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SBI cuts home, retail loan rates by 0.5-1 pc
Chandigarh, October 10
The country’s largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI), today reduced interest rates on home and other retail loans by 0.5-1 per cent for different maturities.

Govt rules out immediate hike in oil prices
New Delhi, October 10
Manmohan Singh government is unlikely to put the burden on consumers for the hike in the international prices of crude and indications are that the oil bonds could be issued to compensate the state-run firm to compensate for selling fuel below costs.

Auto Scene
Vehicle sales down 9.5 pc in Sept
Managing director of Hero Cycles Vijay Munjal (left) and chairman of Ultra Motor Company Lan Woodcock pose with newly-launched bikes in New Delhi on Wednesday. New Delhi, October 10
Reflecting one of the worst months in years for the Indian auto industry, total vehicle sales in the domestic market in September fell by 9.58 per cent with passenger vehicle sales coming down to single digit growth.

Managing director of Hero Cycles Vijay Munjal (left) and chairman of Ultra Motor Company Lan Woodcock pose with newly-launched bikes in New Delhi on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan Bhui



 
Film star Kajol at the Whirlpool's 'Magic chalao, dream home sajao' Divali conference for launch of festival plan and innovative range of products, in New Delhi on Wednesday. The company said it would break even by the end of this fiscal while targeting a 20-25 per cent jump in its topline products during the second quarter. The company has earmarked Rs 70 crore as the marketing and advertising spend for the current year, out of which Rs 20 crore would be used during the festive season.
Film star Kajol at the Whirlpool's 'Magic chalao, dream home sajao' Divali conference for launch of festival plan and innovative range of products, in New Delhi on Wednesday. The company said it would break even by the end of this fiscal while targeting a 20-25 per cent jump in its topline products during the second quarter. The company has earmarked Rs 70 crore as the marketing and advertising spend for the current year, out of which Rs 20 crore would be used during the festive season. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Corporate Results
PFC Q2 net up 22.5 pc
Mumbai, October 10
State-run Power Finance Corporation today posted a 22.5 increase in net profit for the second quarter ended September 30 at Rs 282.22 crore as against Rs 230.35 crore a year ago.

Revival package for co-ops by month-end
New Delhi, October 10
Asserting that revival of ailing co-operative institutions across the country is “doable”, finance minister P Chidambaram today said the Centre would start rolling out the Rs 4,850-crore package beginning first week of November.

Krishnapatnam Plant
Reliance Power, Tatas in race
New Delhi, October 10
Reliance Power and Tata Power are among the final nine in fray for the 4,000-MW Krishnapatnam Ultra Mega Power Plant in Andhra Pradesh, price bids for which could be submitted till October 24.

Mega power project for Orissa
Bhubaneswar, October 10
Union energy minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today announced another 4,000 MW ultra mega power project for Orissa to be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 16,000 crore with coal imported from abroad.

Rupee hits fresh 9-1/2 year high
Mumbai, October 10
Rupee today hit a fresh 9-1/2 year high of 39.31 against the US dollar during morning trade, drawing support from the strong surge in Asian equity markets.

Air India gets $1.23 bn Exim bank guarantee
Washington, October 10
The Export-Import Bank (Exim) of the US and National Aviation Company of India today reached an agreement to assist the airlines get a financial package of $ 1.23 billion to buy Boeing aircraft and spare engines to meet its growing passenger demand.

REL to set up cement plant in MP
Bhopal, October 10
Reliance Energy (REL), Sanghi Cement and Shyam Group are poised to invest Rs 10,000 crore in green-field cement projects in Madhya Pradesh, where annual demand of cement is expected to touch seven million tonnes by 2009.

Video
Vodafone Commits $10 million.
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SBI cuts home, retail loan rates by 0.5-1 pc
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The country’s largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI), today reduced interest rates on home and other retail loans by 0.5-1 per cent for different maturities.

As part of its festival offer the bank has reduced interest rates on transport operators and farm mechanisation loans, which are already lower than most of the major private and public sector banks. As a part of the offer, the bank has reduced the interest rates on all new home loans, car loans, two wheeler loans and personal loans.

The proposed rates are applicable for all new loans sanctioned on or after October 8 and is valid up to December 31, the bank said here in a statement.

SBI Home loans are now cheaper by 0.50-1 per cent depending on loan maturities and amount of loan. The bank also gives discount if the salary account is with the SBI and further discount if a higher margin is available.

The interest rates on new car loans and two-wheeler loans have been reduced by 1 per cent depending on the amount and maturity of loan.

