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DLF raises Rs 3,860 cr through sale of stake
New Delhi, May 13
In what was the largest equity transaction from the Indian real estate sector after DLF Limited’s IPO, certain members of the promoter group of DLF today sold 16.8 crore shares held by them in the open market for a gross consideration of about Rs 3,860 crore.

RBI eases restructuring norms for urban coop banks
Chandigarh, May 13
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed certain norms to aid in the financial restructuring of hundreds of ailing urban cooperative banks (UCBs) located across the country. The move is aimed at allowing quick financial restructuring of banks and making them attractive for takeover.

Rs 1 lakh cheque no longer high value
Mumbai, May 13
The RBI has begun phasing out clearing of high value cheques from this month, according to senior officials. The process, which is being carried out in phases, will soon see banks clearing high value cheques electronically using the national electronic fund transfer (NEFT) and real time gross settlement (RTGS) services.



EARLIER STORIES



Raju’s judicial remand extended
Hyderabad, May 13
The disgraced former chairman of Satyam Computers, B Ramalinga Raju, and seven others accused in the Rs 7,800-crore fraud in the software giant will remain in jail till May 27 with a local court here extending their judicial remand.

Gold nearing Rs 15k mark
New Delhi, May 13
Gold prices closed in on the crucial Rs 15,000-mark today by gaining Rs 140 per 10 gram in the bullion market here on hectic buying by stockists and jewellery fabricators amid firming global trends.

Windows 7 to hit market by yr-end
Hyderabad, May 13
Software giant Microsoft’s next version of operating system, Windows 7, is expected to be available to customers towards the end of this year, the company CEO Steve Ballmer said today. In addition, the final product of Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate (RC) would be also released around the same time.
Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer, Microsoft Corporation, at the inaugural session of Tech Ed-India-2009 in Hyderabad
Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer, Microsoft Corporation, at the inaugural session of Tech Ed-India-2009 in Hyderabad on Wednesday. — PTI

Intel slapped with record $1.4 b fine
Brussels/New Delhi, May 13
The European Commission has slapped a record fine of 1.06 billion euros (about $1.4 billion) on the world's largest computer chip-maker Intel for breaching the region's anti-trust laws.

FIIs pump $1 b in equity markets
New Delhi, May 13
The stock markets world over are getting edgy as investors still seem to be nervous about making investments due to uncertainties. However, India as an emerging market is again been the favoured destination as it has received nearly $1.02 billion (or Rs 5,037 crore) worth of investment in equity in May.

Hidehiko Tanaka, managing director, Nikon India, at the launch of Nikon D-5000 in New Delhi
Hidehiko Tanaka, managing director, Nikon India, at the launch of Nikon D-5000 in New Delhi on Wednesday. Nikon unveiled the 12.3-megapixel Nikon D-5000 in the LR/HD video category that will cost Rs 48,950 and Rs 55,950 (with a VR lens kit). Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

TCS bags Volkswagen contract
New Delhi, May 13
India's top software exporter Tata Consultancy Services today said it had bagged a five-year contract from Volkswagen Group UK Ltd to deliver IT transformation and support services to the vehicle manufacturer. However, the company has not revealed the financial details of the deal.

Cess on natural gas likely: Petroleum secy
New Delhi, May 13
The government may levy a cess on domestically produced natural gas to fund construction of gas pipeline network, Petroleum Secretary RS Pandey said today. “If a 20-cents per million British thermal units cess is levied on gas price, in a year we can get Rs 3,000 crore,” Pandey said at the India Energy Forum Meeting here.

Corporate Results
Allianz net plunges 97.5 pc at 29 m Euros
Munich/New Delhi, May 13
European financial services entity Allianz SE has posted a 97.5 per cent drop in profit at 29 million euros for the first quarter of 2009, primarily hit by adverse market conditions and the sale of Dresdner Bank. The firm had raked in a profit of 1.15 billion euros in the same period a year ago.





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DLF raises Rs 3,860 cr through sale of stake
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, May 13
In what was the largest equity transaction from the Indian real estate sector after DLF Limited’s IPO, certain members of the promoter group of DLF today sold 16.8 crore shares held by them in the open market for a gross consideration of about Rs 3,860 crore.

The realty giant’s promoters have sold a 9.9 per cent stake in the company to bail out cash-short DLF Assets Ltd - a firm also promoted by KP Singh.

“Certain members of the promoter group of DLF today sold 16.8 crore shares in DLF held by them in the open market for a gross consideration of about Rs 3,860 crore,” DLF said, adding that the promoters’ stake would now be 78.6 per cent. DLF Assets owes DLF about Rs 5,000 crore.

