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Jindal Steel to pump in $2.1 b in Bolivia
New Delhi, July 19
In the biggest investment by an Indian company in South America, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) today announced projects worth more than Rs 8,000 crore ($2.1 billion) in Bolivia to develop an iron ore mine and setting up a steel plant among other things.

Rising rupee dents Wipro net
Bangalore, July 19
The rising rupee impacted Wipro Limited, with the company reporting its slowest profit growth in two years in the first quarter of this financial year. It reported a net profit of Rs 725.6 crore in the first quarter ended June 30, which was a 17 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.

Premji’s son joins Co

RCom to divest 5% in RTIL
Mumbai, July 19
Reliance Communications (RCom) today said it would sell 5 per cent stake in its subsidiary Reliance Telecom Infrastructure Ltd (RTIL) to seven institutional investors from the US, Europe and Asia for Rs 1,400 crore ($337.5 million).


EARLIER STORIES

 
The first Airbus A380 for Singapore Airlines takes off from the Airbus plant in Hamburg on Thursday.
The first Airbus A380 for Singapore Airlines takes off from the Airbus plant in Hamburg on Thursday. The aircraft will receive its last finish at the Airbus plant in the French city of Toulouse before it will be delivered to Singapore Airlines in October. — AP/PTI

Govt clears 17 FDI proposals
New Delhi, July 19
Union finance minister P Chidambaram has approved 17 foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals amounting to Rs 589.85 crore, including Rs 313.22 crore proposal of Quinn Hotels Sweden and Rs 15 crore proposal of Google Holdings Pte Ltd, Singapore.

Rs 4,800-cr BSNL order for Ericsson
New Delhi, July 19
State-run telecom firm BSNL has placed the order for mobile equipment of 14 million GSM lines with Swedish vendor Ericsson at a cost of $80 per line, much lower than the original cost of $107.

BSNL launches mobile TV
Chandigarh, July 19
Essel group’s DMCL (Digital Media Convergence Limited) in collaboration with state- owned BSNL launched a mobile television — ‘ISEE’, an extensive video portal in the north India here today.

Keep a tab on friends through mobiles
New York, July 19
American wireless phone company Sprint has announced that it will offer a service that can help a user spot the locations of his or her friends through mobiles around the world. The service, that uses the global positioning system (GPS) technology, will also automatically upgrade the location of a user’s friends every 15 minutes. The updated locations will then be displayed on the subscribers’ mobile phones. It will cost a user $2.99 per month plus standard data charges, reported the online edition of science magazine Popular Science.


A crowd of people cross the street as they rush to work in central Beijing on Thursday.
A crowd of people cross the street as they rush to work in central Beijing on Thursday. China's economy expanded at a roaring 11.9 percent in the second quarter, prompting warnings that the government will clamp down hard to stop serious overheating. — AFP

Indian car industry rides bumpy road, says study
New York, July 19
India's booming automobile industry that poses a serious threat to carmakers in many developed nations is plagued by several challenges in pursuing global ambitions, a new study has revealed.

Haryana okays 32 industrial projects worth Rs 2,257 cr
Chandigarh, July 19
The Haryana government’s committee to promote investment and boost industrial infrastructure has approved investments of Rs 2,257 crore in the shape of 32 big industrial projects. These projects will be set up at different industrial estates in the state, providing employment to about 5,000 persons directly and through ancillary units.

Yusof A Yaacob, CEO of Telekom Malaysia, which partly owns the mobile company Spice Communication, hits the gong at the listing of Spice Communication at the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai on Thursday.
Yusof A Yaacob, CEO of Telekom Malaysia, which partly owns the mobile company Spice Communication, hits the gong at the listing of Spice Communication at the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai on Thursday. The company's scrip today opened at Rs 57.55, a premium of 21.19 per cent over its issue price of Rs 46. The company said it plans to reduce debt to Rs 700 crore from the present level of Rs 1,000 crore. — AFP

Deora seeks oil bonds worth Rs 19,000 cr
New Delhi, July 19
Petroleum minister Murli Deora has sought oil bonds worth Rs 19,000 crore from finance minister P Chidambaram to partially tide over the impact of surging oil prices on the state-run oil firms.

