI order banning domestic brokerage firm Karvy Stock Broking Ltd (KSBL) from acting as a broker for three months and as depository participant till December 31.

After listening to counsels of both KSBL and SEBI, SAT's three-member Bench of Justice N.K. Sondhi, Arun Bhargava and Uttpal Bhattacharya stayed the regulator's order of June 22.

As per the SEBI order, the registration certificate of KSBL, a member of BSE, NSE and Hyderabad Stock Exchange, was to be suspended for three months on the expiry of 21 days from the date of the order.

The regulator had also prohibited Karvy Computershare Pvt Ltd from acting as a registrar to any issue for nine months. — PTI

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Tarapur achieves full capacity
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 4
The third unit at Tarapur Atomic Power Plant (TAPP-3), which was activated last year, has reached 100 per cent capacity, according to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).

Full power from the 540 MW plant is being fed to the national electricity grid from Tuesday onward, officials said.

While TAPP-3 has begun to operate at 100 per cent capacity, other nuclear power plants in the country are facing severe shortage of fuel. Observers say India’s hurry to sign nuclear deal with the USA has been the result of a severe shortage of domestically produced nuclear fuel.

The Uranium Corporation of India has been mandated with sourcing fuel for India’s nuclear power plants. The company is scouring sites in Orissa and Meghalaya for natural sources of uranium.

Like TAPP-4, TAPP-3 has pressurised heavy water reactors and an installed capacity of 1,080 MW. Both use natural uranium fuel and heavy water as moderator as well as coolant.

NPCIL is charging power at the rate of Rs 2.65 per unit. Maharashtra is the biggest beneficiary from the new power units bagging about 40 per cent of the power generated from TAPP-3 and 4.

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Vectra to launch chopper service

New Delhi, July 4
Vectra Aviation will launch helicopter charter services across the country on July 15, a senior company official said yesterday.

The company aims to cover locations in north India initially, connecting destinations like Agra, Jaipur, Ludhiana, Dehradun, Rishikesh, Chandigarh, Simla, Hemkund Sahib, Badrinath and Kedarnath.

Vectra’s subsidiary HeliAir will offer last mile convenience with five-seater and 12-seater choppers, said its marketing manager Severine Rodosavljevic.

“India, with its diverse terrain and varied weather conditions is ideally suited for helicopter travel with many applications like private and corporate charters, heli-tourism, religious tourism, medical and emergency services,” she said.

HeliAir will start operations with three flying machines and increase the fleet size to 14 in coming years to connect similar hubs in major metro cities. Vectra operates a six million euro facility for maintenance, repair and overhaul services for Eurocopter, an EADS company. — UNI

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Another in PAN cradle
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 4
Two sets of parents from the eastern and western parts of the country are vying for records of a different sort — the youngest Indian to have a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card.

One day after a Rourkela-based couple, journalist Saroj Rout and Geetanjali, bagged a PAN card for their three-month old son Ayush, a Mumbai-based stock broker Sameer Thacker said the honour should go to his son Krishshey. The infant managed to bag the PAN card in March this year when he had just turned two months old. Now at five months, the baby happily uses the strip of plastic for some oral gratification before journalists.

Both parents insist that their babies would be earning money before uttering their first syllables and would, therefore, require a PAN card.

The Orissa-based couple say their son would feature in advertisements for which he would be paid a fee and should therefore be treated as a tax assessee. Krishhey’s doting dad is, however, buying shares in his son’s name.

Though minor children’s incomes are clubbed with their parents and therefore do not really require a PAN card, the above set of parents are going by the fine print, feel IT officials.

Krishshey’s mother, a dentist, called up the media to stake claim for producing the country’s youngest PAN card holder after the Orissa couple made it to the headlines.

IT officials hope that news coverage of the two youngest PAN card holders would motivate more people to apply for the same.

Meanwhile, the Association of Mutual Funds (AMFI) has informed that anyone desirous of investing in mutual funds should apply for a PAN card regardless of their income.

