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RCom, Etisalat sign tower-sharing deal
New Delhi, July 22
Etisalat DB, which late last year has acquired a controversy marred 45 per cent stake in new private telecom operator Swan Telecom, has signed a 10-year tower-sharing deal with the infrastructure arm of Reliance Communications (RCom).

AI restructuring soon, says Patel
New Delhi, July 22
Praful Pate The Air India board will be recast in a month’s time. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel will soon meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss probable names for the post of independent directors on the board.

Corporate Results
Wipro Q1 net up 12 pc at Rs 1,016 crore
Bangalore, July 22
Software exporter Wipro's net profit rose 12 per cent at Rs 1,016 crore for the first quarter of the fiscal. Putting behind the worst of global economic downturn, the company projected revenue of up to 1,053 million dollars from IT services for the next three months.



EARLIER STORIES



AP’s fiscal management worsening: Finance panel
Hyderabad, July 22
India’s financial sector is sound as the country has reasonably weathered the global recession storm, said chairman of the 13th Finance Commission, Vijay Kelkar here on Monday.

Sony India targets 30 pc market share
Sony India general manager (marketing) Takakiyo Fujita displays wireless ‘all-in-one’ Walkman, in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Chandigarh, July 22
Electronics major Sony India plans to become the single largest player in the MP3 player segment in the country by raising its market share by 2010 to 30 per cent from 17% currently. The market for MP3 is currently pegged at 900,000 units and is expected to rise by 11% by fiscal-end.

Sony India general manager (marketing) Takakiyo Fujita displays wireless ‘all-in-one’ Walkman, in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Photo by writer

Direct tax mop-up rises 3.65 pc
New Delhi, July 22
A high base effect and refunds have pulled down net direct tax collection growth to 3.65 per cent to Rs 59,465 crore during the first quarter of the current fiscal over April-June 2008-09.

Ambani Gas Row
PMO seeks OilMin comments
New Delhi, July 22
The Prime Minister's office is believed to have asked for urgent comments from the Petroleum Ministry, which has been accused by industrialist Anil Ambani of siding with Mukesh-led RIL in an ongoing gas dispute.

Infosys bags e-governance project
Bangalore, July 22
Infosys Technologies Limited yesterday said it has been awarded the eBiz project by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

DSM Anti Infectives opens new plant
Toansa (Ropar), July 22
DSM Anti-Infectives today inaugurated its new plant at Toansa for the production of ampicillin, one of the most widely used first line of therapy for combating bacterial infections.

 

 





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RCom, Etisalat sign tower-sharing deal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
Etisalat DB, which late last year has acquired a controversy marred 45 per cent stake in new private telecom operator Swan Telecom, has signed a 10-year tower-sharing deal with the infrastructure arm of Reliance Communications (RCom).

The deal could be worth as much as Rs 10,000 crore over this 10-year period, the two companies said here. This is the second major tower-sharing deal in the country in the past few months.

Earlier this year, Norway’s Telenor, which has also made announcements for picking up 67.25 per cent stake in another startup telecom firm Unitech Wireless, had signed a infrastructure-sharing deal with the Tata-Quippo combined tower company.

“This agreement presents large cost optimisation benefits with an asset light model, improvement in capital productivity and enhances RCom’s revenue by Rs 10,000 crore. The agreement with Reliance Communications Group is the first and the largest telecom infrastructure sharing, including towers and transmission agreement, of its kind in the Indian telecom space and compliments Etisalat DB Telecom’s plans for India,” both Etisalat and RCom said in a joint statement here today.

Etisalat chairman Mohammad Hassan Omran, commenting on the deal said, “As a new entrant in this dynamic market, this alliance provides us with key, strategic advantages that will ensure a robust, speed to market and cost-effective rollout of services. Strategic alliances are an integral part of our plans for growth and Etisalat Group will always be receptive to such alliances which help to enhance the customer experience.”

On the other hand, chairman of the Reliance ADA Group, Anil Ambani described the deal as a “landmark agreement” that will redefine the future of Indian telecom sector.

“This win-win agreement demonstrates RCom’s capabilities to enable the operators to go to market with a bouquet of telecom infrastructure services. This will ensure a faster rollout, optimum costs and a time to market advantage,” he said.

