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Need to Know | Oil firms warn Jet Airways, Kingfisher on dues

Need to Know | Oil firms warn Jet Airways, Kingfisher on dues

Mumbai: State-run oil marketing companies have threatened to stop selling fuel to Jet Airways (India) Ltd and Kingfisher Airlines Ltd if they don’t clear dues on interest payments by 4 February, a senior executive with one of these oil companies said.

Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd, Indian Oil Corp. Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd, in separate letters to the two carriers, also said they would refuse to sell jet fuel on credit from 29 January if the dues weren’t cleared by Wednesday, the executive said on condition of anonymity.

The executive said the oil companies have a commercial agreement with the two airlines and interest is due on outstanding payment beyond the credit period. He did not elaborate further.

A Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson said there was no provision in the agreement for penal interest on payment dues.

Ragini Chopra, a Jet Airways spokesperson, said representatives of her airline would shortly meet the oil marketing companies to sort out the issues.

“We have already paid our dues. As per the directive of the ministry of civil aviation, we are supposed to meet oil companies to reach a mutual understanding on the issue of interest payment on the outstanding amount," she said.

—PR Sanjai


Maruti to raise prices of A-Star, Swift

New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., the country’s largest carmaker raised prices due to higher input costs and exchange rate changes, the company said in a statement.

Introductory pricing for the newly launched A-Star has been withdrawn and prices raised by Rs10,000 for all models. The Swift and its sedan version, the Swift Dzire will cost between Rs5,000 and Rs7,000 more. Prices for the SX4 have been raised by Rs9,000.

Prices of other models like the WagonR, Alto and Omni have been left unchanged.

Maruti’s announcement comes after other manufacturers like General Motors India Ltd., Toyota Kirloskar Motors Ltd. and Honda Siel Cars India Ltd. increased prices earlier this month.

Its rival Hyundai Motor India Ltd., the country’s second largest carmaker also plans to raise prices. “We will increase prices by the first week of February by around 2%," Rajiv Mitra, spokesperson for Hyundai India told Mint. “The price increases would in all likelihood be across all models," he added.

—Staff Writer and Reuters


Mukherjee to meet bank CEOs on 2 Feb

MUMBAI: External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, who has recently been given charge of the finance ministry, will meet the CEOs of public sector on 2 February in New Delhi. The formal agenda of the meeting has not yet been finalised but at least three bank chiefs said they have got the invitation and the discussion will probably focus on credit disbursements and loan rates. Normally, the finance ministry holds stock taking meetings after every quarterly review of monetary policy but this will be Mukherjee’s first such meeting. The Reserve Bank of India, country’s central bank, at its quarterly reivew of monetary policy on Tuesday maintained left all policy rates unchanged.

—Anup Roy


UB, Diageo close to deal on United Spirits

New Delhi: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya-promoted United Breweries Ltd (UB) is in the final stages of negotiations to sell up to 14.9% stake in group firm United Spirits Ltd (USL) to the world’s No.1 spirits maker Diageo Plc., a source close to the development said.

Mallya and other UB officials will be meeting their Diageo counterparts in New York on Wednesday in the stake sale. A UB Group official spokesperson declined to comment.



India, Nepal put river back on course

Kathmandu: A Himalayan river which broke flood defences last year and displaced millions of people in Nepal and India has been put back on its original course, officials in Nepal said on Tuesday. Indian and Nepali technicians plus hundreds of labourers managed to shift the Saptakoshi river late on Monday, said the head of Nepal’s natural disaster relief department, Pratap Kumar Pathak.



Power trading can have two regulators: FMC

New Delhi: The commodity market regulator, Forward Markets Commission (FMC) has said that spot and futures trading of electricity can be controlled by two different regulators.

“The spot market and forward markets in goods (including electricity) can be regulated by two different regulators," FMC chairman B.C. Khatua said in a letter to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission.



NDTV curbs capex plans as slowdown hurts

Mumbai: Broadcaster New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) has curbed expenditure plans in the next financial year on distribution, new equipment and launch of fresh channels, hit by the economic slowdown, a senior official said.

“We don’t have a significant capex (for 2009-10) to talk about. We are being a little tight on expansion," chief executive officer K.V.L. Narayan Rao said over the telephone.

NDTV, which operates news channels NDTV Profit, NDTV 24X7, NDTV India, besides entertainment channels, has been hit due to a slump in revenues from key advertisers, Rao said.



