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10 SEZs approved
FDI will surpass $25 billion: Govt
New Delhi, February 23

RBI Governor D Subbarao met acting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today and assured him that the Reserve Bank is constantly monitoring the economic situation. Subbarao briefed the minister on the evolution of the global financial crisis, the outlook for the global economy and the response of the advanced and emerging economies to the crisis. The issues were based on his meetings with the other central bank governors in Basel, Switzerland, in January and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in February, the RBI said.

Slumdog book earns big bucks
Oscar-winning movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is based on writer Vikas Swarup’s novel ‘Q and A’. New Delhi, February 23
Multiple Oscars are literally working wonders for the print version of Slumdog Millionaire, with the book fetching more than 61 times, the starting auction price of Rs 270 on online marketplace eBay today.

Oscar-winning movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is based on writer Vikas Swarup’s novel ‘Q and A’.


EARLIER STORIES



Citigroup seeks more federal fund
Washington, February 23
Banking giant Citigroup has approached the Obama Administration with request for more federal money in an effort to save it from collapse and in lieu of that has offered greater control to the government, media reports said today.

India Inc’s M&A value dips 53% in four years
New Delhi, February 23
The blood bath in the stock market has pulled down the current market valuation of corporate India's mergers and acquisitions by a whopping $24.04 billion, in just four years time.

Philadelphia Inquirer files for bankruptcy
Washington, February 23
Joining a group of more than half a dozen major US dailies, Philadelphia Inquirer has filed for bankruptcy.

Nod to DoCoMo for stake in Tata Tele
New Delhi, February 23
The government today approved Japanese telecom firm NTT DoCoMo’s twin proposal to acquire 27.3 per cent stake in Tata Teleservices and an open offer for 20.25 per cent equity in Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd.






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10 SEZs approved
FDI will surpass $25 billion: Govt
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 23
RBI Governor D Subbarao met acting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today and assured him that the Reserve Bank is constantly monitoring the economic situation. Subbarao briefed the minister on the evolution of the global financial crisis, the outlook for the global economy and the response of the advanced and emerging economies to the crisis. The issues were based on his meetings with the other central bank governors in Basel, Switzerland, in January and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in February, the RBI said.

Separately, with a view to give boosts to exports the government today approved 10 proposals for setting up special economic zones (SEZ). The major SEZ cleared is in Navi Mumbai promoted by Mukesh Ambani lead Reliance Industries. Other big name includes Larsen & Toubro.

In the meantime the government has again said the foreign direct investments (FDI) will surpass $25 billion, though India is targeting $35 billion for the year ending March 2009. Joint secretary, Ministry of Commerce, NN Prasad has said the country would receive FDI surpassing the $25-million mark till the end of the financial year.

“Our FDI will be more than $25 billion. It is a very good sign. We are still doing very well,” Prasad said.

On job losses, he said the government had already made a statement in Parliament stating that there was job loss of nearly 5 lakh in various sectors. The sectors badly affected by the slowdown include automobiles, IT, textiles and exports.

The Navi Mumbai SEZ Pvt Ltd, which has promoted various zones, received fresh approval for the one dedicated to the gems and jewellery sector. The combined Mundra SEZ will induct six investors as co- developers. One of the SEZs to be merged into the combined entity is setting up a 300-MW power plant to be commissioned next month.

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Slumdog book earns big bucks

New Delhi, February 23
Multiple Oscars are literally working wonders for the print version of Slumdog Millionaire, with the book fetching more than 61 times, the starting auction price of Rs 270 on online marketplace eBay today.

A copy of the book signed by the film’s stars crossed lovers Dev Patel and Freida Pinto was snapped up by a bidder from Belgium for Rs 16,600.

Going by the same name as the Oscar-winning film, auction of the book’s copy started at a price of Rs 270 last week. The proceeds from the auction would be utilised for charity purposes by Plan India, an NGO working for child rights.

“I am excited that eBay India is hosting a charity auction of an autographed copy of the famous Slumdog Millionaire book. It is a great honor to contribute to the cause of child rights and Plan India is doing such an admirable job,” Slumdog Millionaire’s star Freida Pinto said in a statement.

The auction of the book’s copy, which fetched Rs 16,600, began on February 16 and saw the participation of 40 bidders. — PTI 

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Citigroup seeks more federal fund

Washington, February 23
Banking giant Citigroup has approached the Obama Administration with request for more federal money in an effort to save it from collapse and in lieu of that has offered greater control to the government, media reports said today.

While the negotiations were still going on, media reports said the government could raise its stake in the bank to 40 per cent.

“Citigroup executives have approached federal regulators to discuss steps the government could take to strengthen the troubled company, according to two persons familiar with the matter,” said The Washington Post in a report on Monday.

