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Ericsson gets Rs 8,000-crore order from Bharti Airtel
New Delhi, July 18
Managing director of Ericsson India Mats Granryd, along with executive vice-president Bert Nordberg and joint managing director of Bharti Airtel Akhil Gupta, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Swedish telecom equipment supplier Ericsson today bagged a Rs 8,000-crore ($2 billion) order from India's largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel — days after a mega order from BSNL for network expansion went awry.


(From left): Managing director of Ericsson India Mats Granryd, along with executive vice-president Bert Nordberg and joint managing director of Bharti Airtel Akhil Gupta, in New Delhi on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

Bharti buys Vodafone’s 4.99 pc stake

PM for more autonomy to PSUs
New Delhi, July 18
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today stressed the need to empower public sector enterprises by easing the bureaucratic and political hold of government over them.

Indians most confident consumers: Survey
New Delhi, July 18
Despite a marginal fall in the level of optimism, Indians remain the world’s most confident consumers with a vast majority of them seeing bright prospects ahead on the jobs, personal finance and economy fronts, a survey says.

IT Dept gears up to check tax evasion
New Delhi, July 18
The IT department is gearing up to prepare a 360-degree tax profiling of individual tax payers in the country to keep a tab on tax evasion and money laundering.

Demutualisation of DSE by Aug 20
New Delhi, July 18

The Delhi Stock Exchange (DSE), which is on a demutualisation mode to divest 51 per cent stake, today expressed confidence to complete the process by August 20 and restart trading within 100 days from the date of demutualisation.


Model Amrit Maghera introduces new face of Lakme in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Model Amrit Maghera introduces new face of Lakme in Mumbai on Wednesday. — PTI photo

EARLIER STORIES

 
Managing director of Yahoo India George Zacharias (right) shakes hands with CEO of Smile Group Harish Behl in New Delhi on Wednesday. Yahoo has bought more than 35 per cent stake in Tyroo, a part of Smile Interactive Technologies Group, for an undisclosed amount.
Managing director of Yahoo India George Zacharias (right) shakes hands with CEO of Smile Group Harish Behl in New Delhi on Wednesday. Yahoo has bought more than 35 per cent stake in Tyroo, a part of Smile Interactive Technologies Group, for an undisclosed amount. — Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan Bhui

Private funding in agro
export sought

New Delhi, July 18
Urging the private sector to supplement public investment in agro-export sector, the government is committed to remove the current impediments to achieve higher agricultural exports.

Tata Motors may bid for Ford’s Jaguar: Report
London, July 18
Tata Motors, India's biggest automobile company, is understood to be in early stages of evaluating a bid for acquiring the Jaguar and Land Rover marques from Ford Motor, British media reports said.

Roof-top helipad for Tatas
New Delhi, July 18
Tata group would become the second organisation in the country to have its own private helipad with the government today allowing the operation of such facility from Mumbai.

BSNL to place order for 23m GSM lines
New Delhi, July 18
The government today curtailed the GSM tender of BSNL to half at 23 million lines and it would place the order to successful bidders — Ericsson and Nokia-Siemens — in a day or two.

Airtel service in Keylong
Shimla, July 18
Airtel today launched its services in Keylong, the tribal Lahual and Spiti district of the state.

Corporate News
Reliance Energy net up 25 pc
Mumbai, July 18
Reliance Energy Ltd has reported a 25.4 per cent rise in net profit during the first quarter this fiscal to Rs 221.56 crore as against Rs 176.61 crore in the year-ago period.


Videos
Privatisation not a solution for sick public units: PM.
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Govt confident of meeting 07/08 direct tax target.
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Ericsson gets Rs 8,000-crore order from
Bharti Airtel

New Delhi, July 18
Swedish telecom equipment supplier Ericsson today bagged a Rs 8,000-crore ($2 billion) order from India's largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel — days after a mega order from BSNL for network expansion went awry.

"We are honoured that Bharti has chosen to partner with us in this grand venture that underpins our strategy of providing communication for all through sustainable and innovative solution," Ericsson India managing director Mats Granryd said.

"This is the largest ever deal for expansion Bharti ever signed... This is perhaps the largest deal in the Indian telecom sector too of $2 billion over a period of just two years," Bharti Airtel joint managing director Akhil Gupta told reporters here.

