New Delhi: Automotive contract manufacturer Argentum Motors said it will acquire majority stake in French auto maker Heuliez SA for €25 million (around Rs160 crore).
Argentum has a signed a definitive document agreement for the acquisition of controlling stake in Heuliez SA, the company said in a statement. As per the agreement, Heuliez will support Argentum by distributing Argentum products in Europe, and Heuliez Manufacturing would utilize its facilities in Cerizay, India, Spain and Slovakia to build cars and automotive parts for the global market, it added.
Tata, Vietnam Steel sign accord to build plant
Mumbai:Tata Steel Ltd, India’s largest steel maker, and Vietnam Steel Corp. signed an agreement for a $3.5 billion (Rs14,945 crore) steel-and-iron ore venture in the Southeast Asian nation to supply construction and shipping companie
Tata Steel will hold a 65% stake in the 4.5 million tonnes plant and 30% of the iron ore mine, the Mumbai-based company had said on 29 May when it signed an initial agreement.
Tata Steel denies news on Corus assets sale
London:Tata Steel Ltd denied it plans to sell assets of its Corus Plc. unit that suffer from low profitability, saying a news report this week misunderstood comments in the company’s annual report.
‘Press Trust of India’ reported 11 August that Tata plans to sell and reorganize Corus assets as it seeks to increase returns on invested capital to 30%, up from 19%, in the next five years. ‘PTI’ cited comments by Tata Steel group director Jean-Sebastien Jacques in the company’s annual report.
Rocket launcher Pinaka tested successfully
Balasore, Orissa: India’s indigenously developed multi-barrel rocket launcher weapon system, ‘Pinaka’ was successfully tested on Wednesday.
Pinaka has undergone several tests since 1995 and is in an advance stage of development. “The objective of the trials was to assess its stability in flight as well as accuracy and consistency,” a defence official said.
‘Pinaka’ is an area weapon system aimed at supplementing the existing artillery gun at a range beyond 30km. The unguided rocket system is meant to neutralize bigger geographical area with rapid salvo of rockets. It can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds.
Govt unlikely to accept Chaturvedi panel report
New Delhi: In clear indications that the government may dump suggestions of a monthly fuel price hike, petroleum minister Murli Deora on Wednesday said not all of the BK Chaturvedi Committee recommendations were implementable.
“I am told some recommendations of the committee can be implemented (while some others) could be difficult to implement,” Deora said.
The committee has recommended raising prices of petrol by Rs2.50 a litre per month till March 2009 and that of diesel by Re0.75 per litre till 2010 to eliminate subsidies on the two fuels.
The country’s diesel demand is growing at an unexpectedly high rate of 23-24%, Deora said, causing shortages in some regions“We have called a meeting of (state) oil companies on Tuesday to discuss shortages in some parts like Maharashtra. There is a 23-24% unforeseen increase in demand because it is being used in power generation,” Deora said. The minister also said the government had no plans to cut fuel prices despite the fall in global crude prices as government-set prices were still much lower than the market.
— PTI and Reuters
Land row costs J&K industry Rs1,500 cr loss
Mumbai: Industries in Jammu and Kashmir state have suffered a cumulative loss of more than Rs1,500crore in the last two weeks due to the ongoing agitation, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India estimated.
The worst hit industrial sectors in the state include tourism, fruits, hosiery, carpets, handicrafts, dry fruits, forest-based products and herbs, Sajjan Jindal, president of the association, said. Exports from Jammu fell by at least 30%, the trade body said.
Cabinet to take up pay panel recommendations
New Delhi: The Union cabinet is likely to take up the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission for approval on Thursday.
A committee of secretaries tasked with fine-tuning the pay commission recommendations met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday morning, said an official concerned. This crucial meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office had been postponed for close to a month due to the political crisis in the run-up to the trust vote in Parliament on 22 July.
The Sixth Pay Commission had asked for a payout of Rs30,621 crore this year (2008-09), including a raise of Rs12,561 crore — this will translate into an average salary hike of 40% for the 3.3 million employees of the Central government — and payment of arrears since January 2006. The committee of secretaries has also recommended an additional payout of Rs12,000 crore.
— Staff Writer
India probes UN sex charges in Congo
New Delhi: The Indian army said on Wednesday that it was investigating United Nations allegations that its troops had engaged in sexual abuse while on peacekeeping duties in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A UN statement on Tuesday said a probe had “revealed prima facie evidence” that the soldiers may have engaged in sexual exploitation and abuse. One anonymous UN official said the case involved abuse of young girls and boys by at least 100 Indian peacekeepers over several years.
India responded to the statement saying its own probe was already under way and that the Army vice-chief had visited Congo in May to look into the allegations.
