Need to Know | Ghulati named CEO of UTI International

Need to Know | Ghulati named CEO of UTI International

Mumbai: UTI International Ltd on Monday said that Tarun Ghulati has been appointed as its new chief executive officer (CEO).

UTI International is a 100% subsidiary of UTI Asset Management Company (UTI AMC).

Ghulati will be responsible for the international business of the company through the existing country offices in London, Dubai and Bahrain and new offices planned to be opened in other markets, a press release issued here said. UTI International was set up on 30 January 1996, in Guernsey, Channel Islands and is regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

The company has two subsidiaries-UTI Investment Management Company (Mauritius) and UTI International (Singapore) Private Limited. The Assets under Management (AUM) of UTI International stands at USD 775-million as on August 29, 2008, the release said.



Kingfisher rules out fare cut in immediate term

Mumbai: Private air carrier Kingfisher Airlines Ltd said on Monday there is no case for reducing its air fares in the immediate term.

However, once the government brought aviation turbine fuel (ATF) under the “Declared Goods" category, it would immediately and significantly reduce fares, a Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson said.

Earlier, Jet Airways’ chairman Naresh Goyal had also said that he was not in favour of any fare cut as long as ATF was not classified as ‘declared goods’.

Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel has repeatedly called upon air carriers to pass on the benefit of the ATF price cut to customers, but his pleas have so far gone unheeded.



India trims sugar output to 20mn tonne

New Delhi: India is likely to produce 20 million tonnes (mt) of sugar in the year to September 2009 against a previous forecast of 20.5-22mt, Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said on Monday.

“I have been getting reports of low yield and lower recovery of sugar from major producing states," Pawar said at an industry event.

Meanwhile, sugar millers have asked the government to set up an independent regulator to look into issues of cane pricing and allocation of sugarcane to different factories.

“The one single policy for the government to set up an independent and high-powered regulatory body similar to telecom and electricity regulatory bodies," Indian Sugar Mills Association president Ranjit Puri said at a function organized by the body here on Monday.



Oilex, Hartleys to help develop Cambay oil field

Paris: Australian oil and gas explorer Oilex Ltd reached an agreement with Hartleys Ltd to raise $10.1 million (Rs47.87 crore) to develop projects in India, Indonesia and Oman.

Oilex will sell as much as 43.8 million ordinary shares at 23 cents a piece to institutional investors and investor clients of Hartleys, the Perth-based company said on Monday in a statement distributed on ‘PRNewswire’.

The primary objective of the company is to become cash flow positive in 2009, Oilex said, adding it intends to reduce its overheads significantly in first quarter of 2009. Oilex will focus on developing and producing oil from the Cambay onshore field in India, according to the statement.



BGR Energy in pact with Italian firm for tech help

Mumbai: Energy equipment supplier BGR Energy Systems said on Monday it has signed a five-year agreement with Italy-based TME SpA Termomeccanica Ecologia for condensate polishing plants in India, the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

TME would transfer and impart technical knowledge for condensate polishing plants to BGR Energy. The agreement is for a period of five years with a scope for a further extension.



CMIE lowers forecast for fiscal 2009 to 7.5%

Mumbai: India’s economy would grow at a slower pace than expected earlier in fiscal 2008-09 due to the global credit crisis and a slowdown in some sectors, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has said.

CMIE now forecasts the economy will grow at 7.5% in the fiscal year ending in March, lowering it from an earlier estimate of 8.2%, it said in its monthly review for December.

“The global liquidity crisis is expected to hit growth significantly in the third quarter," CMIE said, adding, “trade, transport, industry and finance sectors are expected to be the worst hit."

CMIE said it has lowered its forecast for industrial output to 4.5% from 6.3% earlier, as it expects the impact of global financial turmoil to remain for the next few months. It also expects inflation to ease for the rest of the fiscal year. It has forecast an average inflation of 8.6% for FY09, from 4.7% in the previous year.

According to CMIE, lending rates are likely to ease further by 0.5 basis points by March, but strong growth in bank credit and large government borrowing will pressure liquidity and discourage banks from cutting interest rates.



BP, RIL sign exploration pact with Indian govt

Mumbai: Europe’s second largest oil company BP Plc. and Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s biggest non-state company, signed a contract with the Indian government on sharing production and revenue from an exploration area.

The companies will jointly explore the KG-DWN-2005/2 area off India’s eastern coast that the companies won in the seventh round of exploration area auction, BP said in an emailed statement on Monday.

BP will be the operator and will hold 30% interest in the field that is spread over 1,949 sq. km and located 40km off the Krishna-Godavari coast, according to the statement.



India’s largest auction of oil, gas areas in Feb

New Delhi: The fall in global crude oil prices notwithstanding, India will launch its biggest ever auction of oil and gas exploration areas in February, offering over 100 blocks for international bidding.