Earlier this week, public sector telecom monolith BSNL put on hold its multi-billion dollar order placed with Ericsson for network expansion, while seeking the government's direction on the size of the contract after the new telecom minister A Raja desired changes in the same.

As part of the Bharti deal, Ericsson would design, plan, deploy, optimise and manage Bharti Airtel's GSM network across 15 circles in India as well as for its pan-India pre-paid platform across 23 circles.

This is Bharti's second outsourcing deal in a month after it gave a $900 million contract to Nokia-Siemens for network expansion and managing services across eight circles.

As per the current deal, Ericsson would provide 2G/3G core-based mobile soft switch for data services and a pan-India prepaid platform using Intelligent Network technology for better service quality to the pre-paid users.

This deal covers the core network part of 3G but for starting 3G services the company would have to float another tender for radio enable network, Gupta said.

"This contract is an important part of realising Bharti's vision of a converged network and of expanding coverage in rural India to launch innovative voice and data services for Indian consumers," Granryd said.

The two-year deal is one of the biggest contracts for Ericsson too. The last deal Ericsson had with Bharti was for $400 million in 2004.

The current deal would allow Bharti to expand into rural areas further consolidating its leadership position.

Commenting on the deal, Bharti Airtel CEO Manoj Kohli said: "Our partnership with Ericsson allows us to focus and delivering a better customer experience leveraging Ericsson's global expertise to enhance our networks." — PTI

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Bharti buys Vodafone’s 4.99 pc stake

Meanwhile, Bharti group of companies today said it has acquired 4.99 per cent stake valued at $1.4 billion in Bharti Airtel from British telecom major Vodafone.

Bharti has enhanced its voting interest in Bharti Airtel Ltd now to over 50 per cent, it said in a statement.

Bharti group had earlier sold 4.99 per cent indirect stake in Airtel to Temasek.

Earlier this month, Sunil Mittal’s Bharti group had offered its shares to Temasek Holdings, enabling the Singapore government-owned investment vehicle a 4.99 per cent stake in Bharti Airtel.

Apart from Vodafone, Singapore Telecom holds 31 per cent stake in the company, a part of which is indirect shareholding routed through Bharti Telecom. — UNI

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PM for more autonomy to PSUs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today stressed the need to empower public sector enterprises by easing the bureaucratic and political hold of government over them.

He said, “Parliamentary accountability should not degenerate into either ministerial or political interference in day-to-day management of enterprises, or bureaucratic stranglehold on managerial decision-making.”

Releasing the book, “The Indian CEO- A Portrait of Excellence”, he said, this requires reform of government and the procedures we adopt to ensure Parliamentary accountability.

The Prime Minister said he would like to see PSUs functioning in a more liberal environment.

He said the public sector had some very talented and dedicated CEOs but we cannot rest content with a few success stories.

“We need an army of world-class managers who can turn our companies around and keep Indian enterprises on the road to high growth”, he added.

He asked ministries to grant full operational autonomy to public sector enterprises, to enable them to compete and succeed in global market. And cases where ministries encouraged the opposite, should be brought to light.

Privatisation was also seen by some as a way of relieving public sector units of the burden of 'boundary management.'

''Therefore, privatisation need not be the only solution to inefficiency of public enterprises. Relieving them of problems of boundary management and the burdens associated with them can also help improve their efficiency,'' he said.

The political environment and the overhang of excessive bureaucratisation were also not very conducive to creating the appropriate boundary conditions, he said.

It should be the endeavor to empower public enterprises by easing the bureaucratic and political hold of government over them. This required reform of government and the procedures followed to ensure parliamentary accountability.

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Indians most confident consumers: Survey

New Delhi, July 18
Despite a marginal fall in the level of optimism, Indians remain the world’s most confident consumers with a vast majority of them seeing bright prospects ahead on the jobs, personal finance and economy fronts, a survey says.

According to the survey, carried out by international marketing research firm The Nielsen Company, India has topped the bi-annual global consumer confidence index for the fifth time in a row.

However, the consumer confidence index in India dropped marginally to 135 points in the latest survey for the first half of 2007, compared to 137 points in the 2H-06 survey.

According to the survey, 93 per cent of consumers surveyed felt that their job prospects in the next one year were excellent to good.

