SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

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DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

ONGC strikes oil in Assam
Guwahati, August 13
The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has discovered four new oil fields in upper Assam boosting its future production. ONGC (onshore) director A.K. Hazarika told reporters here last night that the new fields are Mekeypore, Kalyanpur, Panidihing and Disangmukh.

SC notice to Centre, GAIL on GVK plea
New Delhi, August 13
The Supreme Court today sought a reply from the Centre and GAIL (India) on petitions filed by GVK Power and Infrastructure and its group company Gautami Power seeking steady supply of gas for their Rs 1,450-crore power plant that has been lying idle since September 2006.

Reliance Money goes rural
Pune, August 13
Reliance Money, the financial products distribution company of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, today launched services in rural markets with an initial target of tapping 1,000 talukas across five states in the country.

RCoM too plans rural penetration
New Delhi, August 13
In a major initiative, first of its kind for a telecom service provider in India, Reliance Communications (RCoM) is all set to introduce a mega contest for rural mobile applications which will considerably simplify the lives of rural population.

NLD/ILD licence for Spice
Chandigarh, August 13
Spice Telecom has bagged a licence to operate national and international long-distance (NLD/ILD) services in India.

Power crisis may hit production: Assocham
New Delhi, August 13
Continued power disruptions in north, south and western regions have already forced industrial units to curtail their industrial production by about 15 per cent in June-July 2007 and since there is hardly any improvement in assured power supplies, the loss of industrial production is likely to exceed 25 per cent in August and September, as per an Assocham survey.


Dulux paint tins produced by ICI are displayed at a store in London on Monday.
Dulux paint tins produced by ICI are displayed at a store in London on Monday. Dutch chemicals group Akzo Nobel has agreed to buy Britain's ICI for Ł8 billion ($16.2 billion) to boost its position as the world's biggest industrial coatings maker. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES

 
A passenger at the Changi International Airport transit hall watches an Airbus A380, which is on a trial run in Singapore on Monday.
A passenger at the Changi International Airport transit hall watches an Airbus A380, which is on a trial run in Singapore on Monday. Singapore Airlines (SIA) is set to be the first airline to fly the double-decker A380, the world's largest passenger plane, in October. — AFP

SBoP holds meet with rice exporters
Karnal, August 13
The State Bank of Patiala (SBoP) organised a business meet with rice exporters and agriculture implements manufacturers of Karnal district here. The meeting was attended by 15 rice exporters and 40 agriculture implements manufacturers.

Infy, TCS most reputed Cos: Study
New Delhi, August 13
IT majors Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) have emerged as the most reputed corporates in India while Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Hindustan Unilever have tied for the second place, says a corporate reputation index study.

A Sony employee displays Swarovski crystal-decorated digital audio player, "Walkman E010", equipped with 1GB to 4GB flash memory to store music contents on its lip stick like body, in Tokyo on Monday.
A Sony employee displays Swarovski crystal-decorated digital audio player, "Walkman E010", equipped with 1GB to 4GB flash memory to store music contents on its lip stick like body, in Tokyo on Monday. Sony will start delivery of the audio player from the end of this month. — AFP

Award for Karnal Haveli
Karnal, August 13
Karnal Haveli, a Punjabi theme restaurant, situated on the National Highway-1, has been conferred with Bhartiya Vikas Rattan Award.

Flush with sugar, co-ops look to Pak for succour
Mumbai, August 13
Flush with sugar this year, co-operatives in Maharashtra are looking at the export markets for relief and Pakistan has emerged as a big saviour to the trade. According to an official of the Maharashtra Federation of Sugar Co-operatives, a bumper crop has resulted in the mills saddled with more than 10 lakhs tonnes of sugar that should have been picked up by the government.

JCB to expand in Punjab, Himachal
Matthew Taylor Chandigarh, August 13
Almost synonymous with the relief and rescue work or massive construction activity in cities, are the yellow excavation machines and the name JCB. The company is not only India’s largest manufacturer of earthmoving and construction equipment but is also one of the top three manufacturers of these equipments in the world.


