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Satyam Saga
3 more join Satyam board 
Govt rules out bailout package
New Delhi, January 15
The government today appointed three more directors to the board of the fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services as it made it clear that there would be no bailout package for the IT company.

‘No Infosys man to be on Satyam board’
New Delhi, January 15
Even as the government is scouting for new board members and a CEO for Satyam Computer, the country's second largest software exporter Infosys Technologies today steered clear that its top brass will not join the crisis-ridden firm due to conflict of interest.

Satyam employee commits suicide
Chennai, January 15
Apparently fearing that he may lose his job, a 23-year-old employee of the scam-ravaged Satyam Computers allegedly committed suicide here, the police said.

Corporate Results
TCS Q3 net up 2.67 pc
Mumbai, January 15
The country's largest software exporter, Tata Consultancy Services, today reported a 2.67 per cent growth in its net profit at Rs 1,362.06 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2008.





EARLIER STORIES



RIL to start exports from Jamnagar soon
New Delhi, January 15
Reliance Industries today said it will begin fuel exports from its new refinery at Jamnagar Special Economic Zone this month.

Models pose with the newly launched Hyundai Sonata Transform car in New Delhi on Thursday. The car powered by 2.4- litre, four cylinder VTVT DOHC engine is priced at Rs 13,95,000.
Models pose with the newly launched Hyundai Sonata Transform car in New Delhi on Thursday. The car powered by 2.4- litre, four cylinder VTVT DOHC engine is priced at Rs 13,95,000. 
Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal 

ECB cuts key rate by 50 bps 
London, January 15
Continuing its efforts to boost the economies in the region, the European Central Bank today cut the benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 2 per cent.

JPMorgan posts $702-m Q4 profit
New York, January 15
JPMorgan Chase managed to stay in the black for the fourth quarter and posted a net profit of $702 million, in a sign that the banking major is slowly weathering the tough economic scenario.

Microsoft considering layoffs
New York, January 15
Software giant Microsoft is looking to trim its workforce across various divisions and could announce the plans next week, says a media report.

ATF prices up 3.4 pc
New Delhi, January 15
After eight successive price cuts, state-run oil firms today raised jet fuel prices by 3.4 per cent reflecting increase in international oil prices.

Motorola to cut 4,000 addl jobs
Chicago, January 15
US mobile phone maker Motorola has said it would slash an additional 4,000 jobs as part of a stepped-up cost-saving move to remain competitive in a slumping global economy.

No bidder for Harshad Mehta’s flats
Mumbai, January 15
The recession in the economy has left its mark on the attempts to sell the flats owned by the late scamster Harshad Mehta, who masterminded the 1992 securities scam. So far, no bids have been received for the eight flats that were put up on auction.







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Satyam Saga
3 more join Satyam board 
Govt rules out bailout package
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New members: n Tarun Das n T.N. Manoharan n S. Balakrishnan

New Delhi, January 15
The government today appointed three more directors to the board of the fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services as it made it clear that there would be no bailout package for the IT company.

Even as a senior official of Satyam wrote to the government seeking Rs 150 crore to bear the health insurance liabilities of its employees in the US, Minister of State for Industry Ashwani Kumar said the government had no plans for a bailout package for Satyam and the company's new board would decide its future course of action.

In a related development, the newly appointed board member of Satyam, Deepak Parekh said the firms appointed to restate the company’s accounts would take about 8-12 weeks to do so. He added that the company would not need any financial help if its receivables come in on time.

He was talking to reporters after meeting Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission. His meeting with Alhuwalia came a day after another of the new directors, Kiran Karnik briefed senior government officials of the emerging situation yesterday.

"We are trying our best to salvage ... and large number of receivables are there. If it comes on time, then we can generate assets by hypothecating some assets," Parekh said.

In a late evening move, the government said it was appointing Tarun Das, the chief mentor of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), T.N. Manoharan, a reputed chartered accountant, and Suryakant Balakrishnan, a nominee of the Life Insurance Corporation of India as the three new directors on the Satyam board. The announcement came from Corporate Affairs Minister P.C. Gupta.

While Manoharan is a past president of the Institute of Chartered Accounts of India (ICAI), Balakrishnan represents LIC, which is one of the largest investors in Satyam.