The transaction took place at just above Rs 230 per share, which is 2.6 per cent below yesterday's closing price and much lower than DLF's IPO price of Rs 525 a share.

The promoters’ propose to use the proceeds from the transaction to infuse capital, directly or indirectly, into DLF Assets Private Limited (DAL) by subscription of an appropriate instrument, or otherwise. The infusion would be used to pay towards its contractual obligations.

According to a company spokesman, the transaction saw a strong response with significant demand from most of the large existing institutional shareholders as well as several high quality new accounts using this opportunity to become core shareholders in DLF.

This transaction will put investor concerns regarding DAL liquidity to rest, as well as reduce the net exposure to DAL in DLF’s books, he added. It also nearly doubles free float of the company from 11.4 per cent to 21.3 per cent that will result in a corresponding increase in the company's representation in various indices in due course.

The Singh family had floated DAL to acquire commercial properties of DLF. DAL had planned to list in Singapore but had to shelve the proposal after the global meltdown.

It has been trying unsuccessfully to raise funds through private equity since last year, as it has to pay over Rs 5,000 crore to DLF against purchase of assets. Besides, one of its investors, DE Shaw, which invested $400 million in DAL in 2007, wants to exit the company.

The DLF promoters might also use part of the net proceeds towards the purchase of DE Shaw’s interest in DAL, the statement said, adding that the transaction was “one of the tightest achieved in recent times globally for transactions of this size”. 

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RBI eases restructuring norms for urban coop banks
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed certain norms to aid in the financial restructuring of hundreds of ailing urban cooperative banks (UCBs) located across the country. The move is aimed at allowing quick financial restructuring of banks and making them attractive for takeover.

The exiting RBI guidelines say post -restructuring, management of these UCBs should be in the hands of a board of administrators, which will have representation from individual depositors and professional bankers, to ensure proper implementation of restructuring scheme including recovery of non performing assets (NPAs).

However, the RBI has now reviewed and decided to do away with this pre-requisite, while considering financial restructuring proposals of the UCBs. The regulatory bank has now clarified the management aspects will be considered on a case-to-case basis, while considering the financial restructuring proposals.

This relaxation follows a feedback received by the RBI that even financially stronger banks remain unwilling to acquire UCBs, where the deposit erosion is large. “In such situations, restructuring of the liabilities of the weak UCB may be a viable proposition as the depositors above Rs 1 lakh may stand to gain compared to what they would be entitled to receive in case of liquidation of the bank,” said a senior RBI official.

It may be noted that the central bank had come up with new norms for financial restructuring of UCBs in January. The bank had said it was prepared to consider financial restructuring proposals as an additional option for resolution of problem banks, provided they conform to some norms. Accordingly, no conversion into equity will be permitted in the case of small depositors (those have deposit of up to Rs 1 lakh).

A portion of the deposit of individual depositors above Rs 1 lakh may be converted into equity. Likewise, a portion of the deposits of the institutional depositors may be converted into innovative perpetual debt instrument (IPDI).The conversion of deposits into equities and IPDI would be subject to consent of the depositors. The proportion of deposits converted into equity/IPDI should be such that the net worth of the bank after reconstruction turns positive. The bank will have to maintain CRR/SLR on the restructured liabilities.

All UCBs having negative net worth have now been asked to approach the regional offices of the RBI with specific proposals for restructuring. The apex bank has clarified that investors’ rights and obligations would remain unchanged.

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Rs 1 lakh cheque no longer high value
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 13
The RBI has begun phasing out clearing of high value cheques from this month, according to senior officials. The process, which is being carried out in phases, will soon see banks clearing high value cheques electronically using the national electronic fund transfer (NEFT) and real time gross settlement (RTGS) services.

Till May 2 before the new policy was introduced, corporate entities and high networth individuals used to deposit cheques worth Rs 1 lakh and above for high value clearing under which these instruments would be cleared by 11 am on the same day or the following day if deposited later. However, under the new policy introduced this month, the minimum amount at which the high value cheques may be drawn has been raised to Rs 5 lakh. This would be further raised to Rs 10 lakh from August 1 and would be completely discontinued from November 1.

The banking system across the country have adopted networked banking systems under the Core Banking System programme and this is expected to be completed this year, say RBI officials. “Cheque books issued by most banks in Mumbai carry the RTGS/NEFT number of the banks enabling quick electronic transfer,” says a banker.