Matthew Taylor — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tiwari

System to distinguish business income, capital gains sought
New Delhi, August 13
India Inc. has expressed the need to remove disputable issues in the hands of the taxpayer and arbitrary discretion in the hands of the assessing officers while distinguishing between business income and capital gains.

 

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ONGC strikes oil in Assam

Guwahati, August 13
The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has discovered four new oil fields in upper Assam boosting its future production.

ONGC (onshore) director A.K. Hazarika told reporters here last night that the new fields are Mekeypore, Kalyanpur, Panidihing and Disangmukh.

He said the Assam asset of ONGC has lined up a capital expenditure (capex) of Rs 811 crore in 2007-08 marking a substantial increase of 60 per cent compared to the expenditure of Rs 508 crore incurred in the previous financial year (06-07).

As part of the capex, the third gas compressor plant, at a cost of Rs 82.54 crore is to be installed at Geleki Group Gathering Station (GGS) of the company. The foundation stone for the new plant was laid by Hazarika at Geleki's GGS complex yesterday.

The project is scheduled to be completed by June 2008 to generate high pressure gas in sufficient quantity, which is required for optimal operation of gas lift system at Geleki Field. Once the new facility becomes operational, the estimated production of oil could be around 2,000 cubic metres per day from its Geleki Field.

Hazarika, along with executive director/asset manager J.G. Chaturvedi, said the new discoveries have helped maintain a healthy reserve/ replacement ratio of the company in Assam, which meant, the ONGC has been able to add to the recoverable reserve for every barrel of oil produced. At present, ONGC Assam asset has a recoverable reserve base of 72.8 million metric tonnes (MMT) of oil. At the current level of production, the life of the reserve can continue for about 54 years.

The Assam asset has formulated and is implementing a robust growth strategy, with focus on exploration to find among others, new resources, to increase production and to renew infrastructure and facilities.

As part of the technology revitalisation, world class service providers have been integrated with cutting-edge technology, to enhance production. — UNI

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SC notice to Centre, GAIL on GVK plea

New Delhi, August 13
The Supreme Court today sought a reply from the Centre and GAIL (India) on petitions filed by GVK Power and Infrastructure and its group company Gautami Power seeking steady supply of gas for their Rs 1,450-crore power plant that has been lying idle since September 2006.

A Bench headed by Justice B.N. Agarwal issued notices to all respondents, which also included Andhra Pradesh government, asking them to submit replies to the petitions.

Gautami Power had moved the apex court challenging an order of the division Bench of Andhra Pradesh High Court that dismissed its application. The company had sought continuous supply of 1.96 million cubic metres per day of gas from GAIL for commissioning and operating its 360 MW power project near Secunderabad.

While seeking continuous supply of gas for at least nine weeks, Gautami had said the state was deliberately delaying the commissioning of its power project and purchasing electricity from outside at a steep price of Rs 6 per unit.

The state government had "unjustifiably and unreasonably" ignored its repeated requests and withheld its recommendations and had asked GAIL to supply gas to another power generating company Vemagiri Power Generation, the company said. — PTI

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Reliance Money goes rural

Pune, August 13
Reliance Money, the financial products distribution company of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, today launched services in rural markets with an initial target of tapping 1,000 talukas across five states in the country.

It has also announced its tie-up with Rural Relations, a rural consumer relations organisation, for identifying partners and locations for rolling 10,000 outlets in 5,165 talukas across India by the end of this fiscal.

Rural customers will have to pay an annual premium of as low as Rs 25 for insurance policies, while systematic investment plan of Rs 50 and Rs 100 per month was available for mutual funds.

“This is our effort to take financial instruments to rural masses and give them an opportunity to invest in various financial products like mutual funds, stocks and gold coins and secure their lives and other valuables by taking adequate insurance covers,” Reliance Money CEO and director Sudip Bandyopadhyay said.

Reliance Money is looking to open over 20,000 outlets and 10,000 kiosks across the country by the end of this year. Out of the total outlets, 10,000 would be for rural markets while the remaining half would be in urban areas.

The company already has presence in 727 cities and towns across India. — PTI

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RCoM too plans rural penetration
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
In a major initiative, first of its kind for a telecom service provider in India, Reliance Communications (RCoM) is all set to introduce a mega contest for rural mobile applications which will considerably simplify the lives of rural population.

