Need to Know | Nacil plans to sell and lease back six aircraft

Need to Know | Nacil plans to sell and lease back six aircraft

Mumbai: State-owned National Aviation Co. of India Ltd, which runs the carrier Air India, plans to sell and lease back six aircraft. National Aviation has set a total reserve price of $165 million (Rs808.5 crore) for the six planes, according to a document posted on its website, inviting bids. It seeks to sell and lease back five Airbus SAS A320s and one Boeing 747 plane, it said.

The reserve price for the Boeing is $65 million while for Airbus plane it’s $20 million. The company, formed last year by merging international carrier Air India Ltd and its domestic counterpart Indian Airlines Ltd, plans to lease the planes for 84 months after the sale.



Airport ground handling norms revision delayed

New Delhi: The civil aviation ministry is planning to push back the implementation of its new ground handling policy at the country’s airports after the domestic airlines sought a review of the policy claiming it could lead to several job losses.

Airlines lobbying body Federation of Indian Airlines has made presentations to the civil aviation ministry. The new policy was expected to come into effect from 1 January. A ministry official who asked not to be named said the ministry was planning to seek cabinet approval on its plans to postpone the implementation of the policy by “three to four months".

—Tarun Shukla


Godrej Consumer gains 1.2% on buy-back plans

Mumbai: Personal care item maker Godrej Consumer Products Ltd gained most in three weeks in Mumbai trading after announcing a stock buy-back plan.

The shares gained 1.2% to close at Rs117.40 after increasing by as much as 7.4% to Rs125.25, the most since 24 October. The company will consider buying back its shares on 25 November, according to a statement sent to the Bombay Stock Exchange on Monday.



IMF bailout may improve Pakistan’s debt rating

Islamabad: Pakistan’s $7.6 billion (Rs37,240 crore) rescue package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may help the nation overcome a “crisis of confidence" and improve its debt rating, according to the Asian Development Bank. “There is no reason why it should not" lead to an upgrade in Pakistan’s credit rating, ADB managing director Rajat Nag said in an interview in New Delhi on Sunday. 1

Pakistan was forced to seek assistance from the IMF after its foreign-exchange reserves shrank 75% in the past year to $3.5 billion, raising concern about its ability to repay debt. Ahead of the IMF loan, central bank governor Shamshad Akhtar last week increased the benchmark interest rate to 15% from 13%.



Yale to spend $75 mn on India initiative

New Delhi: Yale University will spend $75 million (Rs367.5 crore) to increase the study of India on its New Haven, Connecticut campus, university president Richard Levin announced on Monday in New Delhi.

In what Levin termed a “giant step forward", the university committed $30 million of its own endowment and plans to raise at least $20 million from donors in the next year. Infosys Technologies Ltd co-chairman Nandan Nilekani donated $5 million to start the initiative.

Initial plans for the new India-centric programme include new hires in political science, anthropology, and art history, and research collaborations and exchanges with Indian universities.

—Staff Writer


Consulting tops summer placements at IIM-B

Bangalore: Consulting was the favourite sector for summer placements at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B) this year with 24% of a batch of 268 accepting internships from firms such as McKinsey and Co., Boston Consulting Group, Bain and Co., Booz and Co., A.T. Kearney, Arthur D Little, Oliver Wyman, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC. A total of 120 firms came on campus, 56 more than last year over a five-day summer placement process which ended on 15 November.

Anticipating a slowdown in hiring, the institute had invited 200 companies on campus as against 60 in 2007.

The other sectors that have seen significant number of positions being offered include finance (21%), investment banking (20%), marketing (13%), general management (13%), and others (5%). Some 85 students from the batch took up international offers.

—Staff Writer


State-run oil companies defer proposed strike

Mumbai: Officers of Indian Oil Corp. Ltd and other state-run oil firms postponed an indefinite strike against a delay in increasing salaries to 25 November.

Their demands will be considered at a cabinet meeting scheduled on 20 November, Amit Kumar, president of the Oil Sector Officers’ Association, said over the telephone from New Delhi on Monday after talks with heavy industries minister Santosh Mohan Deb.

All 50,000 supervisors and junior managers working with 14 companies had planned to stop work from Tuesday, the association said in an emailed statement. It said state-run refiners will lose as much as Rs900 crore a day if the strike goes ahead. Explorers may lose up to Rs225 crore.



Creamy layer: SC seeks explanation from govt

New Delhi: To clear any confusion surrounding the Union government’s implementation of its revised income limit for identification of creamy layer, or second-generation beneficiaries of other backward classes (OBCs) for admissions to central educational institutions, a Supreme Court bench on Tuesday asked the Centre to file an affidavit explaining whether it has applied the creamy layer test with retrospective effect.