The move came as the Citigroup’s stocks dipped below $2; the lowest in 18 years. Its stocks have dropped a whopping 71 per cent this year. This was despite the US government having pumped in $45 billion in the bank to help it stay afloat.

According to the daily, while the discussions could fall apart, “the government could wind up holding as much as 40 per cent of Citigroup's common stock,” the report noted.

Currently, the government has about eight per cent stake in Citi, after receiving preferred shares of the bank in return for pumping in fresh capital.

Third bailout could cost Pandit his job

India-born Vikram Pandit could well lose his job as the chief executive of Citigroup if the US government comes in with yet another lifeline for the beleaguered financial services entity. Citi has already received fresh capital injection to the tune of $45 billion and officials way back in November reportedly had even discussed the option of replacing Pandit.

“Top government officials had warned Pandit that a third trip to the taxpayer trough would probably cost him his job,” the Wall Street Journal reported today, adding: “But the government decided not to remove him, in large part due to a dearth of qualified replacements.”

However, the Wall Street Journal pointed out that since the latest talks did not involve the possibility of Citi getting additional government capital, “it is not clear whether Pandit’s job is on the line”. — PTI

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India Inc’s M&A value dips 53% in four years

New Delhi, February 23
The blood bath in the stock market has pulled down the current market valuation of corporate India's mergers and acquisitions by a whopping $24.04 billion, in just four years time.

During 2005-08, listed Indian companies have been involved in M&A activities worth $45 billion, but the current mark-to-market value of such M&As is down to $20.96 billion, indicating a loss of 53 per cent, SMC Capital said in a report.

“Though M&As are meant more for long-term strategic reasons, a loss of $24.04 billion is lot of money to completely ignore. Nevertheless, the overall M&A experience by Indian corporates turning sour, raising questions about the very rationality of such aggressive M&As,” SMC Capitals CEO Jagannadham Thunuguntla said.

The unprecedented bull market, which encouraged Indian corporates to make brisk, aggressive M&As, was also one of the key reason for fall in its valuations, as during the four-year time (2005-08) the equity market went through a rough patch.

A yearly comparison shows that the listed M&As of 2005 are performing relatively better with current mark-to-market return of negative 6.68 per cent. However, the listed M&As of 2006, 2007 and 2008 are bleeding severely with losses as high as 62.84 per cent, the report said.

The loss in the M&A space was across the board, except telecom, which posted healthy returns of 21.76 per cent, while the biggest loser was the auto sector, which gave negative returns of 81.23 per cent.

Nearly 85 per cent of the listed M&As during 2005-08 are posting losses. There were 54 deals in the period under review, out of which as many as 46 are in losses.

Only eight deals representing 15 per cent have been able to post profits and these deals were from sectors like energy, manufacturing, oil and gas and telecom. — PTI

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Philadelphia Inquirer files for bankruptcy

Washington, February 23
Joining a group of more than half a dozen major US dailies, Philadelphia Inquirer has filed for bankruptcy.

The newspaper CEO, Brian Tierney, yesterday said the filing of bankruptcy was aimed at addressing the huge debt the company was facing and would not have any impact on its daily operations.

With this, Philadelphia Inquirer has joined a long list of American newspapers that have either filed for bankruptcy or have taken steps to save the newspaper from collapse due to declining revenue at a time when the country is experiencing economic recession.

Last year, The Tribune Co, which is the publisher of some of the prominent newspapers like The Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and The Baltimore Sun, had filed for bankruptcy.

The Minneapolis Tribune - the most popular newspaper in the twin city of Minnesota - too has filed for bankruptcy.

The Journal Register Co, which publishes a number of local daily and weekly newspapers, filed for bankruptcy on Saturday. Further, the New York Times Co suspended its dividend to cope with the economic downturn. It has lifted loans on its building in Manhattan too.

With sharp declining revenue, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Rocky Mountain News too are for sale and likely to close down if not being rescued. — PTI

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Nod to DoCoMo for stake in Tata Tele

New Delhi, February 23
The government today approved Japanese telecom firm NTT DoCoMo’s twin proposal to acquire 27.3 per cent stake in Tata Teleservices and an open offer for 20.25 per cent equity in Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd.

NTT DoCoMo will acquire 27.3 per cent stake in TTSL for Rs 12,924 crore and for an open offer in TTML the Japanese firm would shell out Rs 949.07 crore, Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters after the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

The company had approached the Foreign Investment Promotion Board for investment in two telecom companies of Tata Group but the matter was referred to CCEA as the investment by the foreign company was beyond the threshold limit of Rs 600 crore.

TTSL offers telecom services, including basic, mobile, broadband and long distance. The Indian firm, which was offering mobile services on CDMA platform, has also been allowed to use dual technology to use GSM for the services. The Department of Telecom has already given start-up GSM spectrum to TTSL under the dual technology clause in various circles. — PTI

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