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M&M ups stake in PTL to 64.6 per cent
Mumbai, July 5
Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) today said it has consolidated its stake in Punjab Tractors (PTL) to 64.6 per cent after completing its open offer to pick up a 20 per cent stake in the company.

Grand Vitara is here
Managing director and CEO of Maruti Udyog Jagdish Khattar speaks at the launch of Grand Vitara in New Delhi on Thursday. Vitara is powered by a 1995 cc petrol engine. New Delhi, July 5
Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) today launched its sports utility vehicle (SUV) ‘Grand Vitara’ at a starting price of Rs 13.8 lakh (ex-showroom) in Delhi.
In video (56k)
Managing director and CEO of Maruti Udyog Jagdish Khattar speaks at the launch of Grand Vitara in New Delhi on Thursday. Vitara is powered by a 1995 cc petrol engine. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Despite bull run, retail investors not upbeat
New Delhi, July 5
Despite the vaulting Sensex, buoyant primary market conditions and higher corporate business confidence, retail investors are still shying away from investing in the stock market, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) said.



EARLIER STORIES

 
Managing director of Unitech Ltd Sanjay Chandra speaks at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. Unitech announced an investment of Rs 6,000 crore in the next seven years to develop a high-end luxury residential project in Noida on a plot it had won in India's biggest land deal. The company will develop 'Unitech Grande' in four phases and aims to generate a whopping Rs 15,000 crore revenue from it. The project would be the largest in the country in terms of number of apartments — 5,300 in all, built up area (15 million sq ft). The size of the apartment would be in the range of 2,200-5,500 sq ft. Managing director of Unitech Ltd Sanjay Chandra speaks at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. Unitech announced an investment of Rs 6,000 crore in the next seven years to develop a high-end luxury residential project in Noida on a plot it had won in India's biggest land deal. The company will develop 'Unitech Grande' in four phases and aims to generate a whopping Rs 15,000 crore revenue from it. The project would be the largest in the country in terms of number of apartments — 5,300 in all, built up area (15 million sq ft). The size of the apartment would be in the range of 2,200-5,500 sq ft. — PTI

Ficci seeks sops for cold chains
New Delhi, July 5
The establishment of cold chain and other modernised technology for upgradation of storage handling and transportation of perishable goods like fruits and vegetables should be granted infrastructure status and given direct tax incentives, Ficci has demanded.

BSNL snag hits trade in Punjab
Ludhiana, July 5
Trade suffered a massive setback in Punjab due to non-functioning of computerised Information Collection Centres (ICC) set up at all entry points of the state for recording inter-state business transactions.
K.P. Singh, chairman of DLF Ltd, strikes a gong at the listing ceremony of the company at the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai on Thursday. The scrip listed at Rs 582 on the BSE against an issue price of Rs 525 and soared to a high of Rs 714.25, propelling its market value to over Rs 100,000 crore. It settled at Rs 570.05, resulting in a market value of Rs 96,278 crore, making it the eighth most-valued firm on the bourses in terms of market capitalisation.
K.P. Singh, chairman of DLF Ltd, strikes a gong at the listing ceremony of the company at the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai on Thursday. The scrip listed at Rs 582 on the BSE against an issue price of Rs 525 and soared to a high of Rs 714.25, propelling its market value to over Rs 100,000 crore. It settled at Rs 570.05, resulting in a market value of Rs 96,278 crore, making it the eighth most-valued firm on the bourses in terms of market capitalisation. — Reuters

UBS to invest $65 m in Hyderabad
Hyderabad, July 5
UBS AG, the Switzerland-based global banking and financial services major, has unveiled plans to invest $65 million over next two years to expand its operations in Hyderabad.

Boeing to unveil ‘green’ Dreamliner
Seattle, July 5
The eyes of the aviation world will be fixed on Boeing here on Sunday when the US aircraft giant unveils its 787 Dreamliner, the "green" passenger jet it hopes will revolutionise air travel.

BBC eyes Indian market
New Delhi, July 5
Buoyed by record profits in its global operations last year, the BBC Worldwide service is now eyeing India to further strengthen its network here.

