Mumbai: On Tuesday, European Aviation Holding Co. Pvt. Ltd acquired Indamer Co. Pvt. Ltd, a Mumbai-based aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) firm for an undisclosed amount. This consolidation in the domestic MRO industry leaves two leading firms in the business Max Aerospace and Aviation Ltd and Air Works Engineering Pvt. Ltd, in which publicly traded engineering firm Punj Lloyd Ltd and US-based private equity firm Global Technology Investment Group each hold a 33% stake.
Bharat Malkani, one of the directors of European Aviation Holding, is also chairman of Max Aerospace, which was in direct competition with Indamer.
Malkani said the Indamer acquisition has helped him to offer integrated solutions to the aviation industry. “Indamer will focus on offering maintenance solutions to the general aviation business, while Max Aerospace will continue to focus on military and civil aviation business,” he said.
A Bangalore-based aviation consultant who declined to be identified said further consolidation is expected since the MRO industry is fragmented, adding that it could also witness participation of foreign players once the industry stabilizes.
Founded in 1947, Indamer has been maintaining both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft for private owners, charter operators, state governments and training institutes. Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer SA. has named the firm an authorized service centre for its jets; operations are scheduled to begin in the first half of 2009.
Iron ore sales rise in Dec on higher China demand
Mumbai: India’s iron ore exports in December rose for the first time in eight months as China increased purchases.
Shipments rose to 13.7 million tonnes (mt) from 9.9mt a year earlier, the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, a group of iron-ore miners, said in a statement on Wednesday. India produced 160mt of iron ore in FY08, according to the group. Two-thirds of the output was sold to China, the world’s biggest buyer of iron ore.
India may buy 2mt sugar as output falls: Adani
Mumbai: India, the world’s second biggest sugar producer, may import as much as 2 million tonnes (mt) of raw sweetener this year to meet a shortfall in local supplies, the nation’s biggest private trader of farm goods said.
The country may buy from Brazil, said Atul Chaturvedi, president and head of agriculture trading at Adani Enterprises Ltd. India’s production may total 18mt to 30 September, down from 20mt forecast in December, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said on Tuesday.
It’s an election year and the government will spare no efforts to keep prices under check, Chaturvedi said.
Sugar jumped to a two-month high in New York on Monday on speculation that India, which exported 5mt last year, will import the sweetener for the first time since 2006. Futures for March delivery touched 12.62 cents, the highest for a most-active contract since 5 November on ICE Futures US.
NCDEX plans to relaunch coal futures, says CEO
Mumbai:National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Ltd (NCDEX) will relaunch its domestic thermal coal futures with modifications and is studying the prospect of launching imported coal futures, a top official said.
“We plan to relaunch the thermal coal futures... We have filed for certain changes with Forward Markets Commission,” chief executive officer R. Ramaseshan said on Tuesday.
NCDEX, part-owned by Goldman Sachs Investments (Mauritius) Ltd and IntercontinentalExchange Inc. , launched the country’s first thermal coal futures of domestic origin in September.
However, the contract failed to gain volumes. “There are certain inherent problems in the coal contract,” Ramaseshan said. A change in the contract size and delivery centre are among the steps that are likely to be introduced to boost volumes.
Rival Multi-Commodity Exchange of India Ltd is at an advanced stage of launching imported thermal coal futures, chief executive Joseph Massey said on Monday. India’s coal demand is expected to rise to 731 million tonnes (mt) by March 2012, but domestic production is seen lagging at 680mt, according to the government.
ONGC to keep promise,invest in Nigeria
New Delhi:Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) has said it, along with billionaire partner Lakshmi Mittal, will fulfil the $6 billion (Rs29,460 crore) infrastructure investment commitment made to Nigeria for winning oil blocks.
ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd (OMEL), the joint venture of ONGC Videsh Ltd and steel czar-owned Mittal Investment Sarl, however, set no timeline for investing in building a 180,000-barrel-a-day refinery, a 2,000MW power plant, and a railway line connecting eastern and western Nigeria.
“OMEL had made certain commitments (in 2005 to get oil blocks) and surely, we will be meeting those commitments,” ONGC chairman and managing director R.S. Sharma told reporters. Nigeria had accused the joint venture of not investing even a single penny and had begun a probe on the allocation of oil blocks to it.
