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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

RIL can sell gas: HC
Mumbai, January 30
The Bombay High Court today lifted the stay on Reliance Industries to sell gas from its KG basin fields to third parties, but it would be subject to its final judgment.

Satyam Saga
HC notice to Rajus
Hearing on SEBI’s petition on Feb 9
Hyderabad, January 30
Market regulator SEBI’s petition, seeking permission to question the disgraced former chairman of Satyam Computers B Ramalinga Raju and other top executives, will be heard by the Andhra Pradesh High Court on February 9.

CPI-IW down 1 point
Shimla, January 30
All India Consumer Price Index Number for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) on base 2001=100 for the month of December, 2008, decreased by one point and stood at 147.

Fidelity ups stake in Satyam to 6.79%
Mumbai, January 30
Beleaguered Satyam Computer today said institutional investor Fidelity has hiked its stake to 6.79 per cent in the IT firm by purchasing additional 2.43 crore shares through open market transactions.



EARLIER STORIES




A new car transporter leaves the Honda manufacturing plant in Swindon, western England, on Friday. Honda Motor Co posted a 63 per cent drop in quarterly operating profit and lowered its annual profit forecasts for a fourth time this year as a stubborn slide in global car sales forced it to make further production cuts.
A new car transporter leaves the Honda manufacturing plant in Swindon, western England, on Friday. Honda Motor Co posted a 63 per cent drop in quarterly operating profit and lowered its annual profit forecasts for a fourth time this year as a stubborn slide in global car sales forced it to make further production cuts. — Reuters

Per capita income up at Rs 33,283
New Delhi, January 30
Backed by robust economic growth, India's per capita income has increased to Rs 33,283 in 2007-08 indicating an overall improvement in the living standards of the people.

Core sector growth slips to 2.3 pc
New Delhi, January 30
The growth of key infrastructure industries slowed down to 2.3 per cent in December 2008 from 3.2 per cent a year-ago, mainly on account of drop in output of steel and crude oil.

Surveillance mechanism to check blending in silk
Chandigarh, January 30
The Ministry of Textiles will be increasing surveillance on silk manufacturing units to ensure that blends are not passed on to consumers as pure silk. The government will also be promoting quality assurance measures by giving silkmark certifications.

Stimulus Packages
Monitoring agency sought
Chandigarh, January 30
Industry representatives said today that certain monitoring agencies need to be in place to ensure the effective and time-bound implementation of the measures announced by the Central Government during the two stimulus packages announced in the past two months.

Corporate Results

 





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RIL can sell gas: HC

Mumbai, January 30
The Bombay High Court today lifted the stay on Reliance Industries to sell gas from its KG basin fields to third parties, but it would be subject to its final judgment.

The high court reserved the judgment as both parties — Mukesh Ambani-led RIL and Anil Ambani-run RNRL — concluded arguments over price of gas to be supplied by RIL to RNRL.

The court, however, allowed sale of gas in the interim period only to the priority list customers set by the government, with fertiliser and power being the top two sectors to get gas.

RNRL contends that it would buy gas from RIL only on the terms agreed with state-run power producer NTPC — $2.34 per mmBtu — while the Mukesh Ambani-run company is inclined to supply at the government-approved price of $4.20 per mmBtu.

Talking to reporters outside the court, Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran said: "As a purely urgent measure, the court has modified its earlier interim order (banning sale of gas to third paty) which will enable gas...to be sold in accordance with the government of India's utilisation policy and at the rate determined by the government at $4.20 per mmBtu." He said any sale that is to take place will be without prejudice to the rights and contentions of both the parties in the present appeals, as well as in the pending suit of NTPC.

Parasaran made it clear that Reliance Industries will also be mentioning in any contract that it enters into that these would be subject to the pending process.

Reliance Industries, meanwhile, said that it would start gas production from the KG-D6 fields by mid-March and would enter into sales agreement with customer by end-February. — PTI

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Satyam Saga
HC notice to Rajus
Hearing on SEBI’s petition on Feb 9
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, January 30
Market regulator SEBI’s petition, seeking permission to question the disgraced former chairman of Satyam Computers B Ramalinga Raju and other top executives, will be heard by the Andhra Pradesh High Court on February 9.

Admitting the petition, the High Court today issued notices to Raju, his brother and former managing director Rama Raju and Superintendent of Chanchalguda prison where they are lodged. The notices are returnable by February 9.

The SEBI had approached the high court after a lower court dismissed its plea, seeking permission to record statements of the Raju brothers in the Rs 7,100-crore accounting fraud in the country’s fourth largest software company.

Solicitor General of India G Vahanvati, who appeared on behalf of SEBI, said his plea for an ex-parte interim order to allow the market regulator to interrogate the Raju brothers was not accepted by Justice Seshasayana Reddy.

"The judge said he will not pass the order without hearing the Raju brothers and the prison superintendent," Vahanvati said.

