SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

StanChart buys American Express Bank for $860 m
London/New Delhi, September 18
UK banking giant Standard Chartered today announced it would acquire US-based American Express Bank (AEB) for about $860 million - a deal that will give it the much-needed additional branch licenses in India.

Paraplegic who stands out on bourses
Hyderabad, September 18
Sujata, who used to run a photography studio, became interested in the stock market after losing use of her legs in a car accident six years ago when her car collided with a truck while on her way to a temple.
Sujata works on a laptop as she trades stocks at her home in Hyderabad. Sujata works on a laptop as she trades stocks at her home in Hyderabad. — AFP

Montek pegs GDP growth at 8.5-9 pc 
New Delhi, September 18
The Planning Commission today projected a 8.5-9 per cent economic growth for this fiscal despite a slowdown in industrial growth in July.







 

Oil peaks at all-time high
A petrol pump attendant waits for customers at a station in New Delhi
A petrol pump attendant waits for customers at a station in New Delhi on Tuesday. Oil prices topped $81 a barrel for the first time on Tuesday, setting another record high amid fears of critically tight supplies for the winter season in the United States. — AFP

MUL is Maruti Suzuki India
New Delhi, September 18
Country largest car manufacturer , Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL), has been renamed as “Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL)”.

B’deshi garments get duty-free access to India
Bangladesh and India have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on procedural arrangements for eight million pieces of Bangladeshi ready-made garments to gain duty-free access to India each year.

Under-Invoicing Alleged
Chinese blankets invade Indian markets 

Amritsar, September 18
Heavy under-invoicing in the export of acrylic and polyester blankets from China have turned the local market in turmoil.

Dabhol project cost escalates
Mumbai, September 18
The 2,160 MW power plant originally owned by Enron at Dabhol will finally become fully operational in January next year. The plant now owned by the Ratnagiri Gas and Power Private Ltd (RGPPL) was to have begun operating at full capacity by this year-end but has been delayed, according to CEO Chandan Roy.

India set to boost trade ties with Lanka
New Delhi, September 18
Union commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath today hoped that the outstanding issues relating to the operationalisation of trade-rated quota (TRQ) on certain commodities would be negotiated soon to further increase the Indo-Lankan bilateral trade.
National sales manager of Bajaj Auto Vimal Sumbly poses with a new XCD 125 DTS-Si motorcycle at its launch in Bangalore
National sales manager of Bajaj Auto Vimal Sumbly poses with a new XCD 125 DTS-Si motorcycle at its launch in Bangalore on Tuesday. The XCD 125 DTS-Si comes with a combination of 150cc feature, 125cc performance and 100cc mileage and is available in four colours with a price tag of approximately Rs 41,000. — AFP

NHPC ties up with PFC for funds
New Delhi, September 18
National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited (NHPC) has signed three memorandum of agreements with Power Finance Corporation Limited (PFC) for line of credit facilities aggregating to Rs 3,000 crore to meet funding requirements for its various hydroelectric projects scheduled to be implemented during 11th five-year Plan.

Pyramid Retail to invest Rs 500 cr
Ludhiana, September 18
Pyramid Retail Limited has planed an investment of around Rs 500 crore towards opening lifestyle stores in the coming two-three years across the country. The company would also open four more stores in Chandigarh, Amritsar and Jalandhar.

10 SEZ proposals cleared
New Delhi, September 18
The Board of Approval (BoA) today cleared 10 special economic zone (SEZ) proposals, including three Mukesh Ambani-promoted IT zones in Navi Mumbai.

MVL demerges real estate arm
New Delhi, September 18
Media Video Limited (MVL) has announced that it has obtained approval from the Delhi High Court for de-merging its realty arm to the new company, MVL, and merging with the same its wholly-owned subsidiary company and five other companies. Announcing this here, MVL CMD Prem Adip Rishi said the shareholders of Media Video Ltd shall be allotted shares in MVL Ltd, slated to be listed with the NSE and the BSE. “MVL is now geared to launch projects across eight states and 11 cities, including Mohali and Yamunanagar,” he added. — TNS


Top











 

StanChart buys American Express Bank for $860 m

London/New Delhi, September 18
UK banking giant Standard Chartered today announced it would acquire US-based American Express Bank (AEB) for about $860 million - a deal that will give it the much-needed additional branch licenses in India.

The acquisition would be an all-cash deal, StanChart said. It is likely to increase the bank’s network in India to a total of 90 branches.

Immediately after the announcement, industry sources said the development would have no impact on American Express’ credit card business, which it plans to pursue aggressively across the world, including India.

StanChart said AEB’s acquisition from American Express Company would be for a total cash consideration equal to the net asset value of AEB at completion plus $300 million in cash. As of June 30, this would have amounted to about $860 million, it said.

