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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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B U S I N E S S

Govt okays 20 FDI proposals
New Delhi, August 21
The government has cleared 20 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposals amounting to Rs 1,078.65 crore, including the Rs 447.2-crore proposal of Blackstone GPV Capital Partners, Mauritius.

JSW buys 3 US Cos for $900 m
Mumbai, August 21
Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel today said it has acquired three companies in the US for a total enterprise value of $900 million.

Kingfisher plans US flights by April
New Delhi, August 21
After Air India and Jet Airways, it is now Kingfisher Airlines which plans to expand its operations to the USA with flights to San Fransisco and New York by April next year.

A stock dealer watches his screen at intra-day trade in Mumbai on Tuesday. Share prices plunged 3.04 per cent on fears of early polls linked to a row between government allies over a controversial nuclear deal with the US, dealers said. The benchmark 30-share Sensex index fell 438.44 points to 13,989.11. A stock dealer watches his screen at intra-day trade in Mumbai on Tuesday. Share prices plunged 3.04 per cent on fears of early polls linked to a row between government allies over a controversial nuclear deal with the US, dealers said. The benchmark 30-share Sensex index fell 438.44 points to 13,989.11. — AFP photo



EARLIER STORIES

 

Essar Power to pump in Rs 20,000 cr
New Delhi, August 21
Essar Group today said it plans to invest more than Rs 20,000 crore over the next five years to scale up power generation capacity to 6,500 MW from about 1,200 MW at present.
Mukesh  Anil
     Mukesh                        Anil

Ambanis among 50 Who Matter
New York, August 21

Estranged Ambani brothers Mukesh and Anil have been jointly named among the world's 50 most influential people in business, thanks to their rivalry that has goaded them to steer their respective businesses to new heights.

Mukesh for new development model
New Delhi, August 21
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani today called for a new development model based on comprehensive vision, exemplary leadership and extraordinary executive. 
Australian cricketer and Timex brand ambassador Brett Lee and actress Mandira Bedi at the launch of Timex 'Racing Chronograph' collection in New Delhi on Tuesday. The watches are priced at Rs 3,000 upwards.
Australian cricketer and Timex brand ambassador Brett Lee and actress Mandira Bedi at the launch of Timex 'Racing Chronograph' collection in New Delhi on Tuesday. The watches are priced at Rs 3,000 upwards. —Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Tax collection up 44 pc
New Delhi, August 21
Direct tax collections during fiscal 2007-08 recorded a growth of 44.39 per cent up to August 15, 2007. Tax collections stood at Rs 59,210 crore, up from Rs 41,006 crore during the same period last fiscal.

PM assures conducive environment to Japanese companies
New Delhi, August 21
Acknowleding that problems do arise in India in policy implementation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today assured Japanese companies that his government would ''resolve and manage effectively these pressures and contradictions'' and create a conducive environment for long-term investment.
Pedestrians walk past an advertisement of Nike displayed in Beijing on Tuesday. Two Chinese shoemakers and French retailer Auchan have been ordered to pay Nike 350,000 yuan ($46,000) in compensation for making and selling fake sneakers, state media said on Tuesday.
Pedestrians walk past an advertisement of Nike displayed in Beijing on Tuesday. Two Chinese shoemakers and French retailer Auchan have been ordered to pay Nike 350,000 yuan ($46,000) in compensation for making and selling fake sneakers, state media said on Tuesday. — AFP photo

PNB plans special cell for exporters
Chandigarh, August 21
To help the exporting community in understanding the intricacies involved in domestic and global financial sectors, Punjab National Bank (PNB) plans to set up a special cell for exporters, for the first time in the country, in Chandigarh. "We have proposed to set up a special cell which will provide advisory services to the exporters with regard to call derivative products, treasury management, foreign exchange business etc.

Oil PSUs’ stir called off
New Delhi, August 21
The officers of the PSU oil companies today called off their indefinite strike within hours, after the government agreed on a higher interim relief in lieu of delays in revising their wages. "We have asked all 45,000 officers associated to Oil Sector Officers' Association (OSOA), to report back to work," said Sanjay Goel, president of officers union of ONGC.

‘Indo-Japanese pact on track’
New Delhi, August 21 
Union commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath today said both India and Japan were engaged to conclude the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) at the earliest.