Last week, Emmanuel O Egbogah, special adviser to the Nigerian President, on a visit to India had stated that OMEL must keep its “commitments” if it wanted to explore in the oil-rich African nation. “They had signed an agreement committing those investments but nothing has happened so far,” he had said. In 2005, OMEL had won rights to explore OPL-279 and OPL-285 after committing $6 billion spending in the core sector of Nigeria. It paid a signature bonus of $50 million for OPL-285 and $75 million for OPL-279. In November 2006, it paid $100 million for another block, OPL-246, which the then Nigerian government had wrested from local company South Atlantic Petroleum before allocating it to OMEL.
Real Global to launch Hindi channel in March
New Delhi: Global firm Time Warner’s arm Turner International India Pvt. Ltd on Wednesday announced the launch of a Hindi general entertainment channel in a joint venture with Alva Brothers Entertainment Pvt. Ltd even as other media houses are shutting shops or cutting editions to save cost.
“We will launch the ‘Real’ in March. The channel is targeted at ‘Neo-Indians´ in the age group of 15-34 years in the Hindi speaking market...,” Real Global Broadcasting (RGB) chairman Nikhil Alva told reporters in New Delhi.
The joint venture, named RGB, is an equal-partnership venture between Turner International and Alva Brothers Entertainment.
Asked if the timing for the launch of the channel was right as other media companies were shelving their expansion plans or cutting editions, Alva said, “This is the right time because even as sectors like banking have taken a hit, FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) continues to grow and we are sure that the channel will do well looking at the growth in the TV industry.”
Turner International’s Asia Pacific president Stephen J. Marcopot said the group will launch an English movie channel by the end of this year.
Turner already runs an English movies channel HBO, along with Cartoon Network and Pogo and English news channel CNN.
JSW Bengal unit to tie up funds by end-March
Mumbai: JSW Steel Ltd hopes to tie up funds for the first phase of its integrated steel unit in West Bengal by the end of FY09, M.V.S. Seshagiri Rao, director of finance, said on Wednesday.
The firm will set up a beneficiation unit to purify iron ore, a pellet plant and develop coal mines with an investment of Rs4,000 crore in its first phase, Rao said. “We are implementing the Bengal project in phases. (In) phase I , we are working on the raw material side. By end of this quarter, we hope to achieve financial closure,” he said.
MCX promoter to set up exchange in Bahrain
Mumbai: Financial Technologies (India) Ltd, the main promoter of India’s leading commodity bourse Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX), announced on Wednesday the setting up of an exchange in Bharain, which will offer trading in equities, currencies and commodities. The bourse—Bahrain Financial Exchange (BFX)—will be operational by March 2010, Financial Technologies said in a statement.
BFX will be the second initiative of the company in the Gulf as it already has a 50% stake in Dubai Gold and Commodity Exchange.
NPCIL defers bond sale plans for time being
Mumbai: Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd (NPCIL) has cancelled plans to sell bonds on expectations of lower rates in the coming weeks, two persons including a company official, said.
NPCIL was looking to sell Rs1,500 crore worth of 10-year notes. “We are not proceeding with it in the current market. We are looking at softer interest rates and will do debt mobilization then,” a company official, who did not wish to be identified, said on Wednesday.
Tata Motors raises fresh debt worth Rs50 cr
Mumbai: The country’s top auto maker by sales, Tata Motors Ltd, on Wednesday sold commercial paper (CP) worth Rs50 crore, taking its total short-term debt issuances this month to Rs400 crore, Thomson Reuters data showed. It sold the CP notes, carrying a coupon rate of 10.40% and maturing in May, to a state-run bank. The company had raised Rs115 crore through CP notes between September and December in a range of 8.55% to 14%, according to Thomson Reuters data. Other group companies such as Tata Communications Ltd and Tata Capital Ltd have also tapped the debt market this month.
Voting today for 12 UP legislative council seats
Lucknow: Voting for 12 seats of Uttar Pradesh legislative council would be held on Thursday. In all, 13 candidates—seven of ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), three of Samajwadi Party (SP), two of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and one Congress—are in the fray.
In the assembly of 403 members, 31 votes are required by a candidate to win. The ruling BSP, which has 217 members of legislative assembly, or MLAs, is confident of all its seven candidates sailing through with the support of independents and rebel legislators. With 94 MLAs in its kitty, the SP can also get all its three candidates elected.
The BJP and the Congress, however, are short of the required numbers. While the BJP has 51 members, Congress has only 21 MLAs. Both the parties are banking on the Rashtriya Lok Dal which has 10 members including rebel MLA Qadir Rana.
