Houston: Indian American Dinesh Keskar has been appointed by the world’s leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft, Boeing Co., to lead Boeing India from March.
The Boeing on Monday named Ian Thomas president of Boeing Australia and South Pacific, and Dinesh Keskar vice-president of Boeing International and president of Boeing India.
Keskar, 54, originally from Rajkot, India, will represent the entire enterprise and be responsible for leading Boeing-wide efforts focused on expanding the company’s local presence and pursuing new growth and productivity initiatives.
Boeing, BEL sign pact to set up analysis unit
Bangalore: Defense PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and aircraft manufacturer Boeing on Tuesday announced that they have signed a pact to jointly develop an analysis and experimentation centre in India to offer customers the ability to make better informed decisions in modernizing India’s defence forces.
“We are not divulging the monetary value of the venture. We can only say that we are making significant investments. We will set up units in Bangalore and New Delhi”, Boeing vice-president and India Country head for integrated defense systems Vivek Lall told a press conference here.
RBI panel interviews PNB and BoB chiefs
Mumbai: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor D. Subbarao, finance secretary Arun Ramanathan and other members of the search panel interacted with Punjab National Bank chairman and managing director K.C. Chakrabarty and Bank of Baroda chairman and managing director (CMD) M.D. Mallya on Tuesday in New Delhi for the post of a deputy governor in the central bank that has been lying vacant since V. Leeladhar retired in December.
Early this month, the panel had met Bank of India CMD T.S. Narayanasami, IDBI Bank Ltd chairman Yogesh Agarwal and Canara Bank CMD A.C. Mahajan.
It is not immediately known whether the panel has zeroed in on the right candidate. The panel is expected to make its recommendations to the finance ministry in next few days.
Secretary of the department of personnel and training Rahul Sareen, former State Bank of India chairman Janki Ballabh and RBI’s former deputy governor Vepa Kamesam are the other members of the panel.
Industrial production in Jan to be better: official
New Delhi: India’s industrial output in January is expected to be better than November and December as there were encouraging signs from the cement, steel and auto sectors, a senior government official said on Tuesday.
“There is some positive news,” department of industrial policy and promotion secretary Ajay Shankar said.
“January numbers from the auto sectors are much better than expected. The steel numbers are better than expected, and cement numbers are also better than expected.
India is due to announce industrial output data for December on Thursday. In November factory output rose 2.4% from a year earlier, after declining 0.3% in October.
Pension scheme: 23 entities shortlisted
New Delhi:State Bank of India and its six subsidiaries were among 23 entities, shortlisted to perform the distribution role for individuals who wish to join the New Pension System, or NPS.
Other prominent ones shortlisted for distribution, or points of presence (PoPs), are Union Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce and ICICI Bank Ltd, said a person familiar with the matter who didn’t want to be identified.
The shortlisted PoPs and the six pension fund managers, or PFMs, will now have to be approved by the board of the pension regulator, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority, or PFRDA, the person said.
The NPS, which started operations by managing pension funds of central government employees who joined after 31 December 2003, will be open to individuals from 1 April 2009.
The architecture of NPS has been designed to keep costs deducted from a contributors’ money to the minimum, D. Swarup, PFRDA chairman, had told Mint in October.
The PoPs are independent of funds managers and are the interface between NPS and its subscribers. PoPs will raise subscriptions, where subscribers will have the option to choose a fund manager, and transfer the money to NPS.
The six fund managers that have been shortlisted on account of being the lowest bidders are entities promoted by UTI Asset Management Co. Ltd, State Bank of India, ICICI Prudential Asset Management Co. Ltd, Reliance Capital Ltd, IDFC Asset Management Co. Ltd and Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Co. Ltd. The fund manager would necessarily have to invest according to guidelines issued by PFRDA, which is expected to finalize the investment options for susbscribers shortly.
