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B U S I N E S S

Sensex succumbs to global pressure
Mumbai, April 28
The Sensex plunged 370 points to close at 11,001 points as fears of swine flu roiling global markets caused a selloff. In the broader markets, the Nifty fell over 3.1 per cent to close at 3,362. After opening in the red, the Sensex plunged lower and fell below the 11,000 mark at 10,961 before ending higher.

IOC defers Panipat refinery expansion
New Delhi, April 28
State-run Indian Oil Corporation has deferred expansion of its Panipat refinery by four months to April 2010, a company official said. Connecting of new units that would raise the refinery capacity to 15 million tonnes a year from current 12 million tonnes would involve shutting down of the half of the plant, IOC Director (Refineries) B N Bankapur told PTI here.



EARLIER STORIES





Customers check Honda cars at the company's showroom in Tokyo on Tuesday. Honda, Japan's second-largest automaker, said it had sunk into loss in the fiscal fourth quarter due to weak sales and a stronger yen. Honda posted a net loss of $1.9 billion for the three months to March, against a year-earlier profit of 25.4 billion yen. — AFP

New FDI Norms
Private banks may be exempted
New Delhi, April 28
Private sector banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Vysya Bank may be kept outside the purview of the new FDI guidelines, with the government addressing the RBI's concerns on the change of their status from 'resident' to 'foreign' if the norms are implemented.

Corporate Results
Sterlite Q4 profit dips 55 pc
Mumbai, April 28
NRI billionaire Anil Agarwal-led Sterlite Industries today said its consolidated net profit declined 54.62 per cent to Rs 598.25 crore in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009. Consolidated total income of the Vedanta Group firm also fell to Rs 4,406.04 crore in the March quarter of FY'2009, from Rs 6,833.02 crore in the same period a year ago.

HP to launch customised IT solutions for SMBs
Chandigarh, April 28
Hewlett-Packard will now be focusing on developing technology that reduces the cost of operations. With the economic downturn beginning to take its toll, the company will now be coming out with cost-effective technologies for the enterprise and mid-segment markets.

MSMEs get Rs 9,000 cr under stimulus packages
New Delhi, April 28
The government has disbursed close to Rs 9,000 crore to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) under the stimulus packages announced in December 2008 and January.

Videocon to start DTH services on May 1
New Delhi, April 28
Videocon Group is making an ambitious foray into the direct-to-home services with plans to garner one crore subscribers in the next six years.

SBI education loans cheaper
Mumbai, April 28
The country's largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI), today said it has lowered interest rates on education loans by up to 250 basis points, for a limited period.

Hero to launch six high-end bicycles
New Delhi: Hero Group on Tuesday said it would launch up to six premium bicycles, priced up to Rs 35,000, in the country and also enter the category of children's fancy cycles.

 





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Sensex succumbs to global pressure
Tribune News Service & Agencies

Mumbai, April 28
The Sensex plunged 370 points to close at 11,001 points as fears of swine flu roiling global markets caused a selloff. In the broader markets, the Nifty fell over 3.1 per cent to close at 3,362.

After opening in the red, the Sensex plunged lower and fell below the 11,000 mark at 10,961 before ending higher. All index stocks were in the red. DLF was the top loser, closing 7.8 per cent down while Sterlite, Tata Steel, HDFC and RCom fell more than 7 per cent each today.

Among the sectoral indices, realty, metals, banking and capital goods sectors took a hammering. The BSE realty index fell 5.7 per cent while the metal index was down 5.6 per cent. Among the biggest loser today was HDIL which fell 9.3 per cent. Other realty scrips like DLF, IBREL and Orbit Corp fell nearly 6 per cent.

Broader market indices also ended in the red, with the BSE midcap index moving down 3.73 per cent and the BSE smallcap index closing 3.45 percent lower. There were no gainers on the 30-scrip Sensex.

Market breadth was negative, with 1,807 scrips declining, 654 stocks advancing and 81 remaining unchanged.

"This profit taking was quite expected with even global bourses coming under selling pressure. But such corrections are healthy over a period of time for the markets," said Jagannadham Thunuguntla, equity head at stock brokerage SMC Capitals.

Other Asian markets were also trading volatile, with a key Japanese index — the Nikkei of the Tokyo Stock Exchange — fell steeply at 8,493.77 points, about 232.57 points lower than its previous close.

However, the Hang Seng, a key index of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, ended in the red at 14,555.11 points, 285.31 points below its previous close.