Vodafone tax liability hearing on 23 Jan
New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear Vodafone Group Plc.’s appeal against a ruling on a $2 billion tax bill related to its 2007 acquisition of Hutchison Essar Ltd on 23 Jan. The Bombay high court had directed Vodafone to pay the amount as capital gains tax for the acquisition of shares of Hutchison Essar for $10.7 billion, upholding an income tax department notice. Judges S. Radhakrishnan and Anand Nirgude had ruled the assets located in India were transferred and the company is liable to pay the taxes. Tax authorities had argued that the majority of the acquired assets are based in India and Vodafone therefore had to pay taxes on capital gains from the transaction. The Newbury, England-based carrier said in its plea the Indian Income Tax Act didn’t apply as both Vodafone and Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd. were based overseas.
RIL-RNRL arguments continue on gas row
Mumbai:Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has said Reliance Energy Ltd diverted funds it raised abroad for its Dadri power project, in an affidavit submitted to the Bombay high court on Wednesday.
RIL said the Reserve Bank of India has imposed a penalty of Rs125 crore on Reliance Energy, part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-Adag) for diverting funds and that the company has challenged the central bank’s decision. The two firms are fighting over the pricing and sale of gas from RIL’s reserves in the Krishna-Godavari basin.
In its counter affidavit, RNRL said Reliance Energy had raised Rs2,000 crore for projects and not against assets relating to the Dadri project. RNRL also alleged RIL and the government were suppressing vital facts and asked the court to direct them to produce relevant documents. It listed 27 documents it said should be produced by the government and nine by RIL, relating to correspondence between the petroleum ministry and the director general of hydrocarbon.
—PTI & Bhuma Shrivastav
HT Media sees flow?of ad revenue before polls
Mumbai: Newspaper publisher HT Media Ltd expects revenue from advertisements to flow in in the March quarter ahead of the general election but will reduce the number of pages in its newspapers to rationalize costs.
HT Media, publisher of Mint, ‘Hindustan Times’ and ‘Hindustan’, posted a nearly 80% fall in net profit to Rs7.8 crore in the December quarter against revenues of Rs340 crore as higher newsprint cost and a fall in advertisement revenue hurt margins, chief executive officer Rajiv Verma said. “Revenue volume for display advert-isements fell by about 25% in the third quarter,” he said in a conference call.
The impact of lower newsprint prices overseas would show up only in FY10 as its inventory of about 39,000 tonnes was enough till May, he said.
Sukhbir Singh Badal sworn in as deputy CM
Amritsar: Sukhbir Singh Badal was on Wednesday sworn in as deputy chief minister of Punjab, the first case of a father and son sharing the top two posts in a government, within a year of taking over the reins of the Shiromai Akali Dal.
Governor S.F. Rodrigues administered the oath of office and secrecy to the 47-year-old at a feisty ceremony attended by top leaders.
Watson sues Lupin over copy of diabetes drug
Wilmington, Delaware, US: Watson Laboratories Inc. sued India’s Lupin Ltd. for alleged patent infringement over its plans to market a generic version of the diabetes drug Fortamet in the US.
The Davie, Florida-based unit of Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Fortamet distributor Sciele Pharma Inc. asked a judge in papers filed on 15 January in Delaware’s federal court to prevent Lupin from selling generic copies until the two patents expire.
Lupin was aware of the existence of the patents for the drug, with the chemical name metformin hydrochloride, and its US Food and Drug Administration application constituted an act of infringement, according to the complaint. The patents were awarded in 2000 and 2005 to affiliates of Andrx Corp., acquired by Corona, California-based Watson in 2006. Sciele was bought by Shionogi and Co. of Osaka, Japan, in 2008.
Officials of Lupin in the US and India didn’t immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment on the lawsuit.
Mumbai-based Lupin rose Rs6.65 to Rs602.75 on Wednesday.
Unitech blames Haryana for putting SEZ on hold
Chandigarh:Real estate company Unitech Ltd has temporarily shelved its ambitious Rs22,000-crore special economic zone (SEZ) project in Haryana, blaming the state authorities for “not assisting” it in land acquisition.
However, the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corp. (HSIIDC) has accused the company of making “excuses” and said it has not shown “any serious intent” in buying the land for this project since the formation of the joint venture two years ago.
“Yes, we have put on hold our SEZ project at Sonepat for the time being, not because of economic recession but due to unclear policies of the state government and (the government) not helping us in acquiring land,” said an official spokesman of Unitech.
He said HSIIDC had agreed to help in acquiring land for the project but did not initiate in this regard.
“They (HSIIDC) had told us to help in this project by way of buying land for us but they did not do so,” he said.
However, HSIIDC general manager Jeevan Bhardwaj said that Unitech was making excuses as it had not acquired any land for the SEZ project so far.
