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Sops for regional airlines announced
New Delhi, August 9
The government today notified incentives for regional airlines, aimed to provide better air connectivity in remote areas and smaller towns and cities. According to the new norms, the proposed airline companies would undertake operations between airports of any of the four regions - north, south, west and east/north-east.

Air India mulls European hub
More direct flights to US, Canada on radar
Mumbai, August 9
Buoyed by the successful launch of its non-stop Mumbai-New York flight on August 1, Air India is planning to add more such destinations in the US from various Indian cities and proposes to acquire more aircraft for this purpose.


SRK and John unveil Pepsi's 'My Can'.
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Jet starts Delhi-Toronto flight
New Delhi, August 9
Expanding its wings further to overseas destinations, private carrier Jet Airways today said it planned to start daily flights from Delhi to New York’s JFK Airport as well as to South Africa by this winter.

SEBI norms for venture capital funds
Mumbai, August 9
Securities and Exchange Board of India today issued a series of guidelines for the venture capital funds registered with it and aspirants to invest in equity and equity-linked instruments.



EARLIER STORIES

 
Protests against Bharti, Wal-Mart tie-up
New Delhi, August 9
Following the announcement of the Bharti-Wal-Mart joint venture, traders, hawkers and farmers today participated in protests in several parts of the country, demanding that the Wal-Mart-Bharti joint venture “be immediately revoked and all corporations stopped till thorough study is conducted by an independent special task force comprising stakeholders”.
A protestor shouts slogans against Wal-Mart at a protest organised by traders in New Delhi
A protestor shouts slogans against Wal-Mart at a protest organised by traders in New Delhi on Thursday. — AFP photo

Rs 2,900-cr contract for BHEL
New Delhi, August 9
State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited has won orders for the supply and installation of the main plant package at the upcoming Jhajjar Super Thermal Power Project in Haryana, involving three units of 500 MW each.

Balco to invest Rs 8,100 crore
New Delhi, August 9
Vedanta group firm Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd (Balco) has signed an agreement with Chhattisgarh government to invest Rs 8,100 crore for setting up a 6.5 lakh tonnes per annum (tpa) aluminium smelter at Korba.

Vice-president (marketing) of SBI Card and Payment Services Nirupam Sahay (left) and CEO of SBI Cards Roopam Asthana at the launch of credit cards by SBI in New Delhi
Vice-president (marketing) of SBI Card and Payment Services Nirupam Sahay (left) and CEO of SBI Cards Roopam Asthana at the launch of credit cards by SBI in New Delhi on Thursday. SBI Card announced the launch of two new cards in the premium segment called SBI Platinum card and SBI Gold and More Card. — AFP photo

A shopper stands in front of a sale billboard at a shopping mall in Beijing
A shopper stands in front of a sale billboard at a shopping mall in Beijing on Thursday. China's central bank warned on Wednesday that growth in the world's fourth-largest economy was moving towards overheating and vowed to do what it could to curb inflation as China's inflation rate was 3.2 per cent in the first six months of the year and jumped to 4.4 per cent in June, well above the government's full-year target of 3 per cent. — AFP photo

LG to set up cable unit in Haryana
Chandigarh, August 9
LS Cables, a subsidiary of Korean multinational LG, has decided to set up a power and telecommunication cables project in Haryana.

Wipro plans centres in US
Silicon Valley, August 9
Indian software giant Wipro plans to open several software development and IT facilities in the United States.

RCoM sells 5 pc stake in tower biz
Mumbai, August 9
Reliance Communications (RCoM) yesterday said it has sold 5 per cent stake in its tower business to seven investors, including US billionaire George Soros, for Rs 1,400 crore in a deal that values the subsidiary at Rs 27,000 crore.

Bajaj’s 125 cc ‘Exceed’ to hit roads in Sept
Pune, August 9
Bajaj Auto today announced a breakthrough with the launch of a new engine for its new two-wheeler range which the company claims gives a mileage of 109 km per litre under ideal test conditions.

Kotak Bank opens branches in region
Chandigarh, August 9
Kotak Mahindra Bank today inaugurated its branches in Manimajra, Zirakpur and Patiala. Speaking on the occasion, KVS Manian, group head (retail liabilities and branch banking) said: “We would be launching two more branches in coming months to strengthen our presence in the state.”

