SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

B U S I N E S S

Land ceiling for SEZs may go
New Delhi, December 3
Amid continuing protest against the manner in which land was being acquired for special economic zones (SEZs) across the country, the government today indicated that it may relax the cap on the acquisition of land from the current limit of 5,000 hectares.

SEBI eases norms for bond issue 
Mumbai, December 3
In a move to boost the primary market for corporate bonds in the country, the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today relaxed the guidelines for companies raising funds through issue of bonds.

India may miss export target, says Pillai
New Delhi, December 3
India’s exports for the current financial year (2007-08) is likely to be $15 to 20 billion less than the target due to rising rupee and high lending rate hurting the export sector, commerce and industry secretary G K Pillai said here today.

Telecom Tangle
No consensus on spectrum
New Delhi, December 3
The high-intensity telecom tangle remained unresolved with two camps — GSM and CDMA service providers — sticking to their guns on spectrum related issues at a meeting convened by telecom secretary D S Mathur.



 
A giant Christmas tree decorated with 400 teddy bears and over 5,000 diamonds with 135 carats is displayed at a shopping mall in Beijing.
A giant Christmas tree decorated with 400 teddy bears and over 5,000 diamonds with 135 carats is displayed at a shopping mall in Beijing on Monday. China's top leaders gathered in Beijing on Monday to determine economic policies for 2008 amid efforts to prevent the economy from overheating and to curb inflation, state media said. — AFP photo

Re rise emboldens India Inc for overseas buyouts
New Delhi, December 3
While the rupee's sharp rally is becoming a cause for heartburn among exporters, it is giving attractive foreign acquisition opportunities to some of the big corporate houses such as Mahindra and Godrej.

M&M to set up engg college at Chandigarh 
New Delhi, December 3
Homegrown farm equipment-to- software conglomerate Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) is planning to set up five engineering colleges at an investment of Rs 250 crore, as it looks to tackle shortage of human resources in its different ventures.

India vs Pak for Citigroup CEO?
New York, December 3
While India is slogging out against Pakistan in a cricket test match in Kolkata, another face-off is tipped to be developing here between two bankers with origins in the two countries — that for the position of CEO at world's largest bank Citigroup.

RINL to sell 25 pc govt equity
New Delhi, December 3
The government will soon offload 25 per cent stake in Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), making it the first disinvestment in a profit-making steel PSU.
President and managing director, JVC Japan, Kunihiko Sato (R) and CMD of Fedders Lloyd Group, Brij Raj Punj, look at electronic products during a launch in New Delhi on Monday.
President and managing director, JVC Japan, Kunihiko Sato (R) and CMD of Fedders Lloyd Group, Brij Raj Punj, look at electronic products during a launch in New Delhi on Monday. JVC and Fedders Lloyd announced their tie-up to bring JVC consumer electronic products into the Indian market.— AFP photo 

ABB to pump in $100 m 
Bangalore, December 3
Power giant ABB today announced an additional $100-million investment in India over the next three years to double its business volume by 2010.

Asian Paints’ plan
New Delhi, December 3
Paint manufacturer Asian paints today said it will invest Rs 300 crore in setting up a greenfield manufacturing plant at Rohtak in Haryana.

Total IT Solutions to dilute stake
New Delhi, December 3
Total IT Solutions Pvt Ltd, a Delhi-based IT company with specialisation in e-library solutions, is all set to dilute 40 per cent of its stake to expand its growth.

Emerson targets Rs 4,000-cr turnover
New Delhi, December 3
Emerson, a multi-billion dollar US conglomerate, has set a target turnover of Rs 4,000 crore by 2011 in India from its smart wireless solutions.

SBoP staff observe stir
Chandigarh, December 3
Employees and officers of the State Bank of Patiala and six associate banks of State Bank of India (SBI) today observed strike in Punjab, Haryana, Union Territory of Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and J and K, against the proposed merger of associate banks with the SBI.

Intelenet buys Mauritian SPV
Mumbai, December 3
Intelenet Global Services, one of the leading global BPOs, has acquired Mauritius-based SPV that owns two global companies — Upstream, a global BPO company, and India-based Travelport ISO, a global travel services company.