RCom, Airtel close to Qatar licence
New Delhi, July 5
Reliance Telecom (RCom) and Bharti Airtel have entered the second round of qualifying process for a GSM-based mobile licence in Qatar that the Gulf country plans to award by October this year.

Gets low response for offer in Swaraj Engines
Mahindra and Mahindra’s (M&M) open offer for picking up 20 per cent stake in Swaraj Engines has received lukewarm response from shareholders, who tendered only 0.6 per cent of their holdings.

SBI credit card ties up with Ezeego1
New Delhi, July 5
SBI credit card has entered into a tie up with travel portal Ezeego1 to offer its customers a flat 25 per cent cash back on booking their travel on all Indian flights.

Aptech, NIIT to expand in Vietnam
New Delhi, July 5
Aptech today said it will set up 20 more training centers in Vietnam by 2008 with a local software firm, and is expecting over $30 million revenues from that country in the next three financial years.

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Air India to fly Mumbai-NY non-stop.
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M&M ups stake in PTL to 64.6 per cent

Mumbai, July 5
Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) today said it has consolidated its stake in Punjab Tractors (PTL) to 64.6 per cent after completing its open offer to pick up a 20 per cent stake in the company.

Mahindra and Mahindra, along with Mahindra Holdings and Finance Ltd, had made an open offer to the shareholders of PTL for acquiring 12,151,140 equity shares of Rs 10 each at Rs 360 per share.

Over 1.21 crore shares amounting to 20 per cent stake were tendered in the open offer by Punjab Tractors shareholders.

The total valid shares tendered under the offer were 15,948,911 and the total shares accepted under the offer are 12,151,140 amounting to an acceptance ratio of 76.19 per cent, M&M told the Bombay Stock Exchange.

With this, M&M along with Mahindra Holdings and Finance Ltd holds over 3.92 crore shares, aggregating to 64.6 per cent.

The above percentages are calculated based on the voting equity capital comprising 60,755,700 shares as on the date of the public announcement, M&M said.

Earlier, M&M chairman Keshub Mahindra had said that "the company has put in a bid for acquiring stake in Punjab Tractors, which is up for sale."

The Burman family, which holds a 14.5 per cent stake in Punjab Tractors, is reported to be interested in selling its stake in the company. Another major stakeholder Actis has also put in its 29 per cent stake in Punjab Tractors on the block.

The Burmans, promoters of Dabur India, are reportedly interested in selling their stake to the buyer of Actis' stake in the company. — PTI

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Grand Vitara is here

New Delhi, July 5
Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) today launched its sports utility vehicle (SUV) ‘Grand Vitara’ at a starting price of Rs 13.8 lakh (ex-showroom) in Delhi.

The company has launched two variants of the SUV - manual transmission and automatic transmission. The automatic transmission variant will be available for Rs 14.8 lakh (ex- showroom price Delhi).

“India is very important and evolving market for Suzuki. We believe that we have to diversify our product line to meet rapidly changing customer demands. The launch of Grand Vitara is a step in this direction,” MUL chairman S Nakanishi said.

The SUV would be imported in India from Suzuki’s plant in Japan. This is the company’s third global launch in India after the premium hatchback Swift and Sedan SX4.

On the issue of rising interest rates, MUL managing director Jagdish Khattar said: “Interest rate effect has not peaked out and it is still impacting sales.”

He said with the launch of Grand Vitara, the company would be represented in almost all the segments in the Indian car market.

The SUV would be imported in India from Suzuki's plant in Japan.

Grand Vitara would be pitted against Ford's Endeavour, which is priced in a range of Rs 14.72 lakh to Rs 15.62 lakh, Honda CRV which is sold at a starting price of Rs 17.8 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) and Mitshubishi Pajero (Rs 18.81 lakh). — PTI

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Despite bull run, retail investors not upbeat
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 5
Despite the vaulting Sensex, buoyant primary market conditions and higher corporate business confidence, retail investors are still shying away from investing in the stock market, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) said.

“Our research shows that the bulk of IPOs are subscribed by FIIs, qualified institutional borrowers and high net worth individuals. Apart from lack of retail investor confidence, this could also be attributed to higher price band of the issues, treating small investors not as a preferred category and the like,” says Sanjay Bhatia, president, PHDCCI, quoting the findings of a survey conducted by the chamber.

