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Japan plans $100 billion booster
Tokyo/Sydney, April 6
Japan said it planned to spend at least $100 billion more to help its economy through the global crisis, as investors seized on signs that markets may have bottomed to buy stocks and commodities. Asian, European stocks gain as risk appetite increases Investors pile into HSBC $19 billion rights issue Yen sinks against dollar; analysts cite carry trades

Satyam Scam
3 more arrested
Satyam employees D Venkatpati Raju and Srisailam (R) after being produced in a Hyderabad court on Monday.Hyderabad, April 6
The CBI, investigating the Satyam financial fraud, arrested three employees, including a top executive of the IT firm last night, said CBI DIG VV Lakshmi Narayana.

Satyam employees D Venkatpati Raju and Srisailam (R) after being produced in a Hyderabad court on Monday. — PTI



EARLIER STORIES



Sensex on a 5-month high
Mumbai, April 6
Although profit-booking at higher levels pared early sharp gains, the benchmark Sensex continued its north-bound journey for the fourth straight session, gaining by another 186.04 points to close at nearly a five-month high of 10,534.87.

Banks not doing enough: Subbarao
Mumbai, April 6
The Reserve Bank of India is concerned about moderation in the growth of the economy, Governor D Subbarao said here today. “No country is an island. India too is hit by the global crisis. Our main objective is to arrest the moderation in growth,” Subbarao said while addressing a seminar organised by FICCI today.

‘Indian employees to see 7.25 pc pay hike’
New Delhi, April 6
India is likely to witness a moderate salary increase of 7.25 per cent this year after registering years of double-digit growth as recession is affecting the pay, benefit and job prospects for employees, global human resource consultancy firm Hay Group has said.

IBM pulls out of Sun deal
New York, April 6
Global IT major IBM has withdrawn its $7-billion buyout offer for computer hardware maker Sun Microsystems, says a media report. “IBM withdrew its $7 billion bid for Sun Microsystems on Sunday, one day after Sun’s board balked at a reduced offer,” The New York Times reported “quoting three people close to the talks”.

JLR to get £270-m bank loan
London, April.6
The Tata-owned struggling motor group Jaguar Land-Rover (JLR) is set to receive a European bailout package of £270 million to safeguard as many as 14,500 jobs in the UK. JLR has been one of the victims of a 22 per cent drop in UK car sales over the last year.

Macquarie-SBI start Rs 5,185-cr infra fund
Mumbai, April 6
The country's largest lender State Bank of India and Sydney-based Macquarie Group today announced the launch of $1.037 billion (about Rs 5,185 crore) fund for investing infrastructure projects in India.

Macquarie-SBI start Rs 5,185-cr infra fund
Mumbai, April 6
The country's largest lender State Bank of India and Sydney-based Macquarie Group today announced the launch of $1.037 billion (about Rs 5,185 crore) fund for investing infrastructure projects in India.

Airtel starts high speed broadband service
New Delhi, April 6
Country’s leading integrated telecom services provider Bharti Airtel has launched the fastest wireline broadband on DSL in the country with a speed of 16 Mbps, twice that of which is presently available.

Global PE fund-raising hits record low
New Delhi, April 6
Global private equity fund-raising has hit a low of $45.9 billion in the first three months of 2009, the smallest amount since 2003, on account of the turbulent economic scenario.

 





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Japan plans $100 billion booster

Tokyo/Sydney, April 6
Japan said it planned to spend at least $100 billion more to help its economy through the global crisis, as investors seized on signs that markets may have bottomed to buy stocks and commodities.
  • Asian, European stocks gain as risk appetite increases
  • Investors pile into HSBC $19 billion rights issue
  • Yen sinks against dollar; analysts cite carry trades

Japan, grappling with its worst recession since World War Two, will unveil a new economic stimulus package on Friday, including spending of at least 2 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) , Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano said.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for at least $300 billion of the $1.1 trillion stimulus package agreed by G-20 leaders last week to be allocated to helping developing countries.

He also urged the G-20 to turn summit pledges into “concrete action”, adding that the package agreed would help the world economy overcome the financial crisis.

Japan's Nikkei rose 1.2 per cent, while MSCI's measure of stocks elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific rose 2 per cent as investors bet the global economy is nearing a bottom.

European shares also traded higher, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares gaining 1.3 per cent.

Increased appetite for risk saw the yen fall against a basket of currencies, hitting its lowest level against the dollar in almost six months.