SC issues bailable arrest warrants against Ansals
New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench on Wednesday issued bailable arrest warrants against the Ansal brothers and two others who were earlier granted bail in the case relating to Uphaar cinema fire tragedy that claimed 59 lives.
The bench also issued notices to Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal and two others who were granted bail earlier by the Delhi high court. The apex court passed the orders on an appeal filed by the Uphaar Victims Welfare Association, challenging the grant of bail.
Subhiksha to appeal against FDA decision
New Delhi: Subhiksha Retail said on Wednesday it would appeal in the Bombay high court against the decision of the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to suspend the company’s warehouse licence in the state. “The order is totally illegal and has been framed due to vested interests of our business rivals and we are in consultation with our lawyers for filing an appeal in the high court,” managing director R. Subrananium said.
Maharashtra FDA had earlier in the day suspended the retail chain’s licence in the state over hygiene issues at its warehouses.
Internet giants in Indian gender dispute
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. to respond to charges that they illegally advertise gender selection products, an activist and a lawyer said.
India bans tests that allow people to know the gender of unborn children—a law designed to tackle widespread abortion of female foetuses.
“The court has issued a notice to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo asking them to reply to our petition,” Sanjay Parikh, a lawyer who lodged the complaint, said. The Internet companies did not immediately respond to media queries about the case.
Gujarat NRE Coke moves Calcutta high court
Ahmedabad:Gujarat NRE Coke Ltd has moved the Calcutta high court against Austral Coke and Projects Ltd, its directors, auditors and merchant bankers over its initial public offer, or IPO, that hit the market last week, and claiming Rs4,761 crore damage.
A company release said it has taken serious objection to Austral Coke’s use of the Gujarat NRE Coke name in a “distorted and misleading” way to sell its issue to public investors. According to it, Austral Coke has severely damaged its reputation, leading to a loss in its market capitalization. It has sought compensation for that. The Rs119-142 crore Austral Coke issue opened on 7 August and closed on 13 August.
Gujarat NRE Coke is owned by Girdhari Lal Jagatramka and his son A.K. Jagatramka, while Austral Coke is promoted by Ratanlal Tamakhuwala and his son Rishi Raj Agarwal.
-— Sunil Raghu
South Korean firm STX plans to invest in India
Bangalore:STX Corp. Ltd, the South Korean business group that builds cargo ships, engines and runs power plants and banks, said it is looking to invest in India either through equity partnerships or technology joint ventures with local firms after signing a $238.2 million deal with state-run shipping firm Shipping Corp. of India Ltd to build four dry bulk cargo carrying ships.
“We are looking for collaboration with a financially strong Indian company to build a presence in India,” said an executive at STX, who did not want to be named. An STX spokesman declined to comment.
— P. Manoj
NCDEX to launch coal futures in September
New Delhi: National Commodity and Derivative Exchange (NCDEX) on Wednesday said it will launch futures trading in thermal coal next month and plans to begin second power exchange in joint venture with the National Stock Exchange.
“We will launch thermal coal futures on 10 September. It will help users to hedge their risk to price exposure,” NCDEX managing director and chief executive officer R. Ramaseshan told reporters here. The exchange is looking a delivery centre for coal at Nagpur.
Six new appointments at Macquarie Capital
Mumbai:Macquarie Capital Securities (India) Pvt. Ltd, the institutional securities arm of the Macquarie Group, on Wednesday announced six new appointments.
Rajeev Malik has joined Macquarie as ASEAN and India economist. He was a senior economist with JP Morgan. Irfan Khan, who was working with Citigroup Global Markets Australia as head of equity structured products, has joined as head of structured products sales in India. The others are Loretta Joseph, Anand Krishna, Anjali Saxena and Ripple Boruwa. Besides, Christian Drysdale has relocated to Mumbai from Macquarie’s Hong Kong office to run the equity products business in India.
— Staff Writer
Avestha Gengraine defers IPO plans
Bangalore:Avestha Gengraine Pvt. Ltd said it has deferred its plans to raise funds through an IPO and would now file its red herring prospectus by the end of the year.
The company did not disclose the fund it is planning to raise saying it was in a silent period, but founder chairman Villoo Morawala-Patell said it would be a significant amount that would largely go towards ”global brand building and for acquisitions”. The company recently started operations in the US, UK , Dubai and Germany.
— Seema Singh
NSE to introduce 39 scrips for F&O trading
Mumbai: The National Stock Exchange will introduce 39 shares for trade in the futures and options with effect from 21 August, the exchange said in a statement late on Tuesday.
The shares include ABG Shipyard Ltd, Akruti City Ltd , Asian Paints Ltd , GTL Infrastructure Ltd and GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd. For a full list of shares refer to www.nseindia.com.