ONGC exempted from paying fuel subsidy
New Delhi: Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd or ONGC, India’s biggest exploration company, has been exempted from paying subsidy to state-run refiners following the fall in crude prices.
We received a letter from the oil ministry on Monday saying there will be no subsidy in the fourth quarter, ONGC chairman and managing director R.S. Sharma said by telephone from New Delhi. The fourth quarter should be relatively good.
The exemption by the government, which controls fuel prices, may boost the explorer’s earnings after oil dropped from a record in July. Refiners sell fuel below cost as India tries to curb inflation and the subsidy that’s partly borne by ONGC has resulted in a decline in the company’s profit in four of the past five quarters.
RIL gas sales from K-G basin by March-end
New Delhi:Reliance Industries Ltd or RIL, India’s most valuable company, will start selling natural gas from its biggest find located off the east coast by the end of next month or in early April, an official said.
The company plans to start production from the Krishna Godavari (K-G) basin in early March, the official, who requested anonymity, said in New Delhi today. RIL will sell more gas than planned to fertilizer companies, the official said.
Pakistan to curb nuke scientist’s travel: US
Washington: Pakistan has told the US it will put some curbs around freed scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan to prevent him from becoming a renewed nuclear proliferation threat, a US official said Monday.
However, the official said the US wanted more as well as “solid” assurances from Pakistan that he will not be such a threat after a court released Khan, dubbed the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb, from house arrest on Friday.
“Whatever it is that they decide in terms of putting additional restrictions on his (Khan’s) movements, we will have to see,” the State Department official told reporters on the condition of anonymity.
“I understand that he has to notify (his) government 48 hours in advance if he wants to travel outside of Islambad. That’s one of the things they’ve communicated to us,” according to the official. “I’m sure there’s more that the Pakistanis can do, and we expect and hope that they will do more to make sure that he is no longer a proliferation risk.”
The official said US ambassador Anne Patterson had received assurances from Pakistani government officials during a meeting in Islamabad at the weekend. The official said Washington was still skeptical.
PC sales up 12% in April-Sep period
New Delhi: Sales of personal computers (PCs) in the country grew 12% in April-September, an industry body said on Tuesday forecasting annual sales would remain flat as purchases slow in tandem with the world’s financial woes.
The Manufacturer’s Association for Information Technology said sales of laptop and desktop computers rose to 3.7 million units in the six months ended 30 September.
“Going forward, the global economic downturn has started reflecting on the domestic IT market as evidenced in the recent Oct-Dec quarter. We expect a flat market for PCs in fiscal 2008-09,” Vinnie Mehta, executive director, said at a media briefing.
In the year to March, 7.3 million personal computers were sold in the domestic market.
Murthy likely to head Nasscom ethics council
Pune: N.R. Narayana Murthy, chief mentor and non-executive chairman of India’s largest software exporter Infosys Technologies Ltd, is likely be asked to head Nasscom’s proposed corporate governance and ethics council, a member of the trade body’s executive council said.
This person, declining to be identified, said Nasscom has “informally” invited Murthy to chair the council.
“I have not yet got a written letter of invitation from Nasscom and it is not fair on my part to talk on the subject just now,” Murthy said.
Nasscom’s executive body is scheduled to meet on 11 February to discuss the scope and responsibilities of the corporate governance council, being set up in the wake of the multi-crore fraud at Satyam Computer Services Ltd.
“As an industry, we have to do something to re-instill not just customer confidence in our industry but also that of our own employees. Just one Satyam incident does not mean that the entire IT industry is not clean,” said Ganesh Natarajan, Nasscom chairman.
Natarajan is deputy managing director of Zensar Technologies Ltd, a software services firm.
TCS to develop solutions with Cisco Systems
Mumbai: India’s largest software services provider Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) agreed to jointly develop services solutions with Cisco Systems Inc.
