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Indian telcos create world record
Add 15.87 million subscribers in March
New Delhi, April 22
The entry of new players in the telecom sector, along with Reliance Communications (RCom) starting its GSM services, pushed India to create another record of adding the highest number of subscribers in March.

IMF forecasts world output to dip by 1.3% in 2009
Washington, April 22 With the global economy reeling under recession, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today said world output was projected to decline by 1.3 per cent in 2009, indicating that the slump is the deepest since World War II.

Satyam open offer to begin on June 12
New Delhi, April 22
The open offer from Tech Mahindra for an additional 20 per cent stake in Satyam Computers, the fraud-hit company which it acquired recently, will begin on June 12 and close on July 1. "The acquirer (Tech Mahindra) proposes to acquire 199 million shares of the company (Satyam) representing 20 per cent of the fully diluted share capital of the company at a price of Rs 58 a share," it said.



EARLIER STORIES



A model stands next to a Toyota hybrid car at Auto Shanghai 2009, China's largest auto show
A model stands next to a Toyota hybrid car at Auto Shanghai 2009, China's largest auto show, on Wednesday. Carmakers from around the world unveiled their latest products at the show, hoping to shrug off dreary times for the industry by tapping into the world's new top auto market. — AFP

Bollywood actor and Castrol brand ambassador John Abraham poses during the finals of the Castrol Power1 Passion Hunt in New Delhi
Bollywood actor and Castrol brand ambassador John Abraham poses during the finals of the Castrol Power1 Passion Hunt in New Delhi on Wednesday. Ten bikers took part in the hunt after being selected from preliminaries conducted across nine Indian cities. Contestants are competing for a Yamaha R1 motorcycle. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

This file photo shows a Volkswagen Polo model being retrieved by an automated palette from a storage tower near the company's main factory in Wolfsburg
This file photo shows a Volkswagen Polo model being retrieved by an automated palette from a storage tower near the company's main factory in Wolfsburg. Europe's biggest carmaker Volkswagen said on Wednesday its first quarter sales fell sharply, slashing profits. The company’s net profit was down 74 per cent at 243 million euros. — AFP

Gems and jewellery exports retain glitter
New Delhi, April 22
Amid a slowdown in demand, India's gems and jewellery exports managed to grow by a 1.45 per cent rise in shipments for the year ended March 2009. Exports of precious jewellery rose marginally to $21.11 billion in 2008-09 from $20.81 billion in the previous year. Gold, which continued to be the leader in jewellery growth, registered an increase of 23.64 per cent in FY'09, said Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council chairman Vasant Mehta here today.

RIL inks pacts to sell KG gas to power producers
New Delhi, April 22
After having signed a gas supply agreement with fertiliser companies, Reliance Industries (RIL) has signed agreements to sell gas from its eastern offshore KG D-6 fields to six power producers. Gas Supply Purchase Agreement (GSPA) has been signed with GVK in Andhra Pradesh, 664-MW Gautami Power Plant, 204-MW Spectrum Power Plant, 370-MW Vemagiri Power Plant and 445-MW Konasemma Power Plant.

Yahoo! to cut 5 pc staff; net dips 78%
New York, April 22
Internet giant Yahoo! will reduce global workforce by five per cent and has reported a 78 per cent decline in net income in the first quarter amid slacking advertising revenues. The company has posted a net income to $118 million in the first quarter ended March 31, 2009, against $537 million in the corresponding year-ago period. The revenue decreased by 13 per cent to $1.58 billion in the quarter from $1.81 billion in the year-ago period.

Corporate Results
Wipro Q4 net up 15 pc at Rs 1,010 cr
Mumbai/New Delhi, April 22
Software firm Wipro Technologies today said it has reported a 14.77 per cent rise in consolidated net profit at Rs 1,010 crore for the fourth quarter ended March, 2009. The Bangalore-based firm had a net profit of Rs 880 crore in the same quarter of FY'08, Wipro said in a filing to the BSE. The total income surged 13.55 per cent at Rs 6,583.20 crore in the March quarter from Rs 5,797.40 crore in the same period last fiscal.