 
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Govt okays 20 FDI proposals
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 21
The government has cleared 20 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposals amounting to Rs 1,078.65 crore, including the Rs 447.2-crore proposal of Blackstone GPV Capital Partners, Mauritius.

The proposals were cleared by finance minister P Chidambaram, based on the recommendations of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in its meeting held on August 17, an official statement said here today.

The government has also cleared Rs 214-crore proposal of ICICI Bank Limited, Mumbai for induction of foreign investment up to 24 per cent in a new subsidiary proposed to be a holding company for four of the existing subsidiaries of the bank, including two engaged in insurance business.

Rs 151.33-crore proposal of Indo-Barath Power Infra Pvt Limited for induction of additional foreign equity by way of equity shares and cumulative compulsory convertible preference shares has also got the nod.

Other proposals cleared by the government include that of SEAT India Pvt Limited, Mumbai (Rs 7.44 crore), Prime Polymer Co Ltd, Japan (Rs 61.6 crore), Houghton International Inc, USA (Rs 4 crore), Group M India Holding B.V., Netherlands (Rs 1.64 crore), ARES Investments LLC, Mauritius (Rs 1 crore), Wilmette Holdings Ltd, Mauritius (Rs 10.61 crore), Noor Financial Investment Company, Kuwait (Rs 10.61 crore), APPC Hotel Management Pte, Ltd, Singapore (Rs 120 crore) and the Hershey Company, USA (Rs 8 crore).

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JSW buys 3 US Cos for $900 m

Mumbai, August 21
Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel today said it has acquired three companies in the US for a total enterprise value of $900 million.

The companies — Jindal United Steel Corporation, SAW Pipes, USA and Jindal Enterprises LLC — will help JSW in tapping the oil and gas sector in North America, which is driving up the demand of plates and pipes.

The three firms have a cumulative capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of plate mill, 0.55 million tonnes of pipe mill and 0.35 million tonnes of double jointing and coating lines.

JSW would acquire 90 per cent stake and the balance 10 per cent would be retained by some existing shareholders, the company informed stock exchanges.

JSW Steel director (finance) Seshagiri Rao said JSW would require funding of $940 million to complete the acquisition of 90 per cent stake in the three companies. This comprised $810 million for buying the stake and the remaining toward cost of inventory.

He said the acquisition would be financed by a foreign currency debt of $380 million to be raised against the guarantee of JSW Steel and the balance $560 million to be raised in the target companies. — PTI

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Kingfisher plans US flights by April
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 21
After Air India and Jet Airways, it is now Kingfisher Airlines which plans to expand its operations to the USA with flights to San Fransisco and New York by April next year.

With the civil aviation policy set to relax rules for airlines wanting to fly to international destinations, the airlines has filed an application with the US Department of Transportation two weeks ago to seek permission for landing rights in the USA.

“If everything goes well, we plan to fly to San Fransisco and New York by April 2008,” Kingfisher Airlines chairman and managing director Vijay Mallya said.

Under the current Indian norms, an airline needs a minimum of five years of domestic flying experience before it is allowed to fly abroad. Kingfisher, though a two-year-old airline, had recently acquired a 26 per cent stake in low-cost carrier Air Deccan for Rs 550 crore, which would complete five years of operations next year.

Kingfisher is presently the single largest shareholder in Air Deccan and would soon make an open offer to acquire an additional 20 per cent stake in the low-cost carrier.

Rejecting the possibility of renaming Air Deccan after the takeover, he expressed willingness to increase UB Group’s stake in the no-frills carrier.

Air Deccan mulls fare hike

Low-cost carrier Air Deccan today said it plans to increase fares in a range of Rs 500-1,000 and expects to break-even by early next fiscal.

“Air Deccan has to hike fares to become profitable...it is in the interest of the consumers and the industry as we have to be profitable to be operational,” Air Deccan chairman and managing director G R Gopinath said.

He, however, did not reveal the time-frame to increase fares but said it could be in the range of Rs 500-1,000.

“I can do it (hike prices) tomorrow if consumers are willing to pay. All that I am saying is that all airlines will have to increase prices to remain competent,” Gopinath said.

The low-cost airline anticipates to break-even by early next fiscal. “It is difficult to assess when would the company turn profitable but we expect that we should break-even by April-June quarter next fiscal,” Gopinath added. — PTI

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Essar Power to pump in Rs 20,000 cr

New Delhi, August 21
Essar Group today said it plans to invest more than Rs 20,000 crore over the next five years to scale up power generation capacity to 6,500 MW from about 1,200 MW at present.

