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Sensex conquers 20K; Nifty at 6,097
Mumbai, December 11
The Sensex today surged 360 points amidst hopes that a cut in interest rates by the US Fed later tonight would bring in additional FII investments taking the markets to record highs.

Issue of sops to exporters in PM’s court
New Delhi, December 11
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will decide on further relief measures for exporters, who have been hit hard by the appreciation of rupee against the US dollar, minister for commerce and industry Kamal Nath said here today.

Orient-Express rejects Tatas’ bid
New York, December 11
Turning down Indian conglomerate Tatas' offer for an alliance, US-listed luxury hotel chain Orient-Express said any association with the "predominantly Indian" chain would erode the value of its premium brands.

To roll out global car ‘A-Star’
Suzuki to make India global hub

New Delhi, December 11
Chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) Osamu Suzuki (L), flanked by managing director, SMC, Jagdish Khattar (R) and managing director-designate, SMC, S. Nakanishi after delivering the special address on ''Suzuki's ausiness activities — manufacturing in India'' organised by Ficci on Japan-India relations, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Suzuki Motor Corporation, the parent company of Maruti Suzuki India Limited, is looking at making India its production hub for the global operations. To start with, it would be launching its next world car at the Auto Expo, starting here next month.

Chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) Osamu Suzuki (L), flanked by managing director, SMC, Jagdish Khattar (R) and managing director-designate, SMC, S. Nakanishi after delivering the special address on ''Suzuki's ausiness activities — manufacturing in India'' organised by Ficci on Japan-India relations, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Tribune photo by Manas Ranjan Bhui

Pranab: Existing IPR regime must go
New Delhi, December 11
Calling for greater R&D on energy resource endowments and transfer of advanced clean technologies to developing countries in a cost-effective manner, India today asserted that the existing IPR and technology denial regimes must go.


Actress Deepika Padukone at a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday. Deepika has been appointed brand ambassador for the Levi Strauss’ 'signature' brand clothing range.
Actress Deepika Padukone at a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday. Deepika has been appointed brand ambassador for the Levi Strauss’ 'signature' brand clothing range. — AFP



EARLIER STORIES

 
A vendor waits for customers at a farmer's market in Nanjing, in Jiangsu province, on Tuesday. China's annual consumer price inflation sped to 11-year high in November at 6.9 per cent, with new signs that price pressures were spreading beyond food to the broader economy.
A vendor waits for customers at a farmer's market in Nanjing, in Jiangsu province, on Tuesday. China's annual consumer price inflation sped to 11-year high in November at 6.9 per cent, with new signs that price pressures were spreading beyond food to the broader economy. — Reuters

Organised retail to touch $30 b in 3 years: Ficci
New Delhi, December 11
Amid opposition in some states against organised retail, managing director of Bharti Enterprises Rajan Bharti Mittal has asserted that both organised and unorganised retail can co-exist.

Nominations invited for e-governance awards
New Delhi, December 11
The ambit of the national awards for e-governance has been expanded with the introduction of two new award categories from this year.

Coleman targets North Indian market
New Delhi, December 11
Coleman, one of the leading outdoor leisure equipment company, has announced its foray into India by appointing Trekkers Point of Eagle Group of Companies as distributors.

Reliance inks exploration pacts in Colombia
New Delhi, December 11
Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries (RIL) today said the Technical Evaluation Agreement signed in 2005 with Agencia Nacional de Hydrocarburos (ANH) of Colombia has been converted to hydrocarbon production and exploitation contracts at an exploration budget of $50 million.

Nokia to unveil low-cost handsets
Amsterdam, December 11
With an aim to strengthen its foothold in India, global mobile phone leader Nokia will introduce internet-ready low-cost handset that will enable the masses to log in to the web.

‘No move to ease land cap for SEZs’
New Delhi, December 11
The government today maintained that it was not considering any proposal to relax the 5,000-hectare ceiling on the land size for special economic zones (SEZs).

RCom awarded
New Delhi, December 11
Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Communications (RCom) has been adjudged the world's top mobile service provider based on 3G code division multiple access (CDMA) technology. The award was conferred on the company by the CDMA Development Group (CDG), a trade body aimed at fostering worldwide development, implementation and use of CDMA technologies.