BoB to raise Rs 1,000 cr
Mumbai, July 19
Bank of Baroda today said it will raise Rs 1,000-crore by March 2008 as tier II capital to maintain its CAR at 12 per cent post-basel II. The bank in April raised $300 million under its medium-term note programme. This was announced by the bank’s chairman and managing director Anil Khandelwal, while addressing reporters on the occasion of the bank’s centenary celebrations. — PTI

Ranbaxy Q2 net up 118 pc
New Delhi, July 19
Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited’s net profit in the second quarter ended June 30 jumped by 118 per cent to Rs 266.2 crore from Rs 122.11 crore in the year-ago period.

 

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Jindal Steel to pump in $2.1 b in Bolivia

New Delhi, July 19
In the biggest investment by an Indian company in South America, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) today announced projects worth more than Rs 8,000 crore ($2.1 billion) in Bolivia to develop an iron ore mine and setting up a steel plant among other things.

"JSPL has signed a historic agreement with the Bolivian government to develop a 20 billion tonne iron ore mine and setting a two million tonne steel plant there," JSPL executive vice-chairman and managing director Naveen Jindal told reporters here.

The investment will be made over five years, he said, adding the company would look for more opportunities to invest in other South American nations.

Jindal said JSPL would also set up a 450 MW gas-fired power plant in Bolivia to meet production needs and the country's government has assured to provide gas at a low rate.

Of the 20 billion tonne iron ore reserves in the El Mutun mines, the Bolivian government has allowed JSPL to export up to 10 million tonnes. The first consignment of 4-5 million tonnes was expected in the first year of the operations.

JSPL had won the contract to develop El Mutun Mines, one of the world's biggest reserves of iron ore, last year after outbidding various competitors, including the world's largest steelmaker Arcelor-Mittal.

Asked if ore would be shipped to India for commercial sale or for captive use, Jindal ruled out such a possibility.

Instead, the mineral would be used to make steel from the greenfield project that is likely to be commissioned by 2010.

He said the proposed steel plant would produce six million tonnes of direct reduced iron (DRI), besides TMT bars, wire rods and some flat products.

The $2.1 billion investment would be made in a debt-equity ratio of 60:40, Jindal said and pointed out that talks were on with various international banks and FIs to secure loans. "Bolivian banks too have expressed interest in funding our project," he said. — PTI

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Rising rupee dents Wipro net
Tribune News Service & PTI

Bangalore, July 19
The rising rupee impacted Wipro Limited, with the company reporting its slowest profit growth in two years in the first quarter of this financial year. It reported a net profit of Rs 725.6 crore in the first quarter ended June 30, which was a 17 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.

“The results for the quarter are satisfying considering the strong headwinds faced by us in the form of an appreciating rupee,” Azim Premji, chairman, said.

Revenues in the April-June quarter rose by 34 per cent year-on-year to Rs 4,203 crore on the back of a strong volume growth across the company’s business units.

The company suffered forex losses of Rs 85.2 crore in the quarter, leading to net profit falling short of estimates as currency impact was more than expected, Citigroup analyst Surendra Goel said in a research note. 

Premji’s son joins Co

In a significant development, Rashid Premji, son of Wipro chairman Azim Premji, today joined the company as an employee.

Reacting to a question at the press briefing organised to announce the company’s first quarter results here, Premji said his son’s appointment had been ratified yesterday and that he had joined the company officially today. He said his son had been attached to the finance solutions team headed by Garish Paranjape.