“We already have five power plants with total capacity of 1,200 MW and are targeting to achieve a capacity of 6,500 MW over the next four-five years,” Essar Power managing director A K Srivastava said.

This would require an estimated investment of Rs 20,000 crore, to be funded in a debt-equity ratio of 75:25. This means, the group would have to invest about Rs 5,000 crore as equity and arrange nearly Rs 15,000 crore through borrowings.

He said funding would not be a constraint as the group had enough reserves to pump in the required equity and would also raise debt when required.

Giving details of the power projects, he said Essar Power (Jharkhand) Ltd, a part of Essar Power Holdings Ltd, was in the process of setting up a 1,200 MW coal-fired project near Ranchi in Jharkhand. The project has been allotted a captive coal mine with reserves of 100 million tonnes.

Besides, Essar is setting up a 1,200 MW at Mahan in Madhya Pradesh and a similar capacity plant near Jamnagar in Gujarat, he added. While the Mahan project would be located adjacent to a coal-mine, the Gujarat plant would be run on imported coal. — PTI 

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Ambanis among 50 Who Matter

New York, August 21
Estranged Ambani brothers Mukesh and Anil have been jointly named among the world's 50 most influential people in business, thanks to their rivalry that has goaded them to steer their respective businesses to new heights.

The Ambanis are ranked 31 ahead of the likes of global soft drink giant PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and music-to-airlines conglomerate Virgin Group's founder Richard Branson in the second annual list of "The 50 Who Matter Now" published by Fortune group magazine 'Business 2.0'.

The list, topped by Google trio —CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Bin — also includes Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs (2nd rank), News Corp CEO and media baron Rupert Murdoch (6th) and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (8th).

As regards the Ambanis, the magazine noted that it was their bitter rivalry that was driving them to excellence in their respective businesses.

"These billionaire brothers from India are locked in a bitter intra-family rivalry, and each seems intent on leading the group of companies he inherited from their late father in a different direction," Business 2.0 said on why they matter.

"Elder brother Mukesh is building one of the world's biggest oil refineries and has embarked on a bold plan to revolutionise Indian agriculture," it said.

"Not to be outdone, flashy younger brother Anil is building one of the world's biggest power plants using clean-burning natural gas. He has also created Reliance Communications, the world's fastest-growing CDMA mobile-phone network, and has announced plans to invest billions in India's enterprise broadband network," the magazine said.

Business 2.0, published by global media conglomerate CNN-Time Warner Group that also owns magazine like Fortune, Money and Fortune Small Business noted further: "Imagine what these two could do if they just saw eye to eye."

In the process, Anil Ambani has also scored a brownie point over Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin to whom he lost the battle to acquire Hutch-Essar earlier this year. Sarin was named in the "10 who do not matter" list by the same magazine last year, but this particular list has not come this year.

PepsiCo's Nooyi has been ranked at the 32nd position.

The magazine said about the list that these are the people who inspire, motivate and sometimes infuriate us, "but most of all, they are impossible to ignore."

Others on the list include silicon valley's leading venture capital firm Sequoia Capital's MD Michael Moritz (4th), Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs (5th), Yahoo president Susan Decker (7th), Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers (9th), Toyota president Katsiaki Watanabe (10th), Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos (12th), Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales (13th), Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd (14th) and Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen (15th).— PTI

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Mukesh for new development model
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 21
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani today called for a new development model based on comprehensive vision, exemplary leadership and extraordinary executive. Delivering the sixth Darbari Seth Memorial lecture, organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) today, he touched upon issues like socio-economic transformation, importance of energy and food security, poverty alleviation and creating a genuine pro-farmer and pro-consumer retail revolution.

Commenting on the importance of nuclear energy, he said the world was at the threshold where it could not survive on fossil fuel.

He, however, steered clear of making any exclusive remarks on climate change vis-a-vis industry, a topic that TERI has lately come to be associated closely with.

He largely spoke on the need of innovation to achieve excellence in the changing global scenario of rapid economic integration and said India was turning a new leaf and change needed to be faster, to meet global economies.

“We would like to partner with organisations like TERI to address issues like energy security, food and poverty alleviation,” he added.

