Mumbai: Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, which sells one out of every two cars in India and Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone Ltd (MPSEZL) signed an agreement on Wednesday for a mega car terminal at Mundra in Gujarat for exports. The terminal will be operational by December. Presently, Maruti exports about 40,000 cars a year from the Mumbai port.
The initial investment in the project is pegged at Rs100 crore. Maruti will invest Rs40 crore, as part of its Rs9,000 crore investment plan for India, to build a pre-delivery inspection centre spread across 7,500 sq metres.
MPSEZL will put in Rs60 crore to set up other infrastructure at the new terminal, which will have a 35-acre car stockyard and a dedicated buffer area for cars to be parked just before they are loaded to ships. The car terminal will also offer a roll-on-roll-off, or Ro-Ro berth that speeds up the loading process and minimizes the chance of damage to the cars being loaded.
“We have the technology and skills to build top quality cars for the international market. But our export ambitions need infrastructure support on the ground, and this initiative will be a big step forward in filling that gap,” said Shinzo Nakanishi, managing director and CEO, Maruti. The company expects its exports to hit 50,000 units in fiscal 2008. Maruti is also launching its A-Star model by the end of this calendar, which will further spur its exports expected to reach 200,000 units by 2010.
Duty evasion charges see stock prices slide
Mumbai: Stock prices of construction firms listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) lost significantly after the central intelligence unit of Indian customs launched a series of cases alleging import duty evasion by nine such firms, as reported exclusively by Mint on 20 February.
The list of firms includes Punj Lloyd Ltd, Gammon India Ltd, Era Constructions Ltd, Maytas Infra Ltd and state-owned Ircon International Ltd. Punj Lloyd stock lost 4.5% mid-morning on Wednesday, while Era and Gammon lost more than 3% each. However, Punj Lloyd’s stock recovered large part of the loss to close at Rs371.15, down 1.5%. Gammon and Era stocks, both closed with 2.6% loss. Maytas Infra too lost more than 2% during the day but closed with 1.3% loss. Ircon remained unchanged. Four of the nine firms are not listed on bourses.
Sensex, the benchmark index, lost 2.5% or 458 points on Wednesday, to close at 17,617.60. Other construction-related stocks including Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), a Sensex constituent, also witnessed sharp losses. L&T closed with 2.5% loss after falling 3.4% during trading hours. Engineering and construction firm Shriram EPC Ltd’s stock was down 6.3% during the day. The nine firms, in customs net, are alleged to have diverted construction machinery imported specifically for projects financed by the United Nations (UN) and other international aid organizations to private projects. Khushboo Narayan
Eminent economist Amaresh Bagchi dead
New Delhi: Economist and tax expert Amaresh Bagchi, emeritus professor with the National Insititute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) died here after a brief illness.
A former director of the NIPFP, he was also a member of the 12 Finance Commission. In his condolence message, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “he has left a lasting imprint both in the field of academic research in fiscal policy as well as on public policy formulation. It is no exaggeration to state that Amaresh has been associated with almost every major fiscal policy reform of the past 30 years. As member of the Finance Commission, he contributed to major policy initiatives in the field of Centre -state finances.” Staff writer
Infosys signs seven new banks for Finacle 10
Bangalore: India’s second largest software exporter Infosys Technologies Ltd has signed seven new global banks for its upgraded universal banking product Finacle 10, that was launched on Wednesday. Haragopal Mangipudi, business head, Finacle said revenues from new customers would start flowing in fiscal 2009.
The new version includes offerings such as Islamic banking, wealth management and mobile banking solution. Infosys board member T.V. Mohandas Pai said the company has invested $60 million (Rs241 crore) in upgrading Finacle over past three years. Staff Writer
‘Economist’ launches Indian ad campaign
Mumbai: The Economist Newspaper Ltd, a world business and current affairs magazine better known as ‘The Economist’, has identified India as a key market with the “strongest growth potential, both in Asia and globally,” said Suprio Guha Thakurta, associate publisher, The Economist, India. The publication plans to nearly triple its current circulation from 17,636 to 50,000 by 2010. As part of its business strategy, the company also launched a first ever Indian campaign on 21 February, even after a presence in India that spans over 15 years. “Although The Economist has been distributed in India for a while, it is only now we feel the need for a marketing thrust because India is undergoing a strong demographic shift. It is now a necessity for the large youth population to be more informed,” said Thakurta. The campaign will follow the publication’s popular and very distinct ‘white out of red’ global advertising format, where the message usually appears in white ink on a bright red background. Priyanka Mehra