SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Exports dip 33% in March
New Delhi, May 1
The fall of exports
continue as the foreign
buyers disappointed
Indian firms in overseas
sales in March also.

DLF’s profit plunges 93%
New Delhi, May 1
Hit by slowdown in demand for housing as well as commercial properties, realty giant DLF has reported 93 per cent plunge in consolidated net profit for the quarter ended March 31, 2009 at Rs 159.05 crore.

Auto sales in top gear
New Delhi, May 1
The performance of car manufacturers and two-wheeler makers has been positive in April. According to figures released by country’s largest carmaker Maruti and two-wheeler major Hero Honda, there is a steady demand for vehicles in the country. Both leaders of their segment have posted good export growth as well.



EARLIER STORIES




Tata Motors to launch
JLR in India

Mumbai, May 1
Vehicles from the Jaguar Land Rover
(JLR) stable will be launched in the
Indian market from June, according
to a statement put out by the company.

Chrysler-Fiat in pact
To get aid of up to $8 billion
Washington, May 1
US President Barack Obama yesterday announced that troubled carmaker Chrysler will partner Italian giant Fiat to create the sixth largest global automaker and would head into bankruptcy with a government aid of up to $8 billion.

Citi to sell Japan units for $7.9 b
London/New York, May 1
Financial services provider Citigroup will be selling its Japanese securities and key investment banking businesses to Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group as part of a deal valued at $7.9 billion, says a media report.

Sharon Bamford Programme to help UK firms
expand in India

Chandigarh, May 1
The UK India Business Council, an initiative to
promote bilateral trade between India and the
UK, will be launching a programme, Launch
Pad, later this month.
                                               
Sharon Bamford

 





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Exports dip 33% in March
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 1
The fall of exports continue as the foreign buyers disappointed Indian firms in overseas sales in March also.

As per the data released by the Commerce Ministry, India’s exports plunged by 33.3 per cent in March to $11.5 billion from $17.25 billion a year ago, its sixth straight fall, as reduction in demand for merchandise since October 2008 in major markets of the world wiped out earlier gains.

According to analysts, this is the highest decline that India has ever witnessed. On account of moderate crude prices, imports, too, fell by 34 per cent to $15.56 billion in March from a year earlier. The trade deficit has narrowed to $4 billion in March from $6.32 billion a year ago.

Ficci president Harsh Pati Singhania said while contraction in exports since October was a source of worry, they were also concerned about the decline in non-oil imports for three successive months.

“This signifies rather weak demand in the economy. The fall in non-oil imports in
Q4 of 2008-09, if concentrated in the areas of machinery, equipment and project
goods, would entail slowdown in industrial production which is a matter of deep
concern,” he said.

However, there was an optimistic note to the worrisome data, with Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) chief A Sakthivel saying, “we have passed through the worst phase and exports will pick up from July onwards. Further, the inventories of buyers in Europe will be over by August and European buyers have started visiting India and international trade fairs for procurement.”

He, however, observed that certain segment of exports might not show an immediate improvement. He said exports might touch $185 billion in 2009-10 with 10 per cent increase on last year’s exports.

He added that diversification of Indian exports to Latin America, Africa and Asia would help India to post better export figures.

On a yearly basis, India's exports stood at $168.7 billion in the fiscal year 2008-09, up a paltry 3.4 per cent from 2007-08, while imports grew 14.3 per cent to $287.8 billion in 2008-09.

Exports, which account for nearly 16 per cent of India's gross domestic product, were a notch below a downwardly revised 2008-09 fiscal year target of $170 billion.

The trade deficit widened 34 per cent to $119 billion in 2008-09, from $88.5 billion in the previous year.

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DLF’s profit plunges 93%

New Delhi, May 1
Hit by slowdown in demand for housing as well as commercial properties, realty giant DLF has reported 93 per cent plunge in consolidated net profit for the quarter ended March 31, 2009 at Rs 159.05 crore.

The company's profit stood at Rs 2,176.82 crore in the year-ago period, the DLF
said in a statement.

The consolidated revenue for the period under review fell by 69 per cent to Rs 1,351 crore against Rs 4,372 crore in the same period a year ago.