Hi-Tec footwear enters India
New Delhi, August 9
The UK-based global sports and outdoor company, Hi-Tec Sports plc today announced its foray into the country with plans to capture sizable marketshare in the Rs 500-crore outdoor footware market in the country, which is growing at 20 per cent per annum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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Sops for regional airlines announced
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
The government today notified incentives for regional airlines, aimed to provide better air connectivity in remote areas and smaller towns and cities. According to the new norms, the proposed airline companies would undertake operations between airports of any of the four regions - north, south, west and east/north-east.

Announcing this at a press conference here, civil aviation minister Praful Patel said: “The airline companies can initially start operations with one aircraft but within one year, they must have a fleet of three. In two years from the start of operation, they need to have five aircraft.”

A separate category of operator permit, Scheduled Operator Permit, would be given to such airlines.

“On grounds of operational and commercial exigencies, the companies would be allowed to operate flights from airports in their designated region to all airports in any other region except the metro airports of the another region,” Patel said.

These airlines would be exempted from paying parking and landing charges in airports and would pay a uniform four per cent tax on aviation turbine fuel.

The minister said the regional airlines would not be permitted to operate on category I routes.

The company should have a minimum paid up capital of Rs 30 crore for bigger aircraft, while airlines operating with smaller turboprop aircrafts the minimum paid up capital would be Rs 12 crore.

“It was felt that a separate category of airlines, mainly with smaller aircrafts, might be encouraged to fill this gap and also contribute to the overall growth in the sector. In this connection, it may be clarified that the existing provisions for the Scheduled Operator Permit would also remain in force and such permit would be considered only for those companies which have financial strength and organisational capabilities to successfully manage such complex operations,” Patel added.

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Air India mulls European hub
More direct flights to US, Canada on radar

Mumbai, August 9
Buoyed by the successful launch of its non-stop Mumbai-New York flight on August 1, Air India is planning to add more such destinations in the US from various Indian cities and proposes to acquire more aircraft for this purpose.

After its Mumbai-New York direct flight, Air India is now looking at connecting more destinations like Chicago, Washington and Houston in the US and Vancouver and Toronto in Canada.

The Indian cities that could generate adequate traffic for such non-stop flights to north America are Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Amritsar, apart from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, Air India's Chairman, V Thulasidas, told PTI here.

This is apart from the already planned non-stop Delhi-New York non-stop flight in December-January and then Bangalore-San Francisco in May next with the eight Boeing 777-200 LRs to be acquired by then, Thulasidas said.

The Mumbai-New York flight is being operated by the first two of the eight Boeing 777-200 LRs which have been inducted into the fleet.

The flight has been scheduled in such a manner that it would now be possible for business travellers to go to New York and return the same night, thereby saving on hotel charges and valuable time, Thulasidas said.

Thulasidas, however, made it clear that the new destinations would be considered only after Air India got more aircraft.

The eight aircraft would suffice only for running the present schedules of three destinations for direct flights to the US.

But Air India would be launching more flights to destinations in the US with a halt in Europe once it starts getting delivery of Dreamliner Boeing 787 from September 2008.

It has ordered 23 Boeing 787s as a part of the 68 aircraft it would be acquiring for nearly $10 billion.

The merged Air India-Indian Airlines has ordered 111 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft whose delivery would be completed by 2011. It is acquiring 43 Airbus 320, 319 and 321, mostly for domestic operations.

With growing air traffic in the country and recognising the need to have more aircraft to cater to this demand, India's national flag-carrier has started already working for acquiring 60 more aircraft.

Thulasidas said the Air India Board was expected to take a decision on acquisition of more aircraft by September which would then go to the Centre for its approval.

The new acquisitions would also be a blend of Boeing and Airbus aircraft, he said, adding that in the short-term, it may also look at leasing aircraft.

The merged airline would have to grow to a size of around 250 aircraft to match some of its global competitors like Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways, he said.

Apart from having non-stop flights to several US destinations, Air India is also working on a plan to create an European hub and another hub in Asia, preferably in Hong Kong. It also plans to have flights to Australia and Sau Paulo in Brazil besides connecting more destinations in Asia, particularly Saarc countries and some destinations in Africa. — PTI

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Jet starts Delhi-Toronto flight

New Delhi, August 9
Expanding its wings further to overseas destinations, private carrier Jet Airways today said it planned to start daily flights from Delhi to New York’s JFK Airport as well as to South Africa by this winter.

