Need to Know

Need to Know

New Delhi: Japanese trading houses Mitsui & Co. Ltd and Mitsubishi Corp.may buy stakes in a new plant planned by India’s Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), a senior company official said on Wednesday.

The proposed $1.22 billion (Rs4,843 crore) complex will be built by a new venture—Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) Mangalore Petrochemicals Ltd.

The new plant hopes to meet demand for paraxylene, which is used to make polyester and plastics.

State refiner MRPL will own 3% of the new firm, while its parent company, explorer ONGC, will invest the bulk of the funds for a 46% stake.

“We are talking to both Mitsui and Mitsubishi for participation in the project," MRPL managing directorR. Rajamani said. “They have said they will come back to us after talking to their management." REUTERS

Mumbai: Logistics firm Gateway Distriparks Ltd plans to invest Rs600 crore over 30 months in its rail unit Gateway Rail Freight Ltd, a top company official said on Wednesday.

“We will look at different ways of financing... private equity placement, borrowing money (through Gateway Rail) or Gateway Distriparks increasing its equity or financing in some way," said Prem Kishan Gupta, vice-chairman and managing director of Gateway Distriparks.

The company has so far tied up debt of Rs200 crore for the first phase of investment, that will be spread over the second half of fiscal 2008.

The funds would be used to buy rakes, land and build-related infrastructure, Gupta said.

Gateway’s rail unit also started offering road transport in the second quarter of this year for distances of 150-200km and plans to increase its fleet of 65 heavy commercial vehicles to 200 by March 2008, he added.

“It has worked out very well... it is a good stream of revenue and it supports the business," Gupta said. REUTERS

Mumbai: A Future Group company promoted by Kishore BiyaniPantaloon Retail India, on Wednesday said it would raise around Rs2,000 crore through an initial public offering (IPO) and private placement of shares.

The company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that its Board of Directors had approved raising of funds for its subsidiary, Future Ventures India Ltd, by way of IPO, private placement of shares or issue of convertible instruments.

Further, the Board of Directors has recommended a dividend of Rs0.50 (25%) per equity share.

Shares of the firm closed at Rs540.25, up 0.19% at BSE. pti

New Delhi/Mumbai: India’s largest real estate developer DLF Ltd is applying for a licence that will enable the company to start offering telecommunications services. Ramesh Sanka, DLF’s chief financial officer, confirmed the development on Wednesday and said that DLF planned on putting out a statement later.

In a related news, Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd, India’s third biggest property developer, applied for nationwide telephone licences, and is hoping to get a financial stake in the world’s fastest growing wireless market. Indiabulls filed its application on Tuesday, the Mumbai-based company’s spokesperson Gagan Banga said. Indian construction companies such as Unitech Ltd and Parsvnath Developers Ltd are hoping to start wireless, fixed-line and Internet services in India, which has a wireless penetration of less than 18%. bloomberg

New Delhi: India’s fuel consumption grew 3.5% in August and crude imports soared 9.7% as refiners imported more crude to export processed products, according to the latest data released by the petroleum ministry.

Demands for petroleum products rose to 9.43 million tonnes (mt) in August from 9.11mt a year ago,

LPG, petrol and aviation turbine fuel consumption continued to show double-digit growth but diesel demand moderated to 5.7%.

India, which meets 73% of its crude oil demand through import, bought 1mt of crude from abroad in August as against 9.16mt last year.

Import of petroleum products dipped 5.6% to 1.6mt while exports saw a robust 7.8% growth to 3.21mt. PTI

Bangalore: Many Indian firms are looking to obtain US patents with a view to protecting their interests as they go about expanding their global presence, US law experts have said.

“In the backdrop of India going global and Indian companies making 141 overseas acquisitions in 2005, it is becoming increasingly imperative for Indian companies to apply for US patents," Anand Sharma, a partner with the US law firm Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garret and Dunner said.

About three quarters of acquisitions by Indian companies since 2003 have been cross-border.

The value of Indian cross-border merger and acquisition deals in the first 10 months of 2006 was $23 billion (Rs91,310 crore), he said.

A US patent is valuable for Indian firms in terms of increasing attractiveness to potential global partners, to protect or create a market share, protect technology, provide deterrence to others and allow an option of cross licensing if accused of infringement. pti

Washington: India has expressed hope that the long-delayed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline will become a reality if buyers and the seller agree upon the price of fuel. “I think if the price of the gas is agreed upon, the pipeline will become a reality," finance minister P. Chidambaram said at an interactive session at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

India is not attending a secretary-level meeting, which Iran is hosting in Tehran on 27 September, saying it will not take part in tri-nation deliberations unless the transit fee issue is resolved with Islamabad.

“There is no politics. We wish to have a pipeline... and all three countries, to the best of my knowledge, are agreed in principle on the need and feasibility of the pipeline," Chidambaram said. “What is still not resolved is the price of the gas," he said. pti

New Delhi: State-run power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel) on Wednesday said it has won a Rs765 crore order from Steel Authority of India Ltd(SAIL) for setting up a captive power plant in West Bengal.