The contest will kick off early next month and will have an independent panel of judges comprising eminent professionals. Company officials here said in order to boost the rural penetration, it was imperative that certain applications be developed for the rural market. This programme will also allow RCoM to make further inroads into country’s vast population in rural areas.

The aim of Reliance Developer Programme is to provide a unique platform to the developer community in India to innovate, ideate, showcase, and participate in developing path breaking applications.

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NLD/ILD licence for Spice

Chandigarh, August 13
Spice Telecom has bagged a licence to operate national and international long-distance (NLD/ILD) services in India.

Spice has been given the licence to carry both voice and data traffic, nationally and internationally.

Dilip Modi, CMD, Spice Telecom, said: “I am delighted to confirm that Spice Communications has been granted NLD/ILD licences by the Department of Telecommunication, close on the hills of our successful IPO.” — TNS

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Power crisis may hit production: Assocham
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
Continued power disruptions in north, south and western regions have already forced industrial units to curtail their industrial production by about 15 per cent in June-July 2007 and since there is hardly any improvement in assured power supplies, the loss of industrial production is likely to exceed 25 per cent in August and September, as per an Assocham survey.

The power deficit, that thousands of industrial units suffered in June-July, was estimated between 20-25 per cent, the range of which would go beyond 35 per cent in August and September due to excessive rains experienced in most part of north, south and western India, it said today.

As a result of this power deficit, industrial production in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa would have to be curtailed by 20-25 per cent, particularly in manufacturing units as these have no alternative means to produce power, it added.

Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are the two states in which power cuts exceed 10-12 hours a day and they face the worst energy crisis, which will further deepen in the absence of corrective measures. Therefore, industrial locations in these states would have to curtail their industrial production to the extent of 40 per cent, the chamber president Venugopal Dhoot said.

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SBoP holds meet with rice exporters
Tribune News Service

Karnal, August 13
The State Bank of Patiala (SBoP) organised a business meet with rice exporters and agriculture implements manufacturers of Karnal district here. The meeting was attended by 15 rice exporters and 40 agriculture implements manufacturers.

The meeting was addressed by Diwakar Gupta, chief manager of the bank. Sudhiranjan Sinha, deputy general manager, Haryana zone, Ranjit Datta, DGM (D&RB), head office, Patiala, and R. K. Madaan, assistant general manager, regional manager, Panipat, also interacted with the participants.

SBoP is the first public sector bank in the country to have networked all its branches and is providing core banking facilities. For exporters, the Karnal (railway road) branch of the bank is equipped with SWIFT facilities.

The bank has recently opened a cell at Karnal for quicker delivery of credit to small and medium enterprises, retail and personal banking clients. 

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Infy, TCS most reputed Cos: Study

New Delhi, August 13
IT majors Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) have emerged as the most reputed corporates in India while Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Hindustan Unilever have tied for the second place, says a corporate reputation index study.

The largest car maker in the country Maruti Udyog has got the third highest number of votes on the index, says the global consultancy firm TNS' latest Corporate Reputation Index.

The research firm said India's progress is led by IT sector followed by FMCG and petroleum.

"Corporate reputation is assuming increasing importance in today's business, economic and social environment. As corporate behaviour is increasingly under scrutiny and corporate valuations go beyond financial performance parameters, it is considered to be a measure of confidence in the organisation and goes much beyond market capitalisation and brand equity," TNS said in a statement.

The corporate reputation index represents stakeholder expectations and experiences with the company and its services, processes, management and systems.

The study reflects views of financial community and senior and middle business managers in the industry. It also includes expectations of opinion leaders which comprise of senior bureaucrats, academicians and media personalities.

A total of 70 leading companies across various sectors were selected for the study conducted in the last quarter of previous fiscal.

While all top five companies figure in lead rankings across all stakeholder groups, the leaders in the respective stakeholder segments include some more corporate houses.

"We observe that amongst the financial community, Tata Steel leads with a CRS Index of 94. Other companies with relatively strong corporate reputation in this stakeholder group are ICICI Bank, Intel, Wipro, Tata Motors and Reliance Industries," TNS said.

