Accenture to hire 2,000 consultants by August

Accenture to hire 2,000 consultants by August

New Delhi: A global management consulting and technology services firm Accenture Inc., on Wednesday said it is on track to employing up to 2,000 consultants in India by August next year.

Accenture, which reported revenues of $19.70 billion (Rs78,400 crore) for its fiscal year ended 31 August, also announced the opening of its first office in India, exclusively dedicated to management consulting, at Gurgaon, that will provide consulting to both domestic as well as international clients.

“Plans are afloat to open up similar centres in Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai in the next 12 months, taking the headcount to 2,000 by our fiscal year-end next year," said Mark Foster, group chief executive, management consulting, Accenture Inc. Of its total global workforce of 170,000, Accenture’s India offices account for 36,000 workers.

Staff Writer

Cabinet may decide on Noida airport today

If approved by the cabinet, the Uttar Pradesh government-backed Noida airport will be the country’s second largest airport in land size—next only to the existing New Delhi airport—at 3,700 acres and is likely to support the growing traffic in the national capital region. However, given the fact that the existing New Delhi airport was restructured as recent as last year, said a senior civil aviation ministry official, who did not wished to be named, by an empowered-group of ministers (eGoM) which included the then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee, finance minister P. Chidambaram, commerce minister Kamal Nath and civil aviation minister Praful Patel, the aviation ministry may request the same GoM to look into the feasibility of a second airport.

Tarun Shukla

‘Merged Kingfisher, Deccan will be 2 brands’

New Delhi: Deccan Aviation, the low cost carrier in which UB Group has picked up 46% stake on Wednesday, said Kingfisher and Deccan will run as two separate brands even when the two airlines are merged.

“The two airlines will be operative as two separate entity and we will only concentrate on rebranding the two carriers," Deccan Aviation executive chairman Captain Gopinath told reporters here. Earlier this year, the UB Group had acquired 26% stake in Deccan Aviation for Rs550 crore.


BT to buy Singapore’s Frontline for Asia

Singapore: British telecoms giant BT Group said on Wednesday it agreed to buy Singapore IT firm Frontline Technologies for S$202 million (Rs550 crore), as it seeks to boost its presence in Asia.

BT has sizeable operations in Japan, South Korea and Australia, but buying Frontline will give it greater exposure to China, India, Taiwan and Southeast Asia as it looks to transform itself into a global IT services provider.

“Nothing is enough—it’s a good step," BT Asia Pacific president Allen Ma said. BT will pay S$0.245 for each Frontline share.

As part of the deal with BT, Frontline will buy an additional 9% of India’s Accel Frontline to raise its stake in the Indian firm to 51%. Accel shares jumped 10.2% in Mumbai. The purchase of Accel shares is conditional on BT acquiring 100% of Frontline, Ma said.


Matrix gets FDA nod for HIV drug Tenofovir

Mumbai: Pharmaceutical company Matrix Laboratories Ltd on Wednesday said it has received tentative approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate tablets, used for the treatment of HIV infection.

The company’s Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) Tenofovir tablets will be available in the strength of 300mg, Matrix said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Matrix received the approval from FDA under the president’s emergency plan for AIDS relief (PEPFAR), which allows it to immediately sell an HIV or AIDS treatment outside the US, the statement added. Meanwhile, existing patents and marketing exclusivity prevent the approval of the product in the US.

Shares of Matrix closed 0.66% up at Rs220.55 on BSE.


NSE ban on futures trading in Essar oil, IFCI

Mumbai: Trading in stock futures of Essar Oil Ltd, state-run lender Industrial Finance Corp. of India (IFCI) and five other companies have been banned at the National Stock Exchange.

The derivative contracts in the underlying Essar Oil, IFCI, Rajesh Exports Ltd, Adlabs Film Ltd, Arvind Mills Ltd, Nagarjuna Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd, and Bongaigoan Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd are currently in the ban period, a NSE circular said on Wednesday.

These companies have been banned from trading as they have crossed the 95% of marketwide position limit and consequently restricted from making any fresh contracts, the circular added.

In the cash segment, the scrip of Essar Oil witnessed an over 411% surge in the last two months.

IFCI shares saw a jump of 22.07% during the same period.


Qualcomm to hire more workers in China, India

Hong Kong: The world’s second biggest maker of chips that run mobile phones Qualcomm Inc. plans to hire more employees in China and India to tap expected demand.

The company will increase the number of employees in China after the nation awards permits for third-generation (3G) wireless services to phone operators, said Jing Wang, Asia Pacific chairman of company, at a conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday. He didn’t provide specific numbers.

Qualcomm employs a “few" hundred workers in India and 160 in China, Wang said. India has Qualcomm’s second largest office outside the US, the executive said. Texas Instruments Inc. is the world’s biggest maker of handset chips.


Pvt sector must declare basmati rice stocks

New Delhi: The government has made it mandatory for individuals or firms procuring basmati rice in excess of 10,000 tonnes to declare their stocks.

A notification issued by the food ministry has asked private traders to inform the respective state governments on a weekly basis about rice procurements that are in excess of 10,000 tonnes. The notification defines rice as “mature kernels, or pieces of kernels or Oryza sativa Linn, obtained from paddy as raw or parboiled." Basmati rice is also part of Oryza sativa Linn, Indian Agricultural Research Institute genetics head K.B. Prabhu said.