Loans for new car loans will now be available on interest rates of 11-12 per cent depending on the loan amount, maturity and type of loans.

Similarly, the personal loans are now cheaper by 0.50-1 per cent. Additionally, SBI is offering 50 per cent concession in processing charges on all the personal segment loans.

SBI has also reduced interest rates for small time road transport operators in SME sector by 1-2 per cent on the existing rates. The applicable rates will now be in the range of 10-12.25 per cent for various loan maturities, it said.

The festival offer has also been extended to farm mechanisation loans (tractors, power tillers, combine harvesters, etc.) by reducing interest rates ranging from 1-2 per cent with immediate effect.

To start reverse mortgage tomorrow

Mumbai: State Bank of India today announced the launch of “SBI Reverse Mortgage Loan,” a product that will allow senior citizens to avail funds by mortgaging their residential property.

The product will be offered by all branches of SBI from October 12, the bank said here in a statement.

Senior citizens above the age of 60 years, who own and occupy a house can avail loans, released in monthly or quarterly installments or as a lump sum payment at the beginning, against the security of the house.

The loan will be given jointly if the spouse is alive, provided he or she is above 58 years of age, the bank said.

During their lifetime, the borrower does not have to pay the loan and will continue to stay in their house. Thereafter, either the legal heirs could repay the loan and redeem the property or the bank will sell the property and liquidate the loan. Surplus, if any, will be passed on to the legal heirs.

The loan carries a fixed interest rate of 10.75 per cent per annum subject to reset at the end of every five years along with revaluation of security and re-adjustment of loan installments, if necessary.

For a loan of Rs 1 lakh, the monthly payment to the borrower on a 10-year loan is Rs 468 and on a 15-year loan it would be Rs 225.

Similarly for a loan of Rs 1 lakh, the quarterly payment to the borrower on a 10-year loan is Rs 1,423 and on a 15-year loan it would be Rs 687, the bank said. — PTI

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Govt rules out immediate hike in oil prices
Tribune News Service & UNI

New Delhi, October 10
Manmohan Singh government is unlikely to put the burden on consumers for the hike in the international prices of crude and indications are that the oil bonds could be issued to compensate the state-run firm to compensate for selling fuel below costs.

With the Election Commission announcing polls for Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat and the prospects of mid-term polls looming large, the Congress-led coalition is unlikely to take steps, which would dampen its electoral prospects.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora today informed the Parliamentary Consultative Committee that fuel prices was not on cards.

Deora said that the government was committed to protecting the interest of the common man by ensuring that the impact of surging global oil prices was shared by the domestic Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) whose under-recoveries is expected to touch Rs 52,500 crore in 2007-08.

“The government is closely monitoring the prices of petrol, diesel, PDS kerosene and domestic LPG,” Deora said here at the committee of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Talking on the global oil prices Deora said it would continue to be volatile and the Indian basket of crude oil touched a high of $ 77.20 per barrel as on September 21.

There has been no revision in the prices of fuel in spite of consistent rise in international oil prices following softening of prices post August 2006.

The Minister said that the under-recoveries of public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) is expected to be about Rs 52,500 crore during this fiscal.

The Minister also directed all three CMDs of PSU Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs)- IOC, HPCL and BPCL to ensure adequate availability of cooking fuels, especially in view of the ensuring festivals of Navratras, Durga Puja, Id, Dasehra and Divali.

Deora also elaborated other recent initiatives of the government, including approval to the proposal of Oil India Ltd for fresh equity issue of 10 per cent of its paid up capital through Initial Public Offer (IPO).

Approval was also given for issue of additional 1 per cent of OIL’s paid up capital to the employees, along with divesting 10 per cent in favour of OMCs.

LDO removed from petro list

In a move that will enable free trade in the petroleum products without having to procure licences, the government today approved removal of light diesel oil (LDO) from the purview of Solvent Raffinate and Slop (Acquisition, Storage and Prevention to use in Automobile) Order 2000.

“This will do away with the requirement of procuring licences and other restrictions imposed in the said Order, thus facilitate smoother sale/business of LDO in the country,” Petroleum Ministry said.

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Auto Scene
Vehicle sales down 9.5 pc in Sept

New Delhi, October 10
Reflecting one of the worst months in years for the Indian auto industry, total vehicle sales in the domestic market in September fell by 9.58 per cent with passenger vehicle sales coming down to single digit growth, despite car sales continuing to grow.