AEB, whose New York-based parent company AXP is the third-largest credit card network, is a leading international bank present in 47 countries, including India.

Among other benefits, “the acquisition will include valuable branch licences in India and Taiwan subject to regulatory approvals,” StanChart said.

According to the data released by the Reserve Bank of India, Standard Chartered is the largest foreign bank in India in terms of branches with a total of 81 branches, as against American Express Bank’s seven branches as of September 2006 out of total 258 branches of 29 foreign banks.

Since then, StanChart has got approval for two more branches in India, which it plans to open next month, a bank spokesperson said.

Standard Chartered said it expects to further deepen its existing network and expand its access to new growth markets through this acquisition.

Commenting on the deal, StanChart CEO Peter Sands said: “The acquisition will add capability and scale to two of the group’s strategically important businesses. AEB’s balance sheet is highly liquid and its income is predominantly fee-based. This is a transaction which has compelling strategic and financial logic and is management accretive.” The acquisition would double Standard Chartered’s US dollar clearing business, making it the world’s sixth largest US dollar clearer.

The acquisition would be accretive to Standard Chartered’s Earnings Per Share in 2009, the first full year of ownership and is also expected to generate double digit investment return in 2009 before the allocation of integration expenses.

Standard Chartered intends to fund the deal from internal cash resources and ongoing debt funding programme.

The integration is expected to take approximately two years to complete and most of the related costs would be borne in the first year after completion of the transaction.

Cost savings would mainly come from combining IT systems and back-office operations and support function efficiencies.

AEB employs approximately 2,300 staff with over 85 per cent in Standard Chartered’s existing footprint. — PTI 

Top

 

Paraplegic who stands out on bourses

Hyderabad, September 18
Sujata, who used to run a photography studio, became interested in the stock market after losing use of her legs in a car accident six years ago when her car collided with a truck while on her way to a temple.

"After the accident, there was no life at all for me, no friends, no people, no supporters," said Sujata, who was also abandoned by her fiance after the accident.

"When you have everything, everybody is with you but when you lose everything, nobody is behind you," she said.

But feeling sorry for herself didn't suit Sujata.

"Because I was physically dependent, I decided to look for something that I could do independently," Sujata told AFP in her apartment in the southern hi-tech city of Hyderabad.

She now has rebuilt her life by investing in India's rocketing stock market, which last year soared by a record 46.7 per cent.

Sujata's achievement is even more remarkable as India's financial world is still heavily male dominated.

Sujata started out from scratch-learning about investing in 2004.

"I had no business knowledge," she said. "I began studying the stock exchange rules, read financial books and magazines and watched business television channels."

She learned fast, and now trades through brokers on India's National Stock Exchange. Five days a week, when the exchange is open, she sits glued to her computer screen watching the market, buying and selling shares that she feels represent "good value."

She says she carefully studies "the company's fundamentals" -looking at its financial figures - before investing in shares.

She says her monthly trades total around Rs 20 million to Rs 30 million ($4,93,785 to $7,40,582). Out of this, she takes a monthly income of 10 to 15 per cent or between $4,991 and $7,626 - more than enough to pay for all her needs.

Sujata now has set her sights on setting up her own investment house. — AFP 

Top

 

Montek pegs GDP growth at 8.5-9 pc 

New Delhi, September 18
The Planning Commission today projected a 8.5-9 per cent economic growth for this fiscal despite a slowdown in industrial growth in July.

"We have been predicting a slightly lower growth and the latest industrial output numbers are no reason to reassess the growth estimate," Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters on the sidelines of the Plan Panel's meeting on ground water management.

The growth in the first quarter was good, but some slowdown in the second quarter was expected, Ahluwalia said adding: "I would rather call it a moderation in growth rather than slowdown." To a query on whether the slowdown was on account of the tight monetary policy adopted by the Reserve Bank, he said: " No. I would call it a successful example of macro economic management, consistent with extracting non-inflationary potential of the economy by maintaining growth."

Economy grew by 9.3 per cent in the first quarter of this fiscal, but industrial growth slipped to 7.1 per cent in April-July from 13.2 per cent in the same period a year ago.

Various experts have attributed the slowdown to higher interest rates, which forced consumers to cut spending on household items and automobiles, adversely affecting the manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing sector growth came down to 7.2 per cent during the month as compared to 14.3 per cent in July 2006. — PTI 

Top

 

MUL is Maruti Suzuki India
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 18
Country largest car manufacturer , Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL), has been renamed as “Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL)”.

The company’s new name was approved by the Registrar of Companies yesterday and comes into effect from the same day itself.

With the parent company Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) picking up the major stake in the disinvestment by the Government earlier it had become important to add the Suzuki name in the company here.

The company’s Board of Directors had approved “Maruti Suzuki India Limited” as the new name in July earlier but it was subject to approval by the company’s shareholders, who later gave their approval at the AGM held earlier this month.

