Need To Know | Hyundai Motor India to reduce contract workers

Need To Know | Hyundai Motor India to reduce contract workers

Mumbai: Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s largest auto maker, will cut some temporary staff in India as the global recession reduces demand for exports from the country and local consumers put off car purchases.

The company may also cut production in India and exports could decline 25% in the first half of 2009, Rajiv Mitra, a spokesman of the Indian unit, said in a telephone interview on Friday. He declined to say how many people will be laid off.

Hyundai will cut 2,000 temporary workers in India, about 25% of its total workforce in the country, the ‘Business Standard’ daily reported earlier on Friday.

“Some people will be laid off," Mitra said. “It won’t be as high" as reported. “Not even half," he said.

— Bloomberg


Yukimine Tsuji to be new India Yamaha CEO

New Delhi:India Yamaha Motor Pvt. Ltd has appointed its manufacturing head Yukimine Tsuji as its new chief executive and managing director, replacing Tsutomu Mabuchi, the company said in a statement.

Mabuchi heads back to Japan to look after an important assignment at Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd, Japan, the release said. Tsuji had been in charge of manufacturing operations at Yamaha’s Indian subsidiary for over a year.

Koji Arai has been appointed director, sales and marketing. He takes over from Takahiro Maeda. ‘The Times of India’ and ‘The Economic Times’ reported this on Tuesday.

— Staff Writer


Nalco raises estimate for Sumatra plant to $4 bn

Jakarta: National Aluminium Co. Ltd raised the projected cost of an aluminum smelter in Sumatra, Indonesia, by 25% to $4 billion (18,840 crore) to pay for extra infrastructure, including rail links.

The venture, the company’s first overseas, may invest $2.5 billion to build a plant capable of processing 1 million tonnes of alumina into 500,000 tonnes of aluminium ingots, finance director B.L. Bagra said on Friday.

The remaining $1.5 billion will be for the rail links, a 1,250 MW coal-fired power plant and a port.

— Bloomberg


Economy to slow more than anticipated: Sen

New Delhi: Indian economy will be affected by the financial crisis a little more than anticipated currently and may grow at around 6% in 2008-09 and the next fiscal, economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said at a function in the Capital.

“The global downturn has already begun to affect India and will affect a little bit more than anticipated now. But we have to hold our heads high because India is not as dependant on external sector as some other economies are. Secondly, India’s fastest growing trade relationship is with China at around 60%. And the fact that Chinese economy is not slowing down as much as the European economies is a source of strength for both the economies," Sen said.

Sen asked India to play a greater role in restructuring the financial architecture of the world. “The voice of India is important not just for India but for other developing countries. The G-20 has become so big that we have to play not only on our behalf but also on the behalf of great many countries that are not represented there," he added.

— Asit Ranjan Mishra


Sebi may extend trading hours Nifty Futures

Mumbai: Capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India is considering a request from the National Stock Exchange to extend trading hours in Nifty futures, derivatives based on the bourse’s 50-company index.

I think their request is to start trading from 8am, Sebi chairman C.B. Bhave told reporters in Mumbai on Friday. The Nifty 50 futures start trading on the Singapore Exchange at 9am local time.

Sebi is also looking at easing restrictions in currency futures trading, Bhave said.

“Today, there is only rupee-dollar futures and besides, there are only certain players allowed to participate," Bhave said, adding that a joint RBI-Sebi committee was looking at whether this market needed to be expanded.

— Bloomberg and PTI


Wockhardt plans to raise Rs500 cr

Mumbai: Wockhardt Ltd said on Friday it plans to raise Rs500 crore through the issue of redeemable preference shares.

It also plans to increase its authorized capital by Rs50 crore to Rs175 crore through the creation of 10 crore preference shares of Rs5 each, it said in a statement to Bombay Stock Exchange.

Wockhardt has convened an extraordinary general meeting on 19 January to consider these matters, it added.

The company has been exploring various options to raise Rs800-1,000 crore to pay $148 million (about Rs690 crore) towards liabilities arising from the redemption of foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) it issued in 2004. These bonds, worth $110 million, are due for conversion in October.

Wockhardt did not say if the preferential issue was in favour of an outside investor or to existing shareholders, including the promoter.

The company has also put some of its non-operation assets in India and abroad on the block to raise part of the required money.

— C.H. Unnikrishnan


Aurobindo plans to buy back FCCBs

Mumbai: Bulk drug maker Aurobindo Pharma Ltd on Friday said it plans to buy back a portion of its $200 million (about Rs932 crore) worth of outstanding foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) that it issued in 2006.

The decision follows a Reserve Bank of India move, allowing Indian companies to buy back their foreign bonds using foreign and Indian currency reserve.

The Hyderabad-based company has mandated Barclays Capital Ltd for the buyback, it said in a statement to Bombay Stock Exchange.

Aurobindo’s FCCBs, which have a conversion price of Rs1,014.06, will mature in 2011.

— C.H. Unnikrishnan


Allocation of 2G licences was arbitrary: Yechury

New Delhi: Communist party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury has alleged that the allocation of 2G licences was arbitrary and has resulted in a loss amounting to around Rs1 trillion.

He also said that communication and information technology minister A. Raja had misled the Parliament on the issue.

Yechury demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh look into it.

“This is a massive mega scam. New telecom licences have been given on first-come, first-serve basis at the prices fixed in 2001. The market value of these licences is roughly seven times higher now," the CPM politburo member said.

Yechury said the government should have adopted a policy of open auction to arrive at market-determined price for issuing new licences and spectrum.

— Shauvik Ghosh


Severed Cables in Mediterranean Disrupt Communication

Internet and telephone communications between the Middle East and Europe were disrupted by submarine cable failures between Italy and Egypt in the Mediterranean Sea.

“The failures cut the flow of data of various kinds between Europe and the Middle East, and there’s no timeframe for when communications will be restored," said Sanjeev Gaur, director of assurance at Mumbai-based Reliance Globalcom Ltd.

Three submarine cable systems linking Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe are affected, according to Reliance and Melbourne-based Telstra Corp. The cables run from Alexandria in northern Egypt to southern Italy. In January, two cable systems were severed by an anchor 8.3 kilometers (5.2 miles) from Alexandria beach after bad weather conditions forced ships to moor off the coast.

“Customer services and some mobile-phone customers at Vodafone Group Plc’s Egyptian unit are affected by the cable failure," said Simon Gordon, a spokesman for the UK company. Egypt is the only country where the company is aware of any problems linked to the failure, he said. Most mobile-phone calls are routed through fixed-line cables at some point.

“Portugal Telecom SGPS SA, Portugal’s biggest phone company, has redirected traffic through other cables in the region and therefore the “impact is very small," said a company official.

Alexandria Link

A fault is affecting the SMW4 cable near the Alexandria cable station, the FLAG FEA cable is down and the SMW3 cable system is also affected, according to information received from Telstra. Flag Telecom Group Ltd., a Reliance Globalcom unit, operates FLAG FEA and the other cables are owned by groups of phone companies across the regions.

Mark Heraghty, senior vice president responsible for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Flag Telecom, declined to comment when contacted.

“Reliance Globalcom doesn’t know exactly what happened and engineers are working on the problem," said Anurag Joshi, head of the company’s global network operations center.

The SMW4 cable, also known as SEA-ME-WE 4 or South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 4 cable network, connects 12 countries including Pakistan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy and France.

— Bloomberg