Already hit hard by rising interest rates, the industry suffered a double whammy with export of cars declining by 8.25 per cent during the month, thanks to the appreciating rupee.

The two-wheeler segment continued its dismal performance registering a 13.17 per cent fall, while motorcycle sales skid by 18.40 per cent.

According to figures released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), total vehicle sales in the domestic market stood at 8,89,693 units compared to 9,83,983 units in the same month last year.

In the passenger vehicles segment, growth was down to single digit at 9.67 per cent with sales of 1,33,320 units in September against 1,21,564 units in the corresponding year-ago period.

Car sales, however, managed to grow by 11.67 per cent at 1,05,822 units against 94,757 units in the corresponding month a year ago on the back of market leader Maruti Suzuki India and General Motors clocking good numbers despite the overall slump in the industry.

In the two-wheeler segment, sales were down to 6,79,766 units against 7,82,930 units in the year-ago period, SIAM said.

Bike sales stood at 5,48,816 units compared to 6,72,570 units in the same month last year with major players like Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor Co registering sharp fall in sales. Market leader Hero Honda, however, managed to post positive growth at 2,97,792 units against 2,83,642 units, up 4.98 per cent.

Adding another setback to the auto industry, car exports also declined by 8.25 per cent at 15,141 units as against 16,503 units last year.

Hero Ultra

Hero Ultra Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between Hero Cycles and UK-based Ultra Motor Company, is working on a battery powered three-wheeler for the Indian market with plans of launching the product within the next 12-15 months.

Hero Exports and Ultra Motor Co today converted their technical alliance into a 50:50 joint venture to expand their operations in the country. The company today launched two new electric scooters — Velociti and Optima — priced at Rs 29,000 and Rs 34,000, respectively. — Agencies

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Corporate Results
PFC Q2 net up 22.5 pc

Mumbai, October 10
State-run Power Finance Corporation today posted a 22.5 increase in net profit for the second quarter ended September 30 at Rs 282.22 crore as against Rs 230.35 crore a year ago.

The company's total income increased 37.9 per cent to Rs 1,227.58 crore during the quarter from Rs 889.91 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal, PFC said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

iGate solutions

iGate Global Solutions (iGS) today announced a marginally lower revenue of Rs 200.80 crore and a 127 per cent spurt in net profit at Rs 22.08 crore for the second quarter FY08.

The gross profit grew 10.6 per cent from 59.4 crore to 65.7 crore, while operating profit increased to Rs 31.7 crore from Rs 20 crore.

iGate delisting

Meanwhile, the company today said its US-based parent intends to delist its shares from all stock exchanges of the country.

iGate Corp, a Pennsylvania corporation and provider of global IT and BPO services, today announced its intention to delist its offshore subsidiary, iGate Global Solutions, from the BSE, the NSE, and the Bangalore Stock Exchange.

As per the law, the company would be delisted after iGate Corp and its affiliate iGate Inc acquire over 90 per cent of its common stock. iGate Corp and iGate Inc currently own 81.1 per cent of the offshore Indian subsidiary.

South Indian Bank

Kerala-based South Indian Bank has registered a 90 per cent jump in net profit to Rs 35.69 crore during the second quarter of the current fiscal from Rs 18.81 crore a year ago, a top bank official said today.

The profit for the half year ending September 2007 was Rs 66.06 crore as against Rs 33.88 crore for the previous year, bank's chairman V A Joseph told reporters here.

SIB's total business increased by Rs 5,263 crore from Rs 17,816 crore to Rs 23,079 crore year-on-year, a growth of 29.54 per cent. While deposits went up 28.30 per cent from Rs 10,859 crore to Rs 13,932 crore, and advances increased 31.46 per cent from Rs 6,958 crore to Rs 9,147 crore.

The bank earned a total income of Rs 668 crore during the current half, registering a growth of 33.60 per cent as against Rs 500 crore in the previous year.

Spice Comm

Cellular services provider Spice Communications Ltd posted a net loss after tax of Rs 5.53 crore for the quarter ended September 30 as compared to net loss of Rs 24.80 crore for the same period last year.

However, total income increased 42.18 per cent to Rs 265.04 crore for the quarter ended September 30 as against Rs 186.40 crore for the same period a year ago, the company said in a filing to the BSE. — Agencies, TNS

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Revival package for co-ops by month-end
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
Asserting that revival of ailing co-operative institutions across the country is “doable”, finance minister P Chidambaram today said the Centre would start rolling out the Rs 4,850-crore package beginning first week of November.

