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Spectrum Allocation
Telecom Cos meet review panel
New Delhi, November 26
Private telecom operators today met the panel set up to review the spectrum allocation norms recommended by the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC).

India, Malaysia economic pact next year: Nath
New Delhi, November 26
Union commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath today said a proposal is underway to start negotiations for an India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) from January 2008.
Union commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath and minister of international trade and industry of Malaysia Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz during a seminar on Malaysia-India business opportunities in New Delhi on Monday. Union commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath and minister of international trade and industry of Malaysia Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz during a seminar on Malaysia-India business opportunities in New Delhi on Monday. — PTI

‘Cabinet to take up FDI policy review soon’
New Delhi, November 26
The government will, later this week, review the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy, but investments in retail sector are unlikely to be part of the revision.



EARLIER STORIES

 
Bollywood actress Isha Kopikkar during the launch of a product in Mumbai on Sunday.
Bollywood actress Isha Kopikkar during the launch of a product in Mumbai on Sunday. — PTI

Survey: HCL world’s no 1 infrastructure vendor
New Delhi, November 26
India’s fourth largest software exporter HCL Technologies has been ranked as the world’s top vendor in the infrastructure space, a recent survey said.

Sensex up 394 points
Mumbai, November 26
The Sensex today gained 394 points on the back of strong showing in Asian markets to close at 19,247 points or 2 per cent higher.

Reliance Power to receive LoI for Krishnapatnam today
New Delhi, November 26
ADAG’s Reliance Power, which emerged as the lowest bidder for the 4,000 MW Krishnapatnam ultra mega power project, will receive letter of intent (LoI) for the project tomorrow.

No plans to sell RNRL shares: ADAG
Mumbai, November 26
Anil Ambani group’s Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) today saw over 3.3 crore of its shares, worth over Rs 525 crore, changing hands amid rumours that its promoters were looking to sell off some of their holdings.

Parsvnath announces retail entry
New Delhi, November 26
Joining the bandwagon of big corporate houses entering India’s burgeoning organised retail market, real estate major Parsvnath Developers today announced its foray into the sector with hypermarket format stores.

Chevron may exit Reliance Petro
Mumbai, November 26
Senior officials of Reliance Industries feel that the American oil company Chevron may be thinking of exiting from Reliance Petroleum following the promoters’ sale of 4 per cent stake in the company last week.

Going global, India Inc create jobs in US
Washington, November 26
Indian firms are not just taking up outsourcing any more, but have in fact invested a whopping $6 billion in the USA and created 40,000 jobs with quite a few of them going to the Americans.

Amul forays into fresh paneer market
New Delhi, November 26
Amul is making a foray into the fresh paneer segment as it tries to claim a sizable chunk in the country’s overall Rs 10,000 crore market.

PNB launches first biometric ATM in UP
New Delhi, November 26
Punjab National Bank (PNB) today launched its first biometric ATM at the Chhapraula village branch in Gautam Budh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, which is first in north India.

Syndicate Bank plans expansion
Chandigarh, November 26
Syndicate Bank expects to double its business to Rs 4,500 crore in the north by the end of this fiscal while maintaining focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), rural and retail segments. SK Abrol, deputy general manager, Syndicate Bank, stated that last year the total business was of Rs 2,000 crore while this year the bank expects to do Rs 4,500 crore in the north.

Piaggio launches Ape Truk
Chandigarh, November 26
Piaggio Vehicle has launched Ape Truk in alliance with CMPL motors here today. Having a fully automatic plant at Baramati, Maharastra, the company manufacture 540 vehicles everyday as compare to 40 when it was launched.

Swiss Airlines’ new service
New Delhi, November 26
Swiss International Airlines today said it has launched new daily flights between Zurich and Delhi and plans to enhance its capacity by 15 per cent in 2009.

$45.8 million IFC package to Soktas
Bangalore, November 26
International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank’s private sector arm, will provide an $45.8 million financial package to Soktas, a textile manufacturer.

 

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Spectrum Allocation
Telecom Cos meet review panel

New Delhi, November 26
Private telecom operators today met the panel set up to review the spectrum allocation norms recommended by the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC).

The committee headed by the Department of Telecom additional secretary R Bandhopadhyay and comprising representatives from GSM and CDMA operators, held its first meeting here today.

