SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Tumble Game
Sensex ends lowest in 3 yrs

Mumbai, March 3
A sudden all-round sell-off at the fag end brought down the benchmark Sensex below 8,400 after more than three months but the index registered its lowest closing low of 8,427.29 in more than three years, down by a whopping 180 points despite a firm European opening.

Record dip for Dow
New York: Wall Street tumbled with the Dow and S&P 500 falling to a 12-year low after insurance giant American International Group (AIG) reported the biggest quarterly loss in corporate history. The Dow Jones industrial average Monday lost almost 300 points, or 4.2 per cent to end at 6,763.29, its lowest point since April 25, 1997.

Japan stocks at 26-year low
Tokyo: Japanese stocks fell to a fresh 26-year low today after the Dow Jones industrial average closed below 7,000 for the first time in more than 11 years on growing fears over the health of the US financial sector. The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average tumbled 104.82 points, or 1.44 per cent, to 7,175.33 in the morning trade, extending further losses after a 3.8-per cent drop yesterday.





EARLIER STORIES

RPL-RIL merger okayed
March 3, 2009
Worst is over: Nath
March 2, 2009
Chevron to quit RPL
March 1, 2009
Re breaches 51-mark
February 28, 2009
Govt unveils steps to boost exports
February 27, 2009
Moody's pegs Q3 growth at 6.1 pc
February 26, 2009
Another cut in fuel prices likely
February 25, 2009
10 SEZs approved
February 24, 2009
BSNL launches 3G services
February 23, 2009
Satyam to invite takeover bids
February 22, 2009


Actress Sushmita Sen and supermodel Naomi Campbell at a press conference for the promotion of their movie ‘Karma Aur Holi’ in Mumbai
Actress Sushmita Sen and supermodel Naomi Campbell at a press conference for the promotion of their movie ‘Karma Aur Holi’ in Mumbai on Monday. The movie is set to release on March 6. — PTI

Jaspal Bindra, CEO (Asia) of Standard Chartered, attends the company result announcement at the company headquarters in Hong Kong
Jaspal Bindra, CEO (Asia) of Standard Chartered, attends the company result announcement at the company headquarters in Hong Kong on Tuesday. The company said its net profits jumped by a fifth to $3.41 billion (2.69 billion euros) in 2008, as it shook off the financial crisis. — AP

Tata, JSPL get coal blocks for coal-to-liquid projects
New Delhi, March 3
The government is understood to have awarded a coal block each to Tata Sons-Sasol joint venture and Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) for converting coal to liquid petroleum (CTL), entailing an investment of $18 billion.

Satyam bidding to be transparent: Gupta
New Delhi, March 3
Activity to invite bidding for the fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services Ltd has started with the government today asserting that the process would be carried out in a transparent manner.

Protectionism to complicate financial crisis: Pranab
New Delhi, March 3
Indirectly criticising the Obama administration’s plan to abolish tax benefits for American companies outsourcing jobs, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today asked developed nations not to resort to protectionism in the wake of the global economic meltdown.

PSUs shed 44,000 employees in 2007-08: Survey
New Delhi, March 3
Even before the global financial meltdown hit the Indian shores, the central government-owned companies had shed 44,000 employees, says the 48th Public Enterprises Survey 2007-08.

Apple tops list of most admired cos
New York, March 3
Apple Inc, the maker of touchscreen iPhone, has topped the 2009 Fortune list of the most admired companies in the world but no Indian company has made the cut. However, Pepsico, led by India-born Indra Nooyi, has found a place in the list of top 50, prepared by American business publication Fortune.

ONGC highest profit-making PSU
New Delhi, March 3
State-run ONGC and the newly-incorporated National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL) were placed on the extremes in a recent survey of central PSUs, with the oil firm making the highest profits and the aviation giant incurring the biggest losses.

Toyota seeks $2.1-b loan
Tokyo, March 3
A Toyota Motor Corp financial services unit has applied for about $2 billion in loans backed by the Japanese government, as the financial crisis threatens funding at the world’s top automaker, state TV broadcaster NHK said on today.