Mastercard, SBI tie up for money transfer
Mumbai, December 11
In order to address the immediate need of a money transfer, Mastercard in association with State Bank of India today launched the world's first instant money transfer 'Moneysend' facility in the country.

UTI Securities’ Stake
Nod to Stanchart proposal
Mumbai, December 11
The RBI today approved Standard Chartered Bank Mauritius proposal to acquire 49 per cent stake in a broking firm, UTI Securities Ltd.


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India’s M&A scorecard.
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Sensex conquers 20K; Nifty at 6,097
Tribune News Service & PTI

Mumbai, December 11
The Sensex today surged 360 points amidst hopes that a cut in interest rates by the US Fed later tonight would bring in additional FII investments taking the markets to record highs.

The Sensex closed at 20,290 after touching an all-time high of 20,333 in intra-day deals.

In the broader markets, Nifty also closed at 6,097 after touching a high of 6,111.

Analysts expect between 25 and 50 basis points rate cut. A reduction at the higher end would see a big surge in fund inflows, they said.

The Sensex achieved this feat for the first time, with blue-chips Reliance Industries and Bharti leading a surge.

Telecom, banking and metal stocks were in heavy demand as market sentiments turned positive amid reports the US Federal Reserve would cut its key interest rates later today to limit the impact of the turmoil in global financial markets on the world's biggest economy.

The 1.81 per cent gain in BSE's 30-share barometer boosted total invested wealth on the bourses by close to Rs 1 trillion to Rs 67.8 trillion. Market breadth remained strong as 1,981 stocks gained while 894 ended with losses.

Domestic brokerage firm SMC Global's Vice President Rajesh Jain said: "The uptrend is more of an euphoria before the Fed meet... Considering there is a Fed rate cut, dollar would depreciate... Given the strong fundamentals of Indian market, FIIs are going to put in their money here."

While noting there was resistance at 20,000 level, Jain said the strong fundamentals and the broad-based rally could soon push the Sensex to 21,000-point mark.

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Issue of sops to exporters in PM’s court
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will decide on further relief measures for exporters, who have been hit hard by the appreciation of rupee against the US dollar, minister for commerce and industry Kamal Nath said here today.

The minister disclosed that the government was considering the refund of some duties as a relief measure.

The government had last month cut customs duty on man-made fibers and reduced interest rate on loans to leather, textile and handicrafts exporters. In October, the government had announced subsidised loans and tax breaks to exporters for the second time to help jute, cashew nuts and coffee exporters.

Nath’s statement comes close on the heels of Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO) seeking more relief to exporters to tide over the rupee crisis.

“There is an urgent need for the government to take measures to bring relief for exporters and help them not lose their markets,” FIEO president Ganesh Kumar Gupta said.

“There is need for holistic relief measure than the piecemeal relief to address the crisis, which has resulted in lay off in many export sectors,” he said.

Indian rupee has appreciated more than 12 per cent against the dollar this year, hitting hard Indian exports, which account for 15 per cent of India’s economy.

Sources said the commerce ministry has already pitched for hiking the Duty Drawback from the present level of 3 per cent to 5 per cent

As per the data released by the commerce ministry on December 3, India’s export rose 35.7 per cent to $13.3 billion in the first two quarters of the current fiscal, while imports rose 24.3 per cent to $20.8 billion, widening the trade deficit to $7.5 billion from $7 billion a year earlier.

Meanwhile, at PEPC export awards function, Nath stressed on the vitality of technological upgradation for Indian project exporters for competing in the international markets.

“In order to further accelerate exports growth, we should look out for product diversification and newer markets,” he said, adding more efforts were needed to explore emerging opportunities in the African, Caribbean and CIS regions.

He expressed satisfaction over the fact that project exports were increasing and the value of project exports from India has touched Rs 11,381 crore during 2006-07 while its growth over the previous year was more than 87 per cent in dollar terms.

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Orient-Express rejects Tatas’ bid

New York, December 11
Turning down Indian conglomerate Tatas' offer for an alliance, US-listed luxury hotel chain Orient-Express said any association with the "predominantly Indian" chain would erode the value of its premium brands.

