SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

Mumbai-NY commuting not far off: Air India chief
Seattle, July 26
Air India chairman and managing director V. Thulasidas has formally received the first of the long-haul Boeing 777-200 aircraft it has ordered by accepting a model of the plane from Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice-president Dinesh Keskar.
Air India chairman and managing director V. Thulasidas (left) receives a model of Boeing 777-200 aircraft from Boeing vice-president Dinesh Keskar.
Air India chairman and managing director V. Thulasidas (left) receives a model of Boeing 777-200 aircraft from Boeing vice-president Dinesh Keskar.

PSEs allowed to invest in MFs
Disinvestment policy unchanged
New Delhi, July 26
In line with the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) of the ruling UPA combine, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today gave its approval for removing the prohibition on investment of surplus funds by navratnas and mini ratnas in mutual funds.

Reliance plans India’s largest fertiliser plant
New Delhi, July 26
Reliance Industries plans to invest over $2.5 billion to set up India’s largest fertiliser plant.



EARLIER STORIES

 
A Fujifilm employee displays new digital cameras, "FinePix F50fd" (bottom) and "FinePix Z100fd" (top), in Tokyo on Thursday.
A Fujifilm employee displays new digital cameras, "FinePix F50fd" (bottom) and "FinePix Z100fd" (top), in Tokyo on Thursday. FinePix F50fd, equipped with a 12.0 mega pixel super CCD on its image sensor, a 8-24mm/F2.8-5.6 optical zoom lens and new dual image stabilisation, will be put on market in August. Fine PixZ100fd, equipped with a 8.0 mega pixel CCD on its image sensor and a 5.9-29.5mm/F3.8-4.8 optical zoom lens (16-180mm), will be put on the market in September. — AFP photo

‘Bisleri not for sale’
New Delhi, July 26
Bottled water major Bisleri today said many parties had shown interest in acquiring the brand but denied that it was up for sale.

Corporate Results
Airtel net doubles to Rs 1,512 cr
New Delhi, July 26
Propped by record additions to its mobile subscriber base in the first quarter ended June 30, Bharti Airtel today said its net profit has doubled to Rs 1,512 crore.

Nasscom eyes $50b IT revenue by 2012
Bangalore, July 25
Nasscom, a representative group of the Indian IT and IT-enabled services (ITeS) industry, yesterday announced that it had earmarked a funding of Rs 100 crore for innovative ideas and would expand it to Rs 300 crore under the programme, which aims at adding an additional $50 billion to the revenue pool of the Indian IT and ITeS industry by 2012.

Ashwani woos Japanese investment
New Delhi, July 26
Minister of state for industry Ashwani Kumar, who is currently on an official visit to Japan, has urged the Japanese captains of industries to make mega investments in India.

Ranbaxy, GSK row over patent resolved
New Delhi, July 26
Pharmacuetical major Ranbaxy Laboratories today said it has reached an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to settle their litigation in the USA over Valtrex, an anti-viral.

Jet to buy more aircraft
Mumbai, July 26
Jet Airways today said it will acquire three B777-300 extended range aircraft and 13 ATR planes to expand domestic and overseas operations.

 

Videos
Eco-friendly bikes launched.
(56k)
India fastest growing wireless market.
(56k)

 

Top



 

 

 

Mumbai-NY commuting not far off: Air India chief
A.J. Philip
Tribune News Service

Seattle, July 26
Air India chairman and managing director V. Thulasidas has formally received the first of the long-haul Boeing 777-200 aircraft it has ordered by accepting a model of the plane from Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice-president Dinesh Keskar.

This is one of the 68 aircraft consisting of Boeing 777s, 737s and 787s that Air India is buying from Boeing over the next few years.

Thulasidas and a group of journalists from India and the US will be flying non-stop in the new aircraft, named Andhra Pradesh, from Seattle to Delhi tomorrow. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit the aircraft at the Delhi airport and formally induct it into the Air India fleet.

Addressing a Press conference on the occasion, the Air India chairman said the world’s longest range commercial airplane will provide service between Mumbai and New York beginning August 1.

The Boeing 777-200, which has state-of-the-art avionic, entertainment and ergonomic features, will not come cheap. “We will provide a premium service and the price will also be premium”, said Thulasidas without divulging the exact fare. A first class seat could cost several lakhs of rupees.

With the acquisition of the new aircraft, Air India will be able to provide non-stop service between Mumbai and New York.

“The flight will leave Mumbai at 12.45 am and reach New York the same day at 7.10 am in less than 16 hours. A business-class or first class passenger can take a shower at the Air India lounge in New York and go for work and catch the return flight at 9.30 p.m. The day is not far when passengers would be able to commute between Mumbai and New York like they do between Delhi and Mumbai”, said the highly optimistic Air India chairman.