Speaking about the appointment, Paranjape said Rahid’s designation was still to be worked out. Paranjape said Rashid would be looking after new initiatives like platform and knowledge-based integrated services. He added that Rashid was studying the situation as of now and would be given independent charge of the new initiatives section once he was comfortable to take over. — TNS

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RCom to divest 5% in RTIL

Mumbai, July 19
Reliance Communications (RCom) today said it would sell 5 per cent stake in its subsidiary Reliance Telecom Infrastructure Ltd (RTIL) to seven institutional investors from the US, Europe and Asia for Rs 1,400 crore ($337.5 million).

RCoM chairman Anil Ambani told reporters here more stake in RTIL would be sold in future through the same process and an IPO would follow. He, however, declined to give any time-frame for the venture's listing.

The decision to sell 5 per cent stake comes a week after Ambani told RCoM's shareholders at the annual general meeting that the company intended to unlock value in the telecom infrastructure arm through private placement and IPO.

He said at this price, RCom's residual 95 per cent equity is valued at Rs 26,000 crore.

RTIL would use a part of the proceeds to roll out 23,000 towers by March 2008 from 13,849 now, making it the largest integrated tower company in the world. — PTI

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Govt clears 17 FDI proposals
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 19
Union finance minister P Chidambaram has approved 17 foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals amounting to Rs 589.85 crore, including Rs 313.22 crore proposal of Quinn Hotels Sweden and Rs 15 crore proposal of Google Holdings Pte Ltd, Singapore.

These proposals were recommended by Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in its meeting held on July 13.

The Quinn Hotels proposals is to form a 100 per cent owned holding company for investments in construction development activities and acquiring existing company engaged in development of hotels.

Google Holdings proposal relates to induction of foreign equity by way of subscribing to 30 per cent units of M/s Ventureast Tenet Fund II, a SEBI registered venture capital fund.

A Rs 59.85 crore proposal of Pacifica Infrastructure Co Pvt Ltd has also got nod for induction of additional foreign equity in a holding company by existing foreign collaborator by way of equity and convertible debentures and another foreign collaborator - Parmerica ASPF II Cyprus Holding Limited, by way of convertible debentures.

A Rs 80 crore proposal of Flemingo Duty Free Shop Pvt Ltd for induction of foreign equity by M/s Walker Investments in a company engaged in setting up duty free shops at airports and seaports, Rs 6.02 crore proposal of Bhilwara Energy Limited, Noida for induction of foreign equity upto 8.26 per cent in a company making investment in other companies engaged in power generation and transmission were among other proposals cleared today.

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Rs 4,800-cr BSNL order for Ericsson

New Delhi, July 19
State-run telecom firm BSNL has placed the order for mobile equipment of 14 million GSM lines with Swedish vendor Ericsson at a cost of $80 per line, much lower than the original cost of $107.

Ericsson officials said they have received the advanced purchase order (APO) for 2G equipment and would start studying it shortly. Ericsson has two weeks to pledge bank guarantee with the public sector firm, a mark of accepting the APO.

With the final deal size reduced by half to 23 million GSM lines, the contract now stands at $2 billion or about Rs 8,000 crore. Of this, Ericsson being the lowest bidder will get 60 per cent of the order or about Rs 4,800 crore, while Nokia-Siemens - the second-lowest- would get 40 per cent or Rs 3,200 crore.

As for the 18.1 million line allotted to Alcatel-ITI, BSNL officials said the size of this contract would be taken up at a later stage but Alcatel-ITI would have to quote the same price as Ericsson.

The government yesterday allowed BSNL to place the contract for GSM lines but curtailed it to 23 million lines from the original size of 45.5 million lines. In the first phase, the company would roll out 17 million lines, comprising 14 million 2G and the remaining for the 3G network.

BSNL issued the APO to Ericsson shortly after it received direction from telecom minister A Raja, who had sought changes in the original contract valued at about Rs 18,500 crore as approved by his predecessor Dayanidhi Maran.

The company would place the APO for both 2G and 3G services, but the order for 3G equipment would be placed only after the policy on 3G and spectrum is in place. — PTI

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BSNL launches mobile TV
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Essel group’s DMCL (Digital Media Convergence Limited) in collaboration with state- owned BSNL launched a mobile television — ‘ISEE’, an extensive video portal in the north India here today.

