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Mumbai Sea Link Project
SC allows Reliance Energy to bid
New Delhi, September 11
Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Energy Ltd today got a boost with the Supreme Court allowing it to bid for the Mumbai sea link project, where a consortium led by elder brother Mukesh Ambani was the front-runner.

Cairn gets nod for R’sthan pipeline
New Delhi, September 11
Oil exploration firm Cairn India today said it has got government approval to build a pipeline to transport crude oil from its fields in Rajasthan to refiners.

SBI offers loan to Tatas for Corus
Mumbai, September 11
While the US sub-prime mortgage crisis has forced top foreign banks to tighten their purse strings, the State Bank of India is playing the good samaritan for Tata Steel by approving a big ticket loan to it for Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus' acquisition.

NHPC, REC public offer likely by March 2008
New Delhi, September 11
National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) would soon have independent directors and both PSUs are likely to come out with initial pubic offering (IPO) by March 2008, power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said here today.



EARLIER STORIES

 
President and CEO of Honda Siel Cars India Masahiro Takedagawa (R) and chairman of Honda Siel India Siddharth Shriram at the launch of the ‘10th anniversary edition of the Honda City ZX’ in New Delhi on Tuesday.
President and CEO of Honda Siel Cars India Masahiro Takedagawa (R) and chairman of Honda Siel India Siddharth Shriram at the launch of the ‘10th anniversary edition of the Honda City ZX’ in New Delhi on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan Bhui

Bajaj: Akurdi plant to continue component manufacturing
Mumbai, September 11
Two-wheeler major Bajaj Auto yesterday said it was not shutting down its Akurdi plant, as it would continue corporate functioning and component manufacturing from the facility.

SEBI action against 20 companies
Mumbai, September 11
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today initiated proceedings against 20 listed companies, including five public sector entities, for violating corporate governance regulations.

Swaraj Mazda launches luxury buses
Chandigarh, September 11
Swaraj Mazda today launched its luxury buses at its factory near Ropar. The company will also launch trucks next year. The company had announced its collaboration with Japan-based Isuzu Motors for manufacturing buses in Punjab at an investment of Rs 300 crore yesterday.

East-West corridor to be completed by 2009
New Delhi, September 11
The East-West corridor, linking Rajasthan and Gujarat in the western side of the country with Assam in the far-east is likely to be substantially completed by 2009.

Air-Arabia increases Umrah flights
Chandigarh, September 11
Air-Arabia, the international low-cost carrier in India, Middle East and North Africa, is offering additional flights from the airlines hub in Sharjah to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia for Umrah during the holy month of Ramadan.

LIC divests stake in Uttam Galva
Mumbai, September 11
State-run Life Insurance Corporation of India has offloaded 1.51 per cent stake held by it in Uttam Galva Steels for Rs 5.46 crore.

Bank strike deferred
Chennai, September 11
The one-day nationwide strike tomorrow called by the United Forum of Bank Unions, an umbrella body of nine bank unions, has deferred the stir.

BT to hike connecting points in India
New Delhi, September 11
BT India today announced the increase of connecting points (nodes) for its multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) infrastructure, which is the basis for high-quality video and voice services over internet, bringing the number to 14 in India.

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Mumbai Sea Link Project
SC allows Reliance Energy to bid

New Delhi, September 11
Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Energy Ltd today got a boost with the Supreme Court allowing it to bid for the Mumbai sea link project, where a consortium led by elder brother Mukesh Ambani was the front-runner.

Setting aside a Bombay High Court order, an apex court bench headed by Justice S H Kapadia directed Reliance Energy to submit its financial bid for the Mumbai trans harbour sea link project within three months.

“We hold that REL/HECL (consortium) was erroneously excluded from second stage of bidding process... Since we have allowed this civil appeal, we extend the period for presenting financial bids by REL/HECL up to December 15, 2007,” it said.

The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Ltd (MSRDC) had earlier disqualified the REL-led consortium from bidding for the country’s longest sea link expressway to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 2,600 crore.

With today’s decision, REL’s consortium would be the fourth bidder for the project, where three others have already qualified on technical grounds ahead of financial bids.

The Bombay High Court on June 4 had stayed the opening of the bids for four weeks till July 2, which was later extended by the Supreme Court.

The Reliance Energy consortium, which includes Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company Ltd, had challenged the MSRDC’s decision to disqualify it from participating in the bidding process on the ground that its partner Hyundai did not meet the criterion of Rs 200 crore net worth.

REL had stated that the company on its own was capable of meeting the net worth for the entire consortium. It had sought a direction to the Maharashtra government to allow the consortium to participate in the bidding process.

