7 August | The Mint report

7 August | The Mint report

New Delhi: Petroleum minister Murli Deora may have wanted to clear the air on Reliance Industries and its gas supplies, but one of his statements has upset NTPC. Deora told Parliament that Reliance Industries would have to sell gas to NTPC at the government price of $4.20 per unit rather than the previously agreed upon $2.34 per unit. NTPC is concerned Deora’s statement will weaken its court case with Reliance Industries. It now plans to ask the power ministry to lobby the prime minister’s office.

Meanwhile, Anil Ambani is quoting a family agreement with his brother Mukesh, to dispute the government price of four dollars and twenty cents. And he’s now initiated moves of his own. His company Reliance Power has invited bids for the construction of power projects running on natural gas. The projects are at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh and Shahpur in Maharashtra. The Dadri project is at the heart of the gas supply dispute between the Ambani brothers.

The RBI is looking for a new deputy governor and could make an unusual choice. At the top of its list of candidates is Subir Gokarn, the chief economist of Standard and Poor’s Asia Pacific. He’s an out-of-the-box choice because the RBI has only chosen bureaucrats and government economists in the past. Also, if the 49 year old Gokarn gets the job, he’ll be one of the youngest deputy governors the RBI has had.

Merrill Lynch released an optimistic mid-year outlook on Friday. It said the recession is over and that the prospects for equity market investments were improving. Analysts also say there’s hope the economy will recover and take economic growth to 7% in the last quarter.

State owned NHPC opened its IPO on Friday and was soon subscribed more than three times. The hydropower power company is selling 160 crore shares, to divest 14% of the government’s stake in the company.

Markets continued to fall on Friday. The Sensex plunged 354 points to close at 15,160, while the Nifty fell 104 points, ending trade at 4,481.

India’s largest consumer goods company is looking to enter Southeast Asian markets. Godrej Consumer Products has told its US partner Sara Lee it’s ready to acquire its household and body care business in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. It’s also ready to buy Sara Lee’s stake in joint venture between the two companies.

Air India has laid out a three-year plan for returning to profitability. It plans to modify ten of its aircraft for all-economy low-fare travel. The airline also plans to begin low-fare domestic flights and return the aircraft it has leased.