Mining M&A touched $153.4 b in 2008: PwC
New Delhi, March 3
The mining sector attracted merger and acquisition (M&A) activity to the tune of $153.4 billion through as many as 1,668 deals in 2008, global consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) says.

Tata showcases Prima, unveils Nano in Europe
Geneva, March 3
India’s largest automaker Tata Motors today showcased its luxury sedan Prima, which it plans to introduce in Europe, and also unveiled the European version of Nano, touted as the world's cheapest car.

‘Most Indians prefer good work profile over pay’
New Delhi, March 3
More than 60 per cent of people in India are ready to accept cuts in salaries and job positions if they are given something more meaningful in terms of work profile, a new survey has found.

Govt approves Rs 5,220 cr for highway, port projects
New Delhi, March 3
The government today approved Rs 5,220 crore projects under public-private partnership (PPP) for five states that includes highways and port projects.





Top








 

Tumble Game
Sensex ends lowest in 3 yrs

Mumbai, March 3
A sudden all-round sell-off at the fag end brought down the benchmark Sensex below 8,400 after more than three months but the index registered its lowest closing low of 8,427.29 in more than three years, down by a whopping 180 points despite a firm European opening.

The market resumed on a weak note after sluggish Asian cues following a steep fall on Wall Street yesterday. But it moved in a narrow range till late afternoon, coming in and out of positive terrain.

But sudden bouts of heavy selling in the concluding session pulled the bellwether Sensex down to an intra-day low of 8,390.21 before ending the day at 8,427.29, a steep fall of 179.79 points or 2.09 per cent. The Sensex had finished at 8,308.93 on November 10, 2005. It also completed its three sessions of losing today.

The broader 50-issue Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also plunged by 52.20 points or 1.95 per cent to 2,622.40 from its last close.

Selling was so strong that all sectoral indices ended in the red with a fall between 3.15 per cent and 1.03 per cent.

Only three out of the 30 Sensex counters registered gains.

Some Asian indices recovered part of their early losses but ended steady to negative despite firm European cues at their opening.

A fourth straight monthly decline in the country’s exports while imports also moved into negative terrain for the first time this fiscal year was the main cause of concern, indicating a deepening slowdown. The market also saw sustained selling by foreign institutional investors (FIIs), who sold shares worth Rs 580.43 crore on March 2, as per provisional data.

The market breadth remained negative as 1,595 counters closed with losses against 810 gainers on the BSE.

The broad-based BSE-100 Index too dipped further by 83.65 points or 1.91 per cent to 4,293.54 from 4,377.19 previously.

Top

 

Record dip for Dow

New York: Wall Street tumbled with the Dow and S&P 500 falling to a 12-year low after insurance giant American International Group (AIG) reported the biggest quarterly loss in corporate history.

The Dow Jones industrial average Monday lost almost 300 points, or 4.2 per cent to end at 6,763.29, its lowest point since April 25, 1997. The S&P 500 index lost 34 points, or 4.7 per cent, ending at 700.82, its lowest close since Oct 28, 1996.

The Nasdaq composite lost 55 points, or 4 per cent to end at 1,322.85. The tech-fuelled Nasdaq has held up better than the other major averages this year and remains above its close of 1,316.12 from November 20, 2008. The stock losses Monday were in response to AIG, but also a continuation of the worries about the financial sector and the economy.

Investors also remain wary about the various government initiatives to try to stem the recession, announced over the last few weeks, Mark Travis, president and CEO at Intrepid Capital Funds was quoted as saying. They include the newest bank bailout plan, the $787-billion economic stimulus plan and the $75-billion mortgage modification plan.

Top

 

Japan stocks at 26-year low

Tokyo: Japanese stocks fell to a fresh 26-year low today after the Dow Jones industrial average closed below 7,000 for the first time in more than 11 years on growing fears over the health of the US financial sector.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average tumbled 104.82 points, or 1.44 per cent, to 7,175.33 in the morning trade, extending further losses after a 3.8-per cent drop yesterday.