Sources said GSM-based mobile players such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone Essar argued that the procedure followed by TEC for calculating the spectrum allocation criteria did not have any scientific basis.

On the other hand, CDMA operators such as Tata Teleservices and Reliance Communications contended that GSM players already had excess spectrum, the sources said.

TEC had given its report on spectrum allocation norms earlier this month, suggesting manifold increase in subscribers for allocation of additional radio waves. Communication minister A Raja had accepted the report in principle, but in view of strong protests from GSM operators the government constituted a panel to revisit the norms.

The committee has to give a report by the end of this month.

GSM, CDMA differences over spectrum widen

At a time when GSM operators like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea are protesting new spectrum allocation norms, Reliance Communication chairman Anil Ambani is understood to have told an official committee that the new rules were a tamed version of the draft.

“Based on scientific principles, Telecom Engineering Centre (recommended) norms can further be tightened by two to seven times for existing players,” Anil is believed to have told a committee set up to revisit TEC’s prescription.

Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal told reporters after his presentation that GSM players were deploying best available technologies to ensure efficient use of the scarce resource (spectrum) available with them.

Sources quoted Ambani as saying that the “TEC criteria is liberal and has been diluted under pressure from the dominant GSM operators.” Ambani also offered to return 1.8 MHz extra spectrum acquired by his company in the circle of Bihar and hoped that other GSM players would also join him in doing so in order to bring in new players which would increase competition in the mobile telephony and lead to lowering of tariffs.

He asked Singh to consider formulation of a comprehensive and transparent policy on return and reframing of excess spectrum held by them.

The GSM lobby is actually pressurizing the Department of Telecom (DoT) to follow existing norms for spectrum allocation that were formulated on adhoc basis in March 2006, without reference to any detailed technical study, he said.

The loss to the government by the inefficient use of spectrum by these operators in the past, and by the liberal allocation of spectrum in this manner, runs into thousands of crores of rupees, apart from the negative impact it has had on limiting competition, he said. — PTI

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India, Malaysia economic pact next year: Nath

New Delhi, November 26
Union commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath today said a proposal is underway to start negotiations for an India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) from January 2008.

Inaugurating a seminar on ‘Malaysia-India Business Opportunities’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), he said: “I am confident that this agreement will take our bilateral relations to newer heights and contribute to the growth of our economies.” For promotion of trade and investment relations, the two countries had set up a joint study group (JSG) which,after adoption, had recommended establishment of CECA.

Malaysia's minister of international trade and industry Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz said the seminar will provide their respective business communities with an update of trade and investment opportunities in both countries and explore possibilities for cooperation in trade, investment and services. — UNI

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‘Cabinet to take up FDI policy review soon’

New Delhi, November 26
The government will, later this week, review the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy, but investments in retail sector are unlikely to be part of the revision.

“Apart from the FDI review, the comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA) with Singapore is also listed for approval of the Cabinet, which will meet on Thursday,” commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath said here.

Earlier, Nath had said the review of FDI policy was aimed at streamlining investment procedures in a comprehensive way, giving preference to sectors that generate more economic activity and jobs. — TNS

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Survey: HCL world’s no 1 infrastructure vendor

New Delhi, November 26
India’s fourth largest software exporter HCL Technologies has been ranked as the world’s top vendor in the infrastructure space, a recent survey said.

HCL Technologies topped the list of 276 vendors, while beating global and domestic giants like IBM, Accenture, HP, Infosys, TCS, Wipro and Satyam.

HCL Tech is followed by US-based Electronic Data Systems and Computer Sciences Corporation on second and third positions, according to an annual survey by Brown-Wilson survey for ‘The Black Book of Outsourcing.’ A total of five Indian companies made to the top-20 list, including Satyam (13), Wipro (14), Infosys (18) and Tata Consultancy Services (20).

HCL Technologies also excelled in the sub-categories like on-site comprehensive, remote comprehensive and desk top support services and storage and servers.

Based on our survey results, it is clear that HCL is leading the global infrastructure services market from the client perspective, as evidenced by their top marks across the majority of sub-categories of the survey as rated by global users, Doug Brown, managing partner Brown-Wilson Group said.