‘Inc.’ magazine to be launched in India soon

New Delhi: New York-based magazine for chief executives of fast-growing private companies, ‘Inc.’, will soon be launched in India. The Indian version, called ‘Inc. India’, is being brought to India by Pramath Raj Sinha-promoted media company, 9.9 Mediaworx Pvt. Ltd and will hit the news stands by June.

While the company is still awaiting the government’s approval to publish the magazine in India, it will launch its four-page electronic version in February.

“Unlike other licensing tie-ups, we will be generating Indian content though we will be using Inc.’s iconic design, ideas and some of the content," said Sinha. The monthly will have 100-odd pages and the price is yet to be decided. ‘Inc. India’ will have an editorial team of around 10-12 people. The editor for the magazine has not been decided yet, said Sinha.

— Rajeshwari Sharma


Sesa Goa net falls on lower iron ore prices

Mumbai: India’s biggest non- state iron-ore exporter Sesa Goa Ltd said third quarter profit fell 7% as waning demand from China, the biggest buyer, drove down prices.

Net income fell to Rs471 crore in the three months to 31 December from Rs507 crore a year earlier, the Panaji-based company, a unit of Vedanta Resources Plc., said in statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Sales rose 23% to Rs1,500 crore.



Educomp Solutions net profit grows 61%

New Delhi: Educomp Solutions Ltd’s quarterly standalone profit grew by nearly two-thirds, as more schools signed up for the firm’s education software, its managing director said on Tuesday.

The company, whose shares were battered last week on speculation it had inflated profits, said it will take new measures on corporate governance which include a disclosure in advance on any sale of shares by its promoters, expansion of the board to include more independent directors, and discussions with the big 5 audit firms to take-up its audit.

Managing director Shantanu Prakash reaffirmed the company’s forecast its annual profit and sales would double in the year to March.

“I believe this is a very resilient business," Prakash told a news conference. “Your child has to go to school, no matter what happens."

In the December quarter, 212 more private schools adopted Smart Class, the interactive learning aid which contributes half of the company’s revenue, taking the tally to 1,479. This, along with orders from 1,055 state-run schools for its computer-aided education programmes, pushed net profit for the quarter to 31.5 crore on a standalone basis from 190.16 million rupees a year ago.

Net sales doubled to 145 crore, Educomp said.

By March, it expects to have 1,700 schools using Smart Class and targets contracts from 12,000-15,000 government schools for a product which contributes a third to sales, up from 9,970 at end-December.

Despite a weak job market and the looming spectre of pay cuts, Prakash did not anticipate slower growth for products like Smart Class.

“The fees of Smart Class is only 150 rupees a student a month," he said. “It is less than the cost of a medium-sized pizza."

Shares in Educomp closed 1.5% down at 1,720 on the BSE sensex that ended 3.8% up.

—Aparna Kalra and Reuters


Wyeth net profit rises 19% at Rs20.79 cr

Mumbai: Pharmaceuticals firm Wyeth Ltd on Tuesday said its net profit in the December quarter grew 18.52% to Rs20.79 crore over the corresponding year-ago period.

The drug maker, whose US-based promoter Wyeth, has been offered a $68 billion cash-and-stock buyout offer from rival Pfizer on Monday, had a net profit of Rs17.54 crore in the year-ago period.



REC posts 42% increase in Q3 net profit

Mumbai: State-run power sector lending institution Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd (REC) on Tuesday said its standalone net profit for the December quarter rose 41.63% to Rs318.65 crore.

The company had a net profit of Rs224.98 crore in the year-ago period, REC informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.



HCL Info net down 32% in December quarter

Mumbai: Information technology firm HCL Infosystems Ltd on Tuesday reported a 32.13% fall in net profit to Rs55.25 crore for the December quarter, against Rs81.41 crore in the third quarter of the last fiscal year, the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The company’s sales dipped 5% to Rs3,140 crore for the quarter under review, from Rs3,305 crore in the year-ago period.



Indian School of Business ranks 15 in global B-Schools

New Delhi: London’s Financial Times’ rankings of MBA programmes moved-up the Indian School of Business or ISB, Hyderabad, to No 15 from No 20 last year. The FT MBA 2009 rankings, compiled from data supplied by 9,000 business school alumni working in 130 countries, placed London Buiness School as No 1 along with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

London Business School was placed at the No 2 slot last year. Previously only two US schools, Wharton and Harvard Business School, have held the number one slot.

Shanghai-based China European International Business School (Ceibs) was ranked No 8, becoming the first Chinese business school to make the top 10. The ranking of the top 100 full-time MBA programmes is dominated by American business schools, with 56 of the 100 based in the US.

To view the rankings, click here

—Aparna Kalra


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