“Any company or firm or individual who purchases paddy (in terms of rice) or rice in excess of 10,000 tonnes (total purchases made throughout the country) during the kharif marketing season 2007-08 (October-September), shall furnish to the secretary, department of food of the state from where the maximum quantity has been purchased," the notification said.


Govt to reopen eight sick fertilizer units

New Delhi: The government has decided to restart all the eight sick public sector fertilizer units in a move to produce 8 million tonnes (mt) of additional fertilizer to meet the growing demand.

“Government has decided to reopen the eight closed units, including those of the Hindustan Fertiliser Corporation to produce 8mt of more fertilizers," chemicals and fertilizers minister Ram Vilas Paswan said in the Lok Sabha.

The units at Haldia, Durgapur, Barauni, Sindri, Ramagundem, Gorakhpur and Talcher would each be able to produce 1mt of fertilizers annually once they are reopened, he said adding that the decision to close down the units was taken by the NDA government.


New investment policy for fertilizer sector soon

New Delhi: The government will soon come out with new investment policy for the fertilizer sector. "The draft for the policy is almost ready and we will send it to the cabinet in a month’s time," said minister for chemicals and fertilizers Ram Vilas Paswan while inaugurating the Fertiliser Association of India’s annual seminar on ‘Holistic Approach to Agriculture and Fertilizers’ on Wednesday.

The policy would cater to the nitrogenous and phosphatic fertilizer units in the country. The new policy is primarily aimed at attracting fresh investment in the domestic fertilizer industry and is expected to reduce country’s growing dependence on fertilizer imports.

Staff Writer

China nod for mega oil refinery project

Beijing: China has approved a multi-billion dollar oil refinery and chemical project in the biggest joint investment on the mainland, state media reported.

Sinopec, the country’s second biggest oil producer, and Kuwait Petroleum Corp. have been given approval to start “initial work" in Nansha in Guangdong Province, China’s economic hub, the state-run ‘China Daily’ said. The green signal from the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top planning body, came following months of feasibility studies, it said, adding it would be the biggest joint investment after China launched its opening-up policy in 1978.

Earlier reports had put the investment at $5 billion (Rs19,700 crore), surpassing the $4.3 billion petrochemical complex in Huizhou, Guangdong, which is co-invested by Shell and CNOOC, China’s third biggest oil company.


‘Balco resorting to contract labour’

New Delhi: Aluminium maker Bharat Aluminium Co. Ltd (Balco), which was privatised a few years ago, is resorting to contract labour after giving VRS (voluntary retirement scheme)to its permanent employees, labour minister Oscar Fernandes informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

The minister said Balco had offered VRS after the expiry of a one-year moratorim on retrenching employees. While 1,303 employees opted for the scheme, it was denied to 23. “Those opting for VRS were very senior employees." Balco, he said, did not follow the correct practice when it offered compensation under VRS in instalments of six months. “Lot of inconvenience was caused to employees," he said.


Nuke deal will not bar India from holding tests

New Delhi: India’s proposed civilian nuclear energy accord with the US doesn’t prevent the Asian nation from conducting atomic tests, foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

“If we feel it is necessary to conduct a nuclear test because of geo-political scenario, we will do it," Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. “If we conduct a nuclear test, consequences will also follow."

The government is ready to get a “sense of the house" after implementing the deal, Mukherjee said.

The minister’s statements didn’t satisfy the allies and the Opposition parties, which walked out during Mukherjee’s reply, which ended the debate.


India mulls FTA with China: Jairam Ramesh

New Delhi: India is considering a free trade agreement (FTA) with China, but a decision will be based on sensitivities of domestic industry, minister of state for commerce and industry Jairam Ramesh told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

The minister said India has FTAs with five countries and six operational preferential trade agreements. In addition, 11 FTAs are under negotiations and seven others are under consideration.

“India-China FTA falls under the FTAs being considered," he said, adding the decision to enter into such agreements that liberalise trade in certain identified commodities is taken after a great deal of consideration. The country has been negotiating an FTA with Asean for the past three-and-a-half years and the government’s guiding principle has been to protest sensitive segments of the economy particularly agriculture, textiles and small-scale industries, he said.


Dish TV to sell Rs250 cr equity to Indivision

Mumbai: Essel Group promoted Dish TV India Ltd said on Wednesday it will raise Rs250 crore through preferential allotment of equity shares and warrants to Indivision India Partners, the private equity arm of Future Capital Holdings Ltd.

“This will result in around 4.9% dilution of Dish TV’s stake and the proceeds will be spent in building the brand and funding the business such as buying set top boxes," said Arun Kapoor, chief executive officer, Dish TV, a private direct-to-home (DTH) service provider.

Dish TV said it would raise equity funds of Rs125 crore in the first tranche and another Rs125 crore on conversion of the warrants. “The company has decided to convene an extra-ordinary general meeting of the shareholders on 4 January for the approval of preferential issue and the entire funding process should be completed in 18 months," added Kapoor.

In the fiscal ending March 2007, Dish TV recorded a net loss of Rs251 crore on net sales of Rs191 crore, and in the quarter ended June 2007, its net loss was Rs89 crore on a net turnover of Rs89 crore.

Sagar Malviya