The infrastructure ranking was based on vendor evaluation across 18 points of infrastructure operational excellence, including innovation, training, breadth of offerings, client adaptability, reliability, support and customer care to name a few.

“As an organisation with a clear IT infrastructure DNA, we continue to be focused on delivering actionable innovation, transparency, flexibility and sustainable value-adds to our clients and being a partner in accelerating their profits and growth,” HCL Infrastructure (services division) COO Anant Gupta said.

The other international infrastructure outsourcing vendors which made it to the list were Unisys (4), IBM (5), Hewlett Packard (6), Perot Systems (7), CIBER (8), Accenture (9), CompuCom (10), Atos Origin (11), Capgemini (12), Getronics (15), ACS (16), LogicaCMG (17) and T Systems (19). — PTI

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Sensex up 394 points
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, November 26
The Sensex today gained 394 points on the back of strong showing in Asian markets to close at 19,247 points or 2 per cent higher.

Through most of today’s trade, the benchmark index moved in a range of 19,137 to 19,360 points.

In the broader markets the Nifty closed 123 points or 2.19 per cent higher at 5,772.

Today’s biggest gainer was HDFC Bank, which surged 5.2 per cent at Rs 1,643. Bharti Airtel, Reliance Energy, Tata Steel and ONGC also closed at higher levels.

Among sectoral indices, the BSE metal index gained the highest. Bhushan Steel shot up a whopping 45 per cent at Rs 1,575 to emerge as the biggest gainer.

Other gainers included Jindal Steel, up by 16.7 per cent; Jindal Saw, up by 8.8 per cent; JSW Steel, up by 6.6 per cent; Jindal Stainless, up by 6.1 per cent; and SAIL, up by 5.3 per cent.

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Reliance Power to receive LoI for Krishnapatnam today

New Delhi, November 26
ADAG’s Reliance Power, which emerged as the lowest bidder for the 4,000 MW Krishnapatnam ultra mega power project, will receive letter of intent (LoI) for the project tomorrow.

Coastal Andhra Power, the special purpose vehicle formed by Power Finance Corp, will award the LoI for the Krishnapatnam project to Reliance Power tomorrow, official sources said.

Reliance Power quoted a price of Rs 2.33 per unit, while Larsen & Toubro and Sterlite Industries quoted Rs 2.68 per kWh tariff.
Reliance has already secured the Sasan ultra mega power plant in Madhya Pradesh, which would be run on domestic coal.

The Krishnapatnam project is to be operated on imported coal and would require an investment of more than Rs 16,000 crore.

Andhra Pradesh will receive 1,600 MW, while the stakes of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka will off take 800 MW each from the project.

Reliance Power has filed the draft prospectus for its expected Rs 12,000 crore initial public offer. — PTI

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No plans to sell RNRL shares: ADAG

Mumbai, November 26
Anil Ambani group’s Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) today saw over 3.3 crore of its shares, worth over Rs 525 crore, changing hands amid rumours that its promoters were looking to sell off some of their holdings.

“No shares have been sold in RNRL. We have no intention to sell any shares in RNRL,” a Reliance ADA group spokesperson said in reaction to the speculation.

This speculations hit the bourses on the first trading day after Mukesh Ambani group’s flagship company Reliance Industries said after the market-close on Friday that it has sold 18.04 crore shares, amounting to a 4.01 per cent stake, of another group company Reliance Petroleum in open market transactions.

According to information available with bourses, over 2.26 crore RNRL shares were traded at the NSE with a total turnover of Rs 360 crore, while another 1.03 crore shares changed hands at the BSE with a value of Rs 164 crore. Together, close to 3.3 crore shares of RNRL were traded today on the two bourses with a collective turnover of close to Rs 525 crore. The stock was among the top-10 traded counters at both the bourses. — PTI

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Parsvnath announces retail entry

New Delhi, November 26
Joining the bandwagon of big corporate houses entering India’s burgeoning organised retail market, real estate major Parsvnath Developers today announced its foray into the sector with hypermarket format stores.

The company has incorporated a subsidiary Parsvnath Retail Limited for its new venture and is joining hands with an existing retailer to start operations in the next two months.

"We have formed a subsidiary to get into retail business, with a hypermarket format to begin with. We are also in advanced stage of talks with a major retailer to provide logistics support and other onshore experience," Parsvnath Developers chairman Pradeep Jain said.

