Need to Know | Masani elected to two circulation audit bodies

Need to Know | Masani elected to two circulation audit bodies

New Delhi: H.B. Masani, secretary general of India’s Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), has been elected to the International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Circulations (IFABC) executive board, and also as IFABC honorary treasurer.

Separately, he has also been elected president of Asia Pacific Audit Bureaux of Circulations (APABC) for a term of two years.

—Staff Writer


Amtek Auto plans job, salary cuts

Mumbai: Amtek Auto Ltd, an auto parts supplier, plans to lay off 15-30% of its contract workforce globally over the next three months, and pare salaries by up to 40% for its top and middle management, because of a slowdown in the sector, a top executive said.

Amtek employs more than 4,000 people across its units in India and subsidiaries in North America and Europe.

“We have been badly hit by the slowdown. It has also impacted domestic as well as our overseas operations. We are hence laying people off at the top as well as middle management level," chief financial officer Santosh Singhi told Mint. “I have myself got a cut of 30-40% in salary."

The salary cuts would trim the company’s wage bill by at least 30%, he added.

Singhi also said Amtek’s plants were running only four days a week to keep the inventory pile up in check. The Ahmednagar unit, which supplies components to Tata Motors Ltd, has been the worst hit, he said.

The company’s UK subsidiary, which supplies components to BMW AG, Ford Motor Co., General Motor Corp. and Renault SA, has also been hit by the slowdown. “We are in the process of laying off at least 200 people from our overseas subsidiaries," he said.

Amtek Auto shares fell 2% on Tuesday on Bombay Stock Exchange to Rs44.15%.

—Shally Seth


Loans: RBI asks banks to disclose all charges

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India, or RBI, on Tuesday asked banks to ensure that all information relating to charges and fees for loans are disclosed in the application forms.

“Further, the banks must inform ‘all-in-cost’ to the customer to enable him to compare the rates charged with other sources of finance,’’ RBI said in a notification.

The central bank said it has come to its notice that some banks were levying certain charges without initially disclosing them to borrowers.

—Anita Bhoir


Beeyu to sell Ooty tea estate, factory

Kochi: Beeyu Overseas Ltd, a Kolkata-headquartered tea producing company, plans to sell nearly seven acres of tea estate and a factory in Tamil Nadu’s Ooty district, some months after the Tea Board, a government trade body, charged it with making spurious tea and revoked its plant registration.

The company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Tuesday that it proposes to change its business model from making tea to trading in the commodity. It also plans to sell or lease its land, plant, machinery and its corporate office building in Kolkata.

Beeyu, which has challenged the Tea Board’s decision in the Kolkata high court, said in its statement to BSE that it has till 20 January to file an appeal before the government.



Unitech raised to ‘hold’; price, profit targets cut

Mumbai: Unitech Ltd, the country’s second biggest property developer, had its rating raised by Deutsche Bank AG to “hold" from “sell" on the view it offers value after a 94% slide since January.

“Everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong," Deutsche Bank analysts, including Abhay Shanbhag, wrote in a note to clients on Monday. High debt and “asset-liability mismatches in a weak macro environment and tight financial markets are priced in", according to the report.

Shares of Indian real estate companies have tumbled this year with the Bombay Stock Exchange’s (BSE) realty index falling 88%.

Deutsche cut its price target on Unitech by 56% to Rs45 and the profit target was reduced 36% to Rs1,295 crore. The company’s share price fell 1.38% to Rs28.55 on BSE.



Tata Steel, Delta allowed rebid for Liberia project

Johannesburg: A Liberian panel ruled that Delta Mining Consolidated Ltd and Tata Steel Ltd may join a rebidding process for the $1.6 billion (Rs8,000 crore) Western Cluster iron ore project in the country.

The investigative panel of Liberia’s Public Procurement and Concession Commission gave Johannesburg-based Delta and India-based Tata Steel permission to participate in a new bid after both were disqualified by the Liberian government, which said the initial bid won by the companies may have been compromised by “external influence or impropriety’’.

The companies disputed the government’s statements.



Cong releases election manifesto for Rajasthan

Jaipur: The Congress party on Tuesday released its manifesto for the assembly elections, promising free education to girl students up to postgraduation, regular power supply for farmers and a better compensation for land acquisition in Rajasthan, where polling will take place on 4 December for the 200-member state assembly. Congress general secretary in charge of Rajasthan Mukul Vasnik released the manifesto.

One hundred units of electricity would be provided at cheaper tariff to below poverty line families for domestic consumption and eight hours of economic power to agricultural farmers every day are some other promises given in the document.

“We are going to take the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government’s achievements like the rural employment guarantee scheme, mid-day meal schemes, etc. to the people," state Congress president P.C. Joshi said.

—Ruhi Tewari

Govt won’t revise 2010 foreign tourists’ target

New Delhi: Tourism minister Ambika Soni on Tuesday said the government will not revise its target of 10 million foreign tourist arrivals to India by 2010, given the global economic meltdown that has led many tourists to either cancel or hold on to their bookings for the next three-four months.

“There have been concerns about cancellations, but nothing permanent... Why should we revise our target? We are confident of reaching that number because we are looking at a variety of tourism products that would suit every pocket and we are using this time to look at new markets and will sustain our growth rate at between 12%-15%," she said at an economic editors conference.

On preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Soni said, “We are addressing the hotel room shortage and looking at budget accommodations, such as bed and breakfast and camp sites. The commonwealth committee is coming to India regularly and seems to be satisfied with the arrangements."

—Staff Writer