Chidambaram, who held an interactive session with state governments on the implementation of the Vaidyanathan Committee report here, told newspersons that his ministry would finalise the revised package by the end of this month and send it to the states by first week of November.

He said except for eight of the 16 recommendations of the Vaidyanathan Committee, there was concensus among the state co-operative ministers.

He also informed that a sub-committee of states have been formed to look at the ways of evolving a consensus and implementation of long-term cooperation credit structure.

Expressing happiness over the advancement made in the process of revival of ailing co-operative institutions, he said majority of the states have either promulgated ordinance or introduced a Bill in their respective Assemblies to set in motion the revival process.

The Centre would be releasing 25 per cent of the Central government’s share to those states which have issued ordinance or introduced a Bill and 75 per cent of the Centre’s commitment to those states where special audit of the co-operatives have been completed, he said.

The state governments were unanimous that while the long-term co-operative credit structure differs from short-term cooperative structure in their outreach and limited range of products and services and the period of lending, it was thus incumbent that the revival package for both structures should fundamentally have similar features.

Punjab’s minister for co-operation Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who participated in today’s meeting, used the forum to demand immediate intervention of the Centre to reduce the rate of interest on the agriculture loans from 9 per cent to 7 per cent.

He demanded that the Centre should provide for 100 per cent financial assistance for losses on account of agricultural and non-agricultural loans in order to cleanse the balance sheets of the primary co-operative agriculture rural development banks.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh suggested modification to certain clauses in the Vaidyanathan Committee Report on short-term co-operative credit structure. He said the recommendations of the committee do not provide any real benefit to co-operative financial institutions in Punjab, which have performed well over the years and have generated adequate profits.

He also requested to review it and give due share to Punjab in the package.

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Krishnapatnam Plant
Reliance Power, Tatas in race

New Delhi, October 10
Reliance Power and Tata Power are among the final nine in fray for the 4,000-MW Krishnapatnam Ultra Mega Power Plant in Andhra Pradesh, price bids for which could be submitted till October 24.

REL and Tata Power have already bagged one ultra mega power project at Sasan and Mundra, respectively.

Power Finance Corporation, the nodal agency for ultra mega power projects, has extended the last date for accepting bids for Krishnapatnam project to October 24, sources said.

Essar Power, Sterlite Industries, Larsen and Toubro, D S Construction, Japan’s Sumitomo Corp and CLP-GMR combine are other companies believed to be in the qualified bidders list. Four firms, including AES China, have supposedly pulled out of the race.

PFC has extended the last date for accepting bids several times. The company had last extended the date to September 21 from August 25. The request for proposals for Krishnapatnam project, which would run on imported coal, were issued in April.

The PSU had in September also invited fresh bids for the 4,000-MW pithead Tilaiya Ultra Mega Power Project in Jharkhand.

Both projects have been delayed due to a decision on Sasan UMPP in Madhya Pradesh, which has been awarded to Reliance Power Ltd after a bid by Lanco Infratech and Globeleq combine was disqualified after the Singapore-based firm sold its stake to Lanco and Jindal Steel and Power. RPL matched the Rs 1.19 per kwh bid of Lanco-Globeleq.

The second UMPP at Mundra in Gujarat has been awarded to Tata Power. — PTI

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Mega power project for Orissa

Bhubaneswar, October 10
Union energy minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today announced another 4,000 MW ultra mega power project for Orissa to be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 16,000 crore with coal imported from abroad.

Shinde told newsmen that he had discussed the second project with Orissa Chief Minister Navin Patnaik and he had agreed to the proposal.

The Centre had already sanctioned 4,000 MW ultra mega power project in the tribal-dominated Sundargarh district but the work for the mega power project was yet to be taken up. He said already nine such ultra mega power projects had been taken up in the country and two of them had started power generation. — UNI

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Rupee hits fresh 9-1/2 year high

Mumbai, October 10
Rupee today hit a fresh 9-1/2 year high of 39.31 against the US dollar during morning trade, drawing support from the strong surge in Asian equity markets.

The rupee sentiment was also aided by the absence of any dollar demand from banks as well as oil refineries.

In fairly active trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market, the local currency resumed firm at 39.32/34 a dollar from yesterday’s close of 39.44/45 a dollar and later surge to 39.31 level on the back of heavy capital inflows into equity.

Later, it eased modestly and was quoted at 39.34/35 per dollar in late morning deals in anticipation of the central bank’s intervention to cap the currency’s surge.