Heartened investors also piled into equities via the $19-billion rights issue of HSBC, Europe's largest bank. HSBC said on Sunday it had sold 4.89 billion shares with existing shareholders and expected to sell the rest on Monday.

“With the G-20 summit last week, and obviously some massive stimulus packages, there's some good news here and there, mixed with some bad news,” said James Foulsham, head of trading at CMC Markets in Sydney.

Risk appetite

The head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, called for China to strengthen domestic demand, telling a French newspaper on Sunday the yuan was undervalued.

The Financial Times published details of a confidential report recommending that struggling European Union countries in central and eastern Europe should switch to the euro even without full eurozone membership. The paper said the report supported a region-wide anti-crisis strategy by the IMF, World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Rate cuts

Slashing interest rates and pouring money into the financial system may yet create problems with inflation down the line, but central banks remain focused on rebuilding access to credit to get trade and lending flowing again.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is likely to cut interest rates again as early as this week, analysts said, after data showed job advertisements slid for the 11th month running in March.

A private measure of inflation also showed an easing of price pressures, adding to the case for another cut.

The European Central Bank (ECB), which cut rates to 1.25 per cent last week, also still has room to move on interest rates and liquidity measures, ECB executive board member Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell said on Sunday.

The ECB has been focusing on improving the flow of funds to banks as a key part of its strategy to revive the economy.

On Monday, the Bank of Japan began a two-day meeting to review interest rates but, with rates already at 0.10 per cent, it is seen deferring any attempt to ease pressure on companies until later this quarter.

Mgmt ousters

Along with cutting interest rates and increasing spending to stimulate economies, greater financial regulation has been a third major plank for policymakers seeking to rebuild confidence in the global economy.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the US government would not hesitate to oust management of big banks that require “exceptional assistance”. — Reuters

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Satyam Scam
3 more arrested

Hyderabad, April 6
The CBI, investigating the Satyam financial fraud, arrested three employees, including a top executive of the IT firm last night, said CBI DIG VV Lakshmi Narayana.

“We arrested three employees last night who designed the mechanism for the fraud and they were involved in preparing fake monthly bank statements and other documents,” the CBI DIG said today.

The following Satyam employees were arrested: vice-president (finance) G Ramakrishna, and two others working in the finance department - D Venkatpati Raju and Srisailam. During the questioning by a two-member high-powered team of the ICAI, Satyam's former CFO Vadlamani Srinivas yesterday mentioned the name of G Ramakrishna.

With these three, nine persons in all have been arrested in connection with the fraud case. The CBI produced the three before the designated court which sent them to 10-day judicial custody till April 15.

‘Scam started with adjustment of Rs 10cr’

Mumbai: It all started as an adjustment of Rs 10 crore around 5-6 years ago and the malpractice continued quarter after quarter before the accounting fraud at Satyam Computer assumed the proportions of country's biggest ever corporate scam involving thousands of crore.

The latest bit of information was revealed by the accounting regulator Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

“The CFO told us the scam started 5-6 years ago with a small adjustment of Rs 10 crore, which they then inflated to Rs 200 crore. This continued quarter after quarter and year after year and by the second quarter of 2008 had attained unmanageable proportions,” ICAI president Uttam Prakash Agarwal said here today. — PTI

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Sensex on a 5-month high

Mumbai, April 6
Although profit-booking at higher levels pared early sharp gains, the benchmark Sensex continued its north-bound journey for the fourth straight session, gaining by another 186.04 points to close at nearly a five-month high of 10,534.87.

The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer moved in a range of 10,654.89 and 10,410.44 before settling the day at 10,534.87, the level not seen since November 10, 2008, when it was closed at 10,536.16, a smart rise of 1.80 per cent over its previous close.

It has gained nearly 967 points or 10.10 per cent in the four-session rally.

The broad-based 50-issue Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also improved by 45.55 points or 1.42 per cent to 3,256.60 from its last close.

Asian indices today ended strong with a gain between 0.48 per cent and 3.11 per cent.

Heavy buying by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and also domestic funds also boosted market sentiment.

FIIs pumped in Rs 691.56 crore on April 2 while domestic funds also picked up shares worth Rs 254.71 crore on the same day, as per provisional data.

The strategies by G-20 countries to tackle the recession and revive the global economy, coupled with optimism about fresh monetary measures by the Reserve Bank to support growth, bolstered market sentiment.

Brokers said bulls were buying bluechip stocks.