That marked a fresh 26-year low for the Nikkei, which closed at 7,114.64 on October 7, 1982. The broader Topix index also fell 1.67 per cent to 722.32.

Investors were jittery after insurer AIG reported a staggering $61.7 billion in quarterly losses, sparking fresh fears about the health of the US financial system.

Canadian markets sink

Toronto: The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) composite index followed the Dow Jones industrial average (which tumbled below 7,000 for the first time in 11 years) to sink to the levels not seen since 2003. Massive sell-offs on the bad news from the US plunged the TSX composite index 5.3 per cent to close at 7,687.51. The falling oil prices were even worse news for the stock exchange, which has the world's largest number of oil and gas companies registered on it. — Agencies

Top

 

Tata, JSPL get coal blocks for coal-to-liquid projects

New Delhi, March 3
The government is understood to have awarded a coal block each to Tata Sons-Sasol joint venture and Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) for converting coal to liquid petroleum (CTL), entailing an investment of $18 billion.

The two projects would result in production of 1,60,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

The companies would soon be awarded prospecting licenses for the two coal blocks, a senior official in the Coal Ministry said. Jindal Steel and Power Ltd confirmed the allotment in a statement.

Initially, the government had planned one pilot project of up to $8 billion project in Orissa for converting coal into liquid petroleum that would produce 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

There would now be two CTL projects, for which one coal block each has been awarded to the two companies, the official said, adding that the project would take at least five years to commence production.

“The Government of India has allotted Ramchandi promotional coal block in Orissa to JSPL on February 27 for the proposed coal-to-liquid project,” the company said.

JSPL said the project would require 30 million tonnes of washed coal to produce 80,000 barrels of crude oil a day and the wastes generated out of the project would be used for generating 1,350 MW of electricity.

In all, 22 firms, including RIL, the Anil Ambani Group’s Reliance Infrastructure, SAIL, GAIL, IndianOil, GMR Inra and Vedanta, had applied for the pilot project in Orissa. — PTI

Top

 

Satyam bidding to be transparent: Gupta
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 3
Activity to invite bidding for the fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services Ltd has started with the government today asserting that the process would be carried out in a transparent manner.

While Satyam Chairman Kiran Karnik yesterday said the company would invite bids over the next few days, the government’s assertion seems to have come in a bid to allay any fears from the strategic investors.

Corporate Affairs Minister PC Gupta said on here that bidding for Satyam would be done in a transparent manner. He asserted that his ministry would also consult company law board (CLB) to ensure that audit firms do not slip in their duties.

Incidentally, the government has received some letters from investors who have expressed doubts about the capability of the Satyam board to carry out the bidding in a transparent manner.

Gupta said: “It is unfortunate that such letters (expressing doubts about capability of Satyam board) had been sent to the government now.”

Incidentally, Karnik had yesterday said the board had plans to invite bids for a strategic investor in the next few days. He was hopeful that the company would be able to garner a healthy amount as investment.

He pointed out that all the modalities for inviting the bids had been worked out and was hopeful that the funding from this investor would lend further financial stability to the company.

Satyam is also likely to submit its proposal to market regulator Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and get the clearance for the bidding too very soon. The board is expected to invite expression of interest (EoI) from bidders after getting approvals from capital market regulator.

A few companies have already expressed their intent to invest in Satyam, prominent among them being Larsen & Toubro, the Hinduja group and the BK Modi-led Spice group.

The bidding would be invited even as the market value of the assets of the company has been estimated at around Rs 4,000 crore after netting current and long-term liabilities.

The company’s fixed assets - mainly land and property - have been valued at around Rs 5,000 crore. This includes two prime properties in Hyderabad, valued at around Rs 2,500 crore.

The projection of major current assets and liabilities of the firm has been done at Rs 700-800 crore each.

According to reports, prospective bidders are set to be furnished with the gross market value of assets at around Rs 3,500-4,000 crore. Incidentally, the CLB has already authorised the Satyam board to make a minimum 26 per cent preferential allotment of equity shares to a strategic investor.