The nation is looking at using lower rig rates and oil field services that are likely to result from fall in international oil prices and global recession to comb the unexplored areas, so that its import dependence could be cut.

So far, 206 blocks have been awarded under seven rounds of bidding under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (Nelp).

“It would be our endeavour to launch Nelp-VIII in the first quarter of 2009," petroleum minister Murli Deora said on the occasion of signing of contracts for 44 blocks awarded under the just-concluded Nelp-VII bid round.

Petroleum secretary R.S. Pandey was more specific saying the round would come in February, while oil regulator DGH said 400,000 sq. km of area roughly divided into more than 100 blocks would be offered in the next round.

“Nelp-VII was our largest round so far with 150,000 sq. km of area offered. Nelp-VIII would be even larger," DGH director general V.K. Sibal said.



Carlyle, TPG eye stake in Suzlon Energy

Mumbai/Hong Kong: Among private equity firms looking to buy a stake in India’s Suzlon Energy Ltd are Carlyle Group and TPG Capital, three banking persons close to the matter said, as the world’s fifth largest wind turbine maker seeks to raise $500 million.

Suzlon, which needs a large part of the money to buy Portugal-based Martifer’s stake in its German unit REpower AG by May, wants to sell a 10-15% holding for about $300 million, the three persons said.

The company hopes to raise another $200 million through a debt offering or by selling stakes in other units, the sources who are involved in the transaction said, adding that a deal could be reached in the next month or so.

Spokesmen for Suzlon and TPG declined comment. Carlyle could not be reached immediately.

The persons did not want to be named as they are not authorized to speak to the media. No banker has been mandated as yet to advise on the deal.

Last week Suzlon had agreed with Martifer to stagger the payment schedule to buy the stake, a move that followed its suspension of an 18 billion rupee ($375 million) rights share offer due to weak stock markets.



Navayuga to build port in Orissa at Rs6,000 cr

Hyderabad: Construction firm Navayuga Engineering Co. Ltd (NECL), said it will build a seaport at Astaranga, about 90km north of Puri in Orissa, at a cost of Rs6,000 crore. The company has entered into an agreement with the state government to build and operate the port for 30 years, with an option to renew the agreement for another 20 years, it said.

NECL is the flagship of the Navayuga group that has interests in engineering, construction, ports and power. The company has developed a port at Krishnapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. It said the first phase of the Astaranga port will be operational in four years.

The port at Astaranga offers closest logistical proximity to industries in Orissa and neighbouring Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, where a number of projects are proposed, including integrated steel plants, manufacturing units and other mining projects, group chairman Chinta Visweswar Rao said in a statement.

He had earlier told Mint that several domestic and foreign investors were keen to pick up a stake in the ports and power projects the group is developing but it had yet to take a decision on this.

—C.R. Sukumar


GMR Infra parent increases stake to 74%

Mumbai: GMR Infrastructure Ltd said on Monday its founder,GMR Holdings Pvt. Ltd, has bought 4.2 million of the company’s shares, increasing its stake to almost 74%.

The shares were bought on the open market via the stock exchanges, between 15 and 18 December, it said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.



Peerless gets Sebi nod to set up AMC

Mumbai: Peerless General Finance and Investment Co. said on Monday it has become the first financial services company in eastern India to receive market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi) preliminary in-principle approval to enter the mutual funds business.

The company has appointed Akshay Gupta as the chief executive officer for the proposed asset management company (AMC), a press release issued here said. Gupta is a former senior executive from ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund, the release said.



Gitanjali board approves Rs144 cr share buy-back

Mumbai: Jewellery maker Gitanjali Gems Ltd said on Monday it will buy back up to 12 million shares for Rs144 crore. The board has approved buying back of shares at a maximum price of Rs120 a piece, Gitanjali Gems said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.



CIL’s Mozambique coalblock bid irks PSU JV

New Delhi:Coal India Ltd’s (CIL) bid for a coal block in Africa has not gone well with the International Coal Ventures Ltd (ICVL), a venture floated by five leading public sector undertakings (PSUs) including CIL to scout mining properties abroad.

Coal India chairman Partha S. Bhattacharyya said the company last week bid for a cancelled coal block, believed to be once owned by mining firm Riversdale, in Mozambique as part of its strategy to acquire overseas mines to reduce India’s import dependence on the dry fuel.

An ICVL official, however, said CIL’s move to go ahead alone for the coking coal property is against the understanding between the partners and promoters of the special purpose vehicle.



Bill for hike in salaries of judges tabled in LS

New Delhi: A Bill proposing an at least threefold hike in the salaries of judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Law minister H.R. Bhardwaj introduced the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Bill in the Lok Sabha.

He introduced the Bill amid a din raised by Bharatiya Janata Party members protesting against minority affairs minister A.R. Antulay’s controversial remarks on the killing of Maharashtra Anti-terrorism squad chief Hemant Karkare during the Mumbai terror attacks.