The mobile TV gateway will bring television to the screens of BSNL mobile, which will telecast streamed content of Zee group. The portal is powered by U-turn Media group of Czech Republic technology and will be available to customers in the fist phase of the roll-out.

BSNL customers can now easily download the portal to their phones. Das gave a live demonstration of the procedure. The service is offered free of cost for 30 days. Subsequently, the service will cost Rs 150 per month.

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Keep a tab on friends through mobiles

New York, July 19
American wireless phone company Sprint has announced that it will offer a service that can help a user spot the locations of his or her friends through mobiles around the world.

The service, that uses the global positioning system (GPS) technology, will also automatically upgrade the location of a user’s friends every 15 minutes.

The updated locations will then be displayed on the subscribers’ mobile phones. It will cost a user $2.99 per month plus standard data charges, reported the online edition of science magazine Popular Science.

Sprint, one of America’s largest cell phone service providers, inked a deal to provide this service with Mountain View’s Loopt, which first introduced its service last fall on Boost Mobile, a mobile service owned by Sprint.

The service is aimed at the people between 14 to 25 years of age, who most frequently use social-networking sites like MySpace. It will allow users to create groups of friends on their phone and keep track of them using a combination of text messaging, pictures and the GPS technology embedded in many new cell phones.

Sprint stressed that the service was strictly permission-based and users had the liberty to turn the friend-finder feature on or off depending on their preferences. — IANS

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Indian car industry rides bumpy road, says study

New York, July 19
India's booming automobile industry that poses a serious threat to carmakers in many developed nations is plagued by several challenges in pursuing global ambitions, a new study has revealed.

The study, released by IBM and the Transportation Research Institute of University of Michigan, notes that Indian automakers are plagued by shortages of skilled workers, inferior quality and inadequate highway infrastructure, among other obstacles, in pursuing global ambitions.

The Indian car market still remains in a fairly primitive stage of development, The New York Times reported today, quoting the authors who interviewed 30 high-level executives and automobile experts in the country.

However, according to the study, the Indian auto industry will surmount the impediments to make India one of the world's top 10 vehicle-producing countries by 2015.

Sales of passenger cars in India have more than doubled since 2002, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, which represents 38 makers of vehicles and engines. Passenger vehicles have nearly quadrupled in the period but still were less that two lakhs in the past 12 months.

Future growth could be limited, however, by too few engineers and skilled workers. Although India is known as a home of plentiful low-cost labour, many workers do not have the qualifications that automakers desire.

However, the country's automakers do have several important factors working in their favour: The Indian government is solidly behind their efforts, even drafting an aggressive mission plan for the industry, and Indian consumers generally want to buy vehicles made in their own country to support the economy. — PTI

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Haryana okays 32 industrial projects worth Rs 2,257 cr
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
The Haryana government’s committee to promote investment and boost industrial infrastructure has approved investments of Rs 2,257 crore in the shape of 32 big industrial projects. These projects will be set up at different industrial estates in the state, providing employment to about 5,000 persons directly and through ancillary units.

Each of these projects is estimated to bring in an investment of over Rs 30 crore. The committee, which met under the chairmanship of financial commissioner, industries and commerce, P.K. Chaudhery, along with managing directors of HUDA and HSIIDC, also cleared another 222 acres of industrial plots at Growth Centre, Bawal Phase II, and industrial estates at Rai, Kundli, Barhi and Bahadurgarh.

A senior official of the government said Haryana was keen to bring in a diversified industry into the state. So far, the investment in the state was limited to select pockets. The committee on investments has ensured that manufacturers from diverse fields such as IT service providers, fabric and readymade garments manufacturers, textile yarn producers; etc got represented in the state.

