The Uttar Pradesh government said the Rs30,000 crore Ganga Expresssway contract would be awarded after the state cabinet meets later this week, even as officials defended the tendering process.
Mint had reported on Monday at least two companies had written to the UP State Expressways Industrial Authority, or UPEIDA, the body overseeing the project, complaining they were not informed of changed evaluation criteria after the financial bids were opened. One of these companies, Zoom Developers Pvt Ltd had said that Jaypee Infratech Ltd was allowed to change it’s bid from individual packages to a group package covering all sections in the project. Japypee Infratech could not be reached for comment. The contract is divided into four packages, or stretches. Bidders were allowed to either bid for individual stretches or a combination. There were initially 18 bidders, though only five submitted financial bids.
Cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh, who was in the Capital along with chief minister Mayawati to address a press conference, said, “The entire tendering process has been transparent.”
However, a senior executive with one of the companies, who did not wish to be identified, said, “The tender committee should have informed all bidders about the fact they could change the nature of the bidding after the opening of the financial bids and choose the one which would give them advantage. All bidders participating in the process were not informed of this.”
Earlier in the morning, Mayawati launched the expressway project, even though it has not been formally awarded to a bidder, and said she favoured a three-way division of the state.
Addressing a function, hosted at her official residence in Lucknow to mark her birthday, she announced a string of projects, including a Rs1,600 crore scheme for the nine drought-affected districts.
RPL refinery achieves 82% progress in 2 years
Mumbai: India’s largest private sector oil company, Reliance Petroleum Ltd (RPL), has completed about 82% of work on the refinery complex coming up at a special economic zone in Jamnagar in Gujarat, two years after construction got underway. The project is ahead of its scheduled completion in December 2008, according to RPL officials.
During the last quarter, the refinery project’s engineering work was almost near completion, more than 75% of equipment were procured, and deliveries of over- dimensional cargos (ODC) and super ODCs met project targets.
“I am pleased with the rapid pace of RPL’s project implementation and the team is now fully geared to sustain the construction on fast track even in the coming quarters,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairperson of RPL. “We are well on the way to create history by successfully completing the refinery ahead of its initial schedule,” he said. Staff Writer
Market regulator Sebi launches Volatility Index
Mumbai: Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Tuesday launched a volatility index, to give investors who understand the volatility in the Indian stock markets another avenue to invest.
The bourses will create a volatility index and decide on the computation of their volatility indices. They can also adopt any of the models available globally, a circular put out by Sebi said. The exchanges will be required to disseminate the methodology used for computing the index.
Sebi will consider introducing derivatives on the volatility index in due course of time. Volatility index is one of the seven new products Sebi had proposed introducing at a board meeting in November. The first of these products —mini-contracts in equity indices—is already out in the market. Staff Writer
Sasken to take over Nokia R&D unit
Bangalore: Software services and solutions provider, Sasken Communication Technologies Ltd, is in talks with the world’s largest handset manufacturer Nokia Corp. to acquire its software research and development team located at Bochum in Germany.
Nokia plans to shut down its Bochum factory by mid-2008 due to the lack of competitiveness of the location, and transfer manufacturing to other sites in Europe, a company statement said.
The software team at Bochum consists of less than 50 engineers and the deal could take some more time to be concluded, an official familiar with the deal said. Nokia is the largest customer for Sasken, which develops software for handset manufacturers such as Motorola Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd and Lenovo Mobile Communication Technology Ltd. Sasken has over 300 engineers developing software for Nokia. Vishwanath Kulkarni
DGFT tells exporters to be more competitive
New Delhi:Director general of foreign trade R. S. Gujral said Indian exporters should try to cut the cost of production through modernization so as to increase their competitiveness.
“It is true that exports from certain segments of textiles, handicrafts, engineering products and plastics have declined both in rupee as well as dollar terms. However, demanding a fixed exchange rate would be a regressive step,” Gujral said, while addressing an open house discussion on the trade policy organized by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).
Gujral also told exporters he would not wait till the policy announcement before resolving the procedural issues raised by them. Staff Writer
M&As in auto sector rose 60% in 2007, survey says
The value of mergers and acquisition (M&A) deals involving Indian automotive companies increased by almost 60% in 2007, when $816 million (Rs3,206.8 crore) worth of deals were signed compared to $518 million in 2006, according to Grant Thornton’s annual deal tracker survey for 2007.
The largest domestic deal last year was utility vehicle maker Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd paying $323.95 million to acquire a 64.6% stake in Punjab Tractors Ltd.
Meanwhile, the biggest overseas deal was Bajaj Auto Ltd shelling out $81.40 million for 14.5% in Austrian bike maker KTM Auto Sports AG. Since then, Bajaj Auto has raised its stake to 20.9% in KTM.
Still, the auto sector accounted for only 1.6% of the total M&A deals signed last year valued at $51.12 billion. The biggest contributor was the steel sector, boosted by Tata Steel Ltd’s $12.2 billion acquisition of Corus Plc. last year.
Indian automotive companies, especially component manufacturers, are on the look out to form joint ventures or buy companies overseas to get access to better technology, overseas markets and ready customers.
Apart from the top three Indian component makers by sales i.e. Bharat Forge Ltd, Amtek Auto Ltd and Sundram Fasteners Ltd, the last two years has also seen heightened M&A activity from medium-sized components makers who are looking to upgrade their own technology to service both Indian and overseas vehicle makers. Ammar Master
ICICI’s PE arm buys stake in health firm
Mumbai: The private equity (PE) arm of ICICI Bank Ltd, ICICI Venture Funds Management Co., has taken a majority stake in Kolkata-based Medica Synergie Pvt. Ltd with an investment of Rs65 crore. Medica has hospitals, provides consultancy and hospital management services, and has retail pharmacy outlets, which will be expanded in West Bengal and other eastern states.
ICICI Venture has made the investment from its recently formed special purpose vehicle, I-Ven Medicare, which was created to make healthcare investments from a pool of $250 million (Rs982 crore ).
This is the PE firm’s second investment through I-Ven. The first investment was Rs140 crore in Pune-based Sahyadri Hospitals Ltd last week. Rana Rosen/ Reuters