Earlier, Kumar told reporters that the government was not going to either directly or indirectly subsidise the wrongdoing and fraud in Satyam. "This is a decision that the new board of Satyam will take," he said. Gupta also said that the board has not asked for any bailout package and that the company had enough resources and capability to continue with its affairs.

Meanwhile, a senior executive with Satyam has written to the government that the company needs at least Rs 150 crore to take care of the health insurance liabilities of its employees in the US.

Board meeting tomorrow

New Delhi: The government-appointed board of crisis-ridden Satyam Computer will meet again on Saturday to take stock of the situation, one of the board members Deepak Parekh said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters here after a meeting with Corporate Affairs Minister Prem Chand Gupta, Parekh said the company has receivables of Rs 1,700 crore but denied having asked the government for any bailout as yet. "Until we know the real position, how can we speak of bailout... the company has receivables of Rs 1,700 crore," Parekh said.

‘KPMG can’t audit’

Chartered accountants’ regulator ICAI on Thursday said KMPG cannot audit Satyam's books, but the global auditor said it does not require to register with the regulator to restate the IT company's accounts. "KPMG is not allowed to practice in India... they are not registered with us," ICAI president Ved Jain said, while cautioning scam-tainted Satyam against going ahead with this auditor.

Satyam's new board has mandated KPMG and Deloitte to restate the company's financial statements. Reacting to ICAI's caveat, KPMG said: "It is our understanding that the scope of work (at Satyam) to be finalised is not reserved for CAs registered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India." — PTI

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‘No Infosys man to be on Satyam board’

New Delhi, January 15
Even as the government is scouting for new board members and a CEO for Satyam Computer, the country's second largest software exporter Infosys Technologies today steered clear that its top brass will not join the crisis-ridden firm due to conflict of interest. Asked if any senior manager will join the board of Satyam, Infosys co-chairman Nandan Nilekani said: "... that will not work. There is a clear conflict of interest. We are responsible for Infosys, many of us are shareholders of Infosys." It would not be fair on either of the companies, if anyone from Infosys joins the new Satyam team, he added.

However, he added that the new members on the Satyam board are very impressive.

The name of Narayana Murthy, chief mentor of Indian IT bellwether Infosys, was doing the rounds as a member on the new Satyam board.— PTI

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Satyam employee commits suicide

Chennai, January 15
Apparently fearing that he may lose his job, a 23-year-old employee of the scam-ravaged Satyam Computers allegedly committed suicide here, the police said.

Vishwa Venkatesan, hailing from Salem, yesterday consumed poison. He was referred to the General Hospital where he died, they said. Fear of losing his job drove him to take the extreme step.

Venkatesan had earlier also made similar attempts after the scam broke out early this month but was saved due to timely action, the police added. — PTI

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Corporate Results
TCS Q3 net up 2.67 pc

Mumbai, January 15
The country's largest software exporter, Tata Consultancy Services, today reported a 2.67 per cent growth in its net profit at Rs 1,362.06 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2008. The Tata Group company had a net profit of Rs 1,326.67 crore in the third quarter of FY'08, TCS said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. The total income from operations rose 24.13 per cent to Rs 7,277.04 crore during the quarter under review from Rs 5,862.65 crore in the corresponding period a year-ago. The board also declared an interim dividend of Rs 3, at the rate of 300 per cent, on shares of face value of Re 1 each.

PFC profit up 6 pc

State-run Power Finance Corporation today reported a net profit at Rs 338.98 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2008, a growth of 5.77 per cent over the corresponding period last year. The company had a net profit of Rs 320.49 crore in the third quarter of FY'08, PFC said in a filing to the BSE.

Total income of the company rose 32.33 per cent to Rs 1,720.05 crore during the quarter under review, from Rs 1,299.79 crore in the corresponding period a year-ago.

IndusInd Bank

Private lender IndusInd Bank today reported an 80 per cent growth in its net profit for the third quarter ended December 31, 2008, at Rs 45.06 crore as against Rs 25.04 crore the corresponding period previous fiscal.

Net interest income (NII) was Rs 116.58 crore as compared to Rs 89.78 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous year, registering a robust growth of 30 per cent.