Flaying MSRDC for vagueness in the terms and conditions of the bid, the apex court said the tenders must indicate with “legal certainty, norms and benchmarks”. Otherwise, it may “violate doctrine of level playing field”.

MSRDC’s consultants had not given any reason for rejecting the indirect method (reconciliation method) invoked by KPMG, the chartered accountants of the REL consortium, the court said. — PTI

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Cairn gets nod for R’sthan pipeline

New Delhi, September 11
Oil exploration firm Cairn India today said it has got government approval to build a pipeline to transport crude oil from its fields in Rajasthan to refiners.

Cairn received permission to use land (Right of Use) for laying a 582-km pipeline from Barmer district of Rajasthan to Salaya in Gujarat, Cairn India CEO Rahul Dhir said here. “We have started the RoU process,” he said.

He said the company was committed to delivering first oil from the Rajasthan fields in 2009. “We will begin production from Mangala (the largest of the 18 discoveries in the Rajasthan block) in 2009.

However, Cairn is still awaiting a government approval to allow the cost of the $ 780-million pipeline to be recoverable from field revenues, as other project costs are.

“We are confident about approval of inclusion of the pipeline in the Field Development Plan (FDP),” Dhir said.

The Mangala field will be brought on production first followed by the Bhagyam and Aishwariya fields and the targeted gross plateau production from these three fields is 150,000 barrels per day by 2010.

“By end of 2009, output from Rajasthan fields would be 100,000 barrels per day,” he said.

Almost simultaneously to the pipeline’s inclusion in FDP would come the approval for selling the crude oil to multiple refiners instead of previously approved scheme, in which entire output was to be supplied to Mangalore Refinery.

The pipeline, which was necessitated after Mangalore Refinery -the official offtaker of Rajasthan crude -, said it could take only 1.2 million tons of crude, will take minimum 18 months to complete. The rest of the crude will be shipped from a Gujarat port to refiners on east and west coasts. — PTI

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SBI offers loan to Tatas for Corus

Mumbai, September 11
While the US sub-prime mortgage crisis has forced top foreign banks to tighten their purse strings, the State Bank of India is playing the good samaritan for Tata Steel by approving a big ticket loan to it for Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus' acquisition.

India's largest lender reportedly has agreed to offer a loan of $800 million to $1 billion to Tata Steel UK, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) created to fund Corus acquisition, the biggest by any Indian corporate at $12.9 billion.

Both Tata Steel and SBI officials confirmed the deal, but declined to share the details of the loan.

"We have a very long association with the Tatas and we have approved them the finances," a senior SBI official said.

The sub-prime mortgage crisis occurred in the US around July after large delinquencies emerged in loans offered to people with poor credit history on high interest rates.

The banks and financial institutions with exposure to the sub-prime market took a hit which led to a credit squeeze in the international market.

Earlier, the company had agreed to pay 0.50 per cent more on its $1 billion syndicated loan led by the ripples of sub-prime crisis.

Tata Steel had completed the Corus acquisition on April 2, 2007, at a price of 608 pence per ordinary share in cash.

Tata Steel had earlier said it will infuse $4.1 billion as equity to part finance the transaction. Its SPV Tata Steel UK Ltd has contracted a $4.1 billion long-term debt from a consortium of banks.

The balance $2.66 billion was proposed to be raised through a long tenor quasi-equity or debt capital market instrument. — PTI

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NHPC, REC public offer likely by March 2008
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 11
National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) would soon have independent directors and both PSUs are likely to come out with initial pubic offering (IPO) by March 2008, power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said here today.

Though the REC and NHPC have filed draft prospectus for IPOs in April and August, 2007, respectively, these PSUs cannot hit the market unless they appoint independent directors on their Board.

Under Clause-49 of the listing agreement, which came into effect from December 1, 2006, PSUs having executive chairman should ensure that 50 per cent of its Board members are independent members. However, if the company has non-executive chairman then the number of independent directors can be lower at one-third.

While REC has decided to dilute government holding by 18.78 per cent through IPO, government’s share in NHPC would be diluted to the extent of 13.64 per cent.

Power minister also indicated that the 10th Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) could be set up in Tamil Nadu.

As part of its plan for capacity addition during the 11th five-year Plan, the government has sought private participation for setting up nine UMPPs of 4,000 MW each in the country.

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Bajaj: Akurdi plant to continue component manufacturing

Mumbai, September 11
Two-wheeler major Bajaj Auto yesterday said it was not shutting down its Akurdi plant, as it would continue corporate functioning and component manufacturing from the facility.

When contacted, company MD Rajiv Bajaj said that while no vehicle production would take place in the facility, it would continue to operate corporate functions and some component manufacturing.