“How can they say this (HSIIDC did not help)... when they have not acquired any land so far. We just have to acquire land for maintaining congruity,” he said.
Pantaloon Retail posts profit in second quarter
New Delhi:Pantaloon Retail India Ltd, the nation’s biggest publicly traded supermarket operator, posted second-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates.
Net income rose to Rs33.54 crore in the three months ended 31 December from Rs31.65 crore a year earlier, the company said. Profit lagged the Rs37.2 crore median estimate in a survey of five analysts by ‘Bloomberg News’.
Sales at the Mumbai-based company rose 24% to Rs1,530 crore, less than the Rs1,660 crore forecast.
Zee Entertainment Q3 net profit declines 26%
Mumbai: Subhash Chandra-led Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd said on Wednesday its net profit for the third quarter ended 31 December declined by 25.99% to Rs84 crore.
The company had a net profit of Rs113.5 crore for the year-ago period, Zee Entertainment said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. Operating revenues of the company rose to Rs545.6 crore for the quarter under review, against Rs518.2 crore for the same quarter last fiscal.
“The entertainment and media industry is also seeing the impact of the overall downturn in the global economy,” Zee chairman Subash Chandra said.
India differs with UK over security, Kashmir
New Delhi:India rejected on Wednesday a suggestion by Britain that security in South Asia was linked to the Kashmir dispute, and urged nations to act against states which sponsor terrorism.
“When the foreign secretary of the UK visited us, he shared his perceptions about the situations, and I equally told him and all the interlocutors that this is your perception,” Union foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters.
“We do not share with it,” he said.
British foreign secretary David Miliband said last week he did not believe Pakistan’s government directed the November attacks in Mumbai that killed at least 183 people, and showed no support for India’s demand for extradition of the accused.
He also said stability in South Asia was linked to resolution of the dispute over Kashmir, which both India and Pakistan claim in full but rule only in part.
Miliband’s comments were seen as embarrassing the Indian government and highlighting a chasm between New Delhi and some of its key Western allies, which think there may not be enough evidence to implicate Pakistani.
DLF to fulfil contract as IPL’s title sponsor
Melbourne:DLF Ltd said it will fulfil its contract as title sponsor of cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL) that costs Rs40 crore a year.
New Delhi-based DLF has a contract for five seasons which started with last year’s inaugural competition, the company said in an emailed statement.
Our commitment towards the IPL remains resolute and longterm, said Rajeev Talwar, DLF’s group executive director, in the statement.
Bharti in no hurry to buy Vodafone’s 4.4% stake
New Delhi: The Bharti group is in no hurry to acquire the 4.4% indirect stake held by its one-time partner Vodafone Group Plc., according to chairman Sunil Mittal.
“This is their stock lying in a grandparent company...a stock with no votes or board seats. It’s really their call. It has not crossed our minds yet,” he said.
Earlier this week Vodafone chief executive officer Vittorio Colao had said, “One day we will discuss (Vodafone and Bharti Group) what to do with the stake. To have a discussion on any issue we need to have both the partners.”
BSNL plans to launch 3G services in J&K by March
Srinagar: State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will launch the third generation (3G) mobile services in the state by March.
“We will be launching the 3G services in Jammu and Kashmir by March this year,” a BSNL spokesperson. A.K. Mittal said on Wednesday. He said there would be no limit on the number of 3G connections to be given out in the state and the sole criterion will be the response of the subscribers.
“We have not set any limit on the number of connections. We will give as many connections as the demand might be,” he said.
Mittal said the work on providing 3G services in the state is on in full swing and the services should be launched on schedule.
India, Asean to discuss free trade pact
New Delhi: The much delayed Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit is expected to be held from 27 February, improving prospects of signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the 10-nation trading bloc.
“We hope we are going to be (meeting) on 27 February,” secretary general of Asean Surin Pitsuwan told reporters on the sidelines of a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) function here on Wednesday.
Pitsuwan said the Asean ministers are ready to sign the market opening pact with India. “Trade between India and Asean is close to $40 billion...and will become $50 billion by 2010,” he said.
Pitsuwan met commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath and discussed the timing of the signing of the important document.
The two sides have agreed to abolish duties on as many as 85% of the goods to be traded. However, the remaining 15% would be discussed later.
The two sides have agreed to cut duties on about 85% of the goods.
“The remaining 15% have to be discussed later because there are sensitive items on both sides,” he said.
India and Asean concluded negotiations in August for a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, but the same could not be signed as the Asean summit scheduled for December in Bangkok could not take place because of political unrest in Thailand.