SBOP profit

State Bank of Patiala has recorded a quantum jump in its net profit for the quarter ended December, 2008. The bank has posted a net profit of Rs 437.58 crore, a growth of 79.01 per cent year-on-year during the nine-month period ended December 31, 2008, as against Rs 244.44 crore during corresponding period last year. The bank has also crossed a total business of Rs 1,00,000 crore. — Agencies/TNS

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RIL to start exports from Jamnagar soon

New Delhi, January 15
Reliance Industries today said it will begin fuel exports from its new refinery at Jamnagar Special Economic Zone this month.

All processing units (at the 580,000 barrels per day refinery) will be ready in next few days, company's refinery business president P Raghavendran told reporters on the sidelines of the Petrotech 2009 conference here.

Reliance Petroleum, a unit of Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries, last month commissioned the $6 billion refinery in a SEZ at Jamanagar. The only-for-exports unit together with the parent firm’s existing 6,60,000 bpd refinery has made Jamnagar the world's largest refining hub.

Raghavendran, however, did not say when the refinery would be fully commissioned.

All units, including gasoline-making fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU), a hydrotreater and alkylation units would be commissioned in next few days, he said.

The new refinery will sell gasoline, gas oil and jet fuel in fuel deficit markets in the US, Europe and Africa.

"During the course of this month (first) products will be sold," he said, but refused to elaborate on the countries and markets the company was targeting. — PTI

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ECB cuts key rate by 50 bps 

London, January 15
Continuing its efforts to boost the economies in the region, the European Central Bank today cut the benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 2 per cent.

The latest round of rate cut which is the first in 2009 would be effective for the 16 nations in the eurozone.

In a statement, ECB said the refinancing rate - the rate at which the apex bank pumps in bulk of the liquidity for the banking system through weekly refinancing operations - would be slashed to 2 per cent from 2.50 per cent. This is the fourth consecutive reduction of rates since October last year.

The central bank also said the interest rates on marginal lending facility and deposit facility would be set at 3 per cent and one per cent, respectively.

All the three measures would be effective from January 21.

In November 2008, data showed that eurozone had officially slipped into recession - two consecutive quarters of negative growth - with the region's GDP in the third quarter shrinking by 0.2 per cent.

The global financial turmoil has taken a toll on the European economies with many of the majors including Germany falling into recession.

Earlier this month, the Bank of England had slashed its benchmark rate to 1.50 per cent.

Elsewhere, the world's first and second largest economies - US and Japan - have reduced their key rates to nearly zero, as they explore options to cope with the economic turbulence.

Currently, there are 16 nations which come under eurozone, comprising countries whose common currency is euro. They are Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia. — PTI 

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JPMorgan posts $702-m Q4 profit

New York, January 15
JPMorgan Chase managed to stay in the black for the fourth quarter and posted a net profit of $702 million, in a sign that the banking major is slowly weathering the tough economic scenario.

The bottom line was helped by a gain of $1.1 billion from merger-related items.

However, JPMorgan's net profit for the fourth quarter ended December 2008 tumbled 76 per cent compared to the year-ago period.

The company had a net profit of $2.97 billion in the same period a year ago, the company said in a statement.

Last year, JPMorgan had snapped two Wall Street giants — Bear Stearns and the collapsed Washington Mutual.

On the other hand, the firm added $4.1 billion to its loan loss reserves for the fourth quarter.

JPMorgan's total net revenue for the December quarter stood at $17.2 billion, against $17.4 billion in the same period a year earlier.

"Our fourth-quarter financial results were very disappointing, driven by a loss in investment banking largely attributable to continued markdowns on leveraged loans and mortgage trading positions, as well as weak trading results," JP Morgan's chairman and chief executive officer Jamie Dimon said.

We also faced higher credit costs associated with continued deterioration across our loan portfolios, including a $4.1 billion addition to loan loss reserves," he added.

For the full year 2008, the company's net profit stood at $5.6 billion, compared to $15.4 billion in the corresponding period a year ago.

The firm's revenues for the full year was at $67.3 billion, against $71.4 billion in the same period a year ago. — PTI 

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Microsoft considering layoffs

New York, January 15
Software giant Microsoft is looking to trim its workforce across various divisions and could announce the plans next week, says a media report.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Microsoft is seriously exploring significant work force reductions that could be announced as early as next week.

Quoting people familiar with its plans, the daily said, the company is "considering layoffs across its various divisions, a rare occurrence for the world's largest software company".