It said the responses of financial segment seem to be skewed towards the banking sector. Dynamic leadership has been the key factor while evaluating a company's reputation.

Amongst business managers, Infosys Technologies leads with CRS of complete 100, followed by TCS, HLL, Intel and Tata Power.

The group comprising opinion leaders has evaluated Tata Tea as the best corporate with a CRS Index of 92. Other companies figuring at the top are Infosys, SAIL, Asian Paints and Tata Motors. — PTI

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Award for Karnal Haveli

Karnal, August 13
Karnal Haveli, a Punjabi theme restaurant, situated on the National Highway-1, has been conferred with Bhartiya Vikas Rattan Award.

The award was given at a seminar held in New Delhi with the joint association of All-India Business Development Association and Global Society for Health and Educational Growth. The award is given every year in various categories for outstanding performance and achievement. — TNS

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Flush with sugar, co-ops look to Pak for succour
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, August 13
Flush with sugar this year, co-operatives in Maharashtra are looking at the export markets for relief and Pakistan has emerged as a big saviour to the trade.

According to an official of the Maharashtra Federation of Sugar Co-operatives, a bumper crop has resulted in the mills saddled with more than 10 lakhs tonnes of sugar that should have been picked up by the government. "This year, sugar in the open market is cheaper than levy sugar sold by the government via the Public Distribution System," says Prakash Naiknavare, managing director of the federation.

The bumper crop during the 2006-07 season has resulted in the production of 29 million tonnes of sugar as against 24.64 million tonnes the year before. Sugar prices are ruling at a low Rs 1,100 per quintal, according to information available from the agriculture markets serving Mumbai. Sugar prices will fall to around Rs 900 per quintal in the coming days if the co-operatives are permitted to offload the levy sugar into the open markets, officials say.

Across the country, the bumper sugar crop has resulted in more than 10 million tonnes of sugar lying with sugar mills.

In Maharashtra, the sugar co-operatives face a bigger problem. Most of them are in poor shape financially and would have to pay farmers for the crop. Falling sugar prices would impact the co-operatives and by extension the farmers as well.

In this situation, Pakistan has emerged as the unlikely savior of the sugar producers in the country.

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JCB to expand in Punjab, Himachal
Geetu Vaid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Almost synonymous with the relief and rescue work or massive construction activity in cities, are the yellow excavation machines and the name JCB. The company is not only India’s largest manufacturer of earthmoving and construction equipment but is also one of the top three manufacturers of these equipments in the world.

JCB (Worldwide) Group COO Matthew Taylor along with JCB (UK) Group manufacturing director Alan Blake; JCB (India) managing director and CEO Vipin Sondhi and Sandeep Singh, EVP (sales, marketing and product support) visited JCB’s dealer facility Krishna Automobiles here today. Interacting with mediapersons Taylor said: “India now has the largest share of the company’s investment and is a major market in terms of sales. The growth potential is tremendous and the sales have registered almost 25 per cent growth in the past three years.” He said the production facilities at Ballabhgarh in Haryana and Pune would be used to increase exports to south-east Asia and west Asia.

Sandeep Singh said: “JCB now has 42 dealers and over 264 dealer outlets in India.” He added that the company already has 12 branches in Punjab and six in Haryana and would soon be setting up branches in Ludhiana and Sangrur in Punjab, and Baddi in Himachal.”

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System to distinguish business income, capital gains sought
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
India Inc. has expressed the need to remove disputable issues in the hands of the taxpayer and arbitrary discretion in the hands of the assessing officers while distinguishing between business income and capital gains.

The CII was reacting to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) circular on distinction between shares held as stock-in-trade and shares held as investment.

The chamber said it appreciates CBDT’s emphasis on possibility of taxpayer having two portfolios namely investment portfolio and trading portfolio and earn an income under the head capital gains as well as business income. The CII said this is a single-largest progressive step as it is extremely common for any taxpayer to simultaneously engage in ‘investment’ and ‘trading’.