European markets fell again with the FTSE in Britain trading 77.45 points lower than its previous close, and its French peer CAC 40 ruling 70.60 points down.

Data with the market watchdog, SEBI, showed that foreign funds were net buyers during April 1-27, lapping up scrips worth $967.1 million.

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IOC defers Panipat refinery expansion

New Delhi, April 28
State-run Indian Oil Corporation has deferred expansion of its Panipat refinery by four months to April 2010, a company official said.

Connecting of new units that would raise the refinery capacity to 15 million tonnes a year from current 12 million tonnes would involve shutting down of the half of the plant, IOC Director (Refineries) B N Bankapur told PTI here.

The seasonal surge in demand for petroleum products during the last part of fiscal year had forced IOC to change its strategy for commissioning the Rs 1,007-crore Panipat Refinery expansion project.

"We had planned (the shutdown) in December 2009 but since there is high demand for fuel during winter months, we decided to postpone the shutdown to March/April," he said.

IOC would need to shut one crude distillation unit, a hydrocracker and a delayed coker unit for 40-45 days.

The refinery major has now decided to push back the requisite shutdown of some critical refinery units in Panipat from December 2009 to April 2010, to cater to the anticipated additional product demand over that period. The units that needed to be shutdown are the Crude Distillation Unit /Vaccum Distillation Unit-I (CDU/VDU-I), the Once Through Hydrocracking Unit (OHCU) and the Delayed Coker Unit (DCU).

Bankapur said IOC was targeting processing 46 million tonnes of crude oil in 2009-10 fiscal, 6.5 per cent less than 49.2 million tonnes of crude converted into fuel in the last financial year. — PTI

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New FDI Norms
Private banks may be exempted

New Delhi, April 28
Private sector banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Vysya Bank may be kept outside the purview of the new FDI guidelines, with the government addressing the RBI's concerns on the change of their status from 'resident' to 'foreign' if the norms are implemented.

"There is a probability that we will exempt these banks from the guidelines on the lines of the exemptions in the insurance sector," an official said.

With the changes in the FDI guidelines by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, through a string of 'Press notes' in February, several private sector banks found that their status would change from 'resident' to 'non-resident'.

This was so because the total FDI will take into account the stakes held by non-resident Indians, American and global depository receipts, foreign currency convertible bonds and convertible preference shares.

Raising the issue with the Finance Ministry and DIPP, the RBI pointed out that as per the revised policy, foreign investment in all these banks would exceed 50 per cent in the new policy regime and they will be treated as non-resident entities.

ICICI seeks clarity

ICICI Bank, whose ownership status may alter because of the new FDI guidelines, on Tuesday said it was awaiting a clear stance on the policy from the government.

"We are awaiting clarification (issues regarding foreign bank status)," ICICI Bank joint managing director Chanda Kochhar said here. "Nothing has changed in ownership; we continue to be with same ownership for years," she said.

ICICI Bank's statement is significant in the light of the government announcing new FDI norms, which say if indirect FDI in an Indian company exceeds 50 per cent, its investment in subsidiaries will be treated as foreign investment.

Moreover, in calculating indirect foreign investment in an Indian entity, the sum total of FDI, stake from NRIs, American and global depository Receipts, foreign currency convertible bonds and convertible preference shares will be taken into account.

With these changes, several private sector banks may find themselves transforming their status from being 'resident entities' to non-resident entities. — PTI

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Corporate Results
Sterlite Q4 profit dips 55 pc

Mumbai, April 28
NRI billionaire Anil Agarwal-led Sterlite Industries today said its consolidated net profit declined 54.62 per cent to Rs 598.25 crore in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009. Consolidated total income of the Vedanta Group firm also fell to Rs 4,406.04 crore in the March quarter of FY'2009, from Rs 6,833.02 crore in the same period a year ago.

For the financial year ended March 31, 2009, the company posted a consolidated net profit of Rs 3,539.99 crore, a 19.53 per cent drop over the last year.

The company has proposed a dividend of Rs 3.50 a piece (175 per cent) on the face value of Rs 2 per share.

Glaxo net up 18.14 pc

Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals today said its net profit for the first quarter ended March 31, 2009, rose by 18.14 per cent to Rs 143.27 crore. The company had a net profit of Rs 121.27 crore in the same quarter ended March 31, 2008, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. Income from operations rose to Rs 460.98 crore for the quarter under review as against Rs 424.22 crore in the same quarter last year.