He, however, declined to name the retail partner with which it was in talks with and also the details of investments and number of stores it plans to set up. "Our board of directors will meet soon to discuss the future course for the new business and exact details will be worked out after the meeting," he said.

The company, which owns 14 million square feet of space in 50 cities in India, has also appointed a consultant to advice it on the finer aspects of the new venture, he added.

Big corporate houses led by Reliance have been rolling out western-style retail stores in the country, whose retail market is estimated to be worth $328 billion.

According to industry body Ficci, organised retail sector is likely to increase its share from the current 4 per cent to over 20 per cent by 2010, by when the overall retail sector will grow to $430 billion. — PTI

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Chevron may exit Reliance Petro
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, November 26
Senior officials of Reliance Industries feel that the American oil company Chevron may be thinking of exiting from Reliance Petroleum following the promoters’ sale of 4 per cent stake in the company last week.

Talk of Chevron exiting RPL gathered steam later today after an international wire service quoted a company spokesperson as saying that the American oil major was examining its options following RIL’s sudden announcement.

Under the agreement between Reliance and Chevron, the latter would be allowed to pick up 29 per cent stake in RPL by December 2009 while RIL would hold 51 per cent stake in RPL. About 20 per cent of the company was to be held with investors, including FIIs and retail investors.

Following the equity dilution, RIL would be able to pass on just 20 per cent to Chevron. To hike its holdings from 5 per cent to 29 per cent, Chevron would have to buy the remaining shares from the open market. Analysts say, this situation would make things difficult for Chevron since any attempts to pick up RPL shares from the market would drive its prices to even higher levels. No official was available for comment.

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Going global, India Inc create jobs in US

Washington, November 26
Indian firms are not just taking up outsourcing any more, but have in fact invested a whopping $6 billion in the USA and created 40,000 jobs with quite a few of them going to the Americans.

If a Janaki, posing as Janet at call centres in India, has been servicing customers in the USA, many a Jane and John employed by India Inc. in the USA is now helping travellers worldwide book a flight or send flowers and gifts to loved ones in America. A group of 34 Indian companies represented in the India Business Forum (IBF), launched in June 2006, structured at the initiative of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), has made investments in such diverse sectors as technology, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and gems and jewellery.

The Indian companies with 40,000 employees have invested about $6 billion in the USA this year alone through acquisitions and mergers. While there are more Indian nationals in the service sector, the number of local employees goes as high as 95 per cent in the manufacturing sector. "Indian companies are no longer just Indian. They are as much global as any other," says Kiran Pasricha, CII deputy director general, based in Washington. Besides the USA, CII has set up similar forums in Singapore and South Africa with one in the process of being launched in China.

The Tata Group alone has invested over $2 billion in the last couple of years through acquisitions and mergers in the USA with 16 of its companies from hotels to manufacturing employing 16,000 people, about 5,000 of them local. "With very few exceptions, our hires of local employees are on the basis of their skill sets, not on their knowledge of India or international experience," says David Good, chief representative of the group for North America and the American chair of IBF.

The Tatas have hotels in New York, Boston and San Francisco, produce Eight O'Clock Coffee, Tetley Tea and Good Earth Tea and have Corus Steel production units in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The group provides engineering and software services through Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and INCAT/Tata Technologies with TCS earning 53 per cent of its $4.3 billion revenue from the USA. And in telecommunications, VSNL, a 74 per cent

Tata owned company, emerging as the largest voice provider in the USA offering competition to the likes of AT&T and Verizon. Tatas' call centre business, SerWiz Solutions Limited, has 250 full-time employees at its Milton, Florida, centre and 260 such employees at Reno, Ohio. "Both centres are currently in a hiring mode," says Ricardo Layun, vice president, Customer Care Operations.

At the moment, the two call centres support one of the world's leading online travel companies, a large US airline carrier, and the American region of a large Asian airline carrier, large domestic and international airlines.

Tatas have been expanding these call centres since acquiring them in April 2006 as "we have found that the US communities in which we operate provide a strong workforce, competitive economic conditions, and positive growth potential," said Layun. Both call centres operate 24/7, but "We have not experienced an issue with staffing after hours. We have found that offering these night shifts provides employees opportunities to attend day-time college courses or avoid day-care costs," he said. — IANS

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Amul forays into fresh paneer market

New Delhi, November 26
Amul is making a foray into the fresh paneer segment as it tries to claim a sizable chunk in the country’s overall Rs 10,000 crore market.