“By the end of October or early November, daily flights from Delhi to JFK Airport will start,” Jet Airways executive director Saroj Datta said.

“We also intend to start flights to east coast of the USA from Chennai or Bangalore,” he said, adding the carrier would also start flights to Johannesburg by this winter.

The airline today announced the launch of its new flight linking Delhi with Toronto via Brussels, five times a week.

The carrier will operate flights to Toronto with Airbus 330-200 and has offered an inaugural return fare for economy class at Rs 35,000, while for the premiere class the return fare starts at Rs 1,57,500 (excluding taxes). — PTI

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SEBI norms for venture capital funds

Mumbai, August 9
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today issued a series of guidelines for the venture capital funds (VCFs) registered with it and aspirants to invest in equity and equity-linked instruments.

The SEBI, in its guidelines, clarified that the 'Offshore Venture Capital Undertakings' (VCFs) meaning a foreign company whose shares are not listed on any of the recognised stock exchanges in India or abroad, are only eligible to invest as per the scheme.

It said that investments by these VCFs would be made only in those companies which have an Indian connection (i.e. company which has a front office overseas, while back office operations are in India).

The investments should be up to 10 per cent of the investible funds of a VCF.

The capital market regulator has ruled that the allocation of investment limits would be done on ‘first come- first serve’ basis, depending on the availability in the overall limit of $500 million.

The SEBI has clarified that in case a VCF, who is allocated certain investment limit, and wishes to apply for allocation of further investment limit, needs to give fresh application.

The applicant VCF will have a time limit of six months for making allocated investments in offshore venture capital undertakings once allowed by SEBI.

SEBI said the VCFs registered with it can invest in equity and equity-linked instruments only of off-shore venture capital undertakings, subject to overall limit of $500 million and applicable SEBI regulations.

It asked the VCFs to submit their proposal for investment for its prior approval. There is no need to seek separate permission from RBI in this regard, the Sebi guidelines stated. — UNI

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Protests against Bharti, Wal-Mart tie-up
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
Following the announcement of the Bharti-Wal-Mart joint venture, traders, hawkers and farmers today participated in protests in several parts of the country, demanding that the Wal-Mart-Bharti joint venture “be immediately revoked and all corporations stopped till thorough study is conducted by an independent special task force comprising stakeholders”.

According to FDI Watch director Dharmendra Kumar, agitations took place in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, besides Calicut, Bhopal, Jaipur, Ranchi, Balia, Meerut, Sonepat, Nagpur, Nasik, Pune and Indore. Protesters also included a group of American students in Jaipur, who demanded that Wal-Mart not be allowed entry into India.

The organistions urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA president Sonia Gandhi to immediately stop the Bharti-Wal-Mart joint venture.

In Delhi, protestors burned effigies of Wal-Mart, Bharti and Reliance at Chandni Chowk. Dharmendra Kumar said both Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh had acknowledged dangers of corporations entering into the retail sector.

According to Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) general secretary Praveen Khandelwal, livelihoods of retail traders would be at stake if big retail giants like Wal-Mart and Reliance started operating in India.

Kumar said in Mumbai, retailers, hawkers, workers and cooperatives participated in a one-day trade bandh. The Mumbai APMC-wholesale-market and retail shops remained closed.

In Bangalore, protestors burnt effigies of Wal-Mart and Reliance while in Jaipur 50 American students joined with hawkers demanding that Wal-Mart leave India.

In Kerala, the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Egono Samiti organised protests at over 1,000 places across the state.

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Rs 2,900-cr contract for BHEL
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has won orders for the supply and installation of the main plant package at the upcoming Jhajjar Super Thermal Power Project in Haryana, involving three units of 500 MW each.

Valued at over Rs 2,900 crore, the orders have been placed on BHEL by Aravali Power Company Private Limited (APCPL), a joint venture company of NTPC, IPGPL and HPGCL, a company release said today.