The chamber said there is a need to have a clear methodology on recognition of business income and capital gains. It said this debatable distinction between business income and capital gains can be approached in the following ways as long as the understanding of concepts is kept practical and to make the law simpler.

The classical definition of a share/security to be treated as a capital asset is where it is bought for delivery. Accordingly, the shares that have been bought for delivery shall be treated as capital asset and any gains from sale of such shares shall be treated as capital gains.

This leaves the question of how the derivatives shall be treated. In Indian markets, the current regulations do not allow delivery in the Futures & Options segment but these contracts have to be settled in cash on the expiry date. If one follows the test of delivery to qualify a transaction for capital gains, so long as regulations do not change to result into delivery for F&O, CII feels that all such transactions should not qualify for capital gains.

If all transactions in derivative segment don’t qualify for capital gains, it would mean the gains arising out of dealing in derivative instruments would be either ‘speculative profits’ or ‘profits from business or profession’. For academic purposes, the transactions where the taxpayer does not hold underlying shares should be treated as speculative. On the other hand, where the objective is hedging and the taxpayer holds the underlying shares on the date of taking position in derivatives, such transaction gains should be treated as business profits. The distinction between speculative profits and business profits should be based on the books of the taxpayer.

The chamber said following the methodology suggested by it, the government could remove most of the disputable issues in the hands of the taxpayer. It would also help resolve complicated issues like the treatment of capital gains on shares in cases of retired people, housewives or students whose sole income might be from capital gains on shares but it might not be their business.

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BRIEFLY

Indian Hotels
Mumbai, August 13
Indian Hotels Company Ltd, the Tata group outfit that operates Taj chain of hotels, today said it will raise up to Rs 1,900 crore through two rights issues for business expansion and "possible acquisitions". The Board of Directors has decided to make a rights offer of two simultaneous but unlinked issues to the shareholders of the company. — PTI

Tatas’ plan
Kolkata, August 13
Tata Capital Limited and Tata Investments would jointly pick up a 4.5 per cent stake in Development Credit Bank (DCB) for around Rs 85 crore, a bank official said. The bank would make a preferential allotment of shares to five specific group of investors, including the Tatas, for Rs 300 crore, DCB managing director and CEO Gautam Vir told reporters here today. — PTI

DMRC order
Mumbai, August 13
Larsen & Toubro today said it has bagged two contracts worth Rs 203-crore from Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC). The order was bagged under phase II of DMRC project for construction of an underground station and a tunnel, the firm said. These new orders come close on the heels of the Rs 355-crore phase II contracts it had bagged on the same corridor last fiscal. — PTI

Contract for HCC
Mumbai, August 13
Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) today said it has bagged a Rs 415-crore contract from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for building a tunnel. The tunnel from Maroshi to Ruparel College will be completed in 56 months from the date of commencement of work, it said. — PTI

Ipca-Ranbaxy
Mumbai, August 13
Ranbaxy's wholly-owned US subsidiary has received US Food and Drugs Administration's (USFDA) approval to market Metformin Hydrochloride tablets, used for treating diabetes. Ohm Laboratories, set up under the strategic alliance between Ipca Laboratories and Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, has got the sanction from USFDA, Ipca Laboratories said. — PTI

Ashok Leyland
Mumbai, August 13
Ashok Leyland today said it has entered into a partnership agreement with Shriram Transport Finance for providing comprehensive products and services in the transport value chain. Ashley Transport Services, wholly-owned by Ashok Leyland, has signed a strategic partnership agreement for expansion of its operations and the introduction of new financial services. — PTI

Reliance website
Mumbai, August 13
Anil Dhirubhai Ambani-headed Reliance group today announced the launch of an Indian networking website ‘Bigadda.com’, with all forms of expression for Indian users under a single window. ‘Bigadda.com’ enables networking and self expression by creating, uploading and sharing of videos, photos, blogs and scribbles to help users express, comment and connect ‘addas’ (communities) for self-expression. Reliance Entertainment president Rajesh Sawhney said: “Our website can not be compared to ‘Orkut.com’ and ‘Facebook.com’ as the site has been specifically designed for the Indian youth identifying the Indian culture and its need.” — UNI

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