"We do not believe that there is a strategic fit between your predominantly domestic Indian hotel chain and our global portfolio of luxury hotels," Orient-Express CEO Paul White said in a letter to Indian Hotels vice-chairman R.K. Krishna Kumar while replying to Tatas' proposed strategic alliance.

"We believe any association of our luxury brands and properties with your brands and properties would result in a reduction in value of our brands and business and would likely lead to erosion in RevPar (revenue per available room) premiums currently achieved by our properties," White added.

This comes within a week of the US dealers association of global car major Ford's Land Rover brand, currently on Tatas' takeover radar, saying that an Indian ownership could make the viability of this luxury brand doubtful.

Tatas have established a significant global presence with $12.1 billion acquisition of Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus and other takeovers like Tetley in the UK and Ritz Carlton hotels in the US, but their low-cost business model seems to be hampering their move towards high-end premium markets.

Earlier on Friday last week, Indian Hotels said in a regulatory filing that they had accumulated an 11.5 per cent stake in Orient-Express and sought discussions to explore a "business combination." Orient owns New York's prestigious Club 9 Restaurants and a number of luxury hotels. — PTI

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To roll out global car ‘A-Star’
Suzuki to make India global hub
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), the parent company of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), is looking at making India its production hub for the global operations. To start with, it would be launching its next world car at the Auto Expo, starting here next month.

SMC chairman Osamu Suzuki today said his company planned to build its next world car in India and would be showcasing it at the Auto Expo in January.

The car is targeted as a family car and will be exported to the European market. The decision to produce the car in India from autumn of 2008 is a part of Suzuki’s strategy to make India a production hub for its global operations.

Earlier in the day, when asked specifically about the SMC’s preparedness to take on Tata Motors’ proposed Rs 1 lakh car, Suzuki said the quest for lower pricing should not lead to a compromise on quality and safety norms.

Responding to Suzuki's statement, a Tata Motors’ spokesperson told news agencies that it was conscious of its responsibilities.

Suzuki added that based on the Concept A-Star, 1-litre car will be manufactured at Manesar facility from the autumn of 2008. The Concept A-Star car will be Euro- V compliant and with an aluminium petrol engine with Co2 emission levels lower than those of European competitors, he asserted.

He said the company also had plans to launch ‘Splash’, a 1.2-litre petrol and diesel vehicle, in India. He, however, clarified that ‘Splash’ would be sold only in the domestic market.

Suzuki said the Manesar facility capacity was being increased from present 1 lakh units to 3 lakh units per annum. “We will be manufacturing 1 lakh units of Concept A-Star for the export and 50,000 units for the domestic market,” he stated.

He ruled out any plans to phase out WagonR with the launch of new models. He further said that the company was looking forward to manufacture one million units per year by 2010. He added that the company was keen to invest over $ 1 billion in R&D in India.

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Pranab: Existing IPR regime must go
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
Calling for greater R&D on energy resource endowments and transfer of advanced clean technologies to developing countries in a cost-effective manner, India today asserted that the existing IPR and technology denial regimes must go.

“The existing IPR and technology denial regimes must go with collaborative R&D between industrialised and developing countries,” external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said addressing the 2nd Sustainability Summit: Asia 2007 here.

Pointing that a rapid increase in energy use is imperative to realise national development goals and the millennium development goals, Mukherjee asserted that India is determined to ensure that Green House Gases (GHGs) emissions will not increase beyond those of industrialised countries.

“To sustain our projected GDP growth rate of 9 per cent we require energy, and our per capita energy consumption is less than a third of the global average,” he said adding “India is not a big contributor of GHGs as her per capita GHG emissions are around a quarter of the global average.”

Later on the sidelines of the Summit, Mukherjee told newspersons that India needs a sustainable fuel retail pricing policy that ensures energy is available at affordable prices for the common man.

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Organised retail to touch $30 b in 3 years: Ficci
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
Amid opposition in some states against organised retail, managing director of Bharti Enterprises Rajan Bharti Mittal has asserted that both organised and unorganised retail can co-exist.

“World over it has been proved that organised retail has in no way impacted the unorganised retail… In India, which has huge market, there can only be parallel growth in both organised and unorganised retail,” Mittal said after the release of Ficci-E&Y survey on retail supply chain.