Slated for synchronisation during the 11th Plan, these units will add 36 million units every day to the grid on commissioning, which will be shared by the power deficit states of Delhi and Haryana. Notably, power from the first unit will also be used for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi in 2010.

BHEL has fully established state-of-the-art technology for manufacture of thermal sets up to 500 MW rating and has the capability to manufacture sets up to 1,000 MW rating. So far, orders for 58 numbers of 500 MW rating sets have been won, of which 31 have been commissioned.

BHEL is now poised to introduce 800 MW thermal sets with supercritical parameters. In addition, the company is shoring up its capability for higher rating hydro sets and advanced class gas turbines to cater to upcoming market requirements.

Aimed at equipping itself to meet the country's power capacity targets in the 11th plan and beyond, BHEL is enhancing its manufacturing capacity in the next three years, from the current level of 6,000 MW to 15,000 MW per annum with a total investment of around Rs 3,200 crore.

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Balco to invest Rs 8,100 crore

New Delhi, August 9
Vedanta group firm Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd (Balco) has signed an agreement with Chhattisgarh government to invest Rs 8,100 crore for setting up a 6.5 lakh tonnes per annum (tpa) aluminium smelter at Korba.

On completion, this will become the largest single-location aluminium plant in this part of the world with a combined capacity of one million tpa, Balco said in a release.

"We aim to become the lowest cost producer of aluminium in the whole world," Vedanta Group chairman Anil Agarwal said after the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding.

In addition, it would provide employment opportunities to the people of the state, he added.

The MoU is in line with the promise made to the state government last year during the signing ceremony of the 1,200 MW power plant, the release said. — PTI

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LG to set up cable unit in Haryana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
LS Cables, a subsidiary of Korean multinational LG, has decided to set up a power and telecommunication cables project in Haryana. The Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) has agreed in principle to allot about 40 acres of land in the second phase of its industrial growth centre at Bawal in Rewari district to the company.

Disclosing this today, Rajeev Arora, managing director of the corporation, said a large number of Korean companies had evinced interest in Haryana after the visit of a high-level business delegation led by the Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to Korea last year.

LS Cables would invest a sum of Rs 210 crore in a phased manner for setting up the project. The company would manufacture RF cables for mobile operators in phase-I of the project and fibre optics telecommunication cables, power cables, automobile cables, magnetic wires in the second phase.

Arora said Samsung had already started production in their mobile phones project at Industrial Model Town, Manesar.

Arora said LS Cable has six plants in Korea and another eight plants located worldwide.

He said the project would generate direct and indirect employment for more than 1,500 persons. The first phase of the project was likely to go on stream in October 2008.

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Wipro plans centres in US

Silicon Valley, August 9
Indian software giant Wipro plans to open several software development and IT facilities in the United States.

In addition to a software development centre to be opened in Atlanta within the next three months, India's third-biggest software maker is considering opening three new US facilities, says Sridhar Ramasubbu, Wipro CFO for Americas and Europe.

Speaking to InformationWeek, Ramasubbu said Wipro is considering Raleigh in North Carolina, Austin in Texas and Richmond in Virginia as the locations for these facilities, which could open as early as next year.

However, the company first wants to see "how it goes" when its Atlanta centre opens by the year's end, he said, adding Wipro expects within three years to have about 1,000 American workers based at the centre. — PTI

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RCoM sells 5 pc stake in tower biz

Mumbai, August 9
Reliance Communications (RCoM) yesterday said it has sold 5 per cent stake in its tower business to seven investors, including US billionaire George Soros, for Rs 1,400 crore in a deal that values the subsidiary at Rs 27,000 crore.

RCoM has received sales proceeds of Rs 1,400 crore from the stake sale in Reliance Telecom Infrastructure Ltd and has booked Rs 1,200 crore as capital gains in the current quarter, a company statement said.

"The placement has been made to seven international investors... Fortress Capital, HSBC Principal Investments, Galleon Group, New Silk Route, GLG Partners, Quantum Fund (of George Soros) and DA Capital," it said.

RTIL is also believed to be in talks with Boston-based American Tower Company to sell about 20 per cent stake. The company in future could go for listing and private placement, RCom chairman Anil Ambani had earlier said. — PTI

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Bajaj’s 125 cc ‘Exceed’ to hit roads in Sept

Pune, August 9
Bajaj Auto today announced a breakthrough with the launch of a new engine for its new two-wheeler range which the company claims gives a mileage of 109 km per litre under ideal test conditions.