Earlier, the sixth additional chief metropolitan magistrate Ramakrishna had dismissed SEBI’s petition last week.

Vahanvati has argued that SEBI was a constitutional body and an authorised agency to investigate the case and record statements of the accused as the interests of tens of thousands of investors were involved.

The SEBI, he said, wanted to record statements of the Raju brothers for alleged violations of security laws, including fraudulent and manipulative practices. The market regulator has made the state's home department, the Crime Investigation Department (CID) and Chanchalguda Central Jail Superintendent as the respondents.

On January 9, SEBI had summoned Raju to appear before it, two days after he had resigned confessing to the massive fraud.

However, on the same day, the Raju brothers surrendered before Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police S S P Yadav and were arrested. They are now in judicial custody till January 31.

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CPI-IW down 1 point

Shimla, January 30
All India Consumer Price Index Number for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) on base 2001=100 for the month of December, 2008, decreased by one point and stood at 147.

During this month, the index recorded maximum decrease of 4 points each in Madurai, Monger-Jamalpur and Hyderabad centres, 3 in 12 centres, 2 in 21 centres and 1 point in 23 centres.

The index recorded an increase of 2 points each in Guntur and Bokaro centres and 1 point each in Quilon and Mundakkyam centres, while in the remaining 15 centres the index remained stationary.— UNI

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Fidelity ups stake in Satyam to 6.79%

Mumbai, January 30
Beleaguered Satyam Computer today said institutional investor Fidelity has hiked its stake to 6.79 per cent in the IT firm by purchasing additional 2.43 crore shares through open market transactions.

The total stake, estimated to have been purchased at about Rs 250 crore, makes Fidelity probably the second largest shareholder in the IT firm after L&T, which holds 12 per cent stake, according to disclosure of shares held by various shareholders in Satyam. Fidelity had purchased 3.17 per cent stake earlier this week.

Satyam in a disclosure to the Bombay Stock Exchange today said Fidelity through its various subsidiaries has purchased further 2.43 crore shares representing 3.62 per cent stake in the IT firm through open market transactions on Wednesday.

Following the acquisition, Fidelity's holding in Satyam has increased to over 4.57 crore shares representing 6.79 per cent, it said. Satyam stocks today closed at Rs 54.05, up 8.43 per cent on the Bombay Stock Exchange. — PTI 

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Per capita income up at Rs 33,283

New Delhi, January 30
Backed by robust economic growth, India's per capita income has increased to Rs 33,283 in 2007-08 indicating an overall improvement in the living standards of the people.

Rising by almost 60 per cent since 2003-04, India's per capita income, which indicates what an average person earns, has increased to Rs 33,283 in 2007-08, reveals the quick estimates of national income released by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) today.

The country's per capita income, has been growing at an annual rate of over 10 per cent since 2003-04, it said.

According to the data, the per capita income, after taking into account population growth, increased to Rs 33,283 during 2007-08 from Rs 29,524 in the previous fiscal.

The per capita income, increased by 12.7 per cent (at current prices) during 2007-08, while country's population inched up by 1.4 per cent to 1.38 billion by the end of the fiscal.

The double-digit growth in the per capita income during the five successive years comes in the backdrop of impressive economic growth recorded by the country during that period.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate, which was 8.5 per cent in 2003-04, dipped to 7.5 per cent in the next year. However, since 2005-06, India has been recording an economic growth rate of nine per cent or more. — PTI

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Core sector growth slips to 2.3 pc

New Delhi, January 30
The growth of key infrastructure industries slowed down to 2.3 per cent in December 2008 from 3.2 per cent a year-ago, mainly on account of drop in output of steel and crude oil.

Growth rate in the six core industries — crude oil, petroleum and refinery products, coal, electricity, cement and finished steel — declined to 3.5 per cent during April-December period from 5.9 per cent in the corresponding period last fiscal.

The government today released the core sector data, having a weight of 26.7 per cent on the index of industrial production (IIP).

Crude oil production remained in the negative territory, showing a decline of 0.3 per cent in the month under review, from 1.4 per cent in the same period last year.

Reeling under demand recession, steel took the hit and registered a negative growth of 0.8 per cent from 1.8 per cent in December 2007. Electricity generation too dipped to 0.7 per cent in December 2008 from 3.9 per cent in the same period previous year.

Petroleum refinery and coal production registered a growth rate of 3 per cent and 9.4 per cent from 1.9 per cent and 8.4 per cent, respectively, in December 2007.

Cement production registered a growth rate of 11.6 per cent in December 2008 compared to 4.4 per cent in the corresponding period last year. — PTI

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Surveillance mechanism to check blending in silk
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The Ministry of Textiles will be increasing surveillance on silk manufacturing units to ensure that blends are not passed on to consumers as pure silk. The government will also be promoting quality assurance measures by giving silkmark certifications.