“Indian consumer confidence is in line with the release of latest GDP figure of 9.4 per cent, the highest growth India has posted in eighteen years,” AC Nielsen executive director (customised research south-east Asia) Sarang Panchal said.

The high confidence is also reflected in the way consumers view the state of their personal finances in the next one year, with nine of 10 Indians feeling excellent or good about it.

Indians are also confident about the future of their economy with 61 per cent feeling that it is an excellent or good time to buy things.

As per the survey, Indians are becoming increasingly investment-oriented as 53 per cent of those surveyed said they would park their savings in shares or mutual funds.

A large number of Indians love travelling, with 39 per cent voting for it as a means of spending their extra money.

Some of the other things, in which they would like to invest, include paying off debts or credit card loans (37 per cent), buying new clothes (32 per cent), new technology (29 per cent) and home improvement and decorative items (32 per cent).

Twenty one per cent believe they should invest in retirement funds.

The Nielsen online consumer confidence and opinion survey polled 26,486 internet users in 47 markets from Europe, Asia-Pacific, north America and west Asia about their job prospects, state of finances, and what they do with their spare cash. — PTI

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IT Dept gears up to check tax evasion

New Delhi, July 18
The IT department is gearing up to prepare a 360-degree tax profiling of individual tax payers in the country to keep a tab on tax evasion and money laundering.

“Finance minister has given a go-ahead for integrated 360-degree mapping of individual tax payers by utilising data collected from various sources like annual information returns (AIRs) from banks, credit cards, mutual funds, stock market and property registrars,” a senior finance ministry official said.

In the meeting of chief income tax commissioners, Chidambaram had said decision has been taken for integrated tax mapping.

Sources said after a successful pilot project on integrated tax profiling in Delhi, the IT department also has plans to prepare a huge data bank that would have all sorts of information on potential tax evading individuals and corporate houses. The financial intelligence unit under the ministry will also provide information about potential tax evaders as it collects and analyses information about financial transactions through banks and other financial institutions.

The sources said tax officials are preparing a list of targeted people, whose expenditure through credit and debit cards, property registration, hotel expenses and travel expenditure is immediately reflected against his name at the central information bureau (CIB), set up for this purpose.

The government has already set up 15 CIBs offices across the country and a move is on to expand it to cover all state capitals.

In the large tax units, the finance ministry is already collating information about excise, customs, service and income tax paid by corporates for better tax assessment. — PTI

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Demutualisation of DSE by Aug 20
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
The Delhi Stock Exchange (DSE), which is on a demutualisation mode to divest 51 per cent stake, today expressed confidence to complete the process by August 20 and restart trading within 100 days from the date of demutualisation.

“The DSE has received tremendous response from investors in India and abroad for its stake sale programme for demutualisation and we are fully geared up to get the DSE demutualised, in pursuant to the scheme approved by the SEBI, before the August 20 deadline,” Bharat Bhushan Sahny, director, DSE Association Limited, said here today.

Under the revamping of trading platform, the DSE is engaging Financial Technology India Limited (FTIL) as its service provider, whose software is running on more than two lakh terminals, he said.

According to Sahny, FTIL have shown confidence and are also taking 5 per cent equity stake in the DSE.

As per the SEBI guidelines, no person or persons in concert can take more than 5 per cent of the equity capital of the exchange. Sahny said he is confident that a couple of banks in public and private sector and corporate, who have shown keen interest in the DSE, will also respond positively soon.

Replying to a question, Sahny said in the event of the existing members not willing to part their shares, the DSE will issue additional shares to complete the demutualisation process.

He expressed confidence that once ownership and management of the exchange are segregated from trading members, professional managers will carry the DSE to its rightful place in the Indian capital market.

“When the trading was voluntarily stopped about three years back, volume of trade in the DSE was about Rs 1,500 crore per day,” Sahny said.

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Private funding in agro export sought
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
Urging the private sector to supplement public investment in agro-export sector, the government is committed to remove the current impediments to achieve higher agricultural exports.

Speaking at a parliamentary consultative committee meeting, commerce minister Kamal Nath said infrastructure remains a major problem, confronting Indian agriculture in general and agro-exports in particular.

“There is need to strengthen the cold chain network, transportation and warehousing to ensure that wastage is minimised and the agricultural produce meets high quality standards,” an official statement quoted Nath as saying.