The five-judge bench was hearing an application filed by a Hyderabad-based student, Vishwarath Reddy.

The ministry of human resource development had on 13 October issued a memorandum stating it had raised the income criteria for the identification of creamy layer candidates from Rs250,000-450,000 per annum. Pursuant to this, on 17 October, another memorandum was issued to implement the revised “creamy layer" test retrospectively for admissions to central educational institutions in the current academic year.

Reddy, a general category student, approached the court stating that the retrospective application of the revised creamy layer test denied him admission to the IITs despite his having a good rank in the merit list in the joint entrance examination (JEE)-2008 for admission and having undergone counselling.

The bench had on 14 October directed the Centre to give vacant OBC seats to general category students. Reddy told the court that the Centre “attempted to fill up these (vacant OBC) seats with OBC candidates by retrospectively relaxing the income criterion of the ‘creamy layer’ which had been notified on 13.10.2008". —Malathi Nayak


Kotak Mahindra plans to start new alliances

New Delhi: Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd, the former partner of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in India, plans to start new alliances with financial firms as the global credit crisis forces local businesses to sell stakes overseas.

“We have to do a lot more cross-border, so we are tying up with various partners," Falguni Nayar, managing director of Kotak Mahindra Capital Co., said in an interview in New Delhi on Sunday. “We have to have a footprint like say Goldman or UBS AG. To be able to match that we have to have alliances."

Kotak Mahindra will ally or forge informal ties with companies in the US, Europe, Australia and South Africa, Nayar said. Its first partner may be from Japan, she said, declining to name the company or provide a timeframe. The Mumbai-based group ended its alliance with Goldman in 2006.

Nayar expects more Japanese companies to buy assets in India.

“They need India to grow, they did that in South Korea," said Nayar. “They have the money and their currency is strong."



Great Offshore shares fall 16% to Rs244.85

Mumbai: Great Offshore Ltd, the country’s biggest integrated offshore oilfield services provider, saw a 16% drop in shares on Monday ending at Rs244.85 on Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), even as the benchmark Sensex index fell 1% to 9,291.01 points.

On Monday, Mint reported that its vice-chairman and managing director Vijay Kantilal Sheth risked losing control of the company as lenders to whom he had pledged some of his shares to raise funds to buy 15.73% holding in the company were putting pressure on Sheth to either sell the pledged shares following a steep fall from the allotment price of Rs850 per share in 2006, or meet the shortfall in scrip prices.

Sheth bought a 15.73% stake in the company when it was hived off from Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd in 2006 after a family split. Shares of Great Eastern Shipping declined 9% to end at Rs173.75 on BSE.

—Staff Writer


Ranbaxy filed replies to FDA last week: CEO

New Delhi: Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, the Indian drug maker controlled by Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo Co., last week filed replies to queries from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said chief executive officer Malvinder Singh.

“We are hoping for an early resolution and we are cooperating with the FDA to resolve all the issues," Singh said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit.

The US drug regulator had on 16 September blocked the import of medicines made in two Indian factories by Ranbaxy. The FDA said there was no evidence that Ranbaxy’s drugs were harmful.

Daiichi, Japan’s third biggest drug maker, acquired a controlling stake in Ranbaxy to expand in the faster-growing market for generic medicines. Daiichi owned 268.7 million shares, or 63.9% of Ranbaxy, the companies said Nov. 7 in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.



Unitech says it has fully repaid Indiabulls’ loan

New Delhi: The coun try’s second largest real estate developer by market value, Unitech Ltd, said that it has repaid "the entire financial assistance" received from Indiabulls Financial Services Ltd and its associates.

The realty firm did not disclose the amount of debt it had borrowed. In a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange, or BSE, the company has said that with this repayment, neither Unitech nor its subsidiaries or promoters have any outstanding amount payable to Indiabulls Financial Services or its associates.

Shares of Unitech closed 6.56% down at 42.75 on BSE.

—Shabana Hussain


Property prices need to drop further: Adi Godrej

New Delhi: Real estate prices need to decline further before demand picks up, said Adi Godrej, who heads the Godrej group of companies that has interests in property, consumer goods, and electrical and office equipment.

There has already been a correction in property prices, he told reporters at the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit in New Delhi on Monday, without elaborating. The group has real estate projects in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Pune, according to its website.

Property prices are dropping across India as a slowing economy erodes demand for homes and office space. House prices in smaller towns such as Agra, Ludhiana and Kochi dropped an average 15% to 20%, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj Property Consultants (India) Pvt.

Rental prices for offices and malls also fell by as much as 20% across India in the quarter, the firm said. Developers in bigger cities such as Mumbai and New Delhi are holding prices steady, Jones Lang LaSalle said.