Talking to TNS here yesterday, T D Koshy, chief spokesman of Silk Mark Organisation of India, said blending in pure silk was quite common. “Six out of 10 samples being sold as pure silk would be blended with polyester, viscose or nylon, which is not declared by the manufacturer/weaver or retailer. In order to ensure quality, we have devised an active surveillance mechanism to check blending in silk. We have set up 10 regional textile centres across the country for checking the quality, besides a mobile testing facility at Bangalore,” he said.

Koshy said they were now planning to establish these mobile- testing facilities at all their centres at Bhagalpur, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Srinagar and Varanasi. “Besides, we are also laying a lot of emphasis on quality assurance. So far, we have 1,000 authorised users of Silk Mark and seven million silk mark labelled products, which we will increase to 3,000 users and 21 million products in the next three years,” he said, adding that a sum of Rs 60 crore has been allocated for the purpose.

Koshy said they were also planning to increase the silk cultivation in the country. “So far, the total silk production in the country is around 18,000 metric tonnes as against a demand of 25,000 metric tonnes, which is met with imports from China. Research scientists are now working on increasing mulberry production and promoting sericulture in Kerala, Maharashtra, Bihar, Orissa and Haryana. So far, 80 per cent of silk in produced in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir,” he added. 

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Stimulus Packages
Monitoring agency sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Industry representatives said today that certain monitoring agencies need to be in place to ensure the effective and time-bound implementation of the measures announced by the Central Government during the two stimulus packages announced in the past two months.

These vierws were expressed by representatives of CII, during a meeting with the Punjab Chief Secretary, Ramesh Inder Singh. The latter had called a meeting of senior government officials and heads of important chambers as well as industry associations of Punjab, to deliberate on the issues facing Punjab’s industry and also to take suggestions on how the state’s industry can draw benefits from the economic packages announced by Government of India.

The meeting was called so that the Chief Secretary could take up the points raised by the industry with the Cabinet Secretary of Government of India tomorrow, as he reviews the impact of these packages.

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Corporate Results
PNB Q3 profit up 86 per cent

New Delhi/Chandigarh, January 30
Punjab National Bank today said it expects about Rs 600-crore net profit during the last quarter of the current fiscal. "This quarter we expect net profit to be in between Rs 500 and Rs 600 crore," chairman and managing director K C Chakrabarty said.

The bank reported a 85.76 per cent growth in net profit at Rs 1,005.82 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2008. The bank had a net profit of Rs 541.45 crore in the December quarter of FY'08.

Total income rose 51.47 per cent to Rs 6,239.91 crore during the third quarter of current quarter, from Rs 4,119.57 crore in the same period last fiscal.

During the nine-month ended December 31, 2008, PNB reported a 48 per cent growth in net profit at Rs 2,225.31 crore. The total income in the nine-month period stood at Rs 16,147.71 crore, up 36.32 per cent over the last fiscal.

Capital Bank net profit rises 51 pc

Capital Local Area Bank Limited, the largest local area bank in the country, has earned a net profit of Rs 7.89 crore, registering an annualised growth of 50.86 per cent during the first nine months of the current financial year.

The total business of the bank has crossed Rs 755 crore with a customer base of more than one lakh.

The bank has planned to open 31 branches by March 31, 2010, and has projected business of Rs 1,165 crore and net worth of more than Rs 50 crore.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has adjudged the Capital Bank as a "commendable entry" under the category "Banking and Financial Institutions" of the ICAI Awards for Excellence in Financial Reporting. A plaque in this regard was awarded to the bank at a function in Mumbai on January 25.

In a statement here today, Sarvjit Singh Samra, managing director, said the bank had tied up with the Royal Bank of Scotland, UK, to undertake foreign currency business.

IOC net rises 41 pc

Indian Oil Corporation today reported a 41.5 per cent rise in its net profit to Rs 2,958.59 crore in the third quarter ended December 31, 2008.

Net profit in the three months was better than Rs 2,090.69 crore net income in the third quarter of 2007-08 fiscal, a company statement said here.

Net sales improved to Rs 61,285.67 crore in October- December from Rs 58,960.05 crore a year ago.

Tata Motors in the red

Tata Motors today said it has posted a net loss of Rs 263.26 crore for the quarter ended December 2008, as compared to net profit of Rs 499.05 crore for the corresponding quarter last year.

Total income has decreased to Rs 4,858.13 crore for Q3FY09 from Rs 7,343.52 crore for Q3FY08, the company said in a statement.

J&K Bank profit up

J&K Bank has registered a net profit of Rs 331.16 crore for the nine months ended December, 2008, an increase of 10 per cent as compared to the corresponding previous nine months. During the last nine months, the bank earned a total income of Rs 2,344.54 crore as against Rs 1,954.41 crore in the corresponding period previous year. Net Profit for the nine months ended December 31, 2008, was Rs 331.16 crore, up from Rs 300.20 crore for the corresponding nine months ended December 31, 2007. — TNS/Agencies

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