Citi vows to repay US aid
New York, April 22
Citigroup Inc chief executive Vikram Pandit said he expects the No. 3 US bank to rebound from its current woes and pledged that it would repay "every dollar" it owes to the US government. Pandit commented on the bank's prospects on Tuesday at the annual shareholders' meeting, which came just days after the bank posted a $1.59 billion first-quarter profit before payments of preferred dividends to the US Treasury.





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Indian telcos create world record
Add 15.87 million subscribers in March

Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 22
The entry of new players in the telecom sector, along with Reliance Communications (RCom) starting its GSM services, pushed India to create another record of adding the highest number of subscribers in March.

According to statistics, Indian telecom industry clocked the highest subscriber addition in a month by adding 15.87 million subscribers in March.

The total additions for March, including new RCom and Tata Tele subscribers, were well over the 15-million mark, beating the January’s numbers.

India set a world record in January this year by adding 15 million subscribers, the highest ever monthly additions in any country. According to latest data released by the telecom regulator TRAI, while the wireless (GSM, CDMA and WLL [fixed]) segment witnessed addition of 15.64 million users, the wireline segment saw an increase for the first time in two years with the addition of 2.3 lakh to its subscriber base.

The fixed wireline segment subscriber base has been on the decline over the past few years, especially in the rural sector, where consumers are opting more for the wireless system.

The wireless subscriber base stood at 391.76 million at the end of March as compared to 376.12 million in the previous month of the year. The wireline subscriber base grew to 37.96 million as compared to 37.73 million in February 2009.

However, on a yearly basis, the wireline segment saw a decline of 3.7 per cent from 39.42 million subscribers in March, 2008.

The additions has also led to increase in the total teledensity to 36.98 per cent at the end of March 2009. It stood at 35.65 per cent in February last.

The broadband penetration in the country also witnessed an increase as the total broadband subscriber base crossed the 6 million-mark to reach 6.22 million by the end of March, 2009, as compared to 5.85 million by the end of February last. This, when compared to broadband penetration in some of the other countries, is, however, very poor.

With its foray into the GSM space, RCom led the subscriber growth in the wireless segment with the addition of 3.02 million subscribers in March to take its wireless subscriber base to 72.66 million.

In March, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar added 2.8 million customers each to take their subscriber base to 93.92 million and 68.76 million, respectively. Tata Teleservices added about 1.25 million subscribers to clock a total of 35.12 million subscribers.

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IMF forecasts world output to dip by 1.3% in 2009

Washington, April 22
With the global economy reeling under recession, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today said world output was projected to decline by 1.3 per cent in 2009, indicating that the slump is the deepest since World War II.

However, it is expected to recover only gradually in 2010, growing by 1.9 per cent, the IMF said in its World Economic Outlook report released at its headquarters in Washington.

"Achieving this turnaround will depend on stepping up efforts to heal the financial sector, while continuing to support demand with monetary and fiscal easing," it said.

The IMF said advanced economies experienced an unprecedented 7.5 per cent decline in real GDP during the fourth quarter of 2008, and the output is estimated to have fall during the first quarter of 2009.

It is not only the US which has experienced a sharp downfall, but also other economies of the world too have had the same fate, including the western Europe and advanced Asia, it said. Emerging economies, too, are suffering badly and contracted four per cent in the fourth quarter in the aggregate.

While there have been some encouraging signs of improvement since the G-20 Summit in London early this month, the report said confidence in financial markets is still low, weighing against the prospects of an early economic recovery.

The April 2009 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) estimates write-downs on US-originated assets by all financial institutions over 2007-10 will be $2.7 trillion, up from the estimate of $2.2 trillion in January 2009. This is largely a result of the worsening prospects for economic growth.

Total expected write-downs on global exposures are estimated at about $4 trillion, of which two-thirds will fall on banks and the remainder on insurance companies, pension funds, hedge funds, and other intermediaries, it said.

An important side effect of the financial crisis, the report said, has been a flight to safety and return of home bias, which have had an impact on the world's major currencies. Since September 2008, the US dollar, euro, and yen have all strengthened in real effective terms.