The Bill proposes to hike the salary of the Chief Justice of India from Rs33,000 per month to Rs1 lakh, and that of other judges of the apex court from Rs30,000 to Rs90,000 per month.

It also seeks to increase the salary of the chief justices of high courts from Rs30,000 to Rs90,000 per month and that of the other judges of high courts from Rs26,000 to Rs80,000 per month.

The hike in the salaries is proposed to be effective from 1 January 2006.



Govt plans regulation forflow of geospatial data

New Delhi: The government plans to bring in a regulation seeking to make available the geospatial data to public and private users for various purposes, including disaster management, internal security and surveillance of coast and sea.

The draft Bill on the National Geospatial Data Regulatory Authority will be sent for cabinet approval in February after which it will be introduced in Parliament, science and technology minister Kapil Sibal said on Monday.

“The geospatial data is very important for most of the areas of public services. But we need to have a regulatory mechanism to monitor the flow of data. The authority will regulate the basis and condition on which the data can be used," he said at the conference. The proposed authority will also decide which data should be made free, he said.



Aurobindo Pharma gets S African nod for 4 drugs

Mumbai: Drug maker Aurobindo Pharma Ltd said on Monday that it has received the South African regulatory approval to make and market four drugs for treatment for ailments of the central nervous system.

South Africa’s Medicines Control Council has approved tablet and two different solution forms of risperidone and tablet forms of sumatripan, the company said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.



DoPT violating RTI Act, says CIC

New Delhi: The department of personnel and training (DoPT), which is the nodal agency for the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, is itself violating the Act by publishing misleading information on its website, the Central Information Commission has held.

The department on its website has excluded file notings from the definition of “information", which implies that there is no obligation on it to reveal these under the RTI Act.

“Because it is already clear that the entry of file noting with regard to exempted information on the website of DoPT is misleading, we find the DoPT is in violation of the RTI Act," said chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah.

The commission ordered the department to delete the definition of information which says that file notings were not included in the RTI Act and replace it with the new definition as given in the Act.



Orissa tops list of cases of communal violence

New Delhi: Orissa has earned the dubious distinction of having the highest number of cases of communal violence this year, recording a 12-fold jump in such incidents compared with last year.

The all-India figure of 855 incidents of communal violence has also surpassed that of the previous year’s 761, according to latest government data.

Orissa, which was in the news for the attack against Christians, reported 178 such incidents till 30 November, topping the list, followed by Madhya Pradesh (115) and Uttar Pradesh (104).

Last year, Orissa recorded only 15 such cases while Madhya Pradesh, last year’s topper, had 180 such incidents and Uttar Pradesh had 138. Maharashtra, which was second last year with 140 cases, had 97 cases this year. Of the 153 people killed this year in communal riots, Orissa again topped the list, accounting for 28% of the deaths. A total of 43 people were killed and 78 injured in the eastern state this year compared with three and 61, respectively, in 2007.



Month-long IPL trading window opens

Mumbai: The month-long trading window of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for franchises to sell and buy players from other franchises commenced on Monday.

The first list of players of one franchise available for picking by other franchises would be known by 28 December, while the second and third lists would be known on 5 and 12 January, respectively, IPL sources said.

Franchises would have the opportunities during the period to trade players—either by offering to sell a player via trade or expressing an interest to acquire a player.

Prior to any trading discussions the player’s consent must be obtained, as per the decision arrived at a meeting of the IPL authorities and the franchises here on 17 December.

The trading window is only for players who were part of the IPL in 2008. The auction of new players, who did not feature in the 2008 edition, for IPL’s second edition will be held on 6 February.



Importers may face stiff packaging norms

New Delhi: In a move to save domestic industries from the onslaught of increasing imports, the government is likely to come out with stiff packaging norms for import of all packaged goods into the country.

The government is expected to have in place by April rules that will make it binding on the exporters of packaged goods to India to send the consignment only after packaging them, according to people familiar with the development.

At present, Indian importers can do packaging after the arrival of goods at ports under the Standard of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977.

Accordingly, importers keep the goods in a customs-bonded area and comply with the provisions such as labelling, after which the packaged goods are cleared.

The move is said to be aimed at preventing dumping of cheap goods into India, hurting domestic industries that are already facing a demand slowdown and which have been forced to resort to production cuts.

With the government disallowing unpackaged goods, subject to provisions of the Standard of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977, the landed cost of imported goods would increase, thus improving the competitiveness of domestic industry.

India’s imports have gone up from $112 billion (Rs5.3 trillion) in 2004-05 to $251 billion in 2007-08. Imports in October were valued at $23.3 billion, an increase of 10.6% against imports of $21.12 billion in the same month in the previous year.