New Delhi: The impressive viewership generated by the Indian Premier League, or IPL, in its first three days has more advertisers looking for sponsorship opportunities on television. IPL’s broadcast partner, Sony Entertainment Ltd, or SET, had rounded off its list of on-air sponsors last week but the network reopened the gates to allow electrical goods manufacturer Havell’s India Ltd as another on-air sponsor on Monday.
According to Mumbai-based television audience measurement agency, TAM Media Research, IPL was seen by 12.5 million people in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore on 20 April, the third day of the tournament. Its average viewership share during the first three days ranged between 4.97% and 8.21%.
Riveting: Bangalore Royal Challengers’ M. Boucher in action during the IPL match in Mumbai on Sunday.
“We added Havell’s to our list of sponsors today,” said Rohit Gupta, president, network sales and revenue management, digital and syndication, SET. While Gupta did not disclose the amount Havell’s paid, a media buyer close to the development said it could be between Rs18-20 crore.
Hyundai Motor India Ltd and Vodafone Group Plc. had paid Sony about the same amount for sponsorship rights. Havell’s will be the fifth co-sponsor after Max New York Life Insurance Co. Ltd, Godrej Appliances Ltd, Coca-Cola India Inc. and Citibank.
According to the same media buyer, prices of spot buys, or advertising time bought at the last moment, went up 75% on Monday. He said Sony sold its 10-second spots for Rs3.5 lakh on Monday, against Rs2 lakh initially. National Egg Coordination Committee, Castrol India Ltd and Blue Star Ltd are among those buying ad spots.
Both Sony and IPL were hopeful that prices would rise as the league progressed. Media buyers agreed there could be a last minute scramble to get on board. “Going by the excitement in the past three days, IPL ad spots are likely to go up to at least Rs5 lakh over the next few days,” said another senior executive of a media buying house.
BSE, Reliance Capital plan spot gold market
Mumbai: Reliance Capital Ltd, the financial services provider controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani, plans to set up an exchange to trade gold for immediate delivery in India, the world’s biggest user of the precious metal.
Reliance Money Ltd, the retail broking unit of Reliance Capital, will partner the Bombay Stock Exchange Ltd, Asia’s oldest bourse, and the Bombay Bullion Exchange Ltd, chief executive, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, said on Monday. The spot market will start trading on an electronic platform in a month, he said.
The exchange will allow jewellers and investors nationwide to buy and sell the metal, as the fall in the US dollar and rising inflation increase its appeal as an alternative asset.
Indian firm floats call option wheat tender
New Delhi: An Indian firm has floated a call option wheat import tender, under which bids can be placed until November, an official said on Monday.
The tender has been floated by National Collateral Management Services on behalf of the State Trading Corp., the official, who did not want to be identified, said.
A call option gives the buyer the right to purchase a commodity at a specified price within a given period. Prices are agreed in advance. Earlier this month, India took an option to buy 180,000 tonnes of wheat from conglomerate Cargill Inc. at $406 (Rs16,199) a tonne. The country imported 1.8 million tonnes (mt) of wheat in 2007, down from 5.5mt the previous year.
India grows only one wheat crop in a year.
No plan to delist Dabur Pharma, Fresenius says
New Delhi: Fresenius Kabi, a wholly owned subsidiary of German health care group Fresenius SE , said on Monday it has no plans to delist Dabur Pharma Ltd after its acquisition of the Indian firm.
“It will continue to be traded,” Rainer Baule, president and CEO of Fresenius Kabi, said.
Fresenius acquired 73.3% of anti-cancer drug maker Dabur Pharma for Rs878 crore, or Rs76.50 per share, in cash on Saturday.
It said it would make a mandatory offer to acquire another 20% of the company within four-six weeks.
Fresenius Kabi, which provides patients in many countries in Europe with an outpatient nutrition therapy service, said the acquisition will broaden its offering of patient-specific oncology therapies and also help it expand its drug portfolio.
L&T to build Rs3,500 cr complex in Mumbai
Mumbai: India’s biggest engineering company Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), will invest Rs3,500 crore to build a railway station and a commercial complex in the suburbs of Mumbai, expanding its real estate interests.