“Suzuki” in the corporate name imparts an international dimension. Besides being the parent company, Suzuki Motor Corporation is a leading player in the global automobile market.

This international dimension in the company’s name will help Maruti as it looks to expand its role in the global markets. The company is to launch a model for export to Europe in the next couple of years, while building on its recent success in Asian and African markets.

Maruti is also developing capabilities to assume the role of being Suzuki’s research and development hub for Asia outside Japan . 

Top

 

B’deshi garments get duty-free access to India
Ashfaq Wares Khan writes from Dhaka

Bangladesh and India have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on procedural arrangements for eight million pieces of Bangladeshi ready-made garments to gain duty-free access to India each year.

The agreement, signed between the two sides here on Monday, allows Bangladeshi businesses to export eight million pieces of apparel, worth around $40 million, without paying duty, any conditionality on fabric sources or port restrictions. The arrangement will come into affect in less than a month.

The neighbouring countries, with an annual trade volume of over $2.5 billion, had also signed an MoU to remove non-tariff barriers during a bilateral visit by Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon in June.

Both these deals follow through on a major promise made by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the New Delhi Saarc summit in April, to provide duty-free access to more products from least-developed countries in South Asia. Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath had made a similar promise in 2005.

As the implementation of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) remains mired in disagreements between Islamabad and New Delhi, India had taken the initiative during the 14th SAARC meet to reduce the trade gap with poorer neighbours.

Hailing the agreement as a milestone in the trade relationship between Dhaka and New Delhi, Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty said after the signing that this is the first among many steps to reduce the $2 billion trade gap between India and Bangladesh.

Bangladeshi exports to India have grown by 480 per cent in the past five years, and the bilateral trade volume going up by 24 percent last year, up from $2.1 billion to $2.5 billion in the last fiscal year.

Bangladesh's exports hit over $12 billion last fiscal year (2006-07) with around 75 per cent of the earnings coming from the ready-made garment sector. 

Top

 

Under-Invoicing Alleged
Chinese blankets invade Indian markets 
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 18
Heavy under-invoicing in the export of acrylic and polyester blankets from China have turned the local market in turmoil.

The All India Mink Blanket Manufacturers’ Association here has been up in arms against the unjust and illegal flow of under-invoiced blankets.

Spokesman of the association Ramesh Jagota said it was not only the under-invoicing but the country was losing huge revenue because of the cheap imports by certain unscrupulous traders here. He said the government must put a cap on the value of the blankets and collect duty on the real value of the blanket based on the correct valuation and costing.

Jagota said according to the figures available with the association, the import prices of blankets were generally declared at half the cost of the yarn as per the costing at the international price. Besides, there is an additional cost of 40 per cent cost of manufacturing but the blankets coming from China are being priced at $3 to $5 per piece against the actual price of $12 to $16 depending on the weight and the size.

He said according to the statistics available here, huge quantity of shipments were in the pipeline at a such a low rate due to the impending festival season and the local industry had been faced with unethical competition, which was proving to destroy the local manufacturers, who were unable to face the unhealthy onslaught of the below cost Chinese blankets.

Top

 

Dabhol project cost escalates
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, September 18
The 2,160 MW power plant originally owned by Enron at Dabhol will finally become fully operational in January next year. The plant now owned by the Ratnagiri Gas and Power Private Ltd (RGPPL) was to have begun operating at full capacity by this year-end but has been delayed, according to CEO Chandan Roy.

What is more, the cost of the project has escalated from Rs 10,000 crore to nearly Rs 13,000 crore on account of higher outgo in the revival of power blocks, LNG terminal with breakwater and interest during construction.

At present the plant is operating far below capacity generating just 475 MW due to shortage of its main fuel, naphtha.

Stakeholders in the project, including NTPC, GAIL, Maharashtra State Electricity Board and financial institutions like IDBI, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and Canara Bank will all have to pitch in funds to make up for the cost escalation, according to Maharashtra's Energy Minister Dilip Walse-Patil.

Top

 

India set to boost trade ties with Lanka
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 18
Union commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath today hoped that the outstanding issues relating to the operationalisation of trade-rated quota (TRQ) on certain commodities would be negotiated soon to further increase the Indo-Lankan bilateral trade.

“TRQ of vanaspati, including bakery shortening and margarine and import of marble and copper from Sri Lanka to India would be negotiated soon,” he said.

Nath stated this when Sri Lankan minister of enterprise development and investment promotion Sarath Amunugama called on him here.

Observing that the bilateral trade has increased from $1,497 million in 2004-05 to $2,590 million in 2005-06 and has been valued at $2,462.28 million in 2006-07, Nath hoped that the increase in the coming years would be substantial.