Biocon net dips 62 pc

Biotechnology firm Biocon today posted a consolidated net profit of Rs 24.88 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2009, nearly a 62 per cent decline over the same period a year ago, largely due to losses on account of aligning asset prices to market value.

The consolidated total income of Biocon increased to Rs 486.56 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009, from Rs 279.22 crore a year ago, Biocon said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Syndicate Bank net up 64%

Public sector lender Syndicate Bank today reported 63.66 per cent growth in net profit at Rs 206.64 crore for the fourth quarter of 2008-09 over the same period of FY'08.

The total income rose by 21 per cent to Rs 2,875.67 crore during the March quarter, from Rs 2,376.40 crore in the corresponding period a year-ago.

The board declared a final dividend of 15 per cent in addition to the interim dividend of 15 per cent, for 2008-09.

Central Bank of India

Public sector lender Central Bank of India today announced its net profit for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009, down 50.85 per cent to Rs 62.51 crore from the same period a year ago.

Total income of the bank rose to Rs 3,150.33 crore for the quarter under review, against Rs 2,598.92 crore in the same quarter previous fiscal.

The board of directors of the bank has proposed final dividend at 20 per cent ( Rs 2 a share) for the financial year 2008-09.

United Spirits net dips 15%

Liquor manufacturer United Spirits today said its net profit declined by 14.57 per cent to Rs 55.62 crore in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009.

The total income of the company rose to Rs 922.90 crore for the quarter under review, as against Rs 765.46 crore in the same quarter last fiscal.

Aditya Birla Nuvo

Aditya Birla Nuvo, a part of the Aditya Birla group, today said its net loss has widened to Rs 141.15 crore in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009.

The net income from operations of the company rose to Rs 4,237.87 crore for the quarter under review as against Rs 2,912.65 crore in the same quarter last fiscal. The board of directors has proposed a dividend of Rs 4 a piece (on shares of face value of Rs 10 each) at its meeting held on April 28.

Cadila Healthcare

Cadila Healthcare, the flagship company of Zydus Cadila group, today reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 58 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009, while the same stood at Rs 51.96 crore in the corresponding period a year ago. The total income rose to Rs 727.73 crore during the March quarter from Rs 563 crore in the same period a year ago, the drug maker said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. — PTI

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HP to launch customised IT solutions for SMBs
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 28
Hewlett-Packard will now be focusing on developing technology that reduces the cost of operations. With the economic downturn beginning to take its toll, the company will now be coming out with cost-effective technologies for the enterprise and mid-segment markets.

Talking to TNS here today, Rajesh Dhar, director, technology solutions group, Hewlett-Packard India sales, said there was pressure from their clients to reduce the cost of technology. “Thus we are coming up with products that will reduce the cost of power, space and people manning the technology. As a result, we have launched a new range of servers — G-6 (sixth generation servers) that work on modular power supply and can be customised with regard to memory and drives,” he said.

He also said this year HP would be launching 11 new platforms that would focus on reducing cost of technology. “India is the third largest market in Asia Pacific region, after China and Japan. The total market size for servers in India is $400 million, and we command 32 per cent of the market share. In order to grow in India, we are coming up with products based on the needs of the industry,” he said.

Dhar said since IT adoption in the country, especially in the small and medium businesses (SMBs) is still aggressive, they have decided to focus on bundling affordable IT solutions so as to get maximum business from this segment. “Almost 45 per cent of our business in India comes from SMBs. Thus, there is a lot of focus on creating affordable technologies for this segment. We are working with companies like Microsoft to reduce the technology costs, while providing customised IT solutions to SMBs” he said, adding that they have come up with servers which cost less than Rs 25,000 for this segment of customers.

He said in order to reach out to the SMBs, they were concentrating on training their channel partners. “We have 2,000 partners, through whom we retail our products. Thus, we are imparting training to these partners, so that they understand the customers needs and sell them products based on customers’ need,” he added.

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MSMEs get Rs 9,000 cr under stimulus packages
Bhagyashree Pande
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 28
The government has disbursed close to Rs 9,000 crore to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) under the stimulus packages announced in December 2008 and January.

The amount disbursed through Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has gone to the distressed sectors like gems and jewellery, textiles, handicrafts, leather etc. through its various refinancing windows.

Secretary Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Dinesh Rai said if need arose, the SIDBI would come forward to widen its refinancing facilities to further bail out MSMEs, which have been the worst victim of meltdown.

Rai explained that Rs 9,000 crore refinancing has been done by SIDBI to support the aforesaid sectors from current recessionary trends which has already resulted in their partial revival.