Even investors investing Rs 100 on Systematic Investment Programmes of mutual funds would have to produce their PAN cards from January next year. At present, only those investing above Rs 50,000 have to produce their PAN number.

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RCom plans to link SMEs

Bangalore, July 4
Reliance Communications (RCom) today announced plans to roll out business Internet services for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in top 10 cities and 200-odd tier-II cities in India.

The telecom service provider has joined hands with networking firm Cisco to provide the services, which were launched in Bangalore today.

RCom will use Cisco’s carrier grade Ethernet solution as part of its IP infrastructure for the joint commercial service offering, RCom president and CEO (enterprise business) Prakash Bajpai said. — PTI

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UTI Bank to ramp up headcount

New Delhi, July 4
UTI Bank, the country’s third largest private sector lender, will ramp up its workforce by adding 4,500 persons to its present strength this fiscal as part of an aggressive expansion plan for its retail business.

The bank’s headcount stood at 9,980 as on March 31 and the planned hiring spree would add by 45 per cent to its total workforce.

“We plan to increase our employee strength by about 4,500 during this fiscal, which would be mostly for the retail business,” UTI Bank president (HR) S Bhattacharya said.

The bank has plan to open as many as 150 new branches in the country, which require a huge chunk of manpower across the different segment of the retail operations, Bhattacharya said.

Besides, new verticals would be added to retail asset business as well, he added. — PTI

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Mansingh takes charge of oil regulator
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
The chairperson of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board L Mansingh today assumed charge of the four-member board, which would systemise the downstream activities of the sector.

Other two members of the board are B.S. Negi and Sudha Mahalingam. The Centre also appointed Y P C Dangay as member (legal) of the board.

The board would protect the interest of the consumers and entities engaged in specified activities relating to petroleum products and natural gas and to ensure uninterrupted and adequate supply in all parts of the country and to promote competitive markets.

It will also take corrective measures to prevent restrictive trade practices and enforce retail service obligations for retail outlets and marketing service obligations for entities.

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BRIEFLY

Fortis medicity
New Delhi, July 4
Fortis Group today announced an investment of up to Rs 800 crore to set up a state-of-the-art healthcity in the mega township being developed by Ansal Properties and Infrastructure (API) in Lucknow. Fortis Healthcare Holding Ltd, the investment arm for the group’s healthcare business, today signed an agreement with API for setting up a 52-acre medicity, including a 800-bed hospital and a medical college. — PTI

Jindal Stainless
New Delhi, July 4
Jindal Stainless Ltd will raise nearly Rs 800 crore through external loans, possibly next week, to part-finance its Rs 5,600 crore expansion programme at Orissa plant. The company has already raised Rs 1,000 crore through a term loan from the State Bank of India. — PTI

PMC stake
New Delhi, July 4
Sundaram Business Services (SBS), the BPO arm of non-banking finance company Sundram Finance, has picked up a majority stake in Professional Management Consultants (PMC) in cash to expand its service offerings. The acquisition also doubles the employee headcount of SBS to 1,600. — PTI

Tata Motors
Mumbai, July 4
Tata Motors has won the National Award for Excellence in Cost Management for the year 2006. The company has been conferred with this award by the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) for its better practices in resource and capital management. — UNI

Credit Suisse
New Delhi, July 4
Credit Suisse, Switzerland-based financial services provider, today said it has got approval from the SEBI to start merchant banking operation in the country. This would permit the company to provide a wide range of onshore securities underwriting and corporate finance services in the country. — PTI

Patel Engg
Mumbai, July 4
Patel Engineering today said it has bagged $153-million order from Algeria-based Agence Nationale Des Barrage Et Transferts to build a dam in joint venture with a Turkish firm. The work would include detailed design and construction of a dam under the project — Travaux De Construction Du Barrage De Mehouane Sur L'oued El-Guessar (Mehouane Dam). — PTI

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