Etisalat-Swan have acquired licences to offer mobile services in 15 of the 22 telecom circles in the country and Reliance Telecom Infrastructure Ltd (RTIL), the hived off tower arm of RCom, has about 50,000 towers spread across these circles.

It, incidentally, is the largest infrastructure firm in the country after Indus Towers, the largest independent tower co in the world with over 103,000 units. Indus Towers is a three-way JV between Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular & Vodafone Essar.

While Etisalat owns 45 per cent stake in the telco, the remaining 55 per cent is held by a number of stake holders, including Swan's primary promoter, Dynamix Balwas Group, a Mumbai-based real estate and hospitality business group.

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AI restructuring soon, says Patel
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
The Air India board will be recast in a month’s time. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel will soon meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss probable names for the post of independent directors on the board.

Speaking on the sidelines of an aviation industry conference, Patel said the report on reviving the national carrier was expected anytime now. “Air India will be restructured financially,” he said, adding that the government could not help the cash-strapped national carrier beyond a certain point and the work culture had to change”.

“There has to be change in the ethos and the work culture of the airline. The government will be happy to help them but we expect equal amount of enthusiasm from Air India,” he added.

The minister said the government was looking at hiring skilled professionals with the hope that this would help turn the airline around with some new ideas. “We will go for the transformation of the management of Air India from the top. We will bring in independent directors, have a professional COO to assist the CMD and appoint an international advisory agency” Patel said.

Names doing the rounds for inclusion in the Air India board include National Knowledge Commission chairman Sam Pitroda, Infosys mentor and chairman NR Narayana Murthy.

Patel also dismissed criticism against the government for alleged interference in the day-to-day management of Air India, saying, “there is no regulation, no interference in managing the company.” He said the high cost structure, certain inefficiencies and compulsions of the PSU airline had been engaging the mind of the government and that was why “we feel there is a need to bring about a transformation in the work ethic and ethos of the company.”

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Corporate Results
Wipro Q1 net up 12 pc at Rs 1,016 crore

Bangalore, July 22
Software exporter Wipro's net profit rose 12 per cent at Rs 1,016 crore for the first quarter of the fiscal. Putting behind the worst of global economic downturn, the company projected revenue of up to 1,053 million dollars from IT services for the next three months.

"We are starting to see the first signs of stability in the business as ramp-downs start to taper off and volumes start to stabilise," Wipro chairman Azim Premji told a news conference here.

He said for the second quarter, Wipro expects revenues from its IT services business to be in the range of $1,035 million to $1,053 million.

The revenue of the New York Stock Exchange-listed company's has declined sequentially 1.3 per cent to $1,033 million for the period under review, while year-on-year the fall is 3.3 per cent. However, in rupee terms revenues in the June quarter increased five per cent year-on-year to Rs 6,274 crore.

Tech Mahindra's net halved

IT firm Tech Mahindra today reported 49.08 per cent plunge in net profit at Rs 131.62 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2009 owing to the interest costs on borrowings the company incurred after acquiring Satyam.

The IT firm, which recently acquired a controlling stake in Mahindra Satyam, had a net profit of Rs 258.52 crore in the June quarter of last fiscal, Tech Mahindra said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. Total income fell 5 per cent to Rs 1,086.88 crore during third quarter, from Rs 1,142.50 crore in the year-ago period.

On a quarter-on quarter basis, the company's net profit dropped 43 per cent from Rs 230.40 crore in the March quarter of FY'09.

HDFC profit up 21 pc

Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (HDFC) today reported 20.68 per cent growth in net profit at Rs 564.92 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2009.

Total income rose 23 per cent to Rs 2,849.07 crore during the June quarter, from Rs 2,318.62 crore in the corresponding period a year-ago.

Spice Comm posts net loss

Private telecom service provider Spice Communications today said its net loss stood at Rs 34.91 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2009.

The company had a net loss of Rs 136.45 crore in the same period last year, Spice Communications said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Total revenue rose to Rs 330.40 crore in the latest quarter from Rs 314.32 crore in the same period last fiscal. — PTI

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AP’s fiscal management worsening: Finance panel
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 22
India’s financial sector is sound as the country has reasonably weathered the global recession storm, said chairman of the 13th Finance Commission, Vijay Kelkar here on Monday.

“Inflation is under control and the balance of payments position also continues to be sound. The government has shown willingness to enact significant monetary, fiscal and sectoral policy measures to minimise negative impact of the global crisis on real economy,” Kelkar said.