The power unit will meet the requirements of the coming expansion project of the Iisco steel plant at Burnpur, and is due to be commissioned in 26 months, a Bhel statement said. This is one of the largest-value single orders secured by Bhel’s industry sector business segment, it added.

The order involves commissioning of the captive power plant in addition to civil works. The company would supply steam turbine generator sets, multi-fuel gas-fired boilers and controls and instrumentation package on a unified platform. PTI

Kosmsomolsk-on-Amur (Russia): Russia’s major aircraft holding Sukhoi Corp.’s passenger Superjet-100 will make its first flight this year, Russia’s first deputy prime minister Sergei Ivanov said in this far eastern city in the course of presentation of the Superjet.

“It’s yet to make the maiden flight but many Russian and foreign airlines already show intense interest in buying these jets," he said. “We already have 73 confirmed orders and 39 options."

“At this moment, the Superjet-100 is the chief project for the Sukhoi Corp.’s civilian business," Ivanov said.

Depending on a customer’s requirements, the Superjets-100 will be sold in three basic versions, he added. ITAR-TASS

New York: Relaxing loan exposure norms for commercial banks could be a key to bridging the $40 billion (Rs1.59 trillion) shortfall the Planning Commission sees in the debt component of funds India needs for infrastructure development until 2012.

The Planning Commission, in a consultation paper released on Monday, estimated that the country needs $492 billion in the 11th Plan period to fund infrastructure development, which in turn is key to achieving 9% economic growth. Out of this amount, $240 billion would be raised as debt by private and public sectors.

However, the plan panel estimates suggest that debt funding will fall $40 billion short of the requirement, which necessitates measures to enable enhanced bank credit, external commercial borrowings, pension and insurance and other debt funds to infrastructure projects. pti

New Delhi: Russia’s largest private consumer services firm Sistema JSFC on Wednesday bought a 10% stake in telecom operator Shyam Telelink for $11.4 million (Rs45.26 crore) marking the entry of a Russian company in India’s rapidly growing telecom space.

Sistema, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and controls Russia’s largest mobile operator, will eventually acquire 51% stake in Shyam Telelink, for which it will soon approach the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

Shyam Telelink currently provides telecom services only in Rajasthan and has applied for nationwide Unified Access Service licences for the other 21 circles. It will use the proceeds from stake sale to part finance its pan-India expansion into mobile services. pti

New Delhi: The nation’s largest oil and gas producer Oil and Natural Gas Corp., will become a marginal player if it did not get right its priorities and produce more hydrocarbons, the oil ministry has warned the state-run firm.

In a stinker of a message at the firm’s strategy meet at Agra on 25-26 August, petroleum secretary M.S. Srinivasan said ONGC should stick to its core business of producing hydrocarbons and not divert resources for diversification into areas such as power and refining.

ONGC may become a marginal player in the gas business in about two-three years, while in case of oil, the firm may fall to that position in about five-six years. On ONGC chairman R.S. Sharma claims that the company accreted highest ever reserves last year, he said “reserve accretion should translate into production." pti

Mumbai: In a bid to consolidate its position in the education sector, IT company Core Projects and Technologies on Wednesday said it has finalized three acquisition deals in the UK and the US for $45 million (Rs179 crore). The cost of the acquisitions would be funded out of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds proceeds which the company had raised in May this year.

The said acquisitions would add $45 million annually to the revenues of the company.

Revenues would also see a significant increase because Core Projects would cross-sell all its products to the existing and newly acquired customers.

The acquisitions would be completed by the end of September and would add more than a dozen products to Core Projects’ existing repertoire of education products, the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. PTI

Mumbai:Tata Sons Ltd the holding company of India’s second biggest industrial group bought 7.3% of Praj Industries Ltd for Rs340 crore to expand its business of making fuel from plants.

Founder and chairman of Praj Industries Pramod Chaudhari and his family sold 13.42 million shares to Tata Sons, Pune-based Praj Industries said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

“In the larger interest of the shareholder, the founders sold their own stake instead of selling new shares," Vinati Moghe, spokeswoman for Praj Industries, said. However, Christabelle Noronha, a spokeswoman for Tata Sons, didn’t answer any calls.

Chaudhari owns 20% after the sale. Praj Industries rose Rs2.15, or 0.8%, to Rs250.4 at 12:32pm local time on the Bombay Stock Exchange. bloomberg

New Delhi: The Indian government is likely to further relax overseas investment rules for mutual funds by scrapping a $200 million (Rs794 crore) individual limit, a senior finance ministry official said on Wednesday.

Indian asset managers are permitted to invest up to 10% of their assets as on 31 March of the financial year in foreign securities up to a maximum of $200 million.

“The individual limit for mutual funds to invest abroad will be further eased. The government and the regulators have agreed to lift the limit of $200 million," the finance ministry official, who did not wish to be identified, said.

He added that the Securities and Exchange Board of India will announce the new guidelines shortly. On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of India relaxed rules on the amount of money companies and individuals can send abroad. REUTERS