 

Top



 

 

 

Land ceiling for SEZs may go
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
Amid continuing protest against the manner in which land was being acquired for special economic zones (SEZs) across the country, the government today indicated that it may relax the cap on the acquisition of land from the current limit of 5,000 hectares.

“Now that the Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy is in place, the government may think of relaxing the ceiling on the size of SEZs,” commerce and industry secretary G K Pillai said at the India Economic Summit here, jointly organised by World Economic Forum and the CII.

“It’s not that all of them are wanting the sizes to be increased. There are just 3 to 4 cases that are requesting for a higher limit,” Pillai told newspersons later on the sidelines of the Summit.

Pointing out that no formal decision has been taken as yet on this, Pillai said it was up to the government to decide whether this relaxation will be done on a case-by-case basis or a specific policy in this regard is enacted.

Out of the total number of SEZs that have been formally approved (472), only 34 are multi-product, he added.

Earlier this year, faced with large scale violence and protest against acquisition of land for SEZs, the Empowered Group of Ministers, headed by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, had recommended a cap of 5,000 hectares on the size of SEZs. It had also asked the state governments not to intervene in any manner in land acquisition proceedings.

Under the new R and R policy, apart from higher compensation the attempt on the part of the government would be to make the displaced population partners in the companies that are set up. 

Top

 

SEBI eases norms for bond issue 

Mumbai, December 3
In a move to boost the primary market for corporate bonds in the country, the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) today relaxed the guidelines for companies raising funds through issue of bonds.

The market regulator has relaxed certain requirements enlisted in the (Disclosure and Investor Protection) Guidelines 2000, for the issue of bonds by corporates in the country.

The requirement for corporates to obtain credit ratings from two agencies has been relaxed to one credit agency. This relaxation would reduce the cost of issuance of debt instruments, SEBI said.

It has also decided to allow issue of bonds even which are below the investment grade.

In a disclosure based regime, it should be left to the investor to decide whether or not to invest in a non-investment grade debt instrument, SEBI added.

The regulator has also decided on removal of structural restrictions currently placed on debt instruments such as those on maturity, put or call option on conversion among others.

A move which would help the issuers to structure the instruments to suit their requirements making the process flexible for them, it said. — PTI  

Top

 

India may miss export target, says Pillai
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
India’s exports for the current financial year (2007-08) is likely to be $15 to 20 billion less than the target due to rising rupee and high lending rate hurting the export sector, commerce and industry secretary G K Pillai said here today.

“We may at best reach $140-145 billion for the current (financial) year. We are also worried about employment-intensive sectors where job losses are taking place,” Pillai told newspersons on the sidelines of the India Economic Summit here.

Due to an appreciating rupee, which has appreciated by almost 15 per cent in the past one year, export sectors, especially of textiles, leather, handicrafts and marine products, are facing job losses.

“In the textile sector, exports have come down by 22 per cent, handicrafts declined by 66 per cent, leather by 9 per cent and marine products by 20 per cent,” Pillai said adding the commerce ministry has submitted a paper to the ministry of finance for providing sops to exporters in these sectors.

He also pointed out that almost 30,000 regular employees and 100,000 contract labourers have been laid-off in the exports sector.

Meanwhile, according to the year-on-year data on exports released by the government, India’s exports grew in October at the fastest pace in 15 months.

Exports in the first seven months of the current fiscal ending October 31 rose 21 per cent to $85.6 billion, while imports rose 25.31 per cent to $130 billion in the period, widening the trade deficit to $44.4 billion from $32.9 billion a year earlier.

During April-October 2006, exports was $70.79 billion and imports were $103.74 billion.

Oil imports during October 2007 were valued at $6.13 billion, which was 14.59 per cent higher than oil imports valued at $5.35 billion in the corresponding period last year. 

Top

 

Telecom Tangle
No consensus on spectrum

New Delhi, December 3
The high-intensity telecom tangle remained unresolved with two camps — GSM and CDMA service providers — sticking to their guns on spectrum related issues at a meeting convened by telecom secretary D S Mathur.

"No peace formula has been proposed to us by the government on spectrum issue," Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal today told reporters after the meeting.

According to sources, Mathur asked the leading service providers to find a solution only in the short term on a provisional basis and urged them to accept telecom regulator TRAI's recommendation on enhanced subscriber-linked criteria for additional airwaves.