Consumer durables, capital goods, metals, auto and realty counters led the rally while FMCG shares suffered a sharp setback on selling. — PTI

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Banks not doing enough: Subbarao
Tribune News Service & PTI

Mumbai, April 6
The Reserve Bank of India is concerned about moderation in the growth of the economy, Governor D Subbarao said here today. “No country is an island. India too is hit by the global crisis. Our main objective is to arrest the moderation in growth,” Subbarao said while addressing a seminar organised by FICCI today.

The Governor of the apex bank admitted that the steep fall in the growth of the economy was unexpected. However, he felt that India would rebound quickly when the global financial crisis subsided.

Subbarao used the occasion to hit out at banks for not doing enough to push credit offtake. While the RBI has cut the repo rate by 400 basis points and the reverse repo rate by 250 basis points, the banks have reduced interest rates by just 100 to 150 points on the grounds that the cost of their funds were still high.

The RBI governor also shot down speculation that the apex bank could monetise deficit and thus enable increased government borrowing . “I can print a lot of money. I can put up another printing press, lease another printing press and print money. But these are not benign solutions,” Subbarao said. He, however, stated that such a decision was not final.

The moderation in the country’s growth has been more steep than expected, Subbarao said, adding that the fundamentals remained strong and would help India to recover from the global financial crisis faster.

The government had projected a GDP growth rate of 7.1 per cent in 2008-09.

The strong fundamentals of the economy helped India to clock an average nine per cent growth rate in the last four years, Subbarao said.

“Once the world economy regains growth, India's recovery will be much faster and steeper than the rest of the world,” Subbarao said.

Subbarao said banks are yet to respond to the policy actions as much as warranted. 

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‘Indian employees to see 7.25 pc pay hike’

New Delhi, April 6
India is likely to witness a moderate salary increase of 7.25 per cent this year after registering years of double-digit growth as recession is affecting the pay, benefit and job prospects for employees, global human resource consultancy firm Hay Group has said.

“Overall, the picture for India has deteriorated...Now, with large numbers of organisations freezing pay, and predictions overall of median pay inflation of around 7.25 per cent after years of double-digit growth, there is evidence that organisations are having to tighten their belts,” Hay Group said in a report. The report further said: “The biggest concern for Indian companies is still the attraction and retention of talent as opposed to managing downsizing.”

This means that Indian firms would continue to invest in competitive salaries for high performing and high potential employees, but will also need to get more creative in developing a work culture and leadership style that enables them to become employers of choice without having to resort to the check-book, it said.

Fast-growth economies with high wage inflation - such as India and China, which have seen double-digit wage growth for some years - are now predicting salary increases of less than half of 2007 levels. In India and China, the firms that are freezing pay are more likely to be local operations of multinational companies.

However, if the freeze continues for another year, then companies owned by foreign firms in India and China will see a significant weakening of their market positioning compared with state-owned enterprises and indigenous companies. Regarding the public sector companies in India, Hay Group said: “Pay in the public sector remains relatively modest, even after these changes, but increases of this magnitude will clearly skew Indian pay market data for some time to come.”

The survey, which covered 2,000 organisations from 88 countries across six continents, said: “Executive pay is likely to rise even less than that of their employees - and in practice many executives will receive significantly less than in previous years, as bonus pay-outs drop and the value of share-based payments is hit by stock market falls.” — PTI

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IBM pulls out of Sun deal

New York, April 6
Global IT major IBM has withdrawn its $7-billion buyout offer for computer hardware maker Sun Microsystems, says a media report. “IBM withdrew its $7 billion bid for Sun Microsystems on Sunday, one day after Sun’s board balked at a reduced offer,” The New York Times reported “quoting three people close to the talks”.

The report published online said IBM had a team of over 100 lawyers conducting due-diligence research on potential problems in buying Sun, ranging from those antitrust concerns to the entity’s contracts with employees and IBM competitors.

Quoting one person familiar with the talks, after the legal review, IBM reduced its offer on Saturday from $9.55, “the proposal on the table late last week, to $9.40”.

“The offer was presented to Sun's board on Saturday, and the board balked. The Sun board did not reject the offer outright, but wanted certain guarantees that the IBM side considered onerous,” the publication said quoting a person familiar with the talks.

According to the daily, Sun then said it would no longer abide by its exclusive negotiating agreement with IBM. And on Sunday, IBM's board decided to withdraw the offer.

Attributing to second person close to negotiations, the report noted the breakdown in talks “came over the shifting balance of price and conditions for the deal”.

