New Delhi: The defence ministry plans to raise the 26% cap on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country’s defence industry, a move aimed at attracting global military and aerospace companies to invest in the country.
The move will facilitate the development of a multi-role transport aircraft by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, the ministry said in a statement late on Wednesday.
The government is also keen to encourage the country’s private sector to play an active role in an industry dominated by state-run companies. Indian companies such as Larsen and Toubro Ltd and the Tata group are in talks with global defence companies to establish manufacturing units in the country.
Eni offers to buy more stake in Hindustan Oil
New Delhi: Eni UK Holding Plc. has offered to buy an additional 20% stake in India’s Hindustan Oil Exploration Co.
Eni will pay Rs144.2 for each share of the oil explorer, the company said in an advertisement published in ‘The Economic Times’ newspaper on Thursday. The offer will run 11to 30 June.
The company acquired an indirect stake in the explorer after parent Eni SpA bought UK crude producer Burren Energy Plc., which owns 27.17% of Hindustan Exploration. Buyers of a stake exceeding 15% of any Indian company are required to bid for an additional 20%.
In December, Eni said it would buy Burren Energy for $3.6 billion (Rs14,400 crore) to add production in Africa, the Caspian and India.
Hindustan Oil shares declined 7.14% to close at Rs141.10 at the Bombay Stock Exchange. They have fallen 10% so far this year.
Boeing puts in proposal to supply Super Hornets
Mumbai: Boeing Co., the Pentagon’s second largest supplier, submitted a proposal to sell Super Hornet jets to India, aiming to win a $11 billion (Rs44,000 crore) contract to upgrade the nation’s air force.
A 7,000-page plan of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet was submitted to the country’s air force ahead of an 28 April deadline, the company said in a statement issued by PR Newswire.
The Indian Air Force owns 1,700 aircraft and needs new fighters to replace aging Russian MiGs. India is increasing defence spending as China develops its own fighter planes and Pakistan buys military aircraft from the US.
No curbs on 74% FDI in new telecom firms
New Delhi: The government on Thursday clarified that foreign companies or other strategic investors are free to acquire up to a 74% stake in new telecom operators as permitted by foreign direct investment (FDI) rules.
The three-year restriction is only for the existing telecom companies such as Bharti Airtel Ltd or Vodafone Essar Ltd to buyout the new telecom player, so as to prevent them from getting additional spectrum beyond the permissible limit.
In February this year, Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin had said the company may buy radio waves from the market to meet its requirements. This will be difficult as per the new merger and acquisition guidelines, which were announced on 22 April.
RCom to buy WiMax operator eWave
Mumbai: Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom), India’s second largest mobile phone service provider, said its unit plans to buy eWave World Ltd, a UK-based company, to gain access to the so-called WiMax wireless technology.
RCom will invest $500 million (Rs2,000 crore) on offering WiMax services across Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, Punit Garg, chief executive officer at Reliance Globalcom Ltd, said. He did not specify how much Reliance will pay for buying 90% of eWave.
Unitech gets spectrum for Tamil Nadu circle
New Delhi: Real estate company Unitech Ltd, which has a pan-Indian telecom licence, on Thursday said it has received the start-up spectrum to roll out services in Tamil Nadu.
Department of telecom (DoT) has allotted 4.4Mhz of spectrum in 1800Mhz band in Tamil Nadu, including Chennai, the company said in a notice to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
The government in January issued the letters of intent (LOIs) to eight subsidiaries of the company for issuance of Unified Access Services Licences in respect of all the 22 telecom circles across the country.
Marico posts 45% rise in Q4 net profit to Rs41 cr
Mumbai: Consumer products company Marico Ltd has reported a 45% increase in net profit for the fourth quarter ended March 2008 on account of strong sales of key brands and the sale of the processed foods business.
Net profit grew to Rs40.7 crore from Rs28.12 crore in the year-ago period, while sales grew 18% to Rs467.5 crore from Rs396.9 crore.
In the quarter, Marico sold its processed foods business under the Sil brand to Denmark’s Good Food Group for an undisclosed sum.
“The top line was largely driven by volume growth in our edible oil brand Saffola and hair oil brand Parachute,” said Vinod Kamath, head of finance and information technology.
For the year ended March 2008, the company’s earnings went up by 49.7% to Rs169 crore on a turnover of Rs1,906.6 crore, a 22% increase.
ACC Q1 profit falls on high costs, price control
Mumbai: ACC Ltd, India’s biggest cement maker, said first-quarter profit fell 2% because of the rising cost of coal and a state-enforced price curb.
Net income fell to Rs358 crore in the three months to 31 March from Rs364 crore a year earlier, the company said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Thursday. Sales rose 8% to Rs1,796 crore.
Indiabulls Financial profit up 57% in Q4
Mumbai: Indiabulls Financial Services Ltd, the lender backed by billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, reported fourth-quarter profit rose 57% as it earned more from providing loans for autos and homes.
Net income climbed to Rs189 crore in the three months ended 31 March, from Rs121 crore, the company in an emailed statement. Revenue rose to Rs582 crore from Rs310 crore.
New Bangalore airport opening put off
Bangalore: The opening of a new airport in Bangalore, scheduled for 11 May, is being put off as the mandatory training of air traffic controllers has not been completed, and also because of the absence of a popular government in Karnataka, of which the city is the capital. The new opening date will be finalized by 29 April.
The airport built by Bangalore International Airport Ltd (Bial), a consortium led by Unique Zurich Airport, was first to start operations on 30 March, but airport regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, cited lack of equipment at the air traffic control room and the follow-up training of the personnel.
A Bial spokesperson said there was no official communication on putting of the opening of the airport.
No move to transfer Orissa leases: govt
New Delhi: The government on Thursday said there is no move to transfer lease of parts of Chiria mines in Orissa to Mittal Steel as state-run steel company Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) would require all the leases of the mines to fulfil its own iron ore requirement in the long term.
“There is no proposal to transfer lease of some parts of the Chiria mines to Mittal Steel. SAIL is not in a position to share resources of Chiria mines as iron ore resources with SAIL are not sufficient to meet its long-term requirements,” minister of state for steel Jitin Prasada told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
Cabinet nod for Bill on coal mining auctions
New Delhi: India on Thursday approved the introduction of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill in Parliament. The draft legislation pertains to the auctioning of coal mining blocks through competitive bidding for captive use. This is expected to make allocation of coal blocks transparent at a time of shortage of coal for captive use in the country.
The cabinet also approved two new policies making it easier to receive approvals for setting up new private commercial airports as also new airstrips, helipads and private airports in the country. Under the new rules, most airport proposals can be cleared by the civil aviation ministry instead of mandatory cabinet approvals required at present.
Biotech sector revenue touches $3 billion
Bangalore: The biotechnology industry revenue reached nearly $3 billion (around Rs 12,000 crore) in 2007-08, continuing to grow at more than 30%. Exports, at $1.5 billion, contributed almost half this revenue, with 60% coming from Bangalore alone, as per data released by the Karnataka IT and biotech department at the annual event Bangalore Bio 2008.