For the whole of 2008-09, DLF's net profit decreased by 41 per cent at Rs 4,629 crore compared with Rs 7,812 crore in the previous fiscal.

The revenue slipped by 28 per cent to 10,541 crore in FY09 from Rs 14,684 crore
in FY08. — PTI

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Auto sales in top gear
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 1
The performance of car manufacturers and two-wheeler makers has been positive in April. According to figures released by country’s largest carmaker Maruti and two-wheeler major Hero Honda, there is a steady demand for vehicles in the country. Both leaders of their segment have posted good export growth as well.

Maruti Suzuki has reported a 15.09 per cent increase in sales during April at 71,748 vehicles as against 62,336 units in the same month last year. This is the fourth consecutive month of sales crossing 70,000-unit mark, it added.

The country's biggest two-wheeler maker, Hero Honda Motors Ltd (HHML), reported 29.5 per cent growth in sales during April at 3,70,575 units as against 2,86,252 in the same month last year.

“We continue to lead the unit volume growth in the industry despite the adverse and challenging environment,” said senior vice-president (marketing & sales) of the company Anil Dua.

Luxury carmaker Honda Siel Cars India reported 7.53 per cent rise in its sales at 3,656 units in April against 3,400 units in the corresponding month a year ago.

The sales comprised 2,801 units of flagship sedan City, 625 units of premium sedan Civic and 171 units of luxury sedan Accord, the company said.

Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL), too, reported a 10.9 per cent increase in sales during April at 44,371 units against 40,000 units in the same month last year.

Domestic sales grew by 3.5 per cent at 22,247 units, compared with 21,501 units in the same month last year, the company said.

But, there was a slow growth witnessed by another two-wheeler maker, TVS Motor, which reported a marginal three per cent increase in two-wheeler sales during April.

The company sold 1,13,119 units in April, a three per cent growth compared to the same period last year, when it sold 1,09,972 units.

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Tata Motors to launch JLR in India
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 1
Vehicles from the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) stable will be launched in the Indian market from June, according to a statement put out by the company.

“We are delighted to be formally entering the Indian market, an economy which is still growing appreciably, and able to offer our premium products to a whole new group of customers,” a statement by chief executive David Smith said.

The first showroom of JLR will open at Ceejay House in Mumbai's Worli. The cars will continue to be built abroad and would be imported by Tata Motors.

Tata Motors had earlier acquired JLR from Ford for £1.7 billion for Tata Motors to launch Jaguar Land Rover products in India.

“This is a natural move for both businesses and will allow Jaguar and Land Rover to establish a strong and deserved presence in India. We are very pleased to provide the opportunity for Indian customers to access the premium products for the first time,” Tata Motors managing director Ravi Kant said.

The acquisition has run into rough weather with recession badly affecting the company's sales in the Western markets.

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Chrysler-Fiat in pact
To get aid of up to $8 billion

Washington, May 1
US President Barack Obama yesterday announced that troubled carmaker Chrysler will partner Italian giant Fiat to create the sixth largest global automaker and would head into bankruptcy with a government aid of up to $8 billion.

The move is part of efforts to give a new lease of life to Chrysler, which has been a beacon of the US auto industry and a source of pride of generation of Americans.

Obama said Chrysler has formed partnership with Fiat, creating the sixth largest global automaker and the alliance has a strong chance of success.

"It's a partnership that will save more than 30,000 jobs at Chrysler and tens of thousands of jobs at suppliers, dealers, and other businesses that rely on this company. It's a partnership that the federal government will support by making additional loans," Obama said.

Under the plan, the US government would provide approximately $3.3 billion in financing to support Chrysler through bankruptcy proceeding and upon closing is prepared to give about $4.7 billion to New Chrysler, in form of term loan, he said.

The alliance will retain Chrysler's existing factory footprint and continue producing Chrysler cars in US factories while Fiat would contribute billions of dollars in advanced technology and intellectual property, offering Chrysler access to a global distribution network.

In addition to this, several major financial institutions, led by JP Morgan, have agreed to reduce their debt to less than one-third of its face value to help free Chrysler from its crushing obligations.

The German automaker Daimler, has agreed to give up its stake in Chrysler and contribute to the company's pension plan, further easing Chrysler's financial burden, Obama said.