The company will launch a new model `Exceed', powered by the new engine, in September, Bajaj Auto managing director Rajeev Bajaj told reporters today.

`Exceed' is expected to be priced at Rs 40,000 ex-showroom (Pune) but the actual pricing will be decided later, Bajaj said.

The new engine called Digital Twin Spark — Swirl induction (DTS-Si) surpasses the mileage offered by all current 100 cc motorcycles. The company has applied for a patent for this engine, Bajaj said.

The breakthrough offers a huge opportunity to upgrade the 100 cc customers with an engine which offers the best of both worlds — 100 cc mileage and 125 cc performance, top officials of the company said. — PTI

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Kotak Bank opens branches in region
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Kotak Mahindra Bank today inaugurated its branches in Manimajra, Zirakpur and Patiala. Speaking on the occasion, KVS Manian, group head (retail liabilities and branch banking) said: “We would be launching two more branches in coming months to strengthen our presence in the state.” Kotak Mahindra Bank has 125 branches spread across 88 locations in the country offering both traditional banking products and wealth management services. The bank plans to open 200 branches by next year. The bank will also be opening branches at Aapra, Nakodar and Sangrur tomorrow.

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Hi-Tec footwear enters India
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
The UK-based global sports and outdoor company, Hi-Tec Sports plc today announced its foray into the country with plans to capture sizable marketshare in the Rs 500-crore outdoor footware market in the country, which is growing at 20 per cent per annum. The company has tied up with Chogori India to distribute its brand in the country. The company plans to open 200 outlets by the end of this year focusing on North India, especially Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh.

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BRIEFLY


Gillette to lean on ‘The Wall’

Proctor and Gamble has signed Rahul Dravid as a new brand ambassador for its Gillette Winners League
Proctor and Gamble has signed Rahul Dravid as a new brand ambassador for its Gillette Winners League, making him the fourth global sports icon after Roger Federer, Thierry Henry and Tiger Woods.
— PTI photo

Infosys BPO in Mexico
Bangalore, August 9
Infosys Technologies would venture into Latin America by opening a BPO facility in Mexico soon. Talking to reporters here last night, company CEO and managing director S Gopalakrishnan said a 200-seat facility was being set up in the city of Monterrey in the Latin American country. — UNI

Godrej Agrovet
Mumbai, August 9
Godrej Agrovet has said it will have around 100 ‘Nature’s Basket’ retail outlets in the next two years. “The first store in the new gourmet retail store format is at Warden Road in the city and has already begun operations. We plan to expand this format to over 100 stores in various metros and other cities depending on the success of the first store,” Godrej Agrovet managing director C.K. Vaidya said. — PTI

S&P index
London, August 9
Standard & Poors (S&P) today launched an index for frontier equity markets containing the largest and most liquid stocks from over 30 developing markets across the world, seeking to serve risk-averse investors. The index is designed to meet the needs of investors, who seek to expand into markets with potential to give returns similar or greater than other better known developed and emerging markets. — PTI

Airtel offer
Chandigarh, August 9
Airtel today announced the launch of ‘cash-pot’, a contest in which Airtel postpaid and prepaid customers in Punjab can win cash prizes of up to Rs 12.5 lakhs by answering simple questions. Airtel Punjab circle CEO (mobile services) Rajiv Jaitly said in the contest the Airtel customers could win five daily cash prizes of Rs 1,000 each, two daily special prizes of Rs 4,000 each and a grand prize of Rs 8 lakh in cash. — UNI

Compact Disc
Mumbai, August 9
Compact Disc today said it will set up an animation studio at the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA) SEZ at an initial investment of $12.4 million (nearly Rs 502 crore). “This is a significant milestone for the Indian animation industry, as for the first time an integrated animation studio will enable producers to develop films at just one studio,” Compact Disc chairman Suresh Kumar said. — PTI

Gold declines
Hong Kong, August 9
Gold in Asia fell as decline in the price of crude oil yesterday reduced the precious metal’s appeal as a hedge against inflation. Gold, for immediate delivery, fell $2.1 to $672.7 an ounce. — Bloomberg

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