It is pertinent to mention that the GSM operators' lobby Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has challenged the TRAI recommendations and this may stop them from accepting it as an interim solution.

In a significant development, some of the GSM players like Aircel and Spice Telecom today met the secretary separately from the COAI, thereby indicating a clear divide in a powerful lobby at one time. — PTI 

Top

 

Re rise emboldens India Inc for overseas buyouts

New Delhi, December 3
While the rupee's sharp rally is becoming a cause for heartburn among exporters, it is giving attractive foreign acquisition opportunities to some of the big corporate houses such as Mahindra and Godrej.

Business heads of three leading Indian firms from as many sectors — automaker Mahindra and Mahindra, consumer goods major Godrej and biotechnology firm Biocon — today said they were looking at acquisitions in overseas markets as the rupee appreciation had made such plans a good-value proposition.

"With the rupee appreciating, you are going to be able to acquire companies," Biocon chairman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw told reporters here on the sidelines of the India Economic Summit.

Biocon is looking to buy companies in the US, Europe and emerging markets and this could happen by the end of this fiscal, she said.

"Rising rupee is a good time to go and acquire companies abroad," Godrej group CMD Adi Godrej said at the same summit.

"We are looking at emerging markets like Latin America, South Africa and China," Godrej said, adding that the acquisition would be in the range of $500 million.

An acquisition of this size would cost today less than Rs 2,000 crore in the Indian currency, but would have been higher by 10-15 per cent as of last year. Rupee is currently trading at around 39.80 to a dollar, representing a surge of about 14 per cent in a year.

Automotive major M&M's vice chairman and MD Anand Mahindra also said the company was planning to acquire companies in overseas markets as the rupee's rise against the dollar had cut down the cost of overseas acquisitions.

In the past one year, there has been a spurt in overseas acquisitions by Indian companies, including Tata Steel's $12.1 billion takeover of world's sixth-largest steelmaker Corus, even though the Anglo-Dutch firm was much larger in size compared to India's largest private sector steel firm.

Besides, companies like Hindalco Industries and Suzlon Energy have also made substantially large acquisitions this year.

Rupee appreciation is believed to have led to a significant reduction in the overall acquisition costs for the cross-border deals made in the recent months.

However, this trend in the currency market is not auguring well for exports from the country.— PTI 

Top

 

M&M to set up engg college at Chandigarh 

New Delhi, December 3
Homegrown farm equipment-to- software conglomerate Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) is planning to set up five engineering colleges at an investment of Rs 250 crore, as it looks to tackle shortage of human resources in its different ventures.

"We will start five campuses of Mahindra College of Engineering. The first one in Chandigarh is expected to begin session by the next academic year in June," M&M vice-chairman Anand Mahindra told PTI on the sidelines of India Economic Summit here.

Besides Chandigarh, the group has identified land in Goa and Maharashtra for two campuses, while locations for another two were still under study.

"On a full scale, we are looking at having around 5,000 students in each campus...and in the long term the plan outlay for this entire project will be about Rs 250 crore," Mahindra added.

He said each campus will have speciality in different disciplines and the intention was to tackle shortage of skilled manpower, not only for the group but also for the overall industrial sector in the country.

"The students will be guaranteed absorption in the group, but we will be more than happy if other companies were to poach our students," he said. — PTI 

Top

 

India vs Pak for Citigroup CEO?

New York, December 3
While India is slogging out against Pakistan in a cricket test match in Kolkata, another face-off is tipped to be developing here between two bankers with origins in the two countries — that for the position of CEO at world's largest bank Citigroup.

The list of contenders for this job include Vikram S Pandit, currently Citigroup's investment banking head and a former Morgan Stanley investment banker, and Shaukat Aziz, formerly the bank's global private banking business head and most recently the prime minister of Pakistan, according to various media reports.

According to a report in the New York Times this weekend, Citigroup board expects to name a new CEO next week and Pandit's name has emerged as a favourite, although no clear choice has emerged so far.

Meanwhile, reports have been surfacing in the US and international media that Aziz, who resigned as Pakistan's Prime Minister last month, could also be a potential candidate and has already sent his feelers to Citigroup board.