Work will start on the Seawood station and a complex will be built over the facility in the next five years, Mumbai-based L&T said in a statement on Monday. In February, L&T had paid Rs1,810 crore to the local government for the right to build the complex, which may yield as much as 5 million sq. ft. Demand for hotels and service apartments is surging in India as overseas investors travel to the world’s fastest growing major economy after China. L&T also said it plans to start a fund to attract investments to long-term real estate ventures in India.
L&T shares rose Rs69.20, or 2.49%, to close at Rs2,845.40 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Asia wealth execs see double-digit growth
Hong Kong: Undeterred by volatile markets and slowing global growth, Asia’s wealth management industry expects annual revenue growth of more than 15% over the next two years, according to a survey released by Barclays Capital, the investment banking arm of UK lender Barclays Plc.
The survey of staff from 57 wealth management firms across non-Japan Asia overseeing more than $5 trillion (Rs199 trillion) also found they are most bullish on the prospects for China, although South-East Asia was closely behind. “The outlook for South-East Asia is now viewed as second only to China in terms of potential wealth management revenue growth over the next couple of years, reflecting the growing significance of Singapore as a global wealth management centre,” Kevin Burke, the firm’s head of distribution for Asia Pacific, said in a statement.
Around 60% of wealth managers expected more than 15% annual revenue growth from India, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
ArcelorMittal inducts 3 members on its board
New Delhi: The world’s biggest steel maker ArcelorMittal inducted three new members in its group management board (GMB) on Monday taking the strength of its board to seven.
Among those inducted are Sudhir Maheshwari, currently executive vice-president, finance, mergers and acquisitions; Davinder Chugh, senior executive vice-president, Shared Services; and Christophe Cornier, executive vice-president, Flat Products Western Europe, a release said.
“The prime responsibilities of Maheshwari and Chugh are mergers and acquisitions, business and project development and shared services, respectively. Christophe Cornier’s new responsibilities will include Asia, Africa and India, steel greenfield projects and equipment manufacturing,” it said.
The new appointments follow the retirement of ArcelorMittal’s chief operating officer Malay Mukherjee from the board.
JSW Steel not to hike prices for now
New Delhi: Steel manufacturer JSW Steel Ltd has no immediate plans to raise steel prices and is willing to absorb the ensuing hit in profit margins for up to four months, its managing director said on Monday.
Prices of coal and iron ore, the raw materials for steel, have risen sharply, but a spike in inflation in India, caused in part by rising metal prices, has led to the government asking domestic steel producers to limit prices and trim profits.
“Margins will be hit, but we are willing to absorb the impact for another three-four months,” Sajjan Jindal told reporters on the sidelines of a conference. He did not answer a question on how much the impact would be. “Beyond that, we have to follow global trends,” Jindal said, adding he expected global steel prices to moderate in the medium-to-long term on slower growth worldwide. JSW Steel shares rose 2.84% to close at Rs833.70 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Bengal shuts down on call against inflation
Kolkata: The 12-hour West Bengal bandh called by the Trinamool Congress and the Socialist Unity Centre of India or Suci, to protest rising prices brought the state to a standstill but was curtailed by two hours in deference to the wedding season. “In view of the spontaneous response to the bandh and also in reference to the people’s request regarding weddings being scheduled for the day, I am announcing the curtailment of the bandh by two hours,” Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee said. She said the response to the bandh was spontaneous “‘with the people registering protest against the failure of the United Progressive Aalliance and the Left Front governments to arrest the spiralling prices of essential commodities.”
-Rajdeep Datta Ray
Koor not to invest in Tata Teleservices
Jerusalem: Tel Aviv-based Koor Industries Ltd is in talks with an unidentified investor to sell as much as 19.75% of Makhteshim Agan Industries Ltd, the world’s biggest maker of generic agrochemicals, the company announced in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Monday.
Separately, Koor said it had ended talks to invest as much as 2.5 billion shekels (Rs2,916 crore) in India’s Tata Teleservices Ltd. Koor said on 17 April it had sent a non-binding letter of intent to buy a “significant minority holding” in Tata Teleservices, Tata group’s closely held mobile phone operator. Koor didn’t provide any explanation for its decision to end the talks.
Govt centre to monitor mobile phone calls soon
New Delhi: The government on Monday said it plans to set up a Centre for Communication Security Research and Monitoring to help security agencies intercept and analyze call details.
The government proposes to set up such a centre and keep a copy of select call data records (CDRs) for its use, minister of state for IT and communication Jyotiraditya Scindia informed Lok Sabha in a written reply.
