New Delhi: The company that owns India’s biggest brewer and spirits maker, UB Group, said overseas companies have shown interest in buying a stake in United Spirits Ltd.
“There are a number of international players who are interested” in United Spirits, Ravi Nedungadi, chief financial officer of UB Group, the parent of the Indian liquor company, said in a telephone interview on Thursday. He declined to comment on a report that Japan’s Suntory Ltd may buy a stake in the company.
The Economic Times reported earlier on Thursday that Suntory may buy a stake of 10-15% in United Spirits for about $600 million (Rs2,724 crore). The report cited an unidentified United Spirits official. Suntory spokeswoman Aya Takemoto said in a phone interview on Thursday that “there is no truth to the story”.
India may attract up to $15 bn for airports
New Delhi: India may attract between $10 billion (Rs45,400 crore) and $15 billion of investments to upgrade its airports over the next 10 years, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said in New Delhi today.
Country to import 20 mn tonnes of coal
New Delhi: The country plans to import 20 million tonne of coal to meet fuel shortages, power secretary Anil Razdan said.
India should import coal “even at high prices”, Razdan said. The nation will face a shortfall of as much as 16mt even after purchasing the coal, he said in New Delhi on Thursday.
Inflation slows for third consecutive week
New Delhi: Inflation slowed for a third straight week, signalling that the central bank’s three interest rate increases since early June are beginning to work.
Wholesale prices rose 12.1% in the week to 30 August from a year earlier, the commerce ministry said in New Delhi on Thursday. That compared with a 12.34% gain in the previous week and the median 12.01% forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 22 economists.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor D. Subbarao, who took over the top job last week, said 9 September he would take “appropriate” action as it was not yet clear if the moderation in inflation was a “discernible trend”. Wholesale prices have risen at more than twice the central bank’s targeted 5% pace since June.
Subbarao’s predecessor Y.V. Reddy, who retired 5 September, in July raised the benchmark interest rate by a half point to a seven-year high of 9% after raising it twice in June. Other central banks across Asia have also been increasing borrowing costs amid higher food and fuel prices.
India plans to add 90,000MW by 2012
New Delhi: The country plans to add 90,000MW of electricity generation capacity in the five years ending 2012, power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said.
The government had targeted the addition of 78,755MW in the period, the minister told parliament in August last year.
Polio is ‘in retreat’ in Uttar Pradesh: WHO
Singapore: Polio infections caused by the most dangerous strain of the crippling disease are “in retreat” in Uttar Pradesh, “the world’s most tenacious reservoir” of the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
“A year ago, the technical feasibility of polio eradication looked uncertain” in the state, WHO director general Margaret Chan said. “I believe we can put questions about technical feasibility to rest based on what has happened in Uttar Pradesh in just the past 12 months.”
Newer vaccines that protect against the virus with fewer doses have strengthened eradication efforts in an area where extreme poverty, poor sanitation and high population density have fanned polio’s spread for centuries.
Type-1 polio, the most virulent of the three strains, has infected 14 people in the state this year, compared with 21 in the same period of 2007, said Shamila Sharma, a spokeswoman for the United Nations agency in New Delhi, in an email on Thursday. Across India, 20 type-1 cases have been reported this year, compared with 61 a year earlier.
India PC market records 8.1% y-o-y growth: IDC
New Delhi: Indian personal computer (PC) market (desktops and notebooks) grew by 8.1% during the April-June quarter, compared to the same period the previous year, according to a study by market research firm IDC. PCs recorded sales of 2.085 million units as against 1.928 million in the the same quarter previous year. Sales of desktop PCs declined by 2.4%, while notebook PC shipments grew by 51.2%.
In terms of desktop PC shipments, Hewlett-Packard (H-P) retained its top position with a market share of 13.9%, followed by HCL and Dell in second and third spots, respectively. In the notebook PC shipments category, H-P retained the top spot with a market share of 31.2%, Dell moved to second spot, while Acer retained the third spot.
In the overall client PC market (notebooks and desktops combined), HP retained the top slot with market share of 18.7%, while HCL with market share of 10.8% stood second, and Dell moved up to third position with 8.9% market share.
- Staff Writer
Apex court extends ban on SIMI by six weeks
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday extended the ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, until the second week of October.
The Union government had on 6 August filed a petition in the apex court challenging an order passed by a special tribunal set up under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act that lifted a ban on SIMI and its activities.
The apex court ordered a stay on the tribunal ruling and ordered a ban on SIMI activities, the time period of which was extended again on Thursday.
- Malathi Nayak
BS closes all three Gujarati editions
New Delhi: Seven months after venturing into regional language business papers, Business Standard Ltd, or BSL, has decided to shut its two remaining Gujarati editions. The ‘Business Standard’ Gujarati editions were published from Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Rajkot. The Rajkot edition was shut in July.
“We have decided to discontinue the Mumbai and Ahmedabad editions as well,” said Akila Urankar, president of BSL. “The Gujarati editions did not take off as we had anticipated and the rising newsprint prices and overall market environment was not helping either.”
The company had started with a print run of 30,000, Urankar said. While it was working to minimize job cuts and absorb employees into the Gujarati website it runs, “there will be some shrinkage,” she said. Another person familiar with the situation said almost all the Gujarati-language journalists at the company are likely to be laid off after a one-month notice period.
Business Standard’s seven-edition Hindi operations, which also began in February, are “doing well,” Urankar said, adding there were no plans to prune any Hindi editions.
A slowing economy is, for the first time in recent years, taking a toll on Indian print companies and journalists, A joint venture between publisher Jagran Prakashan Ltd and broadcaster TV18 Ltd recently said it had indefinitely postponed plans to launch a business newspaper in Hindi.
- Staff Writer
MTNL to trial run of 3G services by month end
New Delhi: State-owned telecom firm, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, or MTNL, will be doing a trial run of 3G, or the third generation, services in Delhi by end of September.
3G mobile services enable high-speed data access on mobile phones allowing users to surf the Internet or download content, including music and video, at speeds faster than those supported by current cellular technologies.
A press statement from the Press Information Bureau (PIB) said the trial network would be in and around Delhi’s Connaught Place area. “Indoor trial of 3G in Delhi has already been completed. The launch will give people a feel of high-speed data, video streaming, etc., which come as part of the 3G services. MTNL has already got ready the core equipment for the purpose. It is presently mobilizing the necessary radio equipment.” It added MTNL would formally launch the 3G services in Delhi by the end of this year, and in Mumbai, early next year.
- R. Jai Krishna