Air India is now planning to introduce a Delhi-New York non-stop flight from January next. A similar service would be introduced between Bangalore and San Francisco. A Delhi-Paris-Washington service was under consideration and so was a plan to provide a non-stop flight to Houston from India. “Air India of the future will not be Air India of the past”, he said.

Barring six, all existing aircraft in Air India’s fleet will be phased out. One of them has already been converted into a cargo plane. Once Air India receives the full complement of the 68 aircraft it has given orders to Boeing and Indian Airlines acquires the 43 aircraft it has ordered, they will together have enough aircraft to make the merged entity the topmost airline in Asia.

Thulasidas agreed that changes in the attitude of the Air India staff were imperative for the success of the airline. He said some innovative methods in this direction would be attempted after the Air India-Indian merger takes place on August 1.

Air India will also join one of the alliances to provide mileage points and other facilities to its customers. It also intends to develop a hub in Europe. “We are looking at many cities, including London. It all depends on the availability of space for our operations”, he said.

Vice-president, sales, Boeing Dinesh Keskar said the Air India order for 68 aircraft constituted the single largest order ever received by Boeing, founded in 1916. He said work would soon begin on setting up a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Nagpur with an investment of $100 million.

The MRO will have a hangar which can accommodate at least three wide-bodied aircraft like the one Boeing has in Shanghai in China.

Boeing will also invest $75 million to provide a training facility for pilots. He said five aircraft will leave Boeing factory in as few as six days. “This is a record for Boeing”. It was Keskar, the seniormost Indian among the Boeing officials, who successfully negotiated the deal with Air India. Jet Airways and Kingfisher were two other Indian airlines which have given firm orders to Boeing. The 68 Boeing aircraft will cost Air India Rs 38,000 crore.

Top

 

PSEs allowed to invest in MFs
Disinvestment policy unchanged
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
In line with the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) of the ruling UPA combine, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today gave its approval for removing the prohibition on investment of surplus funds by navratnas and mini ratnas in mutual funds.

The investment should, however, be done only through public sector mutual funds and not more than 30 per cent of the available surplus funds would be invested in equity mutual funds, union parliamentary affairs minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi said after the CCEA meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Board of PSEs would decide the guidelines, procedures and management control systems for investment in MFs in consultation with their administrative ministries, he said, adding “This decision will be reviewed after gaining experience for one year.”

The approval would provide navratna and mini ratna PSEs with a level-playing field with private sector entities who can invest in MFs and provide flexibility to the said PSEs to choose schemes based on relative performance of the MFs.

Asked about the quantum of surplus funds available with navratnas and mini ratnas, Munsi said he does not have the figures.

Meanwhile, ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament, the minister reiterated that there was no change whatsoever in the stated policy of the UPA government on disinvestment as spelt out in the NCMP.

He said the white paper on disinvestment, to be tabled in Parliament, would contain a chronological list of various disinvestment that had taken place since 1999.

It may be recalled that the Left Parties, who provide crucial support to the Congress-led UPA government from outside, have been airing their opposition from time to time on any move for disinvestment of PSEs.

Top

 

Reliance plans India’s largest fertiliser plant

New Delhi, July 26
Reliance Industries plans to invest over $2.5 billion to set up India’s largest fertiliser plant.

Reliance has applied to the fertiliser ministry for permission to set up a four million tons-a-year fertiliser plant at either Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh or Jamnagar in Gujarat, a company executive said.

The plant would use natural gas from the company’s prolific gas field in Krishna Godavari (KG-D6) basin off the Andhra coast as feedstock. Gas from the KG-D6 block is to land at Kakinada and the company is laying a 1,400-km pipeline from Gujarat border for transporting the fuel.

India is a net importer of fertiliser, buying about 5 million tons of the commodity every year from overseas.

The Reliance executive added that fertiliser companies in India get subsidy from the government for selling the commodity to farmers at prices lower than the cost price.

“Our production cost will be 30 per cent lower,” he said, adding that Reliance has sought clarification from the government on the tax sops available for fertiliser plants. — PTI

Top

 

‘Bisleri not for sale’

New Delhi, July 26
Bottled water major Bisleri today said many parties had shown interest in acquiring the brand but denied that it was up for sale.

"There are a lot of people who have shown interest in Bisleri as a brand and have been chasing me for sometime now because Bisleri is the only profitable brand and is dominating the water industry," Bisleri International chairman Ramesh Chauhan said in a statement.