The two companies will develop and deliver solutions to help customers set up network-based data centers, the Mumbai-based provider and the California-based company said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
SC reserves order on Mulayam’s DA case
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order on applications relating to the question whether the Central Bureau of Investigation, or CBI, should file its report on the Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh’s assets before the Supreme Court or the Union government.
In 2005, a public interest litigation, or PIL, was filed by lawyer Vishawanth Chaturvedi seeking an inquiry into the proportionality of Yadav’s assets to his income. In March 2007, the Supreme Court asked CBI to conduct an investigation and submit a report to the Union government.
In October 2007, CBI filed an application in Chaturvedi’s PIL requesting the court for permission to submit its report before it and not the Union government as directed by the court. In December, however, CBI filed another application stating that it would like to withdraw its October 2007 application.
In the same case, Yadav, his two sons—Akhilesh and Prateek—and daughter–in-law Dimple Yadav have filed petitions, seeking a review of the court’s March 2007 order and requesting the court to order an enquiry by an independent agency or committee other than CBI. The bench on Tuesday issued notices to Chaturvedi and CBI seeking their responses and posted the review petitions for hearing on 31 March.
Consolidation seen in funds industry
Mumbai: The rush among Indian funds to gather assets at the cost of margins could see many firms running out of business as flows into profitable stock funds may be hit in 2009, U.K. Sinha, chairman, UTI Asset Management Co. Ltd, said, late on Monday.
The industry’s claim of growing assets at a 30%-plus rate was “misleading” as most inflows were treasury money parked in funds to take advantage of the tax arbitrage that low-margin money market funds offered, he said late on Monday.
“If you continue to grow only on the strength of some very very fragile assets and that fragile asset is coming... because of some tax advantage which may get withdrawn, then the industry will actually have nowhere to hide,” Sinha said.
Fixed income funds controlled about three-fourths of the Rs4.8 trillion assets of Indian funds industry at end-January, data from Association of Mutual Funds in India showed.
Bulk of these assets were parked in low-margin liquid funds with almost a fifth of these in fixed maturity plans on which fund houses earn the lowest fees, and sometimes none at all.
Oil ministry asks for Rs13,000 cr as bonds
New Delhi: The Union oil ministry has asked the government for about Rs13,000 crore as bonds to be paid to refiners for selling fuels below cost in the three months ended April, an official said, requesting anonymity.
Indian Oil Corp. Ltd, the nation’s biggest refiner, and other state refiners got Rs21,940 crore of bonds from the government on 4 February to help narrow their revenue losses. The bonds are part of the compensation for the year ending March. The government is yet to decide on bonds to be given to state-run refiners in the year to March, oil secretary R.S. Pandey said on 5 January.
Goldman puts $76 mn more in Indian unit
Mumbai: Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. said on Tuesday it had pumped another $76 million (Rs370 crore) into its wholly-owned Indian finance unit to expand its credit trading and investing businesses. The injection raised the capital of Pratham Investment and Trading Pvt. Ltd, a non-banking financial company, to Rs485 crore from Rs115 crore, the US bank said.
United Spirits may sell 49% in Whyte & Mackay
New Delhi: Liquor maker United Spirits Ltd plans to sell as much as 49% in its Whyte and Mackay Ltd (W&M) unit as part of a plan to reduce its debt.
Divestment in W&M was always part of United Spirits’ deleveraging plan, the Bangalore-based company said in a statement on Tuesday. Chairman Vijay Mallya plans to sell stakes in the company and its W&M unit to reduce interest costs. United Spirits is negotiating to sell a stake to Diageo Plc.
Wockhardt promoters pledge 43.11% stake
Mumbai: Drug maker Wockhardt Ltd on Tuesday said two of its promoters have pledged 43.11% stake in the firm, or 109.4 million shares.
Promoters Korakiwala Holdings and Investments, and Dartmour Holdings, pledged at least 47.1 million shares, Wockhardt said in a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Shares of the company closed at Rs96.60 on BSE, up 1.85%.