“Amul Fresh Paneer is the latest addition in the company’s product portfolio in a quest to become the numero-uno brand in the Indian fresh paneer market, which is estimated to be about Rs 10,000 crore, both in the organised and unorganised segments,” Amul chief general manager R S Sodhi said.

He said the market is highly dominated by unorganised segment with the organised players account to only one per cent. Currently, there are many regional players present in the organised fresh paneer market.

The company is already a market leader in the frozen paneer category through its product ‘Amul Malai Paneer’ and commands 65 per cent share in the segment. — PTI

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PNB launches first biometric ATM in UP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
Punjab National Bank (PNB) today launched its first biometric ATM at the Chhapraula village branch in Gautam Budh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, which is first in north India.

Inaugurating the ATM, the bank’s chairman cum managing director K C Chakrabarty emphasised that PNB’s efforts are to provide the best of the services to rural customers and strengthen our relationship with them.

“The bank has established bio-metric ATM for the benefit of illiterate/semi-literate customers. It will enable them to withdraw cash; make balance enquiry; get a mini statement with the facility of voice guidance,” he said.

“It is ideal for Indian rural masses, since it has a user-friendly screen flow for convenience of illiterate customers and would extend any time banking facility to rural customers,” he said.

The bank has already installed 1,231 ATMs, out of which 192 ATMs are in Delhi/NCR.

The bank has also completed first phase of financial inclusion of village Hathipur Khera, a village in service area of Chhapraula in Gautam Budh Nagar, by opening accounts of minimum one member of each household of the village.

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Syndicate Bank plans expansion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Syndicate Bank expects to double its business to Rs 4,500 crore in the north by the end of this fiscal while maintaining focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), rural and retail segments. SK Abrol, deputy general manager, Syndicate Bank, stated that last year the total business was of Rs 2,000 crore while this year the bank expects to do Rs 4,500 crore in the north.

As of November 20, the bank had a total business in this region at Rs 3,870 crore, with deposit contributing Rs 2,009 crore and advances Rs 1,861 crore. The bank currently has 2,136 branches and plans to add 100 more across India and three in the region, which include Ajnala (Amritsar), Noormahal (Jallandhar) and Akhbarpur Barota (Haryana). 

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Piaggio launches Ape Truk
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Piaggio Vehicle has launched Ape Truk in alliance with CMPL motors here today. Having a fully automatic plant at Baramati, Maharastra, the company manufacture 540 vehicles everyday as compare to 40 when it was launched.

Ashutosh Khosla, director (sales and marketing) Piaggio Vehicles said: “The Piaggio Vehicles launched first cargo passenger vehicle in 1947 and since then we are one of the leading manufacturers with a market share of 50 per cent. The Ape Truk will cost Rs 2,19,999 with load capacity of 865 kgs. It also comes with a one-year warranty and eight free services.”

The company achieved a turnover of Rs 1,134 crore in 2006. Currently, the company has a market share of 56 per cent in cargo segment and 90 per cent in passenger category.

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Swiss Airlines’ new service

New Delhi, November 26
Swiss International Airlines today said it has launched new daily flights between Zurich and Delhi and plans to enhance its capacity by 15 per cent in 2009.

"The non-stop services from Delhi to Zurich, in addition to seven flights from Mumbai, showcases that India is not just a key trade partner for Switzerland, it is also becoming increasingly popular as a Swiss tourist destination," its CEO Christoph Franz told reporters here. The new services would double the Swiss flights to 14. — PTI

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$45.8 million IFC package to Soktas

Bangalore, November 26
International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank’s private sector arm, will provide an $45.8 million financial package to Soktas, a textile manufacturer.

The package shall help both Soktas and its subsidiary Soktas India upgrade their capital equipment and shift to higher value-added products, increasing their competitiveness in export markets, an IFC release said.

The package would include long-term loans to Soktas Turkey and Soktas India, in addition to an equity investment in Soktas India, it added.

It would enable the company set up a greenfield manufacturing plant in India for producing yarn-dyed shirting fabric to serve the expanding markets in India and Southeast Asia. — PTI

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