According to a report on “Winning with intelligent supply chains’, organised retail is set to grow by leaps and bounds in India, from $14 billion now to $30 billion in three years. The sector, which now accounts for a meagre 5 per cent of the total market (worth $280 billion, inclusive of unorganised sector), is projected to account for 30 per cent of the market size in the next 10 years, it said.

The highlights of the report released here mentions that: “The low penetration levels of organised retail in India and the fact that the market size is set to grow at a frenetic pace, provide a huge potential for retailers to tap a highly unexplored market.”

“In a bid to find answers to the problems bedeviling the organised retail sector in India, Ficci is organising a global conference on backend retail supply chains. ‘Winning with intelligent supply chain 2007’ here on December 17-18,” Mittal said.

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Nominations invited for e-governance awards
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
The ambit of the national awards for e-governance has been expanded with the introduction of two new award categories from this year.

In addition to the six categories in which awards were presented last year, this year (2007-08), it has been decided to award exemplary work in a ‘focus sector’, which shall be selected every year.

Agriculture has been selected as the focus sector for 2007-08.

The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DAR&PG) present these awards every year. For the year 2007-08, a total of 24 awards will be presented.

The DAR&PG has invited nominations for the national awards from central ministries/ departments, states/UTs, districts, local bodies, PSUs and industry and the last date for nominations is December 25.

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Coleman targets North Indian market
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
Coleman, one of the leading outdoor leisure equipment company, has announced its foray into India by appointing Trekkers Point of Eagle Group of Companies as distributors.

Coleman, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Jarden Corporation, will be marketing its outdoor leisure equipment like iconic lanterns, stoves, coolers, tents, sleeping bags, electric lights and barbecues.

Michael Strophair, export manager of Coleman, said the company would target “cash-rich cities” of Punjab, besides Chandigarh and Panchkula.

Eagle Group of Companies CEO Parmeet Singh Sawhney said the company would soon appoint sub-dealers in Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Panchkula to sell multiple outdoor leisure equipment of Coleman. Once market grows, Coleman would contemplate on setting up a manufacturing unit in India, Strophair added.

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Reliance inks exploration pacts in Colombia

New Delhi, December 11
Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries (RIL) today said the Technical Evaluation Agreement signed in 2005 with Agencia Nacional de Hydrocarburos (ANH) of Colombia has been converted to hydrocarbon production and exploitation contracts at an exploration budget of $50 million.

The agreement is for the exploration of two offshore blocks, Borojo North and Borojo South, said a statement.

These contracts will, in due course, be assigned to REP DMCC, a 100 per cent subsidiary of RIL.

Signed on December 10 at Bogota, Colombia, the contracts envisage exploration of two blocks located in the Pacific Ocean, west of Colombia in water depths reaching upto 1,500 metres.

Each block size is about 4,000 sq km and RIL said it has carried out comprehensive geological studies before selecting these blocks. — UNI

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Nokia to unveil low-cost handsets

Amsterdam, December 11
With an aim to strengthen its foothold in India, global mobile phone leader Nokia will introduce internet-ready low-cost handset that will enable the masses to log in to the web.

"We are planning to bring internet access to all the masses in India through our low-cost handsets... the company is working diligently towards it," Nokia's senior vice president (entry business unit —mobile phones business group) Soren Peterson told PTI.

Noting that accessing internet through GPRS was time consuming, he said the company was working on a new business model as there were "100s of millions of users" for internet. "More than half of the new handsets sold every month in India come from Nokia," he said when asked how many phones Nokia was selling in India.

India, which has overtaken the US to emerge as the second largest market by sales for Nokia after China, has been adding over six million new mobile users every month.

Nokia also aims to be the world number one in bringing the internet to mobile devices. According to estimates, the total internet services market will be approximately Euro 100 billion in 2010. — PTI

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‘No move to ease land cap for SEZs’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
The government today maintained that it was not considering any proposal to relax the 5,000-hectare ceiling on the land size for special economic zones (SEZs).

This was disclosed by minister for commerce and industry Kamal Nath on the sidelines of the TiE Entrepreneurial Summit here.

His statement comes a few days after commerce secretary G.K. Pillai had hinted at the possibility of a case-to-case relaxation on the land cap for multi-product SEZs. He had, however, insisted that the government would have to take a call on the issue.