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Tax collection up 44 pc
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 21
Direct tax collections during fiscal 2007-08 recorded a growth of 44.39 per cent up to August 15, 2007. Tax collections stood at Rs 59,210 crore, up from Rs 41,006 crore during the same period last fiscal.

Corporate tax recorded a growth of 52.25 per cent at Rs 33,164 crore, up from Rs 21,783 crore during last fiscal, while personal income tax (including FBT, STT and BCTT) grew by 35.57 per cent at Rs 25,989 crore, up from Rs 19,170 crore last fiscal.

Securities Transaction Tax (STT) grew by 36.30 per cent at Rs 2,495 crore and Banking Cash Transaction Tax (BCTT) grew by 29.71 per cent at Rs 207 crore.

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PM assures conducive environment to Japanese companies

New Delhi, August 21
Acknowleding that problems do arise in India in policy implementation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today assured Japanese companies that his government would ''resolve and manage effectively these pressures and contradictions'' and create a conducive environment for long-term investment.

''I do recognise that sometimes problems do arise in implementing some of the policies that we adopt. We must recognise the complexities of a large and diverse nation like India and the needs and aspirations of different sections of our people,'' Dr Singh said in his address to the 200-member business delegation, accompanying Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Without referring to the controversy over the Indo-US nuclear deal or any other specific problem, he said India had shown over the past many years that it could resolve such problems and build a durable and stable policy framework.

''I assure you that we will address your concerns in the same spirit of transparency,'' the Prime Minister said. Further, ''it is the intention of our government to create and sustain an environment conducive to risk taking and long-term investment in India,'' he said.

Taking questions, Abe said Indo-Japan relations had assumed a new dimension which would further boost economic ties with focus on infrastructure and overseas development assistance. — UNI 

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PNB plans special cell for exporters
Tribune News Service & PTI

Chandigarh, August 21
To help the exporting community in understanding the intricacies involved in domestic and global financial sectors, Punjab National Bank (PNB) plans to set up a special cell for exporters, for the first time in the country, in Chandigarh.

"We have proposed to set up a special cell which will provide advisory services to the exporters with regard to call derivative products, treasury management, foreign exchange business etc so that they can pick a suitable product in order to prevent themselves from the negative implications arising out of the changes taking place in domestic and global financial sectors," PNB executive director, J.M. Garg told PTI today.

The proposed special cell, which is expected to open next month, will initially cater to small and medium type of exporting community of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

"After the success of services of this cell, the bank will also open advisory services in other parts of the country," informed Garg.

The advisory services to be provided by three expert persons, will also apprise the exporters of the policy changes effected by RBI in respect of export business, rules and provisions of FEMA and their possible impact on the exporters, he said.

On being asked about becoming Basel II complaint, Garg said that the bank would be ready to adopt Basel II norms by March 31, 2008.

Meanwhile, the export turnover from Haryana and Chandigarh increased from Rs 6,962.25 crore to Rs 8,262.71 crore in the year 2006-07. This was disclosed in the third meeting of the sub-committee of state-level bankers’ committee for export promotion for the state of Haryana and Chandigarh held yesterday.

While stating about the export potential in the state of Haryana and UT Chandigarh, J.M. Garg, executive director, PNB and chairperson of the meeting, said there had been a quantum jump in export of rice from the state and exports from Haryana during the year 2005-06 has crossed Rs 25,000 crore. He further stated that Haryana had received 82 proposals for setting up SEZs in the state, envisaging an investment of Rs 2 lakh crore and employment to more than 20 lakh persons.

Garg further stated that all banks have been advised by the RBI to achieve export credit to net bank credit ratio of 12 per cent on an average basis. The export credit to net bank credit ratio, which was over 13 per cent during 1994-95 and 1995-96 has declined over the years and is around 6 - 7 per cent in March 2006.

While reviewing the performance of banks for extending export finance in the state of Haryana and UT Chandigarh, Garg informed that the export turnover routed through bank branches located in Haryana and Chandigarh increased from Rs 6,962.25 crore in the year 2005-06 to Rs 8,262.71 crore during the year 2006-07, witnessing a growth of 19 per cent during the year. 

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Oil PSUs’ stir called off
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 21
The officers of the PSU oil companies today called off their indefinite strike within hours, after the government agreed on a higher interim relief in lieu of delays in revising their wages.