As the World Economic Outlook (WEO) projections assume that financial market stabilisation will take longer than previously envisaged, even with strong efforts by policymakers, the IMF said financial strains in mature markets are projected to remain heavy until well into 2010. — PTI

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Satyam open offer to begin on June 12
Tribune News Service

No bail for Raju yet

Hyderabad: The XIV Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on Wednesday reserved the order on the bail petitions of former Satyam chairman B Ramalinga Raju, his brother Rama Raju and ex-CFO Vadlamani Srinivas for April 25.

The court would also announce its decision on the lie-detector test for the Raju brothers and Vadlamani on the same day. — PTI

New Delhi, April 22
The open offer from Tech Mahindra for an additional 20 per cent stake in Satyam Computers, the fraud-hit company which it acquired recently, will begin on June 12 and close on July 1. "The acquirer (Tech Mahindra) proposes to acquire 199 million shares of the company (Satyam) representing 20 per cent of the fully diluted share capital of the company at a price of Rs 58 a share," it said.

The additional 20 per cent offer would be worth another Rs 1,155 crore. The maximum consideration payable under the open offer is Rs 1,154.66 crore. Pursuant to successful completion of the offer, Tech Mahindra's holding in Satyam would go up to 51 per cent,

Kotak Mahindra Capital made this announcement on behalf of Venturbay Consultants, a unit of Tech Mahindra. Last week, Tech Mahindra outbid rivals in the race to acquire a controlling stake in Satyam.

The company was hit by the Rs 7,800-crore fraud following the disclosure from its founder Ramalinga Raju that the books of the IT exporter had been doctored for years.

Resultantly, the government initially dismissed the original Satyam board and appointed its representatives as board members. This board then gave its approval for the acquisition of a 31 per cent stake by Tech Mahindra for Rs 1,756 crore. The deal has also been approved by the Company Law Board.

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Gems and jewellery exports retain glitter
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 22
Amid a slowdown in demand, India's gems and jewellery exports managed to grow by a 1.45 per cent rise in shipments for the year ended March 2009. Exports of precious jewellery rose marginally to $21.11 billion in 2008-09 from $20.81 billion in the previous year.

Gold, which continued to be the leader in jewellery growth, registered an increase of 23.64 per cent in FY'09, said Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council chairman Vasant Mehta here today.

The gold jewellery exports showed a better performance mainly in the first half of the fiscal 2008-09. However, the gems and jewellery industry witnessed a decline of 18.88 per cent in the second half of the last fiscal as global demand, especially from the US, took a severe beating since September.

The US slowdown in the second half of 2008-09 affected the industry greatly, Mehta said.

However, the SEEPZ at Mumbai which is primarily dependent on US has seen a sharp decline of 21.61% in exports over the corresponding period of last year.

Cut and polished diamonds (CPD) witnessed a decline of 8.24 per cent with exports declining from $14,194.13 million in 2007-08 to $13,024.53 million in 2008-09. In rupee terms, the sector shows a minimal increase of 2.68 per cent with exports rising from Rs 57,117 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 58,649 crore in 2008-09.

Coloured gemstone exports also decreased by 3.68 per cent in dollar terms with sector witnessing a decline from $276 million in 2007-08 to $265 million in 2008-09. However, there was an increase of 7.7 per cent in rupee terms from Rs 1,111.05 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 1,197 crore.

UAE was the largest exporting destination with 31 per cent of exports to the market, followed by Hong Kong with 25 per cent and USA with 20 per cent.

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RIL inks pacts to sell KG gas to power producers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 22
After having signed a gas supply agreement with fertiliser companies, Reliance Industries (RIL) has signed agreements to sell gas from its eastern offshore KG D-6 fields to six power producers. Gas Supply Purchase Agreement (GSPA) has been signed with GVK in Andhra Pradesh, 664-MW Gautami Power Plant, 204-MW Spectrum Power Plant, 370-MW Vemagiri Power Plant and 445-MW Konasemma Power Plant.

RIL, which is currently producing about 13 million standard cubic metres per day of gas from KG D-6, signed GSPA with at least six independent power producers in Andhra Pradesh, a Power Ministry official said.