Top

 

Protectionism to complicate financial crisis: Pranab
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, March 3
Indirectly criticising the Obama administration’s plan to abolish tax benefits for American companies outsourcing jobs, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today asked developed nations not to resort to protectionism in the wake of the global economic meltdown.

“This is the time that developed countries should ensure there is no hindrance to the flow of funds from developed to developing countries,” he told reporters after talks with Bulgaria Deputy Prime Minister Ivailo Kalfin.

In a speech last month, President Obama had said companies outsourcing jobs to overseas destinations might lose tax benefits. This statement has not gone down well with corporate houses and business groups in India.

Mukherjee said any protectionism would only complicate matters rather than solving the problems. The minister also stated that India supported the G-20 mechanism through which the economic crises were being resolved.

He said during the time of crisis developed economies must ensure that there was no hindrance in the flow of investments to the developing countries.

Mukherjee said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had articulated India’s views during bilateral meetings with world leaders on the margins of the ASEM summit in Beijing last year and also at the G-20 meeting in New York.

The US on November 15, 2008, hosted the first G-20 economic conference, which deliberated the ways to overcome the financial crisis. The next G20 summit will be held on April 2 in London.

Top

 

PSUs shed 44,000 employees in 2007-08: Survey

New Delhi, March 3
Even before the global financial meltdown hit the Indian shores, the central government-owned companies had shed 44,000 employees, says the 48th Public Enterprises Survey 2007-08.

The number of people employed by the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) came down to 15.7 lakh at the end of 2007-08 from 16.14 crore in the previous fiscal, the survey stated.

The trimming of workforce took place in a year that witnessed overall increase in profits of the CPSEs to Rs 91,140 crore from Rs 89,578 crore a year ago and has no links with the global financial crisis that hit the world in September 2008.

The crisis, according to a Labour Ministry survey, resulted in loss of job of 5 lakh workers during four-month period ending December 2008.

The survey also revealed that out of a total of 15.7 lakh people employed by 242 CPSEs, only 1.32 lakh were women.

The employee strength of the CPSEs has been constantly coming down since 2001-02 during which they had a staff of about 20 lakh. The number fell gradually to 16.14 during 2006-07 and further to 15.7 lakh in 2007-08.

The survey said the wage bill of CPSEs went up by 15.9 per cent during 2007-08 to Rs 64,306 crore. — PTI

Top

 

Apple tops list of most admired cos

New York, March 3
Apple Inc, the maker of touchscreen iPhone, has topped the 2009 Fortune list of the most admired companies in the world but no Indian company has made the cut.

However, Pepsico, led by India-born Indra Nooyi, has found a place in the list of top 50, prepared by American business publication Fortune.

Legendary investor Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway and Japanese auto maker Toyota are ranked the second and the third, respectively. “The new most admired list is the definitive report card on corporate reputations,” Fortune said in an accompanying report. While Nooyi-led Pepsico is at the 21st position, its rival Coca-Cola is way ahead at 12th rank.

Another US company, search engine giant Google, shares the honours at fourth place, closely followed by Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble.

The Fortune has compiled a list of 363 most admired companies in which the US alone accounted for 273 entities.

Again India drew a blank on the enlarged list as well.

The survey covered 64 industries - 25 global industries and 39 primarily US-market industries. A total of 689 companies from 28 countries were surveyed, Fortune said. In terms of innovation and people management also, Apple is at the top.

“As much of the computer industry struggled, Apple shipped 22.7 million iPods during its first quarter (up 3 percent from last year), 2.5 million Macs (up 9 percent), and 4.4 million iPhones. No wonder Apple tops our Most Admired list for the second year in a row,” Fortune noted. According to the magazine, Berkshire Hathaway helped General Electric and Goldman Sachs wrestle with the financial crisis by purchasing billions in their preferred stocks. — PTI

Top

 

ONGC highest profit-making PSU

New Delhi, March 3
State-run ONGC and the newly-incorporated National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL) were placed on the extremes in a recent survey of central PSUs, with the oil firm making the highest profits and the aviation giant incurring the biggest losses.