He was interacting with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, his cabinet colleagues and other top officials of the state.

Expressing satisfaction over the country’s fiscal management, he said the government was closely monitoring the evolving macro-economic situation.

On the international front, India was actively coordinating policy action with other countries for reform of international financial institutions as well as improved regulation and supervision of global finance.

“The fact that we are on a somewhat sounder fiscal footing than had been the case historically has allowed the government significant elbow room to act to contain the fallout of the crisis,” the chairman said.

Pointing out that the pause on the road to fiscal reform was temporary, Kelkar wanted the central and state governments to resume medium-term fiscal reform.

The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) legislation, he said, had helped the central and state governments in reducing deficits last fiscal.

The RBI has projected a revenue surplus for all states at 0.54 per cent of the GDP in 2008-09 as against a revenue deficit of 2.3 per cent in 2002-03, Kelkar said.

During the same period, the fiscal deficit has reduced to 2.1 per cent of GDP from 4.1 per cent a year before.

Meanwhile, Kelkar rapped the AP government for its "worsening fiscal management and swelling subsidy bill”.

Responding to Chief Minister’s presentation, in which he sought central help for implementing several development programmes, Kelkar raised concerns over the cost overruns on irrigation projects, mounting losses of public sector undertakings and also the swelling subsidies bill which could "potentially jeopardise” the state’s recent impressive fiscal achievements.

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Sony India targets 30 pc market share
Sanjay Khurana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Electronics major Sony India plans to become the single largest player in the MP3 player segment in the country by raising its market share by 2010 to 30 per cent from 17% currently. The market for MP3 is currently pegged at 900,000 units and is expected to rise by 11% by fiscal-end.

Sony India GM, marketing, Takakiyo Fujita told The Tribune here today: “We are aiming at a 30% market share by 2010 in the MP3 segment. To achieve this we will apply three key strategies - unique product, channel expansion and marketing communication.” He was in town to launch the firm’s new wireless ‘all-in-one’ Walkman W202. The model, priced at Rs 4,990, is targeted at youth.

The W series MP3 player offers a handy solution in times when the battery runs out. A quick charge feature allows users to play back up to 90 minutes of music with only a 3-minute charge and, when fully charged, music can be enjoyed up to 12 hours.

To reach its target audience Sony plans to expand its retail network to 3,000 outlets across the country by next year. Of the 1,100 outlets at present 240 are exclusive Sony stores and another 20 direct branch locations. The firm has initiated a channel expansion specifically for the Walkman brand, which includes Sony branded stores, multibrand outlets, and organised retail stores.

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Direct tax mop-up rises 3.65 pc

New Delhi, July 22
A high base effect and refunds have pulled down net direct tax collection growth to 3.65 per cent to Rs 59,465 crore during the first quarter of the current fiscal over April-June 2008-09.

Direct tax collection, comprising corporate and personal income tax, stood at Rs 57,373 crore during the April-June period last year.

Taxpayers received Rs 17,600 crore, representing 52.01 per cent growth over Rs 11,578 crore given in the first three months of last fiscal. "Lower growth in net tax collection was mainly on account of higher tax refund outgo," an official statement here said.

Corporate tax collected during the period was also 3.31 per cent higher at Rs 35,709 crore as compared to Rs 34,566 crore against the corresponding period last year.

Besides, in the personal income tax segment, which includes Fringe Benefit Tax and Securities Transaction Tax, the government collected Rs 24,564 crore, higher by 4.38 per cent compared to last year.

Analysts said tax collections only grew marginally on account of a high base effect, which means tax mop-up was high during the same period last fiscal.

The government's direct tax collections are projected to grow by 9.2 per cent at Rs 3,69,575 crore during the current fiscal against Rs 3,38,212 crore collected last fiscal. — PTI

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Ambani Gas Row
PMO seeks OilMin comments

New Delhi, July 22
The Prime Minister's office is believed to have asked for urgent comments from the Petroleum Ministry, which has been accused by industrialist Anil Ambani of siding with Mukesh-led RIL in an ongoing gas dispute.

Forwarding a letter written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, wherein the younger Ambani had sought a direction to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas "to cease from overtly and covertly attempting to intervene in our commercial dispute with RIL," the PMO asked the ministry to examine the matter and submit their comments urgently.

