Kolkata: Tata Motors Ltd will take about a year to vacate the 645-acre plot leased out to it in Singur by the West Bengal government, according to the state’s commerce and industries secretary Sabyasachi Sen, and this in turn could jeopardize the state’s plan to allot it to a Chinese auto maker.
After Tata Motors decided to move its small car factory from Singur to Gujarat, the West Bengal government offered the plot to First Automobile Works Ltd of China, which plans to manufacture small cars, buses and trucks in the state.
Mubadala denies giving funds to Jet Airways
Mumbai: Jet Airways (India) Ltd gained as much as 7.6% intraday in Mumbai trading after reports that the airline got a Rs1,000 crore loan from Mubadala Development Co.
However, shares of the company closed down 2.14% at Rs184.80 on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
In Abu Dhabi, the state-owned Mubadala Development Co. denied the reports that it was in talks to take a stake in Jet or to provide funds for the airline. Mint and the ‘Business Standard’ said the airline was in talks with Mubadala about funding Rs1,000 crore while another paper said the airline was in advanced negotiations to sell a 10% stake to Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings to raise Rs250 crore.
“No,” Waleed Al Muhairi, Mubadala’s chief operating officer told ‘Reuters’ by phone when asked if the reports were true.
—Bloomberg & Reuters
Sama Airlines starts Damman-Mumbai flight
Mumbai: Saudi Arabia’s Sama Airlines on Wednesday launched its low-fare flight between Damman and Mumbai, while Malaysia’s low-fare carrier AirAsia announced it will start daily flights beginning next month from Kuala Lumpur to Tiruchirappalli in Kerala.
“The addition of Mumbai as Sama’s first destination in India and 11th international destination overall, is a part of our strategy to meet the huge demand for low-fare travel between Saudi Arabia and India,” said Andrew Cowen, CEO of Sama. The carrier will operate three flights every week on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. The basic round-trip fare will be Saudi Riyal 199 (about Rs3,600), excluding taxes. Meanwhile, AirAsia has announced a promotional fare of Rs699 (excluding taxes, one-way) between December 2008 and July 2009. AirAsia, along with its subsidiary AirAsia X, is also looking at Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi over the next 18 months.
StanChart buys office space in Mumbai
Mumbai: Standard Chartered Plc., the UK bank that gets most of its profit in Asia, said it acquired 147,000 sq. ft of office space in Mumbai’s emerging business district of Bandra-Kurla as it seeks to grow in Asia’s third biggest economy.
The London-based bank declined to disclose the price. It may have paid about Rs750 crore for the space in a new building, ‘The Economic Times’ reported on Wednesday.
Standard Chartered, which houses its India offices in a heritage building in south Mumbai, plans to move its wholesale banking and global markets to the new location by the fourth quarter of 2009, the bank said in a statement.
Holcim profit lags estimates, to close units
Zurich: Holcim Ltd, the world’s second biggest cement maker, reported third quarter profit that missed analyst estimates and said it will close factories to combat a weakening outlook for the remainder of the year.
Net income at the Jona, Switzerland-based company fell 23% to 673 million Swiss francs (Rs2,767 crore). Analysts predicted 692 million francs. Slowing economies will cause demand and profit to deteriorate in the fourth quarter, Holcim said.
Chief executive officer Markus Akermann plans to close two US plants and another in Spain at a cost of about 300 million francs, to be booked in the final quarter.
ISB Mohali campus to be ready by 2012
New Delhi: Four business houses in India will invest Rs50 crore each to help set up a second campus of the Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business (ISB) in Mohali, Punjab.
The campus is expected to be operational by 2012.
To be set up under the private-public partnership mode, ISB’s campus in north India would be built over an area of 70 acres to be leased out by the Government of Punjab at the rate of Rs1 per acre annually. The founding partners for the second campus, Max India Ltd, Bharti Enterprises Ltd, Hero Corporate Service Ltd and Punj Lloyd Group, will be setting up centres to offer specializations in four areas: health care management, public policy, manufacturing and operation, and physical infrastructure management.
“The idea is not to just offer a general management degree but allow development of four institutes which would be able to go deep into the four areas,” Rajat Gupta, chairman, ISB said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Gurumani to take charge at SKS Microfinance
Hyderabad: SKS Microfinance Pvt. Ltd announced on Wednesday that Suresh Gurumani will replace Vikram Akula as chief executive. Akula, who is also the founder of SKS, will continue as a full time director on the board of directors.
Akula denied a news report by ‘The Economic Times’ on Wednesday that he sold his stake in the company and is moving to the US. He refused to divulge details about his stake in SKS.
“This transition has been planned a year ago and shareholders of the company were fully aware of it. I have led the company for 10 years when my entrepreneurial skills were necessary. But to take SKS to the next level of its evolution, we need the skills of a seasoned banker, which is what Gurumani brings in,” Akula said about the transition. Before joining SKS, Gurumani was director of the consumer banking division at Barclays and specializes in mobile banking. He has also worked with Standard Chartered.
HC seeks govt response on spectrum allocation
New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Centre seeking its response to a petition challenging the allocation of 2G and 3G spectrum on a first-come-first-serve basis. A bench headed by chief justice A.P. Shah, while admitting the petition, asked the Centre to file its response in three weeks and and posted the matter for hearing on 10 December.
On 10 January, the department of telecom issued a statement stating it “has been implementing a policy of first-come-first-served for grant of UAS (universal access services) licences”.
The petition was filed in public interest by Arvind Gupta in October asking the court to set aside the press release, issue directions to stop the ministry of communications and information technology from allotting 2G and 3G spectrum till “fair and transparent policy guidelines and procedure are issued” and direct an independent investigation into the allotment of spectrum and telecom licences. Gupta, in his petition argues that “the allocation of spectrum to the private players at a market driven price thus deliberately caused financial losses to the exchequer” to the tune of around Rs50,000 crore.
—Malathi Nayak & Shauvik Ghosh
Telenor at two-week low after ING cuts estimates
Stockholm: Norway’s largest phone companyTelenor ASA sank to a two-week low in Oslo trading after ING Groep NV more than halved its share price projection, saying an acquisition in India makes Telenor a more risky company. Telenor declined as much as 2.5 kroner, or 6.3%, to 37.5 kroner, and traded at 37.9 kroner as of 11.43 am local time, the lowest since 30 October.
ING cut its price projection for the stock to 45 kroner from 110, and reiterated its “hold” recommendation.