Most of the respondents do not consider the present bull run as “irrational exuberance” since bullishness can be directly linked to the pink health of corporations, strong and robust macro-economic variables and more importantly, the expectations of the corporates to ‘up’ the performance in the future.

When asked to rank the immediate reasons for the sustained bull run, 75 per cent of the respondents said good corporate results coupled with higher expectation of doing well in future, riding on the back of strong buoyancy in ‘aggregate demand’ was the primary reason for the pick-up.

Increasing flow of FIIs, pension funds and hedge funds through broker-firms and taking advantage of interest rate arbitrage were pointed out as the other reasons for the stock market boom.

Only an insignificant number of respondents have pointed towards improving investor confidence as one of the reasons for the bull run.

To another query whether the bull run will be sustained, most of the respondents pointed out that barring some technical corrections, there will not be any radical changes in the pattern of growth in the coming days.

However, rising interest rate, unlikely event of a lacklustre monsoon, possible increase in interest rates in Japan, China and the USA (where investors source funds at lower interest rates and invest in emerging markets like India where returns are higher) can act as possible dampner to the existing mood.

To another query about globalisation of the Indian capital market, they pointed that international developments and money and treasury operations were increasingly impacting the Indian scene.

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Ficci seeks sops for cold chains
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 5
The establishment of cold chain and other modernised technology for upgradation of storage handling and transportation of perishable goods like fruits and vegetables should be granted infrastructure status and given direct tax incentives, Ficci has demanded.

In a detailed note to the finance minister, deputy chairperson of the Planning Commission, agriculture minister and other relevant arms of the government, Ficci has pointed out that although the government has accorded ‘priority sector’ status to the food processing sector, more attention is usually paid at the pre-harvest stage, but post-harvest issues are addressed inadequately.

Ficci has pointed out that 30 to 35 per cent of 60 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables is wasted due to lack of adequate storage and other facilities. In value terms, the wastage is estimated at Rs 58,000 crore.

The chamber has argued that the aggregated cost for providing cold chain facilities, keeping the current storage capacities and benchmarking it with current production levels, is estimated at Rs 15,700 crore, considering facilities such as pre-cooling, pack house units, ripening chambers, CA storage, reefer vans, CPC, refrigerated ULD containers, refrigerated containers, retail cabinets and mobile retail cabinets.

Pointing out that the incentives provided to corporates under the existing provisions of Section 80-IB(11) and (11A) has not proved attractive enough, the chamber has suggested that the establishment of cold chain and other modernised technology for upgradation of storage handling and transportation should be grated infrastructure status and tax benefit thereto provided under Section 80 - IA instead of section 80 - IB.

The magnitude of investment required and the associated benefit that would accrue to the Indian economy justify comprehensive direct tax incentives in the form of 100 per cent tax holiday for at least 10 years, it said.

Such a tax holiday should be available in respect of the entire cold chain infrastructure, including cold storage, freezing chambers and cold chain transportation system, dehumidified temperature controlled storage, refrigerated/insulated containers for perishables and processed products, cleaning and grading centres and packaging centres, the Ficci added.

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BSNL snag hits trade in Punjab

Ludhiana, July 5
Trade suffered a massive setback in Punjab due to non-functioning of computerised Information Collection Centres (ICC) set up at all entry points of the state for recording inter-state business transactions.

Hundreds of trucks carrying goods were left stranded at all ICC barriers at 36 locations across the state for the past two days as technical snag had caused breakdown of information collection process at all centres.

"Our trucks have been stuck at the ICC barriers across Punjab as Information Collection Centres are not functioning.

Despite our repeated requests, nobody seems to be bothered to fix this problem," Punjab State Goods Transports Association general secretary Sarbjit Singh said.

Confirming the halt of process of information collection at all ICCs, H.M.S. Rosha, CEO of Excise and Taxation Technical Services Association, said, "This problem occurred due to the breakdown of main server caused by failure of BSNL lease line ." However, he said, "We have now reverted to manual system of collecting information from truck operators for recording inter-state sales and purchases till the entire system is restored." — PTI

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UBS to invest $65 m in Hyderabad
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 5
UBS AG, the Switzerland-based global banking and financial services major, has unveiled plans to invest $65 million over next two years to expand its operations in Hyderabad.