Cancel missile system deal to Israeli firm: Left
New Delhi: Opposing the grant of a contract to an Israeli defence firm for supply of missile defence systems, the Left parties have asked the government to cancel the Rs10,000 crore deal and not “subvert” India’s own missile programme which was superior.
It was surprising that “such a contract has been given when the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) is already under investigation of CBI on charges of bribery and corruption for the anti-ship, ship-mounted Barak missile system,” Left leaders, Prakash Karat and A.B. Bardhan, said in a signed letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Beware of people who play with faith: Sonia
Dehri-on-Sone (Bihar): In a veiled attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, for resurrecting its Ayodhya temple plank ahead of Lok Sabha poll, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday asked the people to beware of people “who use god only to serve their own interests”.
Without naming the BJP or allied saffron outfits, Gandhi said ,“those who play with the faith and emotions of people by using religion only to capture power are not true believers. Such people use god only to serve their own interest.” She said growth-oriented economic policies of the UPA government has largely insulated India from global economic meltdown.
SingTel profit falls 16% as competition grows
Singapore: South-East Asia’s largest telephone company Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel) posted its biggest profit decline in almost two years as a stronger currency dented earnings and competition intensified in Indonesia and India.
Net income dropped 16% to S$799 million ($535 million, Rs2,605 crore) in the three months ended 31 December, from S$952 million a year earlier, the company said on Tuesday. Sales slipped 3.2% to S$3.7 billion.
The Singapore dollar’s 23% surge against the Indian rupee and 15% gain versus the Indonesian rupiah in 2008 eroded earnings from SingTel’s largest profit contributors including Bharti Airtel Ltd. Bharti on 22 January reported third-quarter profit increased 26%, slowing for the sixth straight quarter.
Chief executive officer Chua Sock Koong faces the challenge of reviving earnings growth as consumers cut spending amid the deepening global recession and competition heats up in Australia, India and Indonesia.
‘No rethinking on 26% FDI cap in defence’
Bangalore: There is no proposal before the government to revise the 26% cap on foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence sector, defence production secretary Pradeep Kumar said on Tuesday.
“There is no move at present to change the 26% cap”, he told reporters in response to questions a day before the five-day air show, Aero India 2009 commences here.
Kumar said the government would come out with a revised Defence Procurement policy next year, improving upon the one unveiled in August, which was finalized after getting feedback from all stake-holders, Indian and foreign industries and aviation experts.
Declare income from bundling handsets: DoT
New Delhi: The department of telecommunications (DoT) is understood to have sought clarification from Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone Essar Co. and Idea Cellular Ltd for not declaring the income from bundling handsets along with connections as part of revenue, meant to be shared with DoT. In a notice to these three operators, DoT is learnt to have said: “It has been noticed that no revenue is being shown under the account head” sale of handsets in the quarterly statement of revenue and licence fee submitted by you on self assessment basis as per terms and conditions of the licence agreement”.
When contacted, Airtel and Idea Cellular said they have not received the notice, while a Vodafone spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.
DoT said it came to know that bundled minutes are being offered discounting the cost of handsets by these companies.
GSM operators add 9.3 mn users in Jan
New Delhi: Unscathed by the global economic downturn, the Indian telecom growth story continues with the GSM operators adding a record 9.3 million new subscribers—the highest ever, taking the total user base to 267.5 million in January.
The GSM operators’ association, the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI), on Tuesday released the subscribers figures, which does not include the numbers from Reliance Telecom Ltd. A COAI official said if Reliance Telecom numbers are included the addition may cross 10 million.
Vodafone Essar Co. added 2.4 million new users to 63.34 million, while Bharti Airtel added 2.73 million more customers to 88.38 million. Idea Cellular added 2 million new users to 40.01 million and state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) added 1.31 million new users to 42.67 million. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) added 0.1 million new users in January.
The world’s second largest wireless market maintained the growth momentum on the back of cheap call rates and handsets.