“Stopping vehicle production is not to be confused with plant shut down,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the company had reiterated in a statement that it had never shut down the plant and was still paying workers wages for six day in a week.

“Bajaj has neither internally discussed nor ever externally applied for approval for the use of its land at Akurdi for any purpose other than that of its automotive business,” he said.

Bajaj said all 1,310 staff, including 847 workmen are reporting to work six days a week as per their routine.

As per Union Minister Sharad Pawar’s recommendation, Bajaj Auto management had agreed to pay six days a week salary to its workmen against its earlier five-and-a-half days. — PTI

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SEBI action against 20 companies

Mumbai, September 11
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today initiated proceedings against 20 listed companies, including five public sector entities, for violating corporate governance regulations.

The regulator has started adjudication proceedings against the companies on the basis of quarterly reports received from stock exchanges regarding compliance with Clause 49 of the Listing Agreement that deals with corporate governance, a SEBI release said.

The market regulator, however, did not reveal the identity of the 20 companies. When contacted, a SEBI spokesperson also declined to give the names of the companies.

SEBI began proceedings against the five public sector companies for not appointing adequate number of independent directors on their board.

As per the Clause 49, at least one-third of the board of a listed company should comprise of independent directors if the chairman is a non-executive director. Otherwise, half of the board should comprise of independent directors.

As far as private sector firms are concerned, proceedings have been initiated against three companies for non-compliance with almost all major provisions of Clause 49 and against two companies for not constituting board or audit committees.

The regulator has taken action against 10 companies for their failure to submit compliance reports on Clause 49 to the stock exchanges. — PTI

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Swaraj Mazda launches luxury buses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
Swaraj Mazda today launched its luxury buses at its factory near Ropar. The company will also launch trucks next year. The company had announced its collaboration with Japan-based Isuzu Motors for manufacturing buses in Punjab at an investment of Rs 300 crore yesterday.

Addressing a press conference today, Swaraj Mazda managing director Yash Mahajan said the buses would be manufactured in five levels. The current one launched being for the upper-end market.

“The company would, in the first phase, lay emphasis on ultra luxury buses, in the second phase, it would manufacture economy class buses and in third phase, it would also go for ordinary buses,” he said.

Refusing to divulge the cost of the buses or the sales targets, he stated they would go with the flow of demand. He, however, stated that they were not catering to “mass demand”.

"We have the biggest plant spread over 124 acres in India in the organised sector and have the capacity to manufacture 7,000 buses per annum. So far, about 100 customers across the country have expressed keen interest in buying our ultra luxury buses having 40-seat capacity," he said.

Meanwhile, Swaraj Mazda has also sought to change its name because of the expiry of an agreement with Mazda Motor Corporation. "We have requested the Registrar of Companies to rename our company as Mazda Motor Corporation had ceased to be our partner since 2004," Mahajan stated. The company had suggested three namely Swaraj Vehicles Ltd, Swaraj Motors Ltd, and Swaraj Truck and Buses Ltd to the Registrar of Companies.

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East-West corridor to be completed by 2009
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 11
The East-West corridor, linking Rajasthan and Gujarat in the western side of the country with Assam in the far-east is likely to be substantially completed by 2009.

Speaking at the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting, shipping, road transport and highways minister T.R. Baalu Baalu today assured that the corridor would most likely become completely operational by 2009.

On completion, the corridor passing through Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, would open up new opportunities for people in these states and lead to all round economic development of the states, he added.

The subject of the today’s meeting was primarily the progress of work on the delayed East-West corridor.

Baalu said main problems affecting the progress had been the delay in disbursement of compensation for land acquisition in Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Besides this, there had also been some delay in Uttar Pradesh due to the condition stipulated by the state government for providing 10-metre wide strip of land for afforestation before allowing tree-cutting, he said, adding that law and order in Assam had also to some extent affected the work in the state.

He, however, assured members that all these issues were being pursued with the respective state governments and efforts being made to speed up the work. The minister said out of the total length of 3,443 km widening had already been completed in 765 km and was in progress in a length of 2,446 km.

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Air-Arabia increases Umrah flights
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
Air-Arabia, the international low-cost carrier in India, Middle East and North Africa, is offering additional flights from the airlines hub in Sharjah to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia for Umrah during the holy month of Ramadan.

Air-Arabia offers Indian pilgrims cost-effective travel options with 48 flights a week between India and Sharjah. The airline connects seven destinations across India to Sharjah. It has added 18 flights from Sharjah to Jeddah, which have convenient connectivity to the routine flights from India to Sharjah.

Additional flights will be operational from September 18 to October 12. This special service will be available to the passengers holding Umrah visas.

