Home / Companies / Need To Know | Lalit Mansingh joins APCO Worldwide Inc

New Delhi: India’s former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh on Wednesday joined the international advisory council of Washington-headquartered global communication consultancy APCO Worldwide Inc., a statement said.

APCO offers services related to business, media, public opinion and government and public policy.

Its clients include governments, industry associations, non-profit organizations, and seven of the top 10 companies on Fortune’s Global 500 list, the statement added.

— Staff Writer


Suzuki Motor chairman to resume as president

Tokyo: The chairman of Suzuki Motor Corp.Osamu Suzuki will resume his post as the Japanese car maker’s president as Hiroshi Tsuda resigns for health reasons.

Suzuki, 78, previously served as president for 22 years beginning in 1978. Tsuda, 63, served as president and chief operating officer for five years.

The company expects net income will fall 25% to 60 billion yen ($648 million, or Rs3,182 crore) in the year ending in March as a global recessions damps demand in Europe, Japan and India, its biggest market.

— Bloomberg


M&M says it is not bidding for Volvo

Mumbai: India’s biggest maker of sport utility vehicles Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M) said it isn’t interested in buying the Volvo Cars division that Ford Motor Co. is seeking to sell, denying a media report.

“We would like to categorically state that we are not bidding for Volvo, and that these reports are purely speculative in nature," Mahindra spokeswoman Roma Balwani said in an email.

The ‘Hindustan Times’ reported earlier on Wednesday that Mahindra is considering a bid for Volvo, citing investment bankers it didn’t identify. Mahindra is discussing with private equity companies, including Cerberus Capital and Texas Pacific Group, to place a joint bid for Volvo, the newspaper reported.

— Bloomberg


Ministry wants ground handling policy delayed

New Delhi: The civil aviation ministry is planning to seek a six-month delay in the implementation of the new policy on ground handling operations at airports that was likely to come into force by 1 January.

Under the new ground handling policy, only three agencies—National Aviation Co. of India Ltd-run Air India, the airport operator and an entity selected by the airport operator through competitive bidding—will be authorized to offer ground handling services. .

A civil ministry official who declined to be named said on Wednesday that the ministry has requested that the new policy, which is being opposed by all domestic airlines as it will increase their operating costs, be implemented around June.

— Tarun Shukla


Vedanta unit halts aluminium production

Mumbai:Vedanta Resources Plc.’s Madras Aluminium Co. unit has temporarily suspended production because of falling aluminium prices.

The company has reviewed the business outlook for aluminium business and has decided to temporarily suspend the entire aluminium production with immediate effect, the company said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Aluminium prices have almost halved in the past six months on the London Metal Exchange as deepening credit crunch and a global recession curbed demand for all commodities.

The alumina refinery will function to cater to industrial requirements and the power plant will continue to run and sell electricity to third parties, Madras Aluminium said.

— Bloomberg


Suzlon restructures top management

Mumbai:Suzlon Energy Ltd said chairman Tulsi Tanti and chief operating officer Sumant Sinha will take over the responsibilities of chief executive officer Toine van Megen.

The changes were made in response to the rapidly changing macro-economic environment, Ahmedabad-based Suzlon said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. Tanti will oversee risk management, Sinha will handle day- to-day operations and Megen will again assume supervisory responsibilities at the group level, Suzlon said.

— Bloomberg


Sukhoi: Russia, India will ink joint fighter project

Moscow: Russia and India will sign a contract on developing a so-called fifth generation fighter jet in the near future, Mikhail Pogosyan, chief executive officer of OAO Sukhoi Aviation Holding Co., said on Wednesday in an emailed statement.

— Bloomberg


ONGC plans to complete Imperial buy on schedule

Moscow / New Delhi: Shareholders in Imperial Energy will agree to the takeover by India’s biggest oil explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC), sources close to Imperial said on Wednesday.

A condition set by ONGC for the deal to go ahead is that 90% of Imperial shareholders must accept the offer. They have time until 1300 GMT on 30 December. “In current markets, £12.50 presents a unique opportunity for the shareholders," one of the sources close to Imperial said.

Imperial declined to comment.

Separately, Ongc chairman R.S. Sharmasaid the company plans to complete on schedule the buyout of the UK’s Imperial Energy Plc., its largest overseas purchase so far.

“We have posted the offer document on Tuesday. That milestone is over," Sharma said on Wednesday. “I am confident that we will get better returns on our investment."

ONGC ended uncertainty about renegotiating the £1.4 billion (Rs10,164 crore today) deal when it submitted the formal offer of 1,250 pence a share to buy Imperial Energy on Tuesday.

Sharma said there was no change in the Indian state-run explorer’s plans to raise a bridge loan of $1 billion to fund the purchase.

ONGC shares gained 2.65% to close at Rs676.90 in Mumbai trade on Wednesday, after earlier rising as much as 5.6%.

— Bloomberg and Reuters


India can’t rely on LNG to meet demand: Petronet

London: Petronet LNG Ltd, India’s biggest buyer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), said the country can’t rely on LNG to meet its thirst for energy.