The Ministry of MSME has also formulated two schemes under the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme (MMCP) to facilitate marketing of products made by small enterprises so that they can be revived at the earliest. The first scheme is marketing support for adoption of bar code. The second scheme, namely marketing assistance and technological upgradation activities, seeks to improve the strength of small and micro enterprises in marketing by using latest techniques.

The secretary said a committee has been set up under the chairmanship of Finance Secretary in which Secretaries of Departments of Commerce & Revenue are its members and currently considering removal of procedural hassles on fast-track basis.

Credit line of Rs 5,000 crore has also been provided to Export-Import Bank of India to provide pre-shipment and post-shipment in rupee and dollar to exporters at competitive rates. In addition, interest loan subsidies are also being granted on exports, he said.

MSME provides employment to over 42 million people and contributes to about 45 per cent of total manufactured output and nearly 40 per cent to India’s exports.

Meanwhile, Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) has paid claims amounting to Rs 450 crore to exporters and banks.

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Videocon to start DTH services on May 1

New Delhi, April 28
Videocon Group is making an ambitious foray into the direct-to-home services with plans to garner one crore subscribers in the next six years.

The group made a soft launch of its 'Videocon D2H' services last evening in Macau in front of its 2,500 dealers, who where specially flown in there.

"The full commercial roll-out will start from May 1. The target is to have one crore subscribers in six years," Videocon Group chairman Venugopal Dhoot said.

He said the company is set for a mega roll out of its DTH services as the 2,500 dealers will have around 15,000 showrooms across the country.

"That gives us an advantage. Besides, we will also be offering TVs with in-built set-top boxes (STBs), which no one in the market offers," Dhoot said. — PTI

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SBI education loans cheaper

Mumbai, April 28
The country's largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI), today said it has lowered interest rates on education loans by up to 250 basis points, for a limited period.

Interest rates on educations loans, which are linked to the bank's prime lending rate (PLR), up to Rs 4 lakh will be reduced to 11.5 per cent from 11.75 per cent, SBI said in statement while for the Rs 4 lakh-Rs 7.50 lakh loan bracket, the interest has been slashed to 11.25 per cent from 13.25 per cent, SBI said in a statement today.

At present, SBI's PLR stands at 12.25 per cent per annum. For loans of Rs 7.5-lakh and above, interest rate has been reduced by 1.25 per cent, from 12.25 per cent to 11 per cent. Girl students will get a further concession of 0.50 per cent in interest, the statement said. — PTI

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Hero to launch six high-end bicycles

New Delhi: Hero Group on Tuesday said it would launch up to six premium bicycles, priced up to Rs 35,000, in the country and also enter the category of children's fancy cycles. The children's bicycles would be priced between Rs 2,500 and Rs 6,000, while the costs of bigger cycles would be in the range of Rs 12,000-Rs 35,000, he said, adding the firm was trying to make the bicycles more technologically advanced. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

Rupee sheds another 28 paise
Mumbai:
The rupee ended lower by another 28 paise at 50.51/52 against the dollar on weakness in equity markets amid sustained demand from oil companies for the US currency, which was strong overseas. In active trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the domestic unit resumed lower at 50.42/44 from its previous close of 50.23/24. Later it moved in a range of 50.56 and 50.29 a dollar before ending at 50.51/52, a fall of 0.56 per cent over its previous close. — PTI

Britannia to buy out partner in New Zealand JV
Mumbai:
Britannia Industries on Tuesday said it would buy out its partner, Fonterra Brands, from their joint venture — Britannia New Zealand Foods Pvt Ltd (BNZF). The company has entered into an agreement with Fonterra Brands (Mauritius Holding) for acquiring the latter's 49 per cent equity and preference share holding in BNZF, the joint venture firm engaged in the dairy business, it said. — PTI

Dish TV to launch DVR facility
Chandigarh:
Dish TV will soon be launching digital video recording (DVR), which can record multiple programmes from multiple TV channels in the absence of any viewer or while other content is being viewed. The company is in process of drawing a price point for the DVR-enabled set-top boxes that would be attractive to customers, said Shailender Goel, deputy vice-president, North, Dish TV. — TNS

LERROS plans 100 stores
Chandigarh:
Premium German apparel brand, LERROS plans to open 100 stand-alone stores and 300 shop-in shops across India in the next five years. The expansion plan will entail an investment of Rs 60 crore, said S. Ramprasad, CEO, LERROS. He was in town to open a store. — TNS

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