Traders expected rupee to touch 39 level in the near future due to unceasing portfolio inflows, which reached $ 16 billion so far in 2007, highest in any single year. The rupee last hit 39.30 level on February 26, 1998. — PTI

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Air India gets $1.23 bn Exim bank guarantee

Washington, October 10
The Export-Import Bank (Exim) of the US and National Aviation Company of India today reached an agreement to assist the airlines get a financial package of $ 1.23 billion to buy Boeing aircraft and spare engines to meet its growing passenger demand.

Exim Bank would render a financing package of $ 1.23 billion to NACIL, the company formed after the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines, to buy 17 aircraft from the Boeing Co and four spare engines from General Electric Company.

The documents were signed at a ceremony at Exim Bank headquarters here by the bank’s chairman and president James H. Lambright, NACIL chairman and M D V Thulasidas and ABN AMRO executive director John Neblo. ABN AMRO is the Ex-Im Bank guaranteed lender.

The completion of the financing documentation for the aircraft and spare engines represents the first phase of Air India’s 68-aircraft fleet renewal plan. — PTI

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REL to set up cement plant in MP

Bhopal, October 10
Reliance Energy (REL), Sanghi Cement and Shyam Group are poised to invest Rs 10,000 crore in green-field cement projects in Madhya Pradesh, where annual demand of cement is expected to touch seven million tonnes by 2009.

Besides, investment of another Rs 5,000 crore was being made under expansion programme of major manufacturers like Jaypee cement, Diamond (Mysore) cement, ACC cement, Vikram cement, Maihar cement, Birla Corporation (Birla group) and Prism cement (Raheja group), official sources said today.

At present, annual cement production was about 17.28 million tonnes from 10 major plants in the state. Madhya Pradesh is the third major cement manufacturer contributing about 13 per cent of the demand. — UNI

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BRIEFLY

Samsung ambassador
Chandigarh, October 10
Digital technology leader, Samsung India, today launched its programme for the Beijing 2008 Olympics by announcing Manavjit Singh Sandhu as its Olympic brand ambassador and launching ‘Spread the Olympic Flame’, its torch bearer nomination programme to the Beijing 2008 Olympic torch relay. — TNS

Panacea Biotec
New Delhi, October 10
Panacea Biotec Ltd today said it has entered into a MoU with Panjab University for a drug discovery project. Under the agreement, Panacea Biotec's drug discovery research and development centre at Mohali and Panjab University will collaborate to identify lead molecules with an aim to bring a new chemical entity superior to existing marketed products in the therapeutic area of psychiatric disorders. — UNI

Airtel m-cap
Mumbai, October 10
Bharti Airtel today entered the coveted Rs 2 trillion club, joining the likes of Reliance Industries and ONGC, while its chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal became India's fourth trillionaire in rupee terms. Bharti Airtel's scrip today surged 2.60 per cent to Rs 1,067 on the BSE in the afternoon trade taking its market capitalisation to Rs 2,02,627 crore in intra-day. — PTI

NCDEX institute
New Delhi, October 10
The National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) today launched here the NCDEX Institute of Commodity Markets and Research (NICR). "Strong research will aid the sector to grow and NICR will fill the gap that exists in the commodity markets today," NCDEX CEO P H Ravikumar said. — PTI

Lupin buyout
Mumbai, October 10
Drug maker Lupin Ltd today said it has acquired majority stake in Japan-based generic pharma company Kyowa Pharmaceutical Industry for an undisclosed amount. Kyowa has major strengths in product development, manufacturing and marketing of its products nationwide. — PTI

Kingfisher offer
Bangalore, October 9
Kingfisher Airlines today launched SMS-based ticketing service in India. A company release here said the new facility allowed the customers to search, book and pay for tickets on the mobile itself. The new service works on any handset model or operator.— UNI

Nokia tie-up
New Delhi, October 10
Cell phone major Nokia has partnered with CNN-IBN, a news channel of Network 18 Group, for providing real time news in the form of videos on select handsets for free of cost. Initially, the service will be available on Nokia N95 and N95-8GB handsets. — PTI

Reliance Money
Mumbai, October 10
Anil Ambani Group firm Reliance Money today announced a strategic tie-up with Hyderabad-based AP Mahesh Co-Op Urban Bank for offering money transfer services. — PTI

Order for L&T
Mumbai, October 10
Engineering major Larsen & Toubro today said it has bagged a $60-million order from Saudi Arabia-based methanol chemical company (Chemanol) for setting up high technology plants. — PTI

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