Anil Ambani had said: "We have recently seen a spate of unfortunate public utterances with unusual frequency, by various functionaries in the Petroleum Ministry to the print and electronic media in a manner not witnessed in any other part of the government that too on a matter that is sub- judice in the Hon'ble Supreme Court." Ambani's letter was first reported two days after the government filed a special leave petition challenging the Bombay High Court decision, which directed RIL to supply gas to Anil group firm RNRL at USD 2.34 per mmBtu, and also seeking a direction to declare as "null and void" an MoU between the two groups that provides for gas supply.

The Supreme Court will hear on September 1 admissibility of the petition, along with the cross petitions filed by the two brothers challenging the High Court decision. RIL said it cannot supply gas without the government's nod, while RNRL wants immediate implementation of the order. — PTI

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Infosys bags e-governance project
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, July 22
Infosys Technologies Limited yesterday said it has been awarded the eBiz project by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. The eBiz Project is among the 27 central, state and Integrated Mission Mode Projects (IMMPs) under the national e-governance plan (NEGP) of the Government of India.

Work under this agreement includes designing and developing the eBiz platform, establishing the support IT infrastructure and implementing, maintaining and expanding the eBiz solution and services for the next 10 years. Infosys will also undertake training, workshops, promotion and awareness campaigns as a part of this project.

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DSM Anti Infectives opens new plant
Tribune News Service

Toansa (Ropar), July 22
DSM Anti-Infectives today inaugurated its new plant at Toansa for the production of ampicillin, one of the most widely used first line of therapy for combating bacterial infections.

In this new facility, DSM Anti-Infectives has implemented newly developed enzymatic process for production of ampicillin, which is first ever-commercial scale implementation of biotechnology for producing this Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API). The new facility will cater to Asia- Pacific, Middle-East and African countries, in addition to the Indian market.

The new plant has a capacity of 15,000 tonnes per annum and will have a headcount of 530.

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BRIEFLY

OBC to recruit 1,500 personnel
New Delhi:
State-owned Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) plans to recruit over 1,500 employees, including officers, during the current fiscal to meet its growth objective. Talking about the expansion, OBC chief Alok K Misra said the bank has applied for 117 branch licences to be opened in the fiscal which will increase its network to 1,500 branches. — PTI

Ranbaxy gets nod to market cholesterol drug in Canada
New Delhi:
Drug maker Ranbaxy Laboratories on Tuesday said it has received final approval from the Canadian drug regulator Therapeutic Products Directorate (TPD) to manufacture and market its drug for lowering cholesterol in the North American country. The company's Canadian subsidiary Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc has received final approval from TPD to manufacture and market Ran-Simvastatin tablets, the Gurgaon-based pharma major. — PTI

Reliance MF declares dividend
New Delhi:
Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group firm Reliance Mutual Fund today announced a dividend of up to 50 per cent for its two schemes: Reliance Regular Savings Fund and Reliance Equity Opportunities Fund. The company would pay a dividend of 50 per cent or Rs 5 per unit and 30 per cent or Rs 3 per piece under the equity and balanced options of Reliance Regular Savings Fund, respectively, it said in a statement. — PTI

Yahoo! net jumps 8 pc
New York:
Internet major Yahoo! has reported eight per cent rise in net income to $141 million in the second quarter ended June 30 this year, as the cost cutting measures taken by the company seemed to be paying off. However, the company's revenues declined to 13 per cent to $1.57 billion in the latest quarter from $1.79 billion in the June quarter of 2008. — PTI

BHEL profit up 22 pc
New Delhi:
State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) today reported a jump of over 22 per cent in its net profit at Rs 470.59 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, compared to the same period a year ago. Total income of the public sector major rose to Rs 5,898.51 crore in the latest quarter of the current fiscal against Rs 4,620.98 crore in the same period last year. — PTI

Suzlon raises $202 m
New Delhi:
Wind power major Suzlon Energy has raised $201.91 million (about Rs 971 crore) by issuing securities in the global markets. Suzlon has raised $108.04 million through the issue of GDRs and remaining $93.87 million through FCCBs. — PTI

Business conventions
Chandigarh:
Euro-India Transportation Systems (EITS), a programme with B2B meetings and business conventions, and 40 associated conferences will be held at Metz, France, from November 17-19. This was disclosed at a road show organised by PHD Chamber here on Tuesday. — TNS

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