Obama also announced his decision to support Chrysler's plans to use bankruptcy laws to clear away its remaining obligations so the company can get back on its feet and on to a path of success. — PTI

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Citi to sell Japan units for $7.9 b

London/New York, May 1
Financial services provider Citigroup will be selling its Japanese securities and key investment banking businesses to Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group as part of a deal valued at $7.9 billion, says a media report.

The UK-daily Financial Times has reported the deal worth 774.5 billion yen (about $7.9 billion) would help in boosting the troubled Citi's capital.

"Japan’s third largest bank is paying 545 billion yen for Citi’s Japanese securities business, which is mainly comprised of Nikko Cordial Securities, and a further 28.5 billion yen for Japan-listed securities held by Citi," the report published online said.

In addition, Vikram Pandit-led Citi is to receive 201 billion yen in cash by either retaining excess cash held in Nikko Cordial or by receiving repayment of debt owned by the Japanese brokerage to Citi. — Agencies

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Programme to help UK firms expand in India
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 1
The UK India Business Council, an initiative to promote bilateral trade between India and the UK, will be launching a programme, Launch Pad, later this month.

The programme aims at providing basic infrastructure and business network to the UK-based companies in India, so that they can expand their operations here.

Talking to TNS here today, Sharon Bamford, chief executive of UK India Business Council (UKIBC), said this business assistance programme would be launched later this month in Delhi and Mumbai.

“UK-based companies will be provided with basic infrastructure, including office space, for a year so that they can assess the business environment here. During this one-year period, these companies can explore opportunities in India, and set up their own offices. But they cannot enter into any financial transactions till the time they are enrolled in this programme and have not registered themselves as business entities in India,” she said, adding that the programme was aimed at lowering the cost and risk of business for the UK-based companies.

Bamford said though this programme was being launched in Delhi and Mumbai, UKIBC was looking at hardselling emerging business destinations in India to their clients.

“We had recently commissioned a study to assess the emerging business destinations and check their sector capabilities. The study has concluded that the best places for investment now are Chandigarh, Jaipur, Indore, Nagpur, Goa, Ahmedabad, Baroda and Cochin. We will now be working to create the eco-system and necessary networks so that the business delegates from the UK can have a ready roadmap to start their businesses here,” she added.

The UKIBC country director, Adrian Mutton, said a similar programme, ‘Think
London’, has recently been launched for Indian companies looking at business
opportunities in the UK.

“The bilateral trade between the two countries has touched £10 billion. While the UK-based businessmen are looking at setting up businesses in advanced engineering, education, biotechnology and architecture design, we are looking at Indian business houses to expand their operations in UK in creative industry like post production, design, digital animation and telecom, besides IT and ITeS and financial services sector,” he said.

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BRIEFLY

Reliance staff absolved
Mumbai:
The Government Railway Police which is probing the death of Bharat Borge, a techincian at the Mumbai airport, who discovered the tampering of industrialist Anil Ambani’s helicopter, have absolved top company officials of the responsibility. Borge died after being hit by a train at suburban Vile Parle railway station on Tuesday morning. — TNS

SRK to
endorse
Sprite

Shah Rukh Khan
Beverage giant Coca Cola
on Friday said it has
roped in Bollywood star
Shah Rukh Khan for a
new advertisement
campaign for its
Sprite brand. Khan was
earlier the brand
ambassador of its
rival brand, Pepsi.

World Bank okays $400-m loan to SIDBI
Washington:
The World Bank has approved $400 million additional loan to the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), which is aimed at improving access to finance for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This will help scale up the fully disbursed original project which had been approved by the World Bank on November 30, 2004, the bank said in a statement. — PTI

Gold plunges by Rs 280
New Delhi:
Gold prices on Friday tumbled by Rs 280 to Rs 14,490 per 10 gram in the bullion market here on brisk selling by stockists, triggered by weak global trend. Silver also lost Rs 600 to Rs 20,900 per kg on reduced offtake by industrial units at existing higher level. — PTI

Forex reserves up by $631 m
Mumbai:
India's foeign exchange reserves rose by $631 million for the week ended April 24 to $253.091 billion from $252.460 billion in the previous week. Reserves had dropped by $517 million for the week ended April 17 to $252.460 billion from $252.977 billion in previous week. — PTI

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