He, however, reiterated Bisleri was not on the block considering the strong growth it had been witnessing. "I have no intention of selling the brand or any stake in my company," Chauhan said, reacting to a media report that the company was in talks with many firms, including Coca Cola and Wipro, for a possible buyout or joint venture.

Terming the report as "mere speculation", he said: "I am enjoying tremendous growth due to new positioning and advertising."

When contacted, a Coca-Cola India spokesperson said: "This is speculative and as a policy we do not comment on market speculations." — PTI

Top

 

Corporate Results
Airtel net doubles to Rs 1,512 cr
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, July 26
Propped by record additions to its mobile subscriber base in the first quarter ended June 30, Bharti Airtel today said its net profit has doubled to Rs 1,512 crore.

The revenues grew 53 per cent to Rs 5,905 crore for the first quarter this fiscal as compared to Rs 3,856 crore for the corresponding quarter a year ago, the company said.

Bharti, which has earmarked $3.5 billion capex for 2007-08, also saw an increase in its all India mobile market share to 23.5 per cent during the quarter.

The company added highest-ever net addition of 57 lakh customers during the quarter with its total subscriber base touching 4.5 crore as on June 30, an increase of 82 per cent on a year-on-year basis.

The cash profit of the company was up 97 per cent at Rs 2,622 crore for the quarter ended June 30, from Rs 1,333 crore in the previous year.

Maruti net jumps

Country’s largest carmaker Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) has decided to change its name while recording more than 35 per cent jump in its net profit in the first quarter.

The board of directors, at its meeting here today, approved a proposal to change the company’s name to Maruti Suzuki India Limited. This, however, would be subject to approval by shareholders at the AGM and later by the Registrar of Companies.

MUL said its net profit for the quarter stood at Rs 499.6 crore as against Rs 369.57 crore in the corresponding period last year. Total income during the quarter stood at Rs 4,154.07 crore against Rs 3,268.77 crore in the same period a year ago, up by 27.08 per cent.

During the quarter, the company’s sales in the domestic market was 160,604 units, a growth of 17.1 per cent over the corresponding period last year. Total sales for the period, including exports, during the period stood at 169,669 units, up 17.1 per cent over April-June 2006.

PNB profit up

Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) net profit in the first quarter of 2007-08 amounted to Rs 425.07 crore as compared to Rs 367.52 crore in the corresponding period of last year, recording a year-on-year growth of 15.7 per cent.

During the quarter ended June, operating profit of the bank increased to Rs 933.13 crore from Rs 878.72 crore, registering a growth of 6.2 per cent.

However, on accounting for the loss of Rs 497.74 crore incurred on transfer of securities, the operating profit of the bank was Rs 435.39 crore at the end of June, compared to Rs 491.96 crore as at the end of June 2006, PNB CMD K C Chakrabarty said here yesterday.

While total income of the bank increased to Rs 3,795 crore from Rs 2,923 crore in June 2006, interest income increased to Rs 3,363 crore from Rs 2,630 crore.

PTL net dips

Punjab Tractors Limited (PTL) has reported a dip of 29.39 per cent in revenue at Rs. 173.9 crore during the first quarter of 2007-08 as compared to Rs. 246.30 crore in corresponding period of last fiscal.

The net profit in the first quarter of the company has also shown decline at Rs 3.3. crore against last year's profit of Rs 17.7 crore.

Top

 

Nasscom eyes $50b IT revenue by 2012
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, July 25
Nasscom, a representative group of the Indian IT and IT-enabled services (ITeS) industry, yesterday announced that it had earmarked a funding of Rs 100 crore for innovative ideas and would expand it to Rs 300 crore under the programme, which aims at adding an additional $50 billion to the revenue pool of the Indian IT and ITeS industry by 2012.

Disclosing this at a function held here to release the ‘Innovation-2007’ report, which has been commissioned by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) on behalf of Infosys, Nasscom president Kiran Karnik said the body wanted to establish innovation as the core IT brand of India. He said to achieve this, it would involve a three-pronged approach of integrating academia, government and private institutions in this initiative.

“We are in consultation with banks and also welcome the government to join in but with a hand off approach”, he added.

Karnik said if the Indian IT industry could further enhance its ability to service this top priority of global corporations, the market opportunity is inestimable.

James Abraham, partner and director, BCG, said though some firms were becoming innovators, there was no exchange between academia and the public sector nor much funding at the seed level. He added there was also no platform for all stakeholders to interact with each other and no market place for innovation trading in India.

The BCG has recommended establishment of a certification programme under which a body like Nasscom could sift ideas received by it. Abraham said once this was done an India Innovation Fund could be created, which could help innovators at the early stage. Thematic innovation platforms could also be established, which could pick up ideas from academia and firms and act upon them.