Security agencies have expressed concern recently over the data sent through the BlackBerry wireless service, as it cannot be intercepted since it is routed through servers in Canada.
The government is understood to be thinking of asking the BlackBerry servers to be shifted to India or copy the data and store them for at least a year for any eventuality. BlackBerry services are offered by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar Ltd, and Reliance Communications Ltd.
Sri Lanka to buy 20 trains from India
Colombo: As part of its modernization plan, Sri Lanka will buy 20 trains from India to improve rail services between Colombo and the Matara sector in the southern part of the Island country.
For the first time in the country’s railway history, the Ceylon Government Railway (CGR) will purchase 20 new power diesel multiple unit (DMU) train sets from India for long distance travel, an official statement said.
The power sets, which will start arriving in Sri Lanka from the beginning of 2009, are expected to speed up rail travel on the 160-km stretch after the coastline railway track is restored.
Each of the power sets will cost around $3.5 million (Rs14 crore) and delivery is expected to be completed within 18 months beginning next year.
Sri Lanka is estimated to have a rail network of around 1,500 km.
Titagarh Wagons lists 1.85% higher
Mumbai: Wagonmaker Titagarh Wagons Ltd rose as much as 30% on Monday, after listing 1.85% above its issue price of Rs540.
The company is raising Rs129 crore from the sale of 2.38 million shares and plans to set up an electric multiple unit manufacturing facility, expand its existing facility and for strategic buyouts. “We are very optimistic about this sector. We hope to perform very well and as per market expectations,” chairman J.P. Chowdhary said.
Titagarh’s offer had been subscribed 6.75 times, despite a volatile market and a slump in primary markets. The company, which gets 80% of its revenue from wagon manufacturing, competes with Texmaco Ltd, the country’s largest private player, and Jessop.
IIM-A may roll back steep fee in hike
Ahmedabad: The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) at Ahmedabad is expected to postpone a decision it took earlier this month to considerably hike fees for its two-year postgraduate programme from the 2008-10 batch, a faculty member of the college has said.
This follows objections raised by the R.C. Bhargava-led review committee asked to look at fee structure, among other issues. The sought-after business school, which said it was hiking fees from Rs2 lakh a year to Rs5.5 lakh for the first year and Rs6 lakh for the second, has called a meeting of its board of governors on 26 April to discuss the objections raised. A senior faculty member at IIM-A told Mint on condition of anonymity that the school will now probably be forced to roll back its fee from Rs5.5 lakh and Rs6 lakh to Rs3 lakh.
Ad association told to approach Bombay HC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court asked advertising agencies and an association of newspapers to move their challenge on the imposition of 0.25% stamp duty on all agreements related to advertisements on mass media to the Bombay high court.
The petition was filed this month by the Advertising Agencies Association of India, a national organization of advertising agencies along with ad agency Madison Communication Pvt. Ltd and the Indian Newspaper Society.
The petitioners opposed the amendment by Maharashtra to the Bombay Stamp Act saying that the imposition of 0.25% tax on any instrument relating to advertisement on mass media was unconstitutional as it violated the fundamental right to free speech and expression and the right to practice trade of one’s choice.
Speaker disagrees with CJI, says RTI should cover all
New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Monday disagreed with views expressed recently by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan that the Right to Information (RTI) Act was not applicable to his office.
“I am not questioning the Chief Justice. He is a high constitutional functionary. But since you ask me, I feel we should not keep anything back from people,” he told reporters when asked about the CJI’s views.
Chatterjee said in a democracy people occupy the central position and insisted that once such information is denied, then “there is scope for speculation which may affect the credibility of the institution”.
Disputing Balakrishnan’s views that constitutional functionaries are not covered under the RTI, he said “everything is under the Constitution or should be under the Constitution. The question is whether people are entitled to know.”
“The constitutional position of people’s right to know has been recognized under the RTI Act,” he said noting that it has been brought for the purpose of enforcement.
The refrain of the Speaker, who has been forthright in airing his views on judicial activism, was that “we should not keep anything back from people” as they have the right to know in a democracy.
The Speaker said he had allowed giving away of information under the RTI and had even suggested that parliamentary standing committee proceedings be thrown open to the media. Chatterjee had earlier allowed disclosure of information under the RTI Act regarding the assets and liabilities of MPs, which are furnished to him in a sealed envelope.