Fiscal 2007-08 was a good year for the Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), which earned a profit of Rs 16,702 crore, almost thrice its nearest rival Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), says the Public Enterprises Survey 2007-08.

On the other extreme was NACIL, formed as a holding company after the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines in 2007, incurred a loss of Rs 2,226 crore during the year.

The other big loss-making central enterprises were National Textile Corporation (Rs 1,515 crore) and Eastern Coalfields (Rs 1,004 crore).

In addition to ONGC and SAIL, the other state-run firms that posted impressive profits during the year were NTPC (Rs 7,415 crore), IndianOil Corporation (Rs 6,963 crore) and National Mineral Development Corporation (Rs 3,251 crore).

In terms of overall ranking, the mineral exploration company, NMDC, was placed on the top followed by Mangalore Refinery, SAIL and Manganese Ore (India) Ltd (MOIL). — PTI

Top

 

Toyota seeks $2.1-b loan

Tokyo, March 3
A Toyota Motor Corp financial services unit has applied for about $2 billion in loans backed by the Japanese government, as the financial crisis threatens funding at the world’s top automaker, state TV broadcaster NHK said on today.

With credit markets worldwide in turmoil, Toyota may be the first of a string of Japanese companies with high credit ratings to turn to state-backed loans prior to the closing of books for the business year at the end of March.

Credit default swaps on auto makers in Asia and Europe are at steep discounts as investors worry about liquidity and short-term debt maturities at carmakers’ financial services operations. Moody’s implied ratings for Toyota and American Honda Finance Corp, based on credit default swaps, are both many notches lower than the agency’s actual ratings for the two companies.

Wholly owned car-loan financing firm Toyota Financial Services has asked the state-backed Japan Bank for International Cooperation for a 200 billion yen ($2.1 billion) loan to help cover rising credit costs in the US, NHK said without citing sources.

Toyota spokesmen said they were checking on the report. Carmakers worldwide are reeling from a collapse in consumer demand since last year that has forced them to cut production and shed jobs. Toyota faces an operating loss of 450 billion yen for the year to March, as sales tumble in its biggest markets of Japan, North America and Europe. — Reuters

Top

 

Mining M&A touched $153.4 b in 2008: PwC

New Delhi, March 3
The mining sector attracted merger and acquisition (M&A) activity to the tune of $153.4 billion through as many as 1,668 deals in 2008, global consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) says.

According to the annual review by PricewaterhouseCoopers of the global mining sector M&A activity “2008 proved to be a year of extremes. Commodity prices soared to record highs only to fall precipitously as the financial crisis intensified and economic conditions deteriorated”.

The mining deal volumes in 2008, however, represent a dip of 4 per cent from its previous year figure largely due to the global economic crisis in the third quarter of the year 2008.

“The total value of deals in the final three months of 2008 fell 61 per cent sliding down toward the quarterly level last seen in 2005. Average deal value more than halved, falling from $119 million in Q3 to $53 million in Q4,” the survey added.

Elaborating on the current economic situation, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ India Leader for energy, utilities and mining Kameswara Rao said: “We see a unique environment that will reshape much of the sectors ownership.

The rapid decline in commodity and equity prices, combined with the financing constraints with the global credit crisis, has left the sector polarised between the strong and the weak.” — PTI

Top

 

Tata showcases Prima, unveils Nano in Europe

Geneva, March 3
India’s largest automaker Tata Motors today showcased its luxury sedan Prima, which it plans to introduce in Europe, and also unveiled the European version of Nano, touted as the world's cheapest car.

Tata Motors also said the booking for its small car Nano in India would begin as per schedule in the second week of next month.

“We plan to bring Nano to Europe because we think there is a market for low-cost cars in Europe, which have good fuel economy,” Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata said at the 79th Geneva Motor Show where it showcased both Prima and Nano-Europa, the European version of Nano.