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Raju’s judicial remand extended
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, May 13
The disgraced former chairman of Satyam Computers, B Ramalinga Raju, and seven others accused in the Rs 7,800-crore fraud in the software giant will remain in jail till May 27 with a local court here extending their judicial remand.

Raju, his younger brother and former Satyam managing director Rama Raju, former CFO V Srinivas and six other accused were produced before the special court here today by the CBI that is probing the corporate India’s biggest fraud case.

The 14th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate extended the judicial remand of Raju brothers, Srinivas, two former auditors of Price Waterhouse - S Gopalakrishna and Talluri Srinivas - and three employees of Satyam Computer till May 27.

Earlier, appearing for Ramalinga Raju, high court senior counsel Prakash Reddy argued that his client had not committed any fraud and there was only an allegation of falsification of records.

“He has not diverted any funds. Instead, he pumped in Rs 1,230 crore into the company and strove hard for the firm,’’ he argued.

However, counsel for the CBI argued that the agency was investigating the fund diversion part and pleaded with the court against granting bail to the accused stating that if they came out, other Satyam employees would not reveal any information pertaining to alleged diversion of funds.

The CBI had filed the charge sheet in the court on April 7, accusing Raju brothers and others of indulging in cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery.

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Gold nearing Rs 15k mark

New Delhi, May 13
Gold prices closed in on the crucial Rs 15,000-mark today by gaining Rs 140 per 10 gram in the bullion market here on hectic buying by stockists and jewellery fabricators amid firming global trends.

The precious metal surged Rs 140 at Rs 14,970 per 10 gram, while silver prices rose Rs 300 at Rs 22,600 a kg.

Marketmen said trading sentiment turned bullish here after reports of precious metal rising in London to six-week high. The metal gained in London after the US dollar declined, spurring demand for gold as a hedge against inflation.

They said the silver was in demand as industrial units feared the prices might go up further. Standard gold and ornaments surged Rs 140 each to Rs 14,970 and Rs 14,820 per 10 gram respectively. — PTI

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Windows 7 to hit market by yr-end
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, May 13
Software giant Microsoft’s next version of operating system, Windows 7, is expected to be available to customers towards the end of this year, the company CEO Steve Ballmer said today. In addition, the final product of Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate (RC) would be also released around the same time.

“Microsoft is committed to ensuring that IT professionals and developers continue to have the platform and technologies to drive maximum value and business results. The combined power of Windows platform will enhance their agility and help them respond to the ever changing business requirements,” Ballmer said.

The direct access feature delivered by Windows 7 with Windows Server 2008 R2 will enable IT managers to provide the mobile user with reliable and secure access to the corporate network resources when user is on the Internet, without having to initiate a VPN connection. It also allows servicing and updating of remote PCs, even when they are on the road. BranchCache also delivered jointly by Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 enables IT professional to decrease time branch office users spend waiting to download files from remote servers by caching the previously accessed content locally.

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Intel slapped with record $1.4 b fine

Brussels/New Delhi, May 13
The European Commission has slapped a record fine of 1.06 billion euros (about $1.4 billion) on the world's largest computer chip-maker Intel for breaching the region's anti-trust laws.

Intel has been fined for using illegal anti-competitive practices to keep away its “only competitor” - Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) - and also reduce the consumer choice in the global market for ‘x86 chips’. The penalty amount exceeds the 497 million euros fine imposed on Microsoft for breaching anti-trust laws in 2004.

“Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years. Such a serious and sustained violation of the EU's antitrust rules cannot be tolerated,” European Commissioner for Competition Policy Neelie Kroes said today.

‘x86’ central processing units (CPUs) are the main hardware component of a computer.

According to the commission, the world's largest computer chip maker “used illegal anti-competitive practices to exclude essentially its only competitor, and thus reduce consumer choice, in the worldwide market for x86 chips”.

"These illegal actions were designed to preserve Intel's market share at a time when their only significant rival - AMD - was a growing threat to Intel's position," it said.

Regarding the European Commission's move, Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini said the company believes the decision is wrong.

“Intel takes strong exception to this decision. We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace ... Intel will appeal,” he said. — PTI

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FIIs pump $1 b in equity markets
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
The stock markets world over are getting edgy as investors still seem to be nervous about making investments due to uncertainties. However, India as an emerging market is again been the favoured destination as it has received nearly $1.02 billion (or Rs 5,037 crore) worth of investment in equity in May. This has been only May where there have been only seven trading sessions. SEBI data shows that in April, the Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought $1.3 billion and in March this figure was $0.11 billion.