However, the report quoting one of these people added that the "plans for the cutbacks are still in flux and Microsoft could end up finding alternative methods of reining in costs." The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the number of potential job reductions could not be learned. — PTI 

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ATF prices up 3.4 pc

New Delhi, January 15
After eight successive price cuts, state-run oil firms today raised jet fuel prices by 3.4 per cent reflecting increase in international oil prices.

Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) price in Delhi will rise by Rs 1,039.1 to Rs 31,496.31 per kl from midnight tonight, an Indian Oil Corporation official said.

On December 31, the state-owned oil companies had cut ATF prices by 6.8 per cent. In Mumbai, the home for nation's busiest airport, ATF price will rise by Rs 1,068.87 to Rs 32,447.65 per kl.

The ATF rates had soared to an all time high of Rs 71,028.26 per kl (in Delhi) in August last year. With international oil prices cooling since, the fuel prices have been slashed in subsequent months. — PTI

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Motorola to cut 4,000 addl jobs

Chicago, January 15
US mobile phone maker Motorola has said it would slash an additional 4,000 jobs as part of a stepped-up cost-saving move to remain competitive in a slumping global economy.

The move is part of an overall plan to achieve annual cost savings of $1.5 billion in 2009, the Illinois-based company said as it released preliminary quarterly results showing a loss in the fourth quarter.

Of the latest job cuts, 3,000 will be in the mobile devices business and 1,000 positions in corporate functions and other business units.

"The workforce reductions announced today are expected to begin immediately and are incremental to the 3,000 workforce reduction actions previously announced during the fourth quarter of 2008," it said. — AFP

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No bidder for Harshad Mehta’s flats
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 15
The recession in the economy has left its mark on the attempts to sell the flats owned by the late scamster Harshad Mehta, who masterminded the 1992 securities scam. So far, no bids have been received for the eight flats that were put up on auction.

The flats are located at the upmarket Madhuli Co-operative Housing Society in Worli where the Mehta family resided. Harshad Mehta and his family owned nine flats in the building of which eight are to be auctioned. One flat belonging to Rasila Shantilal Mehta, Harshad's mother, won't be auctioned for the time being, officials said.

The price of the property measuring nearly 12,000 sq ft carpet area is worth nearly Rs 50 crore at today's prices. All eight flats are being sold as a single unit since the nine flats were merged together by the Mehtas. According to the custodian, the prospective buyer would have to create a separate access for the eight flats after purchase since the present access to the property is via the flat owned by Rasilal Mehta.

Meanwhile, the managing committee of the Madhuli Co-operative Housing Society has warned that it would not transfer the flats to the new buyer unless dues amounting to Rs 1.59 crore from the Mehtas are cleared. The society has written officially to the custodian demanding the dues be cleared before an application is made for transferring ownership to the new buyer, sources said.

Under the rules prevaling in Maharashtra, units in a co-operative housing society are owned by the society and members are entitled only to shares in the society in proportion to the property owned by them. 

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BRIEFLY

Inflation eases to 5.24 pc

New Delhi: Inflation declined for the 10th consecutive week on Thursday to 5.24 per cent for the week ended January 3, primarily due to decline in prices of food articles. It dipped by 0.67 percentage points from 5.91 per cent in the previous week. — PTI

1,311-cr order for Punj Lloyd

New Delhi: Construction and engineering firm Punj Lloyd Ltd on Thursday said its 60:40 joint venture conglomerate with Public Works Company Tripoli has bagged contracts worth Rs 1,311.19 crore for the execution of utilities in Souk Al Juma, Tripoli, Libya. ''Libya is a key market for Punj Lloyd and the Group plans to expand its presence in the promising business environment of the country,'' said Punj Lloyd Group chairman Atul Punj.— UNI

Oil falls in Asia

Singapore: World oil prices fell in Asian trade on Thursday on worries of a supply glut amid weak demand after the latest US data showed a rise in the country's energy stocks, analysts said. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery shed 38 cents to $36.90 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. — AFP

Himalaya International’s plan

Shimla: Himalaya International Ltd (HIL), a Himachal Pradesh-based frozen food manufacturer, will invest Rs 140 crore to set up an export-oriented unit in Gujarat, a company official said Thursday. — IANS

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