Emphasising on the need to further expand agro-trade to overseas markets, he said Australia and New Zealand are yet to open their markets to mangoes while Russia is not allowing import of egg and meat.

There are also other commodities like gherkins and floriculture products that face certain barriers in the EU countries, he said, adding “the ministry is committed to engage with other countries and agencies to remove current impediments and achieve higher agricultural exports to these markets.”

Members at the meeting said there was an urgent need to set up recognised laboratories in the country, whose certifications are accepted globally for export purposes.

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) said it would set up 12 centres across the country at a total cost of Rs 2,500 crore for handling agro-perishable exports.

The centres would come up at Chandigarh, Muzaffarpur, Agra, Kolkata, Guwahati, Mumbai, Nasik, Pune, Nagpur, Rai, Hyderabad and Dharmapuri, APEDA chairman K S Money said.

Regional quality control laboratories are also proposed to be set up by the spices board at Guntur, Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi. 

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Tata Motors may bid for Ford’s Jaguar: Report

London, July 18
Tata Motors, India's biggest automobile company, is understood to be in early stages of evaluating a bid for acquiring the Jaguar and Land Rover marques from Ford Motor, British media reports said.

Tata Motors is understood to have instructed advisers in the past fortnight to begin evaluating the merits of a joint offer for Jaguar and Land Rover, which have been earmarked for disposal by struggling American car giant Ford, 'The Daily Telegraph' said.

If successful, it would rank among India's biggest overseas takeover deals, the report said, citing unidentified sources.

When contacted, a Tata Motors spokesperson told PTI: "We have absolutely no comments to make."

"Analysts suggest that Jaguar and Land Rover may fetch about $1.5 billion to Ford. Besides, people close to the situation said that Tata Motors' evaluation of a bid was at an 'exploratory' stage and may not lead to a formal bid for the two brands," the Telegraph said.

Tie-up with Ferrari

New Delhi: Italian sports carmaker Ferrari plans to roll out its cars in India in a tie-up with domestic conglomerate Tata Group, a media report said.

"The world's favourite sports car has chosen Tata Motors as partner to zoom into India's exclusive market," media house NDTV said in a report, without saying where it got the information from.

When contacted, a Tata Motors official declined to comment. An e-mail sent to Ferrari remained unanswered.

The NDTV report said Ferrari would launch two cars in India — 612 Grand Tourer, a big four-seater and F430. Tata Motors will market and set up engineering centres for after- sale services, the report said. — PTI

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Roof-top helipad for Tatas
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
Tata group would become the second organisation in the country to have its own private helipad with the government today allowing the operation of such facility from Mumbai.

Director general of civil aviation Kanu Gohain signed the papers here granting permission to the Tata Group for the helipad atop the Taj Wellington Mews - a luxury hotel - for private use.

“Such helipads will encourage users and, in particular, hospitals to operate helicopters for medical emergencies or disaster management,” Gohain said on the sidelines of an international conference on chopper operations here.

Tata group has been carrying out trials runs and now it would be allowed full operational capacity.

Asked about proposals to construct heliports in Delhi, Gohain said: “Helipads or heli-stops could be considered there, if not for public use and subject to fulfilling of the conditions, rules and regulations set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.”

Gohain added that ‘third party’ safety audits for helicopters were being considered by the government to remove existing deficiencies.

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BSNL to place order for 23m GSM lines

New Delhi, July 18
The government today curtailed the GSM tender of BSNL to half at 23 million lines and it would place the order to successful bidders — Ericsson and Nokia-Siemens — in a day or two.

Shortly after it got the direction from telecom minister A Raja, who sought changes in the original contract valued at about Rs 20,000 crore as approved by his predecessor Dayanidhi Maran, BSNL said the advance purchase order would be placed in a day or two.

When contacted, BSNL CMD A. K. Sinha told PTI: "The advance purchase order will be placed either today or tomorrow to the two successful bidders — Ericsson and Nokia." The APO would be for both 2G and 3G services, he said, adding that the order for 3G would be placed only after the policy on services and spectrum availability is put in place. — PTI

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Airtel service in Keylong

Shimla, July 18
Airtel today launched its services in Keylong, the tribal Lahual and Spiti district of the state.

