CCEA raises paddy MSP by Rs50 as incentive

CCEA raises paddy MSP by Rs50 as incentive

New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday raised the minimum support price of paddy by Rs50 per quintal. The hike follows a bonus of Rs50 announced in October. The procurement price for common varieties would now be Rs745 per quintal, and Rs775 per quintal for Grade ‘A’ paddy.

“We feel that paddy should be given the additional Rs50 incentive to ensure farmers contribute to government procurement, which is meant for various social welfare programmes," said Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, minister for information and broadcasting. The threshold ban on export of basmati has also been raised from $425 (Rs1,670) to $450 per quintal. CCEA also approved a bill to be introduced in the Parliament for amending Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act to allocate coal blocks on competitive bidding basis.


Ceekay Daikin to supply parts for Tata’s small car

Mumbai: Auto maker Tata Motors Ltd has shortlisted Ceekay Daikin Ltd, a joint venture between Japan’s Exedy Corp. and the Ceekay group, to supply clutch discs and cover assemblies for the petrol version of Tata’s proposed Rs1 lakh car. “We should begin supplies to Tata Motors by August next year," said Mahesh Kothari, chairman and managing director.

Ammar Master

Gautam Thapar group renamed Avantha Group

New Delhi: The Gautam Thapar-led group of companies has been renamed as the Avantha Group, according to a company statement. The group has presence in six diverse business verticals such as paper and pulp, power generation and distribution and information technology. Ballarpur Industries Ltd is the flagship company of the group.

Staff Writer

Tata Steel rights issue to raise $2.3 bn

Mumbai: Steel maker Tata Steel Ltd will raise Rs9,135 crore from a rights issue of equity shares and convertible preference shares, a newspaper advertisement showed on Thursday. The issue, a part of the financing for the takeover of Corus Group, comprises 121.79 million equity shares issued in the ratio of one for every five, and 548 million convertible preference shares in the ratio of nine for every 10 equity shares held.


Karvy broking arm to get substantial funds

Mumbai: Financial services firm Karvy on Thursday said that ICICI Ventures and an affiliate of Baring Private Equity Asia, would invest substantial money in its broking arm Karvy Stock Broking Limited. The investment will help them acquire the existing stake held by the Pacific Century Group.


Lanco Infratech gets Orissa coal blocks share

Hyderabad: Infrastructure company, Lanco Infratech Ltd, on Thursday said the government has decided to make allocation of non-coking coal blocks in Orissa to the company along with five other companies. The six companies would have to meet their share of coal requirement from the allocation of Rampia and DIP side of Rampia non-coking coal blocks in Orissa, Lanco said in a statement. The government has asked the six companies to decide on the modalities for the allotment and operation of the mine within a month.

Lanco said its share of coal reserves would enable it set up of a power plant with a generation capacity of 1,000MW. At present, Lanco is operating 518MW capacities and is in the process of implementing power projects with cumulative capacities of around 3,500MW. The company has also initiated steps to develop another 7,500 MW of capacities.

C.R. Sukumar

Vedanta H1 profit rises 3.9% to $465 million

London: India’s largest producer of copper and zinc, Vedanta Resources Plc., said first half profit rose 3.9% on increased sales of copper and aluminium.

Net income climbed to $465 million (Rs1,827 crore) in the six months ended 30 September, from $447.6 million a year earlier, the company said on Thursday in a statement distributed by the Regulatory News Service. Sales advanced 29% to $3.9 billion.

Vedanta shares rose as much as 3.4% to 2,035 pence, and traded at 1,970 pence at 12:18pm in London, valuing the company at £5.7 billion (Rs46,113 crore). The stock has climbed 61% in 2007, compared with a 37% gain for the Bloomberg Europe Metals & Mining Index.

Copper for three-month delivery averaged $7,595.89 a tonne on the London Metals Exchange in the company’s fiscal first half, up 3.1% on the same period a year earlier.

“Very strong demand for metals" will improve the second half, chief executive Kuldip Kaura said on Thursday.


Govt to bring in ‘limited open sky’ policy from

New Delhi: The civil aviation ministry on Thursday decided to have a “limited open sky" policy beginning December to ease air traffic congestion during the winter months.

Under the policy, airliners would be allowed to operate bigger aircraft in the slots allocated to them, but there would be no increase of slots for any airliner, an official spokesperson said .

“All airlines will be allowed to upgrade their aircraft to any capacity level in their existing frequencies at all airports in India," the spokesperson added.

The decision would be applicable until 31 January next year.


NTPC targets hiring 300 engineers from IITs

New Delhi: India’s largest power generation company, NTPC Ltd, plans to more than double its intake of engineers from the country’s premier Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs) for the current year to 300.

“We started recruiting from IITs after around a 15-year gap last year," said a senior company executive, who did not wish to be identified. “We recruited 110 employees from IITs in 2006-07. We are getting a great response this year due to the Rs5.5 lakh package that we are offering at the joining level along with the perks," the executive said.

The power major has a current employee strength of 25,000, of which around 18,750 are engineers. The company is looking to make up for the loss of personnel to the private sector power projects in the past few years.

In the last one year, NTPC lost 100 engineers to firms such as Tata Power Ltd, Reliance Energy Ltd and Lanco Infratech Ltd, and expects that figure to double to 200 a year by 2012 when more projects go on stream.

In a related development, NTPC has received 200 applications from its ex-employees in response to advertisements in news dailies that targeted at bringing back its old employees. The company expects to re-recruit 40-50 senior engineers as reported by ‘Mint’ on 26 April.

utpal Bhaskar

India plans to set up wine, meat board in Jan

Mumbai: India is planning to set up a National Wine and Meat Board in January, Union food processing industries minister Subodh Kant Sahai said, according to a government release on Thursday. Media reports had earlier indicated that the board will be in line with other commodity boards such as the one for tea.


GTL buys ADA Cellworks for $25 million

Mumbai: Network services provider GTL Ltd has acquired Malaysia’s ADA Cellworks Llc. for $25 million (Rs98 crore), the company said on Thursday. The acquisition has been made through its wholly-owned subsidiary GTL International.

“With the acquisition of ADA Cellworks, we have progressed further on our inorganic growth strategy and strengthened our presence in the high value segments of network planning and optimization," chairman and managing director, Manoj G. Tirodkar, said in a statement.

The stake would be acquired from ADA’s promoters, Intel Capital and the Malaysian government, it said. ADA, which also provides network services, expects revenues of $31 million in 2007-08, it added. The company has presence in China, Indonesia, Taiwan and India.

GTL shares lost 1.92% on Thursday to close at Rs263.15 on the Bombay Stock Exchange. reuters