Paes-Bhupathi enter quarterfinals
Beijing: Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi on Wednesday reached the quarterfinals of the men’s doubles event here. The seventh seeded Indians defeated Marcelo Melo and Andre Sa of Brazil 6-4, 6-2 in just over an hour.
In the quarterfinals, they will take on the winners of the second round match that pits fourth seeded Swiss pair of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka against the Russian duo of Dmitry Tursunov and Mikhail Youzhny.
Meanwhile, shuttler Saina Nehwal bowed out of the women’s singles competition, losing to Indonesia’s Maria Kristin Yulianti. The day also saw the exit of Mangal Singh Champia in the archery prequarterfinals.
Parsvnath appoints 3 independent directors
New Delhi:Parsvnath Developers Ltd announced the appointment of three independent directors for its special economic zone (SEZ) subsidiary, including R.J. Kamath, former chairman of Andhra Bank and Canara Bank
Besides Kamath, D.N. Davar and B.K. Goswami have been appointed independent directors of Parsvnath SEZ Ltd, a subsidiary of Parsvnath Developers.
Reliance, Vornado in shopping centre JV
New York: Vornado Realty Trust and Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s largest public company, are teaming up to build and operate shopping centres in India, the US real estate investment trust said on Wednesday.
Each company has agreed to contribute up to $250 million to the 50-50 joint venture that will build large shopping centres, some surpassing 1 million square feet, and be anchored by hypermarkets that Reliance will own and operate.
MTNL cuts broadband charges by up to 50%
New Delhi: Public sector telecom services provider MTNL slashed broadband charges by up to 50% . It also announced a new plan that will offer customers high speed (2 mbps) Internet access at a monthly rental of Rs99 and 150 MB free download. Alternately, users can opt for a monthly rental scheme of Rs149 with free download of 400 MB. These plans will be available from 15 August.
It has also reduced the monthly rental of another tariff plan by 34% from Rs899 to Rs599 that would be available to customers from 1 September.
Trai finds fault with 3G spectrum policy
New Delhi: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, or Trai, said the government criteria of subscriber base for allotment of third generation, or 3G, spectrum to CDMA operators such as Reliance Communications Ltd is against the principle of equity.
“As various service providers have been given licences in different areas at different periods of time, the Authority feels that keeping the subscriber base as the criteria for deciding the priority of allotment shall be against the level playing field and the principle of equity,” Trai chairman Nripendra Misra said in a letter to telecom secretary Siddartha Behura.
Meanwhile, Broadcast tribunal TDSAT dismissed petitions of two Zee group firms Dish TV and Wire and Wireless India Ltd seeking signals to operationalise HITS (Headend-In-The- Sky) platform.
Credit growth to be 20% this year, FM says
New Delhi: Union finance minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday said he expects credit growth to be 20% this year as demand for loans remains unabated. “The overwhelming consensus is that there is no slowdown in credit demand,” Chidambaram said after a meeting with chiefs of state-run banks in New Delhi.
“There is no evidence of slowdown in infrastructure, project finance, or expansion,” he added. The Reserve Bank of India has raised borrowing costs thrice this year and asked banks to set aside more funds as reserves four times to curtail credit growth and curb inflation that rose to a 13-year-high. Loans grew 21.6% in the year ended 31 March. State Bank of India, ICICI Bank Ltd and Punjab National Bank are among lenders that have raised interest rates following the central bank’s monetary tightening. The minister said banks’ profits may drop because of the increase in borrowing costs. Ahead of the meeting, O.P. Bhatt, chairman of State Bank of India, said interest rates in the country have almost peaked, a day after the country’s largest lender raised its prime lending rate by one percentage point to 13.75%.
Meanwhile, a senior finance ministry official, who did not wish to be named, said banks will receive a total of Rs7,500 crore as their share of capital from the government in 2008-09 to offset loans written off under the Rs71,680 crore farm loan package. The money will be infused once Parliament clears the supplementary budget, the official added.
— Bloomberg and Staff Writer
BNP Paribas expands its India business
Mumbai: The BNP Paribas Group has injected €50 million (about Rs335 crore) in its Indian operations. With this, the capital base of the bank will cross Rs2,000 crore in India. A higher equity base helps a bank grow its assets.
“Despite a globally challenging environment, BNP Paribas pursues its steady and disciplined growth strategy in India with both organic and inorganic investments. Step by step we are deploying in India, the whole range of our capabilities to service our clients,” said Frederic Amoudru, chief executive and India country head of BNP Paribas.
— Staff Writer
Tata Capital in alliance with Mitsubishi UFJ
Mumbai: Tata Capital Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Ltd, said on Wednesday it had signed an agreement with Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Co. for investment banking, global offerings of Indian equities and other services.