The investment would go into construction of a second campus to increase the off-shoring capacity, the company’s chief financial officer Clive Standish announced here.

He was speaking to the reporters after formal inauguration of the full-fledged UBS India Service Centre campus at Nanakramguda by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy.

The campus, built with an investment of Rs 135 crore, has a seating capacity of 1,700 and provides a wide range of services including knowledge process outsourcing for research and analytics, BPO for transaction and data processing and IT infrastructure support to clients across the globe.

The company has already invested $50 million in India and would invest another $65 million over next two years, Standish said, adding that a second campus would increase the off-shoring capacity in India by an additional 750 seats by middle of next year.

“India has been an attractive destination for investment bankers world over,” he said.

UBS India Service Centre, which started its operations here in March last year, has achieved an income of $35 million in 2006-07.

UBS AG is world’s largest manager of private wealth assets and is also the second largest bank in Europe, by both market capitalisation and profitability.

UBS’s global business groups are private banking, investment banking, and asset management. It is also one of the leading providers of retail banking and commercial banking services in Switzerland.

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Boeing to unveil ‘green’ Dreamliner

Seattle, July 5
The eyes of the aviation world will be fixed on Boeing here on Sunday when the US aircraft giant unveils its 787 Dreamliner, the "green" passenger jet it hopes will revolutionise air travel.

The mid-sized plane, which seats up to 330 passengers and is capable of flying long-haul routes using up to 20 per cent less fuel while pumping out fewer greenhouse gases, will be rolled out for 300 gathered media.

The 787 - Boeing's first new model in 13 years - will make its maiden test flight later this year before going into commercial service with Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) in 2008.

The new aircraft boasts several revolutionary design features, most notably the use of high-tech plastic composites instead of aluminium. Up to 50 percent of the primary structure of the plane - including the fuselage and wing - will be made of composites such as carbon-fiber.

"By manufacturing a one-piece fuselage section, we are eliminating 1,500 aluminum sheets and 40,000 - 50,000 fasteners," Boeing said in a statement. The composites used in the Dreamliner are also stronger and lighter than traditional materials, allowing the plane greater fuel efficiency. — AFP

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BBC eyes Indian market

New Delhi, July 5
Buoyed by record profits in its global operations last year, the BBC Worldwide service is now eyeing India to further strengthen its network here.

The broadcasting behemoth, beaming 28 channels in over 259 million-plus homes in 15 languages across the world, reported record profit for the year 2006-07 - up by 24 per cent from the last year.

BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith said there has been three-fold increase in profits over the last three years and the growth "exceeded expectations" in most of the BBC operations in past 12 months.

"We are now investing to build our digital offering and strengthen our position in markets such as the US, China, India and Australia, creating one of the world's premier content networks," Smith said.

The British broadcaster has already expanded its operations in India and the South Asia region as indicated by the launch of prime time news capsule for India last week.

Besides the expansion of BBC news operations in India, the broadcaster also secured a licence to launch Hello! magazine in a joint venture with The Times of India. — PTI

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RCom, Airtel close to Qatar licence

New Delhi, July 5
Reliance Telecom (RCom) and Bharti Airtel have entered the second round of qualifying process for a GSM-based mobile licence in Qatar that the Gulf country plans to award by October this year.

The two Indian companies are competing with 10 other firms, including Egypt’s Orascom, Britain’s Vodafone, Verizon of the USA, MTC of Kuwait and Bahrain Telecom.

Qatar’s Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR), the country’s telecom regulator, plans to award the second GSM mobile licence in October.

“We were delighted by both the number and quality of the applications we received. The list includes important regional and international operators,” ictQATAR’s secretary-general Hessa Al Jaber said. The two Indian companies had earlier lost in a bid for a cellular license in Saudi Arabia, while Reliance Telecom had also opted out of a bid in Kenya. — PTI

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Gets low response for offer in Swaraj Engines

Mahindra and Mahindra’s (M&M) open offer for picking up 20 per cent stake in Swaraj Engines has received lukewarm response from shareholders, who tendered only 0.6 per cent of their holdings.

The open offer was for acquiring 2,483,964 fully paid up equity shares of Rs 10 each, representing 20 per cent of the outstanding voting equity capital of the Swaraj Engines at Rs 151 per share.