Queries sent by PTI on the candidature of Pandit and Aziz to Citigroup spokesperson Christina Pretto remained unanswered.

The CEO position fell vacant after Charles Prince resigned as Citigroup's chairman and CEO at an emergency board meet on November 4 on the back of losses worth billions of dollars suffered by Citigroup in the subprime crisis.

After Prince's departure, Citigroup named its Europe chairman Win Bischoff as an acting CEO and its executive committee chairman and former US treasury secretary Robert E Rubin as chairman on interim basis. Rubin is also part of a search committee for the new chairman and CEO and this committee has been reviewing candidates from both inside and outside the bank. — PTI  

Top

 

RINL to sell 25 pc govt equity

New Delhi, December 3
The government will soon offload 25 per cent stake in Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), making it the first disinvestment in a profit-making steel PSU.

"In response to a proposal of the finance ministry asking us to consider offloading some stake, the RINL Board has okayed (sale of) 25 per cent stake in the company, of which 5 per cent would go to the employees and the remaining 20 per cent to the public," RINL chairman and managing director P K Bishnoi told PTI.

Steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan had earlier categorically opposed any dilution of stake in any of his ministry's PSU.

When asked, a top steel ministry official confirmed that the ministry has received the RINL Board's approval to this effect. According to sources, offloading of stake would fetch nearly Rs 4,000 crore to the government. The company had reported a net profit of about Rs 1,350 crore last fiscal and the equity capital of the company is around Rs 5,000 crore.

Steel ministry sources said around 10 per cent of the government equity could be diluted at the first instance and 15 per cent thereafter. — PTI  

Top

 

ABB to pump in $100 m 

Bangalore, December 3
Power giant ABB today announced an additional $100-million investment in India over the next three years to double its business volume by 2010.

Talking to newspersons here, group chairman Hubertus Von Grunberg said ABB India had played an important role in strengthening the ABB's global footprint and India, as one of the fastest growing economy, was a key focus area.

The company aimed to increase its human resource base to 10,000 by 2010 from the current strength of 6,000. — UNI 

Top

 

Asian Paints’ plan

New Delhi, December 3
Paint manufacturer Asian paints today said it will invest Rs 300 crore in setting up a greenfield manufacturing plant at Rohtak in Haryana.

"We have acquired 130 acres of land at Rohtak and would initially invest Rs 300 crore to set up a greenfield manufacturing unit there," Asian Paints' corporate relations chief manager Rajeev Batra said on the sidelines of India Economic Summit here.

The new plant will initially have a capacity of 1,50,000 kilo litres of paint per annum. He said the company is also looking at doubling the capacity at the Rohtak plant in near future. — PTI  

Top

 

Total IT Solutions to dilute stake
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
Total IT Solutions Pvt Ltd, a Delhi-based IT company with specialisation in e-library solutions, is all set to dilute 40 per cent of its stake to expand its growth.

“Several Private Equity (PE) and venture capitals have shown interest in taking stake in our company and we would be finalising the deal soon,” managing director of the company Rajiv Kumar Mishra told The Tribune.

The turnover of the company was Rs 20 crore in 2006-07 and in the current fiscal, the company has appointed distributors in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei to tap overseas market.

Total IT Solutions provides e-resources management and search solutions, an integrated single window search facility, which facilitates users of e-library with advanced search engine. 

Top

 

Emerson targets Rs 4,000-cr turnover
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 3
Emerson, a multi-billion dollar US conglomerate, has set a target turnover of Rs 4,000 crore by 2011 in India from its smart wireless solutions.

To achieve the target, Emerson and Cisco, a global leader in IT networking for industrial and business management applications, are combining their expertise and technology to deliver a complete solution that would improve productivity, safety and operational efficiency .

Mark Schumacher, president, Rosemount Division, Emerson Process Management, India, expressed, "This smart wireless networks will extend asset optimisation and predictive maintenance, helping manufacturers avoid costly, unexpected process interruptions and shutdowns; optimise performance and lifetime of processing equipment; and maximise production output.  

Top

 

SBoP staff observe stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Employees and officers of the State Bank of Patiala and six associate banks of State Bank of India (SBI) today observed strike in Punjab, Haryana, Union Territory of Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and J and K, against the proposed merger of associate banks with the SBI.