The other manufacturers, who will now be located in Haryana, include manufacturers of automotive components, sheet metal components, high pressure die-castings, environment-testing equipments, pre-laminated particle boards, advanced tools, glass processing, cutlery and footwear manufacturers.

According to HSIIDC managing director Rajeev Arora, 21 industrial plots of various sizes have been allotted in Phase-II of Growth Centre Bawal, for which an additional 1,000 acres of land has been acquired by the corporation. Most of these are big companies like the Caparo group that is envisaging an investment of Rs 629 crore for setting up six projects at Bawal.

Omax Autos Ltd. has been allotted land in Growth Centre Bawal for setting up a project for manufacturing advance tools and related design centre. The project cost has been estimated at Rs 128 crore and the company proposes to invest more than Rs 100 crore in the first three years of the project.

Wipro Group, through its 100 per cent subsidiary Wipro Infrastructure Engineering Ltd, has been allotted land in Industrial Estate Kundli for setting up a unit.

Once the companies strengthen their presence in Haryana, it will automatically bring in more jobs in the new units and the ancillary units that come up as support to these big units. 

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Deora seeks oil bonds worth Rs 19,000 cr
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 19
Petroleum minister Murli Deora has sought oil bonds worth Rs 19,000 crore from finance minister P Chidambaram to partially tide over the impact of surging oil prices on the state-run oil firms.

He, however, did not rule out hike in prices of petroleum products.

"The situation has become really tough. The Indian basket of crude oil touched $73.89 per barrel on July 16. These losses are not sustainable," Deora said, but refused to say if petrol and diesel prices would be raised. "I cannot say that. We are trying our best to see that a price hike is avoided," he added.

Public sector firms — IndianOil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum — are losing close to Rs 180 crore every day on sale of petrol, diesel, LPG and PDS kerosene as the government has barred them from raising retail prices in line with the rise in prices of crude oil.

Oil firms are losing Rs 5.50 a litre on petrol, Rs 4.45 per litre of diesel, Rs 187 per LPG cylinder and Rs 14.70 per litre on kerosene sale.

Under-realisation on fuel sale is anticipated to be around Rs 55,000 crore in 2007-08. One-third of this amount would be met by upstream firms ONGC and OIL by way of discounts of crude oil they sell to IOC, BPCL and HPCL. The remaining amount would have to be absorbed by retailers and passed on to consumers.

Meanwhile, ONGC and HPCL have entered into an MoU to share respective infrastructure and expertise. Under the MoU, ONGC, through its subsidiary MRPL and its Tatipaka Refinery, will supply all grades of petroleum products to HPCL.

HPCL, in turn, will provide road and rail terminalling services under hospitality arrangements from HPCL's Mangalore, Hassan & Devanagunthi Terminals, LPG import facility at Mangalore (MLIF) and ATF handling facilities at Bangalore, Calicut and Goa.

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BoB to raise Rs 1,000 cr

Mumbai, July 19
Bank of Baroda today said it will raise Rs 1,000-crore by March 2008 as tier II capital to maintain its CAR at 12 per cent post-basel II. The bank in April raised $300 million under its medium-term note programme. This was announced by the bank’s chairman and managing director Anil Khandelwal, while addressing reporters on the occasion of the bank’s centenary celebrations. — PTI

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Ranbaxy Q2 net up 118 pc
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 19
Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited’s net profit in the second quarter ended June 30 jumped by 118 per cent to Rs 266.2 crore from Rs 122.11 crore in the year-ago period.

The global sales of the company zoomed by 54 per cent during the quarter as its business in the emerging markets grew by 44 per cent.

Ranbaxy’s consolidated net sales grew by 12 per cent to Rs 1,623.8 crore, compared to Rs 1,149.8 crore in the same quarter previous fiscal.

Significantly, of the Rs 266.2 crore net profit registered by the company, Rs 106 crore were due to foreign exchange gains as the rupee hardened against the dollar during this quarter.

The company’s sales in India, during the quarter, stood at $79 million, up by 19 per cent year-on-year.

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