Need to Know | Indian carriers withdraw ticket transaction fee

Need to Know | Indian carriers withdraw ticket transaction fee

Mumbai: Top airlines in India have withdrawn a transaction fee on air tickets effective Wednesday for tickets sold through call centres, websites or city offices.

Air India, Jet Airways (India) Ltd and Kingfisher Airlines Ltd have withdrawn the fee, which ranges from Rs350 on a domestic economy ticket to Rs1,200-10,000 on first class international tickets. State-run Air India said late on Tuesday it has withdrawn the fee for domestic and international air tickets effective Wednesday.

The move comes after aviation minister Praful Patel said that domestic airlines should cut fares on easing jet fuel prices.

- Reuters


PNB cuts lending deposit rates

Mumbai: State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) slashed its main lending rate by 100 basis points to 11.5 %, effective 1 December. One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

The New Delhi-based bank also reduced its deposit rates by 100 basis points to 9.5% for deposits maturing between of one year and less than three years. This is the second round of lending rate cut by PNB. In October, it had cut its main lending rate by 50 basis points to 12.5%.

- Anup Roy


Fed-Mogul investment approved, WSJ deferred

New Delhi: The government has approved 32 foreign investment proposals valued at Rs850 crore, including that of billionaire Carl Icahn-controlled Federal-Mogul, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

But finance minister P. Chidambaram deferred News Corp.- controlled Dow Jones’ plan to publish facsimile editions of its newspapers, including the ‘The Wall Street Journal’, the ministry said in a statement. ‘The Wall Street Journal’ has an exclusive content partnership in India with Mint.

Auto-parts supplier Federal-Mogul, which emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2007 and is restructuring itself, will invest Rs74.87 crore to set up manufacturing facilities for sealing products, the ministry said.

The government also approved an application by broadcaster Television Eighteen India Ltd to launch three regional language business news channels.

A senior TV18 executive, however, said the permission was sought sometime ago and the larger macroeconomic environment will be thoroughly reviewed before pursuing any new projects. He did not want to be named.

- Sruthijith K.K. & Reuters


DPS case: Montek ‘fails in mediation bid’

New Delhi: Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission and a Delhi Public School (DPS) alumnus, has failed to mediate an agreement between Supreme Court lawyer Salman Khurshid, who was thrown out of the society which runs the DPS chain of schools, and society chairman Ashok Chandra, a retired bureaucrat.

The Delhi high court had asked Ahluwalia to mediate between the two sides after Khurshid moved the court against his expulsion from the DPS Society. Khurshid said he had informed the Delhi high court at a hearing on Wednesday that no agreement could be reached. He said there were three rounds of meetings including one on Tuesday.

Ahluwalia could not be reached for comment.

- Aparna Kalra


Siemens India stock falls to lowest in 18 years

Mumbai: Siemens India Ltd, the local unit of Europe’s biggest engineering company, fell the most in almost 18 years after its fourth-quarter profit declined 27%. The Mumbai-based company fell 17%, the most since 2 January 1991, to Rs223.9 at the close of trading on Wednesday. The shares have fallen 76% this year.

- Bloomberg


DLF Assets to raise $450 mn private equity

New Delhi: DLF Assets Ltd, a firm owned by the promoters of DLF Ltd, India’s largest real estate developer by revenues, is in talks with private equity investors to raise money, a senior group executive said. The news, first reported by business television channel CNBC on Wednesday, drove shares of DLF 5.53% up to Rs198.6 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The bourse’s benchmark index expanded 3.8%. CNBC said DLF Assets was raising around $450 million from private equity investors including JP Morgan and TPG, adding the deal is likely to be signed in the next few days and the firm would receive the money by January-end. “Yes, we are talking to investors but beyond that I can’t comment on anything," Ramesh Sanka, group chief financial officer, DLF, told Mint. DLF Assets owes 4,804 crore to DLF as on 30 September.

Sales of commercial real estate projects to DLF Assets made for 46% of DLF’s profit before tax in the quarter to September. DLF Assets owes Rs4,804 crore to DLF as payments for assets bought.

- Staff Writer


Sebi okays Religare’s Lotus India acquisition

Mumbai: On Wednesday, Religare Enterprises Ltd said that markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India, or Sebi, has cleared its wholly-owned subsidiary Religare Securities Ltd to procceed with the acquisition of the entire shareholding of Lotus India Asset Management Co.

Earlier this month, Religare had announced its decision to acquire Lotus AMC. It subsequently announced restructuring plans relating to Religare’s partnership with Aegon, with which it had a 50:50 joint venture as ‘Religare Aegon AMC’, in the asset management business in India. Religare has also received regulatory approval for divesting its stake in the partnership. “We will start the integration process immediately and Lotus will now be rechristened Religare AMC Ltd," said Religare Enterprises chief executive Sunil Godhwani in a statement.

- Staff Writer


Dabur offers to buy 20% more in Fem Care

Mumbai: Dabur India Ltd on Wednesday announced its offer to buy an additional 20% stake from public shareholders of Fem Care Pharma Ltd, as required by the company takeover norms of the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India. The company’s offer price is Rs800 per share, and the offer will be valid from 15 January to 3 February. Dabur’s open offer follows its last week acquisition of 72.15% stake of the Mumbai-based women’s skin care company for Rs203.7 crore in an all-cash deal.

- Staff Writer


Vitamin C costs soar; 6 other drugs to cost more

New Delhi: The National Pharmacetical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has revised the prices of seven bulk drugs, including Vitamin C on 25 November. Of these, the price of Vitamin C (plain) was increased to Rs544 per kg and of Vitamin C (coated) to Rs533 per kg—marking a rise of around 50% on both counts. In an earlier conversation with Mint, NPPA chairman A.K. Banerjee had said they were looking into the reported short supply of Vitamin C. “According to manufacturers, the input costs for Vitamin C have gone up and therefore it is becoming unremunerative for them to produce it," he said. Other bulk drugs whose prices have been increased are vitamin C sodium ascorbate, antimalarial chloroquine phosphate, anti-inflammatory Ibuprofen and painkiller analgin. Only the price of antimalarial chloroquine sulphate was decreased.

- Staff Writer


Flag’s Mediterranean undersea cable severed

New Delhi:An undersea telecom cable, run by Flag Telecom Ltd that is owned partly by Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) has been accidentally severed between Italy and Spain disrupting telephone and data communication services in Kuwait, including to India, according to the Kuwait Times website.

“The Internet and telephone traffic between Kuwait on one hand and Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland, Italy and India on the other were also affected by the malfunction," Kuwait’s minister of communications Abdulrahman Al-Ghunaim was quoted as saying by the daily.

Mint could not independently confirm the incident or whether India’s Internet traffic was affected.

- Staff Writer