We are advising the government not to depend on LNG, Amitava Sengupta, executive director of finance at Petronet, said at the World LNG Summit in Barcelona on Wednesday.

India’s gas supply-demand gap of 76 million cubic metres a day this year can’t be serviced by LNG, Sengupta said.

The country’s gas market will remain soft for the next two to three years as domestic gas supply rises to 80 million cubic metres a day, he said.

— Bloomberg


Swiss bank buys 40% stake in Chennai firm

Mumbai:Amas Bank (Switzerland) Ltd, the international banking entity of the transnational Hinduja Group, on Wednesday acquired a 40% stake in the Chennai-based stock broking firm Patco Investments and Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd.

“This investment is part of our renewed India focus and reinforces the strategy of the bank to advise corporations and investors between Europe and India, from our Switzerland home base,’’ said I. Schouker, chief executive, Amas Bank, in a release on Wednesday.

The bank did not mention the price at which the stake in the broking arm has been bought.

— Anita Bhoir


Reliance Money, DBS Vickers tie up

Mumbai: Reliance Money Ltd, a subsidiary of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Capital Ltd, said on Wednesday that it had tied up with Singapore-based DBS Vickers Securities (Singapore) Pte Ltd to offer trading in global commodity exchanges for corporate clients.

The alliance is aimed at corporate houses with significant commodity market exposure, the company said.

A Reliance Money statement added that services under the new tie-up will include derivatives in agricultural products, metals and energy traded on various global exchanges as well as over-the-counter products in segments such as energy and freight.

— Bhuma Shrivastava


Rs10,000 crore fertilizer bonds issued

New Delhi: The finance ministry on Wednesday announced that Rs10,000 crore of fertilizer bonds have been issued to 23 fertilizer companies by way of subsidy. The bonds carry an interest rate of 7% and mature in 2022. The ministry has tried to improve the liquidity of the current tranche of fertilizer bonds by making them eligible for repo transaction and allowing provident funds to invest in them. In addition to these measures to enhance liquidity, the government has also widened the space insurers have in investing in fertilizer bonds.

— Staff Writer


Cox & Kings signs JV with Indian Railways

New Delhi: Cox and Kings (India) Ltd, the oldest travel company in India, on Wednesday signed a 50:50 joint venture with Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd to set up Royale Indian Rail Tours Ltd, a firm that will manage and operate the first pan-India luxury tourist train, the fifth in India, expected to be operational late next year.

— Staff Writer


Ground handling policy may defer by six months

New Delhi: The Civil Aviation Ministry is planning to seek a delayed implementation of the new ground handling policy that was likely to come into force by 1 January. The ministry is seeking from the Union cabinet that it be delayed by nearly six months.

Under the Civil Aviation Ministry’s new ground handling policy that was likely to take effect next year, only three agencies—National Aviation Co. of India Air India, the airport operator and an entity selected by the airport operator through competitive bidding—will be authorized to offer ground handling services. Most airport operators like in Mumbai and Delhi have already selected such agencies.

A Civil Ministry official who did no wished to be named said that they have requested the new policy, opposed by all domestic airlines as it will increase their costs, be implemented around June.

“The scope of work is also being modified in the same request," he said, declining further details. It is unclear if only the domestic ground handling at airports may be deferred to June while the international ground handling can move to the new pattern, according to another official who asked not to be quoted.

— Tarun Shukla


TRAI moots 2% of highest 3G spectrum bid amount as admin fee

New Delhi: Telecom regulator TRAI has proposed 2% of the highest bid amount of 3G spectrum auction as the annual administrative charge.

In its latest revised recommendations to the Government, it said that 2% of the highest bid amount in the 3G spectrum auction had been suggested as the annual administrative charge during the spectrum validity period.

“As this is an additional charge on the 3G spectrum bidders, DoT has to place this before the Telecom Commission for clearance. If okayed, this will raise the cost of licence for a 3G spectrum owner or the operator," said an official.

While TRAI has suggested this in response to a DoT reference over the spectrum charges for stand-alone 3G and existing 2G players, who would also bid and own 3G spectrum, DoT has accepted former’s proposal on no segregation of 2G and 3G revenues.

Justifying the 2% charge, TRAI said: “As the operators will take time to roll out their services after the allocation of spectrum, the Authority recommends a moratorium of one year from the date of allocation of spectrum in respect of the payment of administrative charge. It is being recommended as a transparent, just, fair and equitable criterion, specific to owners of the 3G spectrum."

“The all-India reserve price for 3G spectrum is Rs2,020 crore and the number of slots to be auctioned in each circles has been referred to the Finance Ministry," the regulator said adding that it was possible to give 2G services also using the 3G spectrum and it was difficult to segregate between 2G and 3G services that could be provided using the 3G spectrum.

Therefore, the standalone 3G operator who does not have any allotment of 2G spectrum should also pay an annual spectrum charge of 3% of Annual Adjusted Gross Revenue, which is equivalent to the lowest slab of 2G operator. It is clarified that this is besides the administrative charges, TRAI clarified.



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