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LIC divests stake in Uttam Galva

Mumbai, September 11
State-run Life Insurance Corporation of India has offloaded 1.51 per cent stake held by it in Uttam Galva Steels for Rs 5.46 crore.

LIC has sold off nearly 15.86 lakh equity shares of Uttam Galva Steels at a price of Rs 34.45 each, a company statement said today.

The insurer has also sold off its 4 per cent holding in Perfect Circle India Ltd for Rs 4.66 crore. It offloaded 13.32 lakh equity shares of the company at a price of Rs 35 each, it said. — PTI

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Bank strike deferred

Chennai, September 11
The one-day nationwide strike tomorrow called by the United Forum of Bank Unions, an umbrella body of nine bank unions, has deferred the stir.

All-India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) Secretary C.H. Venkatachalam said here today that this followed Chief Labour Commissioner yesterday advising the Indian banks Association (IBA) to initiate dialogue with the unions within 15 days to find an amicable solution to their demands.

“Hence, the unions decided to defer the strike, he added. The demands of the AIBEA included, implementation of the MoU signed with IBA in March this year, agreeing to resolve demands pertaining to issues like pension option and stopping outsourcing in banks, among others.

The AIBEA alleged that the IBA had been delaying implementation for the last six months. — UNI

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BT to hike connecting points in India
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 11
BT India today announced the increase of connecting points (nodes) for its multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) infrastructure, which is the basis for high-quality video and voice services over internet, bringing the number to 14 in India.

Six cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune, will have multiple nodes plus an additional one in Kolkata, making BT the global network IT service provider with the highest number of connecting points in India, Arun Seth, CMD of BT India told newspersons here.

Special equipped nodes in Chennai, New Delhi and Mumbai will help BT’s media and broadcast customers in India to deliver their content to a global audience and be more cost effective, he said.

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BRIEFLY

RCom tie-up
Mumbai, September 11
Reliance Communications (RCom) today tied-up with Sulekha.com, one of the leading online social networking and local commerce website for Indians worldwide. This association will help Reliance mobile customers to carry out a city-specific search, powered by Sulekha.com. The service will be available on all Reliance Mobile World enabled handsets and will cost Rs 3 per search. — UNI

Axis Bank pact
Mumbai, September 11
Private sector bank Axis Bank and the largest Swiss bank Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschild, Europe, have entered into an agreement to provide wealth mangement solutions to overseas Indians. The two banks signed the agreement in Luxembourg, under which Banque Privee Edmond will provide its expertise in wealth management solutions, while Axis Bank will be the custodian of the relationship with the customer, an Axis Bank release said here today. — UNI

Citibank card
New Delhi, September 11
Citibank today launched 'CitiBusiness' in association with IndianOil, and aims fuel transaction of worth Rs 400 crore by March 2008. Carrying a reward programme,
the card delivers up to 5 per cent savings on fuel purchase at IndianOil petrol stations, including a 2.5 per cent surcharge waiver. The card provides a credit limit of Rs 5-10 lakh and discounts on business-related requirements from 11 service providers.— UNI

Motilal Oswal
Mumbai, September 11
Brokerage firm Motilal Oswal Financial today got listed at Rs 999 on the Bombay Stock Exchange with a premium of 21.09 per cent over its issue price of Rs 825. Within minutes of listing over 5.44 lakh shares exchanged hands on BSE. On the National Stock Exchange, the company got listed at Rs 911.10 and then touched a high of Rs 978.90. — PTI

Apple insurance
Srinagar, September 11
In a significant step to promote horticulture sector, Jammu and Kashmir Bank has decided to launch a first-of-its-kind apple insurance scheme in the state next week. This was revealed by the bank chairman Haseeb Drabu at a one-day conference on development of horticulture and export opportunities in Jammu and Kashmir organised by PHDCCI here.— PTI

Essar Steel
New Delhi, September 11
Essar Steel Holdings Ltd (ESHL) today said it proposes to acquire all outstanding equity shares of Essar Steel Ltd and consequently seek to voluntarily delist the shares from the BSE and the NSE. ''The delisting of equity shares of the Essar Steel Ltd will offer more flexibility in the operations and management of the company, greater efficiencies and at the same time provide an exit opportunity for its shareholders,'' the statement added.— UNI

IOC
New Delhi, September 11
Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has checked its plans to set up petrol stations even as it plans a foray into retail, said IOC ED (Retail) A M K Sinha. IOC plans to set up about 550 petrol pumps this year, down from 1,200-commissioned last year. But it will continue with low-cost Kisan Seva Kendras. Sinha said IOC plans to launch pilot retail stores at 100 petrol pumps in north India. The pilot stores would be launched by March 2008. — PTI

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