The initial 15.3 mmscmd output from KG D-6 has already been committed to urea-making plants and volumes above this would go to gas-based power plants. RIL is expected to cross 15 mmscmd output in the next 1-2 days and it was essential for the company to sign gas-sales pact with power firms to begin supply.

A Reliance spokesperson did not revert back on calls made seeking company's comments on the issue.

PTI adds: The company had previously signed GSPAs with 12 fertiliser firms committing the first 15.3 mmcmd of KG-D6 gas.

But with production slated to cross this threshold in the next few days, it desperately needed to tie-up sales with power generators, the second priority customers set by the government.

An Empowered Group of Ministers (eGoM) had on April 9 approved sale of 18 mmcmd KG-D6 gas to power plants.

GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd CFO A Issac George confirmed that his firm has signed agreements to buy 1.96 mmcmd and 1.11 mmcmd gas from Reliance.

The official said RIL will sign GSPAs for selling the rest of the 18 mmcmd KG-D6 gas allocated to power sector, in next few days.

Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd, the owner of the beleaguered Dabhol power plant, would be one of the customers of KG-D6 gas but it has so far not signed the GSPA as it is unable to receive the fuel.

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Yahoo! to cut 5 pc staff; net dips 78%

New York, April 22
Internet giant Yahoo! will reduce global workforce by five per cent and has reported a 78 per cent decline in net income in the first quarter amid slacking advertising revenues.

The company has posted a net income to $118 million in the first quarter ended March 31, 2009, against $537 million in the corresponding year-ago period.

The revenue decreased by 13 per cent to $1.58 billion in the quarter from $1.81 billion in the year-ago period.

"Yahoo! expects to reduce its number of current employees worldwide by approximately five per cent. The majority of impacted employees are expected to be notified within the next two weeks," the company has said in a statement.

The company has a significant presence in India and has about 1,500 employees in the country. In 2008, Yahoo!'s global headcount was about 15,000.

The company's marketing services revenues from owned and operated sites were $872 million for the first quarter of 2009, a 10 per cent dip from $966 million in the same quarter last year.

"The decrease was driven by a three per cent decline in search advertising revenue and a 13 per cent decline in display advertising," it added.

Yahoo! said, revenues from affiliate sites were $511 million in the latest quarter, a 16 per cent decrease from $606 million for the same period last year.

In its outlook for the second quarter of 2009, Yahoo! said it expects its revenue to be in the range of $1.42 billion to $1.62 billion. — PTI

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Corporate Results
Wipro Q4 net up 15 pc at Rs 1,010 cr

Mumbai/New Delhi, April 22
Software firm Wipro Technologies today said it has reported a 14.77 per cent rise in consolidated net profit at Rs 1,010 crore for the fourth quarter ended March, 2009.

The Bangalore-based firm had a net profit of Rs 880 crore in the same quarter of FY'08, Wipro said in a filing to the BSE.

The total income surged 13.55 per cent at Rs 6,583.20 crore in the March quarter from Rs 5,797.40 crore in the same period last fiscal.

The board has declared a dividend of Rs four a share, on shares of face value of Rs 2 each for the financial year ended March 2009.

The total income for the fiscal year rose 27.87 per cent to Rs 26,108.10 crore over the last year.

HCL profit dips 42 pc

Technology major HCL has reported a decline of almost 42 per cent in its profits for the third quarter.

HCL Technologies said here today that its profit dipped by 41.9 per cent to Rs 152.57 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2009, as compared to Rs 263.08 crore in the same quarter last fiscal.

The total income decreased 17.7 per cent to Rs 1,048.90 crore in the quarter under review, against Rs 1,275.58 crore in the same quarter previous fiscal.

The company has declared an interim dividend of Re 1 a piece for the March quarter.

The company hired 2,298 employees during the third quarter, taking the total headcount to 54,026

iGate revenue dips

Software firm iGate today reported a 19.42 per cent decline in its revenue at $44.8 million in the first quarter of 2009.

The Nasdaq-listed firm had a revenue of $55.6 million in the March quarter of FY'08, it said in a statement.

RIIL net up marginally

Mukesh Ambani group firm Reliance Industrial Infrastructure (RIIL) today reported a marginal growth in its net profit at Rs 6.46 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 2009.