Top

 

Ashwani woos Japanese investment
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 26
Minister of state for industry Ashwani Kumar, who is currently on an official visit to Japan, has urged the Japanese captains of industries to make mega investments in India.

“The need of the hour was to encourage more Japanese SMEs to invest in India and also to demystify the economic potentials of modern India and Japan,” Kumar said.

The minister met N Ohasi, chairman Mitsui and Co. and Co-chair of India Japan Business Co-operation Committee at Tokyo.

He also met Sakamoto, member of the Board of Marubeni Corporation and discussed various initiatives to deepen Indo-Japanese economic engagement.

The visit of Kumar to Japan is significant in view of Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s visit to India next month and in view of the ambitious Delhi- Mumbai Industrial Corridor and dedicated Rail Freight Corridor.

He informed the Japanese captains of industry that India remains focused on becoming a global hub for manufacturing activities, given the various competitive advantages and high-level human resource capabilities.

In separate meetings with the two Japanese executives, Kumar was assured that the Japanese government and the industry perceived great opportunities arising from enhanced Indo-Japanese economic cooperation.

Chairman of Mitsui Ohasi said he would be visiting India with PM Abe and a high-level team from Mitsui will be visiting India between August 25 to 28 to finalise plans for Mitsui’s major participation in different projects connected with the Delhi-Mumbai Freight Corridor and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.

Marubeni Corporation informed Kumar that it was actively exploring opportunities in infrastructure, including the power sector apart from expanding significantly its trading operations in India.

Top

 

Ranbaxy, GSK row over patent resolved

New Delhi, July 26
Pharmacuetical major Ranbaxy Laboratories today said it has reached an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to settle their litigation in the USA over Valtrex, an anti-viral.

The two companies have been fighting over GSKs US Patent No 4,957,924, covering Valacyclovir Hydrochloride and its use in the treatment of herpes virus infection.

Under the agreement, Ranbaxy will enter the US market in late 2009 whereby as the first generic, the company will enjoy a 180 days exclusivity, the company said in a statement.

Ranbaxy has also obtained a licence to GSKs two US patents for Valacyclovir. The total annual market sales of Valtrex were around $1. 3 billion, it said.

The company said it will continue to pursue a strategy to effectively leverage and monetise its pipeline of first-to-file opportunities, with status on approximately 20 Para IV ANDA filings representing a market size of $26 billion valued at innovator prices. — PTI

Top

 

Jet to buy more aircraft

Mumbai, July 26
Jet Airways today said it will acquire three B777-300 extended range aircraft and 13 ATR planes to expand domestic and overseas operations.

The carrier said it expected delivery of B777-300 aircraft in May, October and November 2009.

The delivery of ATR planes was expected between December 2008 and July 2010, it added. — PTI

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Tata Tea
New Delhi, July 26
Tata Tea Limited today said it has become the leader in terms of volume sales in packed tea segment in India with a 19.2 per cent market share, leaving behind its closest competitor Hindustan Unilever. “According to an AC Neilsen survey, in the month of June, the company outperformed its nearest competitor with a volume share of 19.2 per cent as compared to the latter’s 18.6 per cent,” a company statement said. — PTI

Tata Indicom
Mumbai, July 26
Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited today announced it has slashed ISD call rates to Rs 1.99 per minute on Rs 1,000 denomination calling cards. The card enables calls to the USA and Canada at Rs 1.99 per minute while to a UK landline it will cost Rs 4.5 and the Gulf Rs 6.99, a release stated. — PTI

Elder Pharma
Mumbai, July 26
Elder Pharmaceuticals today said it will acquire a 20 per cent strategic stake in the UK-based Neutra Health for 5.63 million pounds (about Rs 47 crore). The company would acquire over 3.51 crore equity shares of face value of 10 pence of the AIM-listed Neutra Health, at a price of 16 pence per share, Elder Pharmaceuticals said in a communique to the BSE. — PTI

Lenovo in HP
New Delhi, July 26
PC maker Lenovo will invest $10 million to build a manufacturing plant at Baddi in Himachal Pradesh, which is expected to start production by this year-end. “India is a strategic market and we want to improve our supply chain to remain competitive,” Lenovo vice-president (global manufacturing) Jeffrey Gallinat told reporters here today. — UNI

Internet services
Karnal, July 26
Tata Indicom has launched Plug2Surf WHIZ- Sungil USB Modem, a hassle free and instant internet connectivity priced at Rs 2,949. Under budget plan, subscriber will pay Rs 150 and will get free usage worth 300 minutes. Additional usage would be charged 50 paise per minute. In value 325, user will pay Rs 325 to get free usage worth 1800 minutes. — TNS

Top

 



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