But only 7,417 shares were tendered, which amounted to 0.06 per cent stake in Swaraj Engines, M&M said in a filing to the BSE.

The share price of Swaraj Engines witnessed a consistent upward trend ever since the open offer was announced. The scrip was currently trading at Rs 191 on the BSE, much higher than the open offer price of Rs 151. — PTI

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SBI credit card ties up with Ezeego1

New Delhi, July 5
SBI credit card has entered into a tie up with travel portal Ezeego1 to offer its customers a flat 25 per cent cash back on booking their travel on all Indian flights.

This special offer comes with no restrictions on Indian flights and is valid on all sectors. SBI cardholders can book tickets for any date, subject to availability and the offer is valid for domestic sectors flown by Indian and for bookings done before September 10.

The cardholders will also get 12 per cent cash back on all domestic hotels and holidays bookings at Ezeego1, which is valid till September 30, it said. — TNS

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Aptech, NIIT to expand in Vietnam

New Delhi, July 5
Aptech today said it will set up 20 more training centers in Vietnam by 2008 with a local software firm, and is expecting over $30 million revenues from that country in the next three financial years.

The company has signed an MoU with Vietnam’s FPT to open 20 new IT and multimedia training centres in that country by next year, an Aptech statement said.

In a separate announcement, another IT training company NIIT also announced its plans to expand its services to Vietnam.

NIIT is looking at partnering with leading colleges and universities in that country to reach out to a larger number of students, it said. — PTI

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Leyland sales up

New Delhi, July 5
Ashok Leyland has recorded a 2.2 per cent jump in its sales in June this year. While the domestic sales of all category vehicles put together rose by 1.6 per cent to 5,816 vehicles, exports were up by 7.4 per cent to 694 units against 646 units in the corresponding period last year, a company release said. — TNS

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BRIEFLY

Banks’ payout
New Delhi, July 5
Union finance minister P Chidambaram has received a final dividend cheque of Rs 56 crore from the Union Bank of India (UBI), presented by UBI chairman and managing director M V Nair. Chidambaram also received a dividend cheque of Rs 23.35 crore from Vijaya Bank CMD Prakash P Mallya. With the interim dividend of 10 per cent paid earlier, the bank has rewarded its shareholders with a total dividend of 20 per cent for the financial year 2006-07. — TNS

Bhoruka Power
Bangalore, July 5
Bhoruka Power Corporation Limited (BPCL) today announced the acquisition of SLS Power Industries for Rs 80 crore. Informing this, Bhoruka group chairman S N Agarwal said the city-based SLS Power Industries has two hydro power stations at Cauvery and Tungabhadra basins with a total capacity of 12 mw. With this acquisition, BPCL would augment its presence in the clean power sector in India with a revenue target of Rs 200 crore by 2009. — UNI

RBI director
Chandigarh, July 5
J Sadakkadulla has taken over as the new regional director of the RBI, Chandigarh. Sadakkadulla will be in charge of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, a release said. Before joining, he was on an overseas deputation as CGM of the bank. He has taken charge from D P S Rathore, who has been transferred to Lucknow as regional director, it said. — PTI

Reliance Money
Chandigarh, July 5
Reliance Money today announced its tie-up with DTDC Courier and Cargo Ltd to retail its financial products. As per the agreement, DTDC Ltd will be installing Reliance Money web-enabled retail kiosks at their own and franchisee outlets across the country. — UNI

Kingfisher pact
Mumbai, July 5
Kingfisher Airlines and US-based Continental Airlines today announced that they had entered into a comprehensive partnership for frequent flyer and airport lounge access reciprocity and future code-sharing. — UNI

BoB dividend
Vadodara, July 5
The Bank of Baroda has declared a 60 per cent dividend to the shareholders for 2006-07. Bank CMD Anil Khandelwal, while announcing the dividend, said they would open 110 new branches in India and overseas during this centenary year. — UNI

Indus Fila
Mumbai, July 5
Indus Fila Ltd (IFL), an integrated and textile apparel company, today announced that it has acquired 51 per cent stake in Indus Garments (India) Pvt Ltd (IGPL) for a consideration of Rs 93.5 million. — UNI

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