Top

 

NHPC ties up with PFC for funds
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 18
National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited (NHPC) has signed three memorandum of agreements with Power Finance Corporation Limited (PFC) for line of credit facilities aggregating to Rs 3,000 crore to meet funding requirements for its various hydroelectric projects scheduled to be implemented during 11th five-year Plan.

Funds will be utilised for 800 MW Parbati Hydroelectric project Stage-II in Himachal Pradesh, 132 MW Teesta Low Dam Hydroelectric Project Stage -III in West Bengal and 120 MW Sewa Hydroelectric Project in Jammu & Kashmir, a release said today. 

Top

 

Pyramid Retail to invest Rs 500 cr
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
Pyramid Retail Limited has planed an investment of around Rs 500 crore towards opening lifestyle stores in the coming two-three years across the country. The company would also open four more stores in Chandigarh, Amritsar and Jalandhar.

"Expansion will continue and from last year's Rs 158 crore , we have targeted to almost double the turnover and reach Rs 300 crore by the end of this financial year. By 2010, we should be touching Rs 1,000 crore," Vishal Mirchandani, CEO of company's lifestyle stores, told The Tribune here today.

He said Punjab was an early entrant in organised retail and the segment was growing at a fast pace in the state.

From its existing 7 stores, it plans to increase the number to 10 by the end of this financial year and take it further to 35-40 by 2010. 

Top

 

10 SEZ proposals cleared

New Delhi, September 18
The Board of Approval (BoA) today cleared 10 special economic zone (SEZ) proposals, including three Mukesh Ambani-promoted IT zones in Navi Mumbai.

The BOA meeting, which was chaired by commerce secretary G K Pillai, considered 19 proposals.

“Decision on four SEZ proposals in UP, including DLF and Unitech Hi-tech, have been deferred because they do not have the possession of land,” Pillai told reporters after the meeting. He said as soon the promoters of these proposals get possession of land, the proposals would be cleared.

The BoA also gave in-principle approval to the SEZ proposal of Jindal Worldwide (JWL) in Gujarat and to another one in Maharashtra by Arshhiya Technologies spreading over 68 hectares. — PTI

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Indo-Asian foray
New Delhi, September 18
Indo-Asian Fusegear Limited is foraying into power distribution business by setting up a subsidiary with an investment of Rs 25 crore. Initially, the company is planning to work on projects in north India, including Uttrakhand, U.P, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and M.P. The initial investment will be made through internal accruals of Indo Asian Fusegear Ltd. — TNS

Tata Chemicals
New Delhi, September 18

Tata Chemicals Ltd today said it had raised $100 million in debt via US private placements to fund its acquisitions. The proceeds of the fund would be used both for organic and inorganic acquisition in India and overseas, Mukundan added. — UNI

FIEO gets ISO
New Delhi, September 18

The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) has been awarded ISO 9001:2000 certificate by the popular certification body - TUV Rheinland (India) Pvt Ltd, having its headquarters in Germany. Speaking on the occasion, director-general, FIEO, Ajay Sahai said this certificate would help FIEO to promote the concept of quality not only amongst the exporters in India but also to convince the overseas buyers. — TNS

Satyam plan
Kuala Lumpur, September 18

Satyam has chosen Malaysia as its largest software development hub outside India with a capacity to employ 2,000 persons in two years. The company’s 100-seat Malaysian Global Solutions Centre would expand to over 500 seats in the next few months. The centre is the first phase of the roll out of the company’s 2000 seat global delivery campus in Malaysia’s IT park called Cyberjaya. — PTI

Oracle software
New Delhi, September 18
Oracle today launched its latest software ‘11g’ in India, which would be implemented by partners, including HCL Technologies, Infosys, Satyam, TCS and Wipro Ltd at the customer-end. Database ‘11g’ is a software product providing security of data to customers besides helping in data warehousing and content management applications. — PTI

Whirlpool
Hyderabad, September 18
Whirlpool Corporation has announced its venture into water purifiers market, while expanding its portfolio into new categories to woo its target group ‘The Indian Homemaker’. Unveiling its range of ‘Purafresh’, what it claimed as reverse osmosis (RO) water purifiers with unique ‘6th sense purify and protect technology’, the company said it was targeting 25 per cent of the Rs 350-crore RO segment in the year. — UNI

Birla Sun Life
Chennai, September 18
Birla Sun Life Management has announced the launch of a new ‘Birla Sun Life International Equity Fund’. The scheme has two plans viz investments in diversified portfolio of international stocks from across the world, and investments in a mix of domestic stocks and international stocks, company CEO Mukul Gupta said. — UNI

V.K. Kaul
New Delhi, September 18
V.K. Kaul has been appointed as the managing director of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited . The corporation is a newly created public sector undertaking under the administrative control of the ministry of railways. — TNS

Top

 



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