Tata said Nano-Europa would come with airbags and other high-end features, “but it will still be a low-cost car”. At the exhibition, the company also displayed the electric version of hatchback Indica Vista.

Prima, which would be an exclusively Indian-made car, would hit Europe’s roads in three years.

“Prima will be manufactured only in India. It will be imported from there for selling in the European markets,” Tata said. “It will take at least three years to complete the exercise of launching Prima in Europe. It is right now in the concept stage,” Tata said.

The luxury sedan has been designed by Italian design house Pininfarina, known for designing Ferrari. — PTI

Top

 

‘Most Indians prefer good work profile over pay’

New Delhi, March 3
More than 60 per cent of people in India are ready to accept cuts in salaries and job positions if they are given something more meaningful in terms of work profile, a new survey has found.

The international workforce survey conducted by human resources firm Kelly Services also showed that 94 per cent of Indian workers derive a “greater sense of pride” from their jobs than those in other countries.

The Kelly Global Workforce Index survey sought the views of nearly 1,00,000 people in 34 countries including 3,500 in India.

“Ninety four per cent of people in India say their work gives them a sense of pride and 92 per cent say it raises their self confidence. In addition, 62 per cent of people in India will forego income or status to do something more meaningful,” Kelly Services said in a statement.

“A significant number of people are actually prepared to give up some of their salary and their position if they can do something that is important and (meaningful) to them and their organisation,” said Dhirendra Shantilal, senior vice-president at Kelly Services.

However, in India, 33 per cent of people in the age group of 30 to 47 years (Gen X) said their career goals are not being advanced in their current jobs. — PTI

Top

 

Govt approves Rs 5,220 cr for highway, port projects

New Delhi, March 3
The government today approved Rs 5,220 crore projects under public-private partnership (PPP) for five states that includes highways and port projects. The projects for Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Bihar were approved by the PPP Approval Committee (PPPAC), chaired by Economic Affairs Secretary, in its 23rd meeting, an official statement said. — PTI

Top

 
BRIEFLY

Rupee breaches 52-mark
MUMBAI:
The rupee on Tuesday breached the 52-mark for the first time on sustained capital outflows amid weaknesses in equity markets, but ended higher at 51.97/98 against the dollar. British financial firm Barclays Capital has said the rupee may depreciate further to hit 56 against the greenback in just three months as slowdown would arrest dollars inflow. The rupee initially touched a high of 51.55, recovering from the overnight close of 51.93/94 on dollar selling by exporters and a well-known large corporate, dealers said. — PTI

Consumer price index
SHIMLA:
All India consumer price index number for industrial workers (CPI-IW) for January 2009 increased by one point and stood at 48, mainly due to an increase in housing index. CPI-IW, which tracks the prices of goods used by industrial workers, serves as a measure of inflation and is the benchmark for computing dearness allowance. — PTI

BSNL broadband scheme
CHANDIGARH:
BSNL has launched a special scheme of free trial broadband connection in which broadband will be given to customers for 15 days under Plan 250. An officials release said downloading and uploading during the trial period of 15 days would be free. Broadband of the customers who decide to continue with the connection will be regularised and other connections would be withdrawn at the end of 15 days. — TNS

BPCL shelves IPO plans
New Delhi:
BPCL on Tuesday said it had deferred plans for an initial public offering (IPO) for its subsidiary that is building a grassroot refinery at Bina in Madhya Pradesh. Bharat Oman Refineries’ had filed the draft red herring prospectus with the Securities Exchange Board of India on March 28, 2008, to raise equity for the refinery project. “However, taking into consideration the current volatile market conditions, the board in its meeting held on February 26 decided to suspend the IPO plan for the time being,” the company said. — PTI

Airtel plan for BlackBerry users
NEW DELHI:
Airtel on Tuesday introduced a service plan to offer its customers using BlackBerry phones unlimited email and instant messaging (IM) for Rs 499 per month. As per the BlackBerry Personal Mail service plan, Airtel would offer unlimited email and IM to BlackBerry smartphone users in the India, a joint statement said. — PTI

Top

 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |