The Week in Review for 25 December 2009

The Week in Review for 25 December 2009

New Delhi: NTPC has failed to get clearances from the environment ministry for its eight captive coal blocks. The coal blocks were meant to help NTPC lock in a stable fuel supply. About 80% of NTPC’s installed capacity runs on coal and a majority of its coal-fired units are already facing fuel shortages.

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Reliance Industries Limited claims to have discovered natural gas in its D3 block in the KG basin off India’s east coast. This is RIL’s third discovery in the D3 block, which covers more than 3,000 square kilometres of area. The company says it is still evaluating the potential of its new discovery.

Indian officials are slated to go to Oman in January to work out the details of a joint venture agreement on oil. Under the potential agreement, Oman could set up a major crude oil storage facility on India’s coast. The oil will be meant for markets in East Asia, but will help build India’s own storage infrastructure and provide it with emergency reserves.

Mergers and acquisitions may not get any easier for India’s phone companies. This week Mint learnt that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India or TRAI is unlikely to recommend any major changes to mergers and acquisitions norms in the telecom sector. TRAI is concerned large telecom companies will buy out smaller ones based only on the spectrum they hold. It’s expected to submit its recommendations to the government in the third or fourth week of January.

One year after the financial crisis, India’s mall developers appear to be back in the game. An industry estimate says 15 new malls have opened in seven major Indian cities in just the last three months. And another 48 malls are slated to open next year. Up to 85% of 640 ongoing mall projects came to halt around the time of the meltdown last year.

Good news for private airlines. A study from consulting firm Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation said both Jet Airways and SpiceJet could make a full-year profit in 2011. It says Kingfisher’s domestic operations will become profitable in 2011. But things aren’t as good for Air India. According to the study, the carrier will continue to post losses in 2011.

Home minister P. Chidambaram proposed a major overhaul of his ministry. Highlighting increased security concerns; Chidambaram said he wanted the ministry’s functions to be divided so that one section can be devoted entirely to internal security. Chidambaram has also said a new national center for counter terrorism would be set up by the end of next year.

On Thursday the union cabinet approved a proposal for creating a category of so-called Maharatnas for state-run companies that are performing well. Firms under the new category include NTPC, ONGC and SAIL. Maharatna status lets companies take investment decisions worth up to Rs5,000 crore without consulting the government. The previous limit was Rs1,000 crores.

Wholesale food inflation rose 18.65% in the week ending the 12 December, a slight decrease from the previous week.

Infrastructure company GVK is talking to Siemens to pick up either a part or a complete stake in Bangalore International Airport Limited. GVK already holds a 29% stake in the airport.

Major carmakers revealed they would showcase new cars at next month’s auto show in Delhi. Honda Motor will unveil a new concept small car tailored for the Indian and other developing markets. And rival Maruti Suzuki is going to showcase a concept version of the R3 multipurpose car.