With this, Airtel network is now available to customers in all the 12 districts of the state. The company is now providing services in 57 towns and over 8,000 villages.

According to RVS Bhullar, chief of operations, Himachal circle, to ensure a congestion-free network, the Airtel had set up over 700 cell sites. — TNS

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Corporate News
Reliance Energy net up 25 pc

Mumbai, July 18
Reliance Energy Ltd has reported a 25.4 per cent rise in net profit during the first quarter this fiscal to Rs 221.56 crore as against Rs 176.61 crore in the year-ago period. The company clocked a revenue of Rs 1,983.93 crore in April-June 2007-08 as against Rs 1,325.97 crore in the corresponding quarter of the last fiscal.

Hexaware profit dips

Hexaware Technologies today posted a 9.08 per cent decline in profit after tax at Rs 18.91 crore for the quarter ended June 30 and the total income increased by 13.54 per cent to Rs 118.19 crore, the company informed the BSE. The group recorded a profit after tax from operations of Rs 26.12 crore for the quarter ended June 30 and the total income of the group increased to Rs 266.75 crore.

IDBI net up

IDBI today posted a net profit of Rs 153.12 crore for the quarter ended June 30 and the total income for the first quarter grew at Rs 2,193 crore, the bank informed in a filing to the BSE. The United Western Bank Ltd (UWB) was amalgamated with the bank with effect from October 3, 2006. The results for the quarter ended June 2007 include the operations of UWB and hence are not comparable with the results for the quarter ended June 2006, it said.

Aztecsoft net dips

Aztecsoft, which posted a near 63 per cent decline in profit for the first quarter ended June 30, said the sharp rupee appreciation had impacted its performance. The company’s consolidated profit after tax decreased by 62.63 per cent to Rs 5.7 crore for the quarter and the consolidated revenues dropped marginally at Rs 59.07 crore as against Rs 59.48 crore in the year-ago period.

“The revenues were impacted by 6.8 per cent on account of unanticipated exchange rate variation. However, tight control over operations, better utilisation and favourable hedging ensured that the bottom line impact was limited to 1.2 per cent of revenues,” the company said.

Gujarat Alkalies

Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd today reported a 18.56 per cent rise in net profit to Rs 50.47 crore for the first quarter this fiscal. The government-promoted company’s total income for the quarter ended June 20 stood at Rs 265.86 crore. The company has commissioned its hydrogen peroxide plant at Dahej at an investment of Rs 112 crore, it said in a communique to the BSE.

HDFC Bank

HDFC Bank today said it has raised $607 million (over Rs 2,453.35 crore) through a public offering in the United States. The American Depository Shares (ADSs) were priced at $92.10 each, resulting in gross proceeds of $607 million from the offering, HDFC Bank said in a communique to the BSE. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

Rajesh Exports
Mumbai, July 18
Rajesh Exports today said it has bagged an export order of Rs 272 crore from Kuwait-based Lazorde Jewellery for gold ornaments. “We are moving towards margin expansion in the years to come and our R&D team is developing products, which will fetch more margins. The orders received for designer jewellery will propel the company to achieve its goal of increasing the profit margins at a brisk pace,” company’s executive chairman Rajesh Mehta said. — PTI

Bhilwara Scribe
New Delhi, July 18
Bhilwara Scribe, the IT arm of Rs 2,860-crore LNJ Bhilwara group, has acquired healthcare BPOs in Seattle and Bangalore. Seattle-based Benson Transcription Technologies would position Bhilwara Scribe in the lucrative healthcare BPO market in the USA, the company said in a release without revealing financial details of the acquisitions. — PTI

Biocon plan
Mumbai, July 18
Biocon Ltd today said it will sell its enzymes venture to Denmark-based Novozymes for $115 million to focus on core bio-pharmaceuticals business. The agreement between the two companies has been signed today and the transfer agreements are expected to be dosed before the end of third quarter of 2007, the company said in a communique to the BSE. — PTI

ZeeNext channel
Mumbai, July 18
Zee Entertainment Enterprises today said it will launch a channel ‘ZeeNext’ to show the changing preferences of today’s youth. In a communique to the BSE, the company said its board of directors have given an in-principle approval to launch ZeeNext. This would be the second general entertainment channel from the Zee bouquet, the company added. — PTI

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