Owing to financial meltdown in the western markets, FIIs pulled out $15.017 billion from the Indian market in FY-09, shows the RBI data.

Marketmen say the foreign investors are relooking at investing at emerging economies and money is flowing to other Asian and BRIC markets as well. Though election results and a stable government at the center will be the big magnet in attracting the more flows in the year ahead. India will remain a choice of investment in the emerging market economy, say some marketmen, but stable political environment is the key. However, this heightened activity in FII counter has been the reason of markets touching to nearly 12,000 levels last week. But now the domestic institutions like mutual funds and insurance companies are offloading stocks.

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TCS bags Volkswagen contract

New Delhi, May 13
India's top software exporter Tata Consultancy Services today said it had bagged a five-year contract from Volkswagen Group UK Ltd to deliver IT transformation and support services to the vehicle manufacturer. However, the company has not revealed the financial details of the deal.

According to the deal, TCS will leverage its global delivery network to provide onshore and offshore IT support and transformation services for the Volkswagen Group's operations throughout the UK and across the brands - Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Volkswagen passenger cars and Volkswagen Commercial vehicles, TCS said.

Volkswagen Group UK is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Europe's largest vehicle manufacturer Volkswagen AG.

TCS would support all brands within the group as they move to consolidate and standardise its business platform. — PTI

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Cess on natural gas likely: Petroleum secy

New Delhi, May 13
The government may levy a cess on domestically produced natural gas to fund construction of gas pipeline network, Petroleum Secretary RS Pandey said today.

“If a 20-cents per million British thermal units cess is levied on gas price, in a year we can get Rs 3,000 crore,” Pandey said at the India Energy Forum Meeting here.

The funds generated through the cess can be used for construction of 500-600 km of natural gas pipeline in a year so that a criss-cross national gas highway network is established soon.

Pandey, however, said this was only at thought stage and a proposal to this effect is yet to be moved to the government for consideration.

India currently produces about 100 million cubic meter a day of gas, including 25 mmscmd from Reliance Industries Eastern Offshore KG D-6 fields. — PTI

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Corporate Results
Allianz net plunges 97.5 pc at 29 m Euros

Munich/New Delhi, May 13
European financial services entity Allianz SE has posted a 97.5 per cent drop in profit at 29 million euros for the first quarter of 2009, primarily hit by adverse market conditions and the sale of Dresdner Bank. The firm had raked in a profit of 1.15 billion euros in the same period a year ago.

For the first quarter, total revenues rose to 27.7 billion euros against 27 billion euros in the year-ago period. In India, Allianz has a joint venture with business group Bajaj called Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

Kotak Mahindra Bank

Private sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank has posted a surge of 48 per cent in standalone net profit at Rs 103 crore for the fourth quarter of 2008-09, which the bank termed as “satisfactory”.

The net profit for the whole year ended March 31, 2009, however, fell to Rs 276 crore from Rs 294 crore last year. On consolidated basis, profit for the year was Rs 652 crore against Rs 991 crore in last fiscal due to slump in the economy.

JK Lakshmi Cement

Cement maker JK Lakshmi Cement has reported a 53.90 per cent jump in its net profit at Rs 104.08 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2009. The cement firm had a net profit of Rs 67.63 crore in the March quarter of FY'08, it said.

Net sales during the fourth quarter surged 25.08 per cent to Rs 364.41 crore, from Rs 291.35 crore in the corresponding period previous fiscal. The company declared a final dividend of 40 per cent, at the rate of Rs 4 per share, for the fiscal ended March 31.

Hindustan Motors

Hindustan Motors has said its net loss during the fourth quarter ended March 31 stood at Rs 25.28 crore, while it had a net profit of Rs 10.95 crore in the corresponding period a year ago. Net sales of the company fell to Rs 127.94 crore during the March quarter of FY'09, from Rs 185.01 crore in the same quarter previous fiscal, Hindustan Motors said.

For the financial year ended March 31, the company posted a net loss of Rs 38.86 crore, while it had a net profit of Rs 30.84 crore during FY'08. Net sales of Hindustan Motors during the FY'09 declined to Rs 591.18 crore, from Rs 662.11 crore in the previous fiscal.

Hinduja Global Solutions

IT firm Hinduja Global Solutions has said its consolidated net profit grew 49.5 per cent during the fourth quarter ended March 31 to Rs 36.06 crore over the corresponding period a year ago. The company had a consolidated net profit of Rs 24.12 crore during the January-March quarter a year earlier, Hinduja Global Solutions said. Besides, the company has declared a dividend of Rs 15 per share. — PTI

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