Devinder Singh, president of All India State Bank of Patiala Employees Association, and I.G. Gupta, general secretary, All India State Bank of Patiala Officers Association, said the merger of associated banks with the SBI was not justified in any way as these banks were working in a systematic network and were giving good results in their respective areas across the country.

Devinder Singh said the agitation would be further intensified in the coming days. 

Top

 

Intelenet buys Mauritian SPV

Mumbai, December 3
Intelenet Global Services, one of the leading global BPOs, has acquired Mauritius-based SPV that owns two global companies — Upstream, a global BPO company, and India-based Travelport ISO, a global travel services company.

This is Intelenet's first major step in its inorganic growth strategy, which was set in motion following the management buyout backed by Blackstone in June, 2007.

Upstream, headquartered in the US, employs over 1,200 persons across three on-shore delivery centres in the US, two near-shore delivery centres in Latin America (Guatemala and Panama) and an off-shore delivery centre in Mauritius.

The company provides multi-channel contact centre solutions, including voice and back office operations spanning customer relationship management, and sales support for nine key clients primarily in the travel and information technology domain.

Whereas, Travelport ISO offers voice, BPO, finance and accounting services to leading global travel brands and employs 1,100 persons at two locations in India. — UNI 

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Rupee gains
Mumbai, December 3
The rupee today ended stronger by 12 paise against the greenback, thanks to heavy dollar sales by exporters amid FII inflows in the equity market. The rupee sentiment was also bolstered by weak dollar overseas and a strong equity market. In active trade at the forex market, the local currency rallied smartly to the day's high of 39.49 after resuming steady at 39.62/63 a dollar. It ended at 39.49/50, 12 paise higher from the last close.— PTI

Mirae Asset
Mumbai, December 3
The $-130 billion Korean asset management group, Mirae Asset, today announced its foray into the domestic mutual fund industry, with an initial capital outlay of $50 million. The group's wholly-owned subsidiary, Mirae Asset Global Investment Management (India), plans to roll out its equity and fixed income products in January in the country, Mirae CEO (India) Arindam Ghosh told reporters here.— PTI

Sintex buyout
Mumbai, December 3
Sintex Industries today said it has acquired US-based Nero Plastics Inc for an undisclosed amount, through its downstream subsidiary Wausaukee Composites mc, (WCI). Prior to the acquisition, Nero's management team and workforce of 181 employees would be integrated with WCI.— PTI

Dabur foray
New Delhi, December 3
FMCG major Dabur India today said it will invest Rs 120 crore in the next three years on its beauty and lifestyle retail initiative — H&B Stores. "We are looking at about 100 H&B stores by 2010 entailing an investment of about Rs 120 crore," Dabur India vice-chairman Amit Burman said.— PTI

Gujarat NRE
Mumbai, December 3
Metallurgical coke manufacturer Gujarat NRE Coke today said it will invest Rs 175 crore for setting up 20 wind mills, with a capacity of 1,500 kw each. These windmills will go into generation in a phased manner, where in 10 would become operational by March next year, the rest would go into generation by September 2008, the company said.— PTI

SBI centre
Chamba, December 3
The State Bank of India opened its credit counselling centre here today. A.K. Garg, general manager, Network-II, SBI, Chandigarh Circle, inaugurated the centre. He said the centre envisaged providing credit literacy and counselling to the farmers of this region. — OC

Patel Engg
Mumbai, December 3
Infrastructure construction firm Patel Engineering today said it has secured a Rs 118.85 crore order from the Maharashtra government for civil works of Koyna dam. The company said it has bagged the order for civil works of Koyna dam foot power house from the state Water Resources Department.— PTI

IISCO order
Mumbai, December 3
Mukand Ltd today said it has bagged an order of Rs 154 crore for the installation of a universal section mill in IISCO's steel plant in Burnpur. IISCO, which is carrying out 2.5 million tonne new stream expansion, awarded the order to a consortium led by SMS Meer GmbH of Germany. The Indian portion of the order bagged by the consortium is valued at Rs 299 crore of which Mukand's share is at Rs 154 crore, Mukand said in a release here.— PTI 

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 |