Sun Microsystems, an innovative pioneer in computer workstations, servers and Internet-era software, has struggled in recent years and spent months trying to secure a suitor, it added. — PTI

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JLR to get £270-m bank loan

London, April.6
The Tata-owned struggling motor group Jaguar Land-Rover (JLR) is set to receive a European bailout package of £270 million to safeguard as many as 14,500 jobs in the UK. JLR has been one of the victims of a 22 per cent drop in UK car sales over the last year.

The loan deal, which has been agreed with the European Investment Bank (EIB) will see the company get £270 million in funding.

According to The Independent, confirmation of the deal is expected tomorrow when the EIB's board meets in Luxembourg.

The bank is also expected to agree a package for Nissan's plant in Sunderland, which will receive part of a £364-million loan that will be split between the Japanese company's sites in the Northeast and Spain.

Both payments will need a government guarantee and require that JLR and Nissan to commit to greater investment in sustainable technology.

A government spokesman refused to comment on the agreement.

The deal with the EIB will come as a relief to JLR's UK workforce, which is spread across sites in the West Midlands and Merseyside.

The company cut 450 jobs in January, and the remaining workers have been put on a 35-hour working week after an agreement with trade unions. — ANI

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Macquarie-SBI start Rs 5,185-cr infra fund

Mumbai, April 6
The country's largest lender State Bank of India and Sydney-based Macquarie Group today announced the launch of $1.037 billion (about Rs 5,185 crore) fund for investing infrastructure projects in India.

Macquarie-SBI Infrastructure Fund (MSIF) will continue to raise capital during 2009, and together with domestic institutions, the total capital is anticipated to be between $2 billion (about Rs 10,000 crore) and $3 billion (about Rs 15,000 crore), SBI said.

So far, international investors have committed $887 million (about Rs 4,435 crore) to MSIF alongside a direct co- investment commitment of $150 million (about Rs 750 crore) by SBI, bringing total capital raised to $1.037 billion (about Rs 5185 crore), it said.

The fund is managed by the SBI and Macquarie joint venture, with the International Finance Corp (IFC), the private financing arm of the World Bank, as a minority shareholder in MSIF.

The shareholding in the JV would be 45:45:10 between SBI, Macquarie and IFC respectively. — PTI 

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Macquarie-SBI start Rs 5,185-cr infra fund

Mumbai, April 6
The country's largest lender State Bank of India and Sydney-based Macquarie Group today announced the launch of $1.037 billion (about Rs 5,185 crore) fund for investing infrastructure projects in India.

Macquarie-SBI Infrastructure Fund (MSIF) will continue to raise capital during 2009, and together with domestic institutions, the total capital is anticipated to be between $2 billion (about Rs 10,000 crore) and $3 billion (about Rs 15,000 crore), SBI said.

So far, international investors have committed $887 million (about Rs 4,435 crore) to MSIF alongside a direct co- investment commitment of $150 million (about Rs 750 crore) by SBI, bringing total capital raised to $1.037 billion (about Rs 5185 crore), it said.

The fund is managed by the SBI and Macquarie joint venture, with the International Finance Corp (IFC), the private financing arm of the World Bank, as a minority shareholder in MSIF.

The shareholding in the JV would be 45:45:10 between SBI, Macquarie and IFC respectively. — PTI 

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Airtel starts high speed broadband service
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 6
Country’s leading integrated telecom services provider Bharti Airtel has launched the fastest wireline broadband on DSL in the country with a speed of 16 Mbps, twice that of which is presently available.

The service, powered by Airtel’s Carrier Ethernet Network, will be initially available in Delhi NCR, Chennai and Bangalore with phased roll-out to additional cities of Hyderabad , Pune, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Announcing the launch of the service, K Srinivas, joint president, Telemedia Services, Bharti Airtel said: “Airtel has constantly strived to innovate and deliver high quality products to its broadband customers. We are the leading private broadband service provider in the country and pioneered 8 Mbps broadband. It gives us great pleasure now to be able to introduce the fastest, wired broadband service on DSL. We will be able to offer 16 Mbps broadband to 70 per cent of the households in the three cities of Delhi NCR, Chennai and Bangalore.”

The service would be available to the customers at two tariff plans. Speed Combo 2999 would give 16 Mbps broadband speed with monthly data transfer limit of 20 GB along with a fixed line connection at Rs. 2999 per month.