"We have asked all 45,000 officers associated to Oil Sector Officers' Association (OSOA), to report back to work," said Sanjay Goel, president of officers union of ONGC.

Petroleum minister Murli Deora expressed his happiness over the development saying that the step is in right direction as a strike in the petroleum sector causes avoidable hardship and inconvenience to the people.

OSOA representatives said the ministry agreed to their demand for giving an interim relief of Rs 60,000-1,20,000 per employee for the period from January 1, 2007, when wage revisions were due.

The major demands of OSOA included salary revision and release of ad- hoc payment.

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‘Indo-Japanese pact on track’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 21 
Union commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath today said both India and Japan were engaged to conclude the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) at the earliest.

“The dialogue is on the fast track and we expect to have the agreement in place by the designated time”, Nath said addressing the 400-strong Japanese business delegation here today.

Fujio Mitarai, leader of the Japanese delegation, expressed optimism at the growing Indo-Japanese economic relations and looked forward to a fruitful business engagement with Indian counterparts. Pointing out the strategic importance of the engagement of business leaders from both sides, Nath stated that the two governments would require active participation of business leaders from both sides to make the comprehensive economic engagement between the two countries successful. 

“It is your support and dynamism that will propel the economic relations between India and Japan”, he added.

The meeting was also attended by the representatives of Indian business chambers including CII, Ficci and Assocham, apart from officials from both countries. 
Japan is the fifth major investor in India with cumulative inflow of $2.6 billion since 1991. Indian exports to Japan in 2006-07 were $2,812.8 million while imports from Japan were to the tune of $4,560.8 million. 

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BRIEFLY

$5-b infra fund
New Delhi, August 21
The Indo-US forum has recommended setting up of a $5 billion-fund for infrastructure development in India, the government informed the Rajya Sabha today. Minister of state for finance P K Bansal said the Infrastructure Development Finance Company Limited, Citigroup Inc, India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited and Blackstone Group Holdings had launched such a fund spelling out the modalities. — UNI

BHEL contracts
New Delhi, August 21
Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd has won Rs 6,500-crore contracts for setting up two plants of 500 MW each at Koderma Thermal Power Station (TPS) in Jharkhand and two units of 500 MW each at Durgapur Steel TPS in West Bengal. Slated for synchronisation during the 11th Plan, the Damodar Valley Corporation turn-key projects are identified to supply power to Delhi for Commonwealth Games in 2010. — TNS

ICICI tie-up
Mumbai, August 21
ICICI Bank and Export-Import Bank of Korea today signed a loan agreement for a line of credit. Under this agreement, ICICI Bank’s Hong Kong branch would avail $200 million revolving line of credit from Korea Exim Bank, which would be utilised by ICICI Bank to finance the foreign currency requirement of Indian companies as also companies from the neighbouring countries having equity participation by Korean companies or having business relationship with them. — PTI

Nano park
Bangalore, August 21
Karnataka would soon come up with the country’s first nano park here at a cost of Rs 100 crore, a senior official said today. The government has shortlisted four 15-acre plots between Nagawara and Jakkur here for the purpose, secretary in the Department of IT, BT, Science & Technology, M N Vidyashankar said. — PTI

Birla Power
Mumbai, August 21
Birla Power Solutions Ltd today decided to raise Rs 102.5 crore through global depository receipts/ American depository receipts or foreign currency convertible bonds. The board of directors took a decision to this effect at its meeting and also approved increasing authorised share capital to Rs 55 crore divided into 5.5 crore equity shares of Rs 10 each from the existing Rs 30 crore equity capital, it said. — PTI

Reliance Money
Mumbai, August 21
Reliance Money has emerged as the top brokerage house in terms of on-line security and cost effectiveness, while Motilal Oswal leads as the most research driven stock trading platform, an on-line survey, conducted by US-based Starcom Mediavest to study trends on investor’s choice of broking firm, says. Meanwhile, ICICI Direct was considered as the most accessible by the respondents, the survey said. — PTI

NBCC profit
New Delhi, August 21
National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) has posted a record gross profit of Rs 126 crore for the financial year 2006-07. “NBCC has achieved the highest ever turnover of over Rs 1,514 crore for the financial year 2006-07 and improved its gross margin by 149 per cent and would pay its maiden dividend to the government, NBCC CMD Arup Roy Choudhury said. — TNS

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