The income from operations dipped 3.38 per cent to Rs 18.28 crore for the March quarter, from Rs 18.92 crore in the same period last fiscal.

Besides, the board has declared a dividend of Rs 3.50 per share for FY'09.

Zee Entertainment

Media conglomerate Zee Entertainment Enterprises today said its consolidated net profit stood at Rs 96.81 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009. Consolidated total income stood at Rs 577.61 crore in the March quarter of FY'09, while the same was at Rs 569.47 crore in the corresponding quarter a year ago. — Agencies, TNS

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Citi vows to repay US aid

New York, April 22
Citigroup Inc chief executive Vikram Pandit said he expects the No. 3 US bank to rebound from its current woes and pledged that it would repay "every dollar" it owes to the US government.

Pandit commented on the bank's prospects on Tuesday at the annual shareholders' meeting, which came just days after the bank posted a $1.59 billion first-quarter profit before payments of preferred dividends to the US Treasury.

"I intend to see this through," Pandit told shareholders. The Financial Times newspaper reported that senior Federal Deposit Insurance Corp officials had privately discussed who might replace Pandit if the bank needed more government aid.

The FT reported that Kelly was a candidate to replace Pandit if regulators opt to remove him. — Reuters

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BRIEFLY


Aviation giant Boeing said on Wednesday its first-quarter profit fell 50 per cent from a year ago to $610 million due to global downturn
Aviation giant Boeing said on Wednesday its first-quarter profit fell 50 per cent from a year ago to $610 million due to global downturn. It also downgraded its outlook for the rest of 2009, saying commercial airplane orders will be weaker than previously anticipated. — AFP

In this picture, PCCW signage is seen on the wall of a building in Hong Kong
In this picture, PCCW signage is seen on the wall of a building in Hong Kong. Hong Kong's Court of Appeal on Wednesday blocked telecom giant PCCW's $2.1-billion privatisation bid, after the city's securities watchdog accused it of vote-rigging. — AFP

JSW Steel to pump in Rs 3,000 crore
New Delhi:
JSW Steel plans to invest Rs 3,000 crore in its India projects in 2009-10, a top company official said on Wednesday. "Our business plan is to invest Rs 3,000 crore in the current financial year. The investment will be (spanned across) our plant in Vijaynagar and upcoming projects in Jharkhand and West Bengal," JSW Steel vice-chairman and managing director Sajjan Jindal told reporters on the sidelines of a conference here. — PTI

Rupee snaps 4-day losses, gains 11 paise
Mumbai:
The Indian rupee snapped its four-day losing streak against the dollar and gained by 11 paise to 50.34/35 on concerns over the flow of foreign funds in the equity markets amidst some demand from banks on behalf of oil companies. In fairly active trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market, the domestic currency resumed higher at 50.33/34 a dollar from Tuesday’s close of 50.45/47 and later surged to 50.05 before ending the day at 50.34/35. — PTI

Piramal to hire up to 400
New Delhi:
Drug firm Piramal Healthcare on Wednesday said it would hire 300-400 persons this year across the country, taking its total employee base to 7,400. The company had last year employed 1,500 people in the country for its mass marketing division. — PTI

Oriental Insurance tie-up
Kolkata:
Oriental Insurance on Wednesday entered into an arrangement with MyTVS for providing free emergency roadside assistance to customers covered under comprehensive motor package policies. Oriental Insurance DGM B N Prasad said the tie-up with MyTVS is exclusive in nature and is designed to give value-added services to the insurer's customers. Prasad said that Oriental would charge no extra money for the service, adding that the cost would be entirely borne by the insurance company. — PTI

Gold drops by Rs 110
New Delhi:
Gold prices on Wednesday fell by Rs 110 to Rs 14,560 per 10 gram in the bullion market here as stockists indulged in booking profit at existing higher levels amid weakening global trend. Standard gold and ornaments, which had gained Rs 380 each in the last two trading sessions, fell by Rs 110 each to Rs 14,560 and Rs 14,410 per 10 gram, respectively. Sovereign held unchanged at Rs 12,350 per piece of eight gram. — PTI

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