The second plan is Speed Combo 4999 would provide 16 Mbps broadband speed with monthly data transfer limit of 50 GB along with a fixed line connection at Rs. 4999 per month

Airtel delivers its broadband service to customers through a fibre backbone of Carrier Ethernet Network with last mile delivery on copper using ADSL2+ technology. This technology enables ultra high-speed broadband, which is scalable and affordable. Airtel is the leading private broadband service provider in the country offering its services across 95 cities in the country with approximately 9.92 lakh broadband customers as on December 31, 2008.

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Global PE fund-raising hits record low

New Delhi, April 6
Global private equity fund-raising has hit a low of $45.9 billion in the first three months of 2009, the smallest amount since 2003, on account of the turbulent economic scenario.

“Q1 2009 represents the lowest fund raising quarter for the private equity industry since 2003, with only 71 funds having achieved a final close, raising an aggregate $45.9 billion,” a report by global research firm Preqin said.

In the fourth quarter of 2003, PE firms had raised $34 billion with 131 funds achieving final closure.

In terms of the number of funds achieving financial closure, Q1 2009 is the lowest quarter since Q3 2003, when only 67 funds did so. “The results demonstrate the hugely challenging environment that is currently facing firms with funds on the road,” the report added.

The quarter saw buy-outs accounting for the highest amount raised as 15 funds together mobilised $22.7 billion, followed by real estate with 22 funds raising an aggregate of $13 billion.

Besides, Preqin projected an optimistic outlook for the second quarter of 2009 as it expects institutional investors who were holding back new investments to return.

“We predict that fund raising levels will increase throughout the year (2009) as a result, although with many institutions having significantly less capital available for new investments than in previous years,” the report said.— PTI

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BRIEFLY

SBI officers call off strike
New Delhi
: Officers of the State Bank of India have called off the proposed two- day nationwide strike as the union has reached an agreement with the management. “Strike has been deferred indefinitely... They (the management) will be augmenting the staff through promotion within the next three-four months,” All India State Bank Officers’ Federation president said. Meanwhile, the SBI in a statement said the branches of the bank would function as usual on April 8-9, as the proposed strike on these two days has been withdrawn.

BoM cuts lending rate
NEW DELHI:
Bank of Maharashtra on Monday slashed its benchmark lending rate by 0.25 per cent to 12.5 per cent. “The revised prime lending rate (PLR) will be effective from April 15,” BoM chairman and managing director Allen CA Periera said. Home, auto and other loans linked to the benchmark would get cheaper following the PLR cut. The deposit rates would come down up to 50 basis points and it will come into force from April 9, he said.

Danone to exit Britannia
NEW DELHI
: After fighting for over four years, Groupe Danone and the Wadias have struck a deal that will see the French food giant exit their biscuit joint venture, Britannia Industries Ltd. Groupe Danone will be selling off its indirect stake of 25.48 per cent held in BIL to a Wadia Group company, Leila Lands, through an inter se share transfer (among the promoters), expected to take place on April 14.

Shyam Telecom bags contract
NEW DELHI
: Shyam Telecom has got contracts from Aircel-Maxis, Idea Cellular, state-owned BSNL and global players to supply repeaters (equipment used for mobile coverage) worth up to Rs 20 crore in the first quarter of financial year 2009-10. Shyam Telecom is the only Indian company manufacturing repeaters here while others rely on imported repeaters, which have come under the scrutiny of the security wing of the Department of Telecom.

Rupee up by 30 paise
MUMBAI:
Continuing its rally for the third day in succession, the rupee on Monday improved by another 30 paise to close at 50.04/05 against the greenback on stronger equity markets amid expectations of increased capital inflows. However, dollar demand from oil refiners and short coverings by exporters pared early smart gains.

IVRCL gets Rs 359 cr orders
MUMBAI
: IVRCL Infrastructures & Projects on Monday said it had bagged orders worth Rs 359.52 crore from different vendors for construction-related works. The company said its road, power and water division has bagged Rs 359.52-crore orders from various vendors. The road division has bagged two orders, the first valued at Rs 164.64 crore is from Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority for the construction of a road flyover and the second one worth Rs 10.34 crore from the government of Andhra Pradesh for construction works.

HCL freezes increments
New Delhi:
HCL Technologies has informed its employees that there would not be any wage hike for its senior managers in the financial year ending July 31, 2009, due to challenging business environment. Although the company has already paid the increment to majority of its employees, it has decided to freeze increments to the senior managers. “A majority of the employees, whose appraisals were due for the July cycle, have been completed and their increments made as per schedule. But increments for senior managers have been frozen,” HCL said.

Source: Agencies

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