Meanwhile, on the review of foreign direct investment, Nath said it was likely to come up before the Cabinet next week.

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RCom awarded
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Communications (RCom) has been adjudged the world's top mobile service provider based on 3G code division multiple access (CDMA) technology. The award was conferred on the company by the CDMA Development Group (CDG), a trade body aimed at fostering worldwide development, implementation and use of CDMA technologies.

A statement issued by the company here said, "Reliance Communications is the fastest-growing CDMA operator in the Asia-Pacific region that has deployed one of the largest networks in the world to serve more than 25 per cent of India's mobile market share".

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Mastercard, SBI tie up for money transfer

Mumbai, December 11
In order to address the immediate need of a money transfer, Mastercard in association with State Bank of India today launched the world's first instant money transfer 'Moneysend' facility in the country.

Mastercard Moneysend will allow its consumers with person to person money transfer facility using their recognised debit or credit card. The instant money transfer facility will be available to the existing network of 8,000 ATM channels of the State Bank of India.

A maximum amount of Rs 50,000 can be transferred in one day, where Rs 20 to 30 will be charged per transaction depending on the amount. Mastercard will gradually increase the money transfer service to other banks. — UNI

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UTI Securities’ Stake
Nod to Stanchart proposal

Mumbai, December 11
The RBI today approved Standard Chartered Bank Mauritius proposal to acquire 49 per cent stake in a broking firm, UTI Securities Ltd.

An agreement to acquire strategic stake in the broking firm, wholly-owned by Securities Trading Corporation of India (STCI), for a consideration of Rs 147 crore was entered in August.

According to Standard Chartered, the bank has the option to acquire another 25 per cent in 2008, and the final 26 per cent in 2010, subject to regulatory approvals. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

Infosys centre
Jaipur, December 11
Infosys BPO, the business process outsourcing subsidiary of Infosys Technologies, today announced that it would set up a knowledge centre at Udaipur as it completed its one year of operations at the Jaipur centre. Amitabh Chaudhary, CEO and managing director, Infosys BPO, said, the company would like to further strengthen its presence in Rajasthan, according to a release. — PTI

Pidilite Ind
New Delhi, December 11
Pidilite Industries today said it along with its wholly-owned subsidiary Pidilite International Pte Ltd has incorporated a company in Thailand. The incorporated company Pidilite Southeast Asia Ltd will provide assistance in developing and managing the business of the company and its subsidiaries, a company statement said. — UNI

Gremach Infra
Mumbai, December 11
Construction equipment leasing firm Gremach Infrastructure Equipments & Projects today said it has raised $50 million through the issue of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCBs) in the international markets. The bonds are expected to be listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and closing is likely to take place on January 21, 2008, subject to requisite approvals, Gremach said in a filing to the BSE. — PTI

IT company
Thiruvananthapuram, December 11
The Kerala Government today decided to establish a company to give a boost to the infrastructure development in the field of information technology. Briefing newspersons here after a cabinet meeting, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said the government would set apart Rs 50 crore during the coming financial year for the proposed IT Infrastructure Kerala (ITIK).— UNI

Cognizant pact
Chennai, December 11
Cognizant, a leading provider of global IT and business process outsourcing services, today entered into a multi-year relationship with the California State Automobile Association (CSAA) as a key strategic IT partner to provide a full suite of IT services. Cognizant would provide a suite of services, including business consulting, specialized software and service implementation (fully tested and maintained) and support services. — UNI

Nicco JV
Mumbai, December 11
Electrical cable manufacturer Nicco Corporation today said it will set up a joint venture company with Italy's Prysmian group to cater to the Indian cable market. Prysmian, a global player in energy and telecommunications cables industry, would hold about 60 per cent stake, while Kolkata-based Nicco corporation would pick up 40 per cent stake in the JV company. — PTI

Satyam centre
Mumbai, December 11
IT major Satyam Computer Services today said it will set up a training centre in Japan in a bid to strengthen its presence in that country. The company would set up a Centre of Excellence named Kanzen, in Japan for training the country's engineering graduates, it informed the Bombay Stock Exchange. “The process has been initiated to build bilingual